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GDPR: Rethink our relationship with the data

GDPR – these four letters are inevitable for the year 2018. The Webhelp Group, in collaboration with all stakeholders, has opted for an innovative, smart and straightforward approach to the new European Data Protection Regulation.

There is no denying that the relationship between economic operators and individuals changes to personal data. The nature of this change is forcing employees in Customer Relationship Management to be in a tightrope, trying to balance legitimate needs that often conflict with one another. On the one hand, consumers rightly demand that their data be used only for the provision of services for which they have registered; on the other hand, the need for a tailored, fast and relevant response requires a more holistic approach to data usage. In fact, we all know how uncomfortable it is to have to repeat our wishes over and over again as a customer …

This contrariness is in the foreground of the GDPR program of Webhelp. For many years, we have been at the forefront of strategic thinking on the future of customer experience – and we believe that fulfilling privacy challenges and expectations depends on “creating a positive, data quality-based model”.


Rethink our relationship with the data

Today’s digital world generates and disseminates an impressive amount of data, with some sources citing a figure of 163 Zetabits (ie 163 billion gigabits) for the year 2025, a tenfold increase over the levels processed in 2016. Each person generates data voluntarily and often involuntarily. When a form is completed online, or when a user sends a text message, is filmed by an outdoor video surveillance system, surfs the Internet, or agrees to cross-platform transfer of data, data is generated. Nearly 85% of this data has no real benefit. Of the remaining 15%, only one fifth is usable – less than 1% of all recorded data! Nevertheless, a considerable amount of data remains, Traces of her presence in the digital or physical world. This reality can no longer be ignored. It is the subject of protection by European regulation and its integration into the Webhelp Group’s business.

Customer Relationship is based on loyalty to the consumer. We must provide a service that meets consumer expectations in the best interests of our customers. In a variety of technological environments, Webhelp handles about 2 million daily conversations across all channels. These interactions can be stored to allow continuous improvement in service quality and provide the answers consumers want. By adapting to the customer context and creating on-demand solutions, Webhelp brings its expertise and know-how to its clients and their customers.

However, Webhelp has recognized that we can not remain systematically neutral in the processing of personal data. Our efforts began years ago within the Webhelp Group, when it quickly became apparent that a global effort would be needed to protect consumer privacy. These efforts have brought us to the forefront of thinking about GDPR.

As we emphasize in our BCR (Binding Corporate Rules): “We believe that the protection of personal data is not only a matter of security or compliance with the law, but above all a matter of collective and individual obligation”. This ambitious approach has been the guiding principle of the Webhelp Group for several years and has been transferred to our successful innovations with Chatbots, Speech Analytics (speech recognition and processing) and Machine Learning for predicting workload, and so on. In each of these projects, we worked to minimize the amount of data used, while carefully monitoring the impact of these projects on privacy.

These improvements are based on the solution of the above-mentioned contradiction. We use data to meet the dual legitimacy of consumer requirements – but we use only relevant data and only to achieve positive results for our clients and their customers. A risk-based analysis, data processing, and the relationship built on it has become a way to extend our services to our clients. This relationship is at the heart of the Webhelp Group’s Privacy initiative.

Create a positive cycle in Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management is actually tripartite, with strong links between the various partners. On the one hand, the main contractors: Like every company, it has its own life and relies on the expertise of its partners in providing support and advice. Here, BPO players, such as Webhelp, are particularly relevant. We must be in tune with our customers’ expectations and ultimately provide the consumer with the most accurate, respectful and relevant service. Consumers are at the heart of this relationship, their purpose, and their satisfaction is absolutely necessary.

In this tripartite relationship, there are key moments in which consumers interact with the provider of customer relationship management. Especially in these moments, the strength of the relationship between consumer and brand is activated – a “third moment of truth” in marketing – crucial for brand image and loyalty. In such a critical environment, there is no room for error, and the consumer demands a service that is tailored to him as an individual, but also respects his privacy and integrity in the use of his personal information. In these times, an approach must be pursued that meets the legitimate expectations of consumers, and the data processing strategy is crucial.

GDPR strengthens transparency and information rights for consumers. Consumers need to be informed about, and in some cases agree with, the methods and means by which they can respond to their needs. These efforts are now the responsibility of the client and the BPO stakeholders, who must jointly reflect this requirement towards the consumer. An example of the practical implementation is the establishment of dedicated and joint GDPR teams, which will respond to consumer queries as of May 25, 2018, as well as the use of KYC systems to identify the person making an access request.

Based on this legal and pragmatic framework, our initiative is to create a data quality based model. By understanding and anticipating the needs of consumers and providing a coordinated, accurate and transparent approach, Webhelp builds this new relationship with the data, in addition to the brands we work for. From now on, data usage no longer has to be considered a risk, but an opportunity for optimal service. This endeavor is defined through joint evaluation, process definition, documentation and transparency.

This collaborative effort, driven by the client and with the help of Webhelp through the services we offer, will shape the future of customer relationships. Together, we will successfully master the path from the age of big data to the age of valued data – an age in which brands and CRM players can continue to leverage the power of contextual data to deliver a personalized service to the individual consumer at the same time successfully ensuring the right level of respect for the rights and expectations of consumers.

Boris Paulin

Data Protection Officer – Webhelp

About Webhelp

Webhelp is a global Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) specializing in customer experience and payment management as well as sales and marketing services across voice, social and digital channels.

With more than 100 locations in 29 countries and a team of around 40,000 employees, we focus on improving engineering performance and real and sustainable transformation of our customers’ operating models to generate financial benefits. We work with some of the world’s most progressive brands, including Vodafone, Unilever, Europcar, Shop Direct, Bouygues, Direct Energy, KPN, Michael Kors and Valentino.

Headquartered in Paris, France, the company has increased its sales by more than 250% over the last 4 years by investing in its people, the environment in which they work, and developing its analytical and operational capabilities Deliver a transformative outsourcing offer that meets the challenges of a multi-channel world.

Webhelp has been owned by management since March 2016 and by KKR, a leading global investment company.

For more information, visit www.webhelp.com .