The awards were presented at the 2009 Contact Centre Planning conference in London on 28th April, where each of the nominees talked about how they achieved their success.
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QVC was presented with the overall 2009 Innovation of the Year, not only for the impressive array of initiatives undertaken to create efficiency gains of several hundred hours a week, but also for a host of other pioneering efforts such as the successful implementation of home-working. Together, these enterprising programmes placed QVC in a league of its own.
“The most important thing we did was to stop and think: to reflect on how we did things and how the way we did things impacted on our teams and our customers”, explained Tracy Rice, Head of Planning at QVC.
The planning team achieved massive payback when they engaged the business and created time to implement change in 2008. Occupancy in the call centre improved 15% with recruitment of 46 homeworkers and a review of schedule efficiency. Extending this review to the distribution centre led to a 23% drop in agency hours. ‘At the click of a button’ management information, self-service employee administration and call causation analysis reduced Team Leader admin time from 50% to 11% of their working week, cut holiday queries by 23% and brought visibility of the customer experience into team coaching and process change.
“Put simply, this was planning-led transformation,” says Paul Smedley, Executive Director of the Professional Planning Forum. QVC formulated and carried out a programme of initiatives that together have had a huge impact not only on the call centre, but also on other departments such as distribution. “Every contact centre can learn something from QVC’s approach; that’s what makes the company such a worthy overall winner.”
The winners were selected by a team of judges who visited each of the 15 shortlisted organisations, and then assessed them against a strict set of criteria. “It was a tough contest,” admits John Casey, Director of Professional Development at the Planning Forum. “Every one of the organisations on our shortlist had award-winning components. Reducing the 15 down to six category winners was a difficult task. And that’s before we even started thinking about who should be the overall champion.”
Five further awards recognise innovation in specific areas:
The Contact Centre Innovation award for Customer Planning was awarded to British Gas Services for the massive improvements they made to the customer experience - halving the number of missed appointments and reducing calls per visit by 26% through innovative use of telephone technology and text messaging to improve the customer journey.
The Contact Centre Innovation award for Back Office Operations was presented to the Coventry Building Society for the ‘Same Day in, Same Day out’ initiative which introduced a ‘front-line’ culture in the back office to clear backlogs, triple capacity for new accounts and break down silos in the wider organisation.
Kwik Fit Insurance won the Contact Centre Innovation award for Customer Focus for the ground-breaking model company, Smart Co, established within the wider business as a test-bed for new ways of working. Through it Kwik Fit gained a 37% rise in customer satisfaction and a 90.5% drop in employee attrition.
The Contact Centre Public Sector Innovation award was awarded to the Thames Valley Police for introducing Primetime, which changed long-established work schedules with full union support. The new working patterns consistently raised service levels for all service lines substantially above national targets, for the first time, while at the same time they cut absence, dropped overtime budgets by 30% and reduced pressure at busy periods.
The Contact Centre Innovation award for Performance Culture was presented to Vodafone for ‘making customers fans’ – an initiative which grew revenue by 600% through building a performance culture, driven by employee engagement and a focus on just 3 key metrics. In addition to millions of pounds of extra profit and reduced cost per call by two-thirds in just 12 months, they increased employee engagement scores by nearly 22%.
These prestigious awards, organised by the Professional Planning Forum, celebrate the achievements of the industry’s innovators and offer a benchmark of excellence within the industry. They showcase innovations that are transforming the experience of customers and employees and demonstrate how planning can make a real difference.
The Contact Centre Innovation Awards were presented on 28th April at the Gala dinner at the close of Contact Centre Planning 2009 conference. The biggest ever conference, with a recession-beating 10% increase in delegates on last year, it continues to be a key event in Contact Centre’s managers’ diaries. Over 500 individuals were registered for the conference and the gala awards dinner.
Every year, the Planning Forum produces case studies, for all organisations on the Innovation Awards shortlist, and organises facilitated site visits to meet with winners and finalists - the idea being to provide its members with examples of best practice from some of Europe’s most innovative contact centre operators. Previous winners have included EDF Energy, Salford City Council, Tesco, HBOS, Norwich Union and T-Mobile.
This article is a must read for those interested in the Customer Contact Innovation Awards winners, 2009.