We have just enjoyed an inspiring two days at our annual conference – not to mention our dinner last night. It was a wonderful chance to catch up with so many of you. I hope that you also found the sessions and other opportunities for discussion and networking a great source of ideas, motivation and energy. We hope that you will help us to build on this great new body of best practice through the year.
Whether you were able to join us or not, you probably were not able to attend all the sessions you wanted. The good news is, you have another chance to see the awards finalists in action during the upcoming site visit programme but please book immediately to be sure of your place. You can also view the presentations and conference material on our website. Take a look at the new 2015 Best Practice Guide; with chapters focussed on each of our communities and a comprehensive Forum directory, it contains the latest research, best practice articles and Innovation case studies from this year’s finalists.
I also want to remind you that now is the time to enter our three new community awards programmes and save the dates for the our new community conferences. Find out more using the buttons on the right.
Please read on, because what I want to share with you today are the winners of the 2015 Customer Contact Innovation Awards announced at our Gala dinner last night which closed Customer Strategy & Planning 2015.
We also reveal the five new Forum Heroes, who join our elite band of individuals who have all been judged to have made a significant personal contribution to the industry.
We will be publishing further conference reports and adding video to our website over the next few weeks, so do keep checking in. I also look forward to reading the ‘WOW’ feedback forms many of you were kind enough to complete. Please continue to share your insights and feedback with me. They are always of huge value to us.
With best wishes,
Customer Contact Innovation Awards winners announced last night
Five organisations won prestigious innovation awards for outstanding initiatives that are making customer operations great places to work and transforming the experience of customers.
The overall winner was British Gas Service and Repair, with individual awards taken by Hughes Insurance, LV=, Motability Operations and RESPONSE.
Organised by The Forum, these sought-after awards, celebrate and benchmark excellence in the industry. These awards, together with our five Forum Heroes, were presented at the Forum's 15th anniversary conference in Newcastle on 28th April, where each talked about how they achieved their outstanding results. The Forum also organise opportunities to see them and learn more during their best practice site visit programme during the summer and autumn.
British Gas Service and Repair gained the overall Innovation of the Year Award for delivering an exceptional end-to-end customer journey. A focus on customer experience led to a new operating model for planning, and used insight to improve NPS, backlogs & efficiencies at the same time in Service & Repair, cutting broken promises 78%. They were also presented with the Innovation Award for Customer Experience.
“Why did we change? Customers were telling us that we needed to change. The change in our operation can be summed up quite simply. Every team member has an input into what we do,” explained Ian Noden, leader of the National Planning Team. Steve Woosey, Chief Executive of The Forum, highlights the way in which planning, advanced forecasting and data-led decisions are making a direct impact on the end-to-end customer experience. “British Gas Services stood out for the way in which all this was brought together; engineers find happier customers when they visit!”
The winners were selected by a team which included 15 experienced industry practitioners, many of them previous winners or finalists. Judges visited each of the 13 shortlisted organisations, and then assessed them against a strict set of criteria.
"Every year judging visits exceed our expectations and amaze our external judges", says Paul Smedley, Founder and Chair of The Forum. "It is exciting to see how customer operations are developing. This year’s theme, Changing Gear –Rise to the Customer Challenge, is exactly what all our winners have achieved. They have been asked to speed up, do more with less or deliver a result that has never been achieved before in our customer operations. They are addressing the twin challenges of sustainable improvement and responsiveness to a fast changing market.”
Four further awards recognised innovation in specific areas:
The Innovation Award for Sustainable Culture was awarded to Motability Operations, whose approach to knowledge management builds trust and supports effective conversations, getting it ‘right first time’, optimising call length and – above all – helping advisors give customers confidence.
The Innovation Award for People Empowerment was won by Hughes Insurance, where continuous improvement has transformed the organisation’s culture, engaging everyone in shaping improvements to customer service, streamlining processes and realising over £150,000 in cost-savings.
The Innovation Award for Customer Outcomes was gained by LV=, whose focus on the customer, led to removing sales incentives & targets, part of a strategic change involving new approaches to engagement, performance management and cross-skilling.
Lastly, RESPONSE swept away the Innovation Award for Transforming Communication, using a desktop and mobile app to connect people, focussing performance around one version of the truth and opening up a two-way conversation in the business.
Forum Hero awards
Forum Hero awards were presented to five outstanding customer contact professionals, recognising their exceptional personal contribution in developing the role of planning, analysis or quality. They join our growing ranks of heroes, reflecting excellence at all levels in our profession.
The 2015 Heroes are:
Richard Abdy, Workforce Scheduling & Planning Manager, NE Ambulance Service
Richard is an experienced planning professional who has worked in both private and public sectors showing, in different organisations, how much difference planning can make to any operation. Part of the judging panel in previous years, this individual demonstrates commitment to best practice by regularly hosting visits and sharing knowledge with members. He believes passionately in the power of planning and has ably demonstrated this in all his previous roles.
Dee Chapman, Call Centre Manager, Essex & Suffolk Water
Deeis a spark, igniting in the people around her the desire to do better. Absorbing new ideas and learning from the wider community, this individual has been a driving force behind transformed performance and customer experience, delivering significant knock on results for the entire business.An active member of the Quality and Customer Experience Forum since its inception, she is a role model for the industry.
Ivan Smith, Support Services Manager, Motability Operations
Ivan embodies the passion needed to develop and change an organisation’s culture, pushing the boundaries of best practice in and outside their own organisation. Always keen to share and help others, this individual never sits still or rests on their laurels, but strives to get the very best out of people. A multiple innovation awards winner, previously a judge, he has been an enthusiastic member of The Forum for many years.
Ruth Mercer, Service Quality Manager, Hughes Insurance
Ruth stands out for the obvious enthusiasm she has generated in those around her, making everyone feel of value, giving people the confidence to contribute, learn and develop. These are all signs of inspiring leadership, underpinned by knowledge and competence, drawing on the resources of the wider professional community. This individual is exceptionally determined, professional and charismatic.
Colin Whelan, Senior Solutions Consultant, Aspect
Over the past 7 years Colin has been a key figure within our community, committed to improving professionalism, making a huge contribution to the body of best practice in areas such as data analysis, back office planning and forecasting methodology. He embodies passion and enthusiasm for our profession. The final Forum Hero Award is presented to a familiar face at The Forum and now more recently with Aspect Contact Solutions.