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Not to see whether we did a good job or not, because I knew that we already did, but I just couldn’t see how we differentiated from our competitors in terms of value add for our clients. I had a vision about contact centres and where I thought we needed to go, but I knew it would take significant surgery and a radical rethink to ready us for that journey.
It was clear to me that although we met all of the service level agreements the business had; there was no real reason to keep us on as a supplier, because we didn’t do anything for our clients that was over, above and beyond that.
That’s the problem with commoditised businesses, the only way they can differentiate is on price, so I wanted to move us away from that and position ourselves more as a consulting business developing outcome based solutions. I think our most significant asset is that we deliver a more qualitative service to our clients based on knowledge and insight rather than going after the cheaper volume based activity that a lot of our competitors pursue.
We needed to stop thinking about ourselves as a contact centre business, and more as a company that sold solutions around improving customer experience which at the same time improves our client’s revenues and profit. That, in a nutshell, is what we started to do three years ago, and it’s what determined Vodafone choosing us as their strategic partner and started the growth of the business over that period of time.
Not to over simplify things, it was about understanding that our business had to change, that our proposition needed to be different. The heart of what we did, which was answering calls and talking to customers still needed to beat as strongly as ever, but we needed to make sure we were also delivering unique, insightful outcomes to our clients.
The most important thing we provide today for our clients isn’t just about answering the phone, it isn’t even about giving them better CSAT, it’s about the knowledge we can provide that makes them a better business. It’s all about how you use data in this business. Data is so much more powerful and important when it is used correctly. How we house the data, how we analyse it, what additional insights can we go back to our clients with, and those insights should all be around driving revenue, profit, customer advocacy and retention.
While we are still very evolutionary, we’ve come a long way from being a commoditised supplier to one that delivers complex solutions and is now a true strategic partner to our clients.
But it’s not just data and technology that makes a difference the biggest reason our business will continue to succeed is if we invest in our employees. I feel a tremendous sense of duty towards our people and the biggest kick I get is seeing them reach their optimum potential, when they’ve challenged themselves, when they’ve found new ways of solving problems and adding value. I am passionate about changing the perception of this business to be one where you don’t just come here for a job; you come here to pursue a career.
And we can offer people real career progression here; there are so many opportunities to grow and a clear path of succession through the business, and that’s a terrific reason for people to want to stay within the company to develop their abilities and to achieve that potential.
This is what I really want to see happen, if I went out and spoke to the guys at the front end of the business today, I’d like to think that in 10 or 15 years time somebody in that audience will be sitting on the board looking after my pension!