65 Action points from the first Undergraduate Certificate course in May 2012

The first pilot course of the new undergraduate certificate - held in Bristol on 15th - 17th May - demonstrates how much junior and inexperienced planners can still contribute to the business. 

12 students from Hughes Insurance, Liverpool Direct, Lloyds TSB, RAC, Thames Water, UCAS and Volkswagen Financial Services identified a total of 65 takeaways (see below) from the 3 day introductory courses, demonstrating a fabulous passion for improvement, that firmly displays the innovative spirit we stand for as a profession. 

This was a fantastic start, with a host of enquiries following the launch at Customer Contact Planning 2012 in Blackpool in April.  Run in partnership with the University of Ulster, this programme offers the best of our existing Foundation Certificate for people new to planning, together with the opportunity to gain points towards a university degree qualification.  

As John Huxtable from Lloyds TSB explains, “the practical on hands approach to learning” was especially useful.  This is a key feature of the Planning Forum training programmes - something picked up and emphasised in the university partnership. 

Many student - such as Stuart Bartlett, Forecasting Manager from the RAC, also found it exceptionally valuable to have “discussions with people from different companies …[understanding] how they overcome the same issues we face”.  This collaborative learning is another key feature of the programme.  

Another RAC student, James Oakes, Operational Support Business Manager, focussed on the value of the take-aways.  “It will help us make key changes to the way we run planning teams. It gives us more confidence & knowledge  to make informed decisions.” “It will help me apply skills to my role confidently”, agreed Tina Read from Thames Water. This was a key point for many students, as Sheila Watt, Telephony/Resource Planning Analyst, from Hughes Insurance sums up: “I can now have more confidence in the way I approach resource planning and asking why we do that.”

Congratulations to all those who took part - look online for more feedback from the delegates or information on the course and the next dates.

Alison Conaghan, Course Tutor.  June 2012. 

The 65 Take-Aways

  1. Review target service goals other than 80% in 20 seconds
  2. Work in not ready which adheres, used as admin – find out impact on occupancy
  3. Education of our team and TMs who are RT analysts – it isn’t always a wrong forecast – need to be able to establish the reason for poor performance
  4. Looking at interval variance of forecast to actual.  5% target, and difference between switch and WFM as one in 30 and one in 15 min intervals.
  5. Education of TLs of non adherence and the power of one – impact on Service Level.
  6. Difference one or two people on small team – multi skilling will increase efficiency.
  7. Analyse ACW time and times of day/agents issues
  8. Get out the right message to the operation, and marketing impacts – re-education.
  9. MITAN – look at the building of schedules, schedule 8 weeks ahead and change shifts closer to the time, optimise breaks/lunches, closer to the time, things not changed.
  10. Buddy up team leaders so that one is always left on floor to cover the other’s team.
  11. Understanding average time to abandon to establish mode average to support review of target service levels
  12. Monitoring and reporting on non-adherence levels
  13. After call work and forced wrap analysis to see why some agents answering more calls than others but with high ACW and use Mitan to demonstrate impacts of extended wrap/admin time.
  14. Closer look at call drivers especially statement activity
  15.  Understanding importance of profile accuracy, as well as volume – monitoring and adjusting
  16. Be smarter on approach and get it right first time – to avoid repeat calls
  17. Prioritise TL off line activities – them give a list of in the morning huddle
  18. Weighted averages – getting the balance right
  19. Analysing interval forecast against target
  20. Use predictable factors more
  21. Analyse historical forecast data to see when abnormal call volumes may occur
  22. Repeat call volume analysis to establish reasons for the call
  23. Make the forecast more visual to see why we put in figures we do
  24. Look at the forecasting and how it’s done, is based on our main “pots” or does include “pot 4”. 
  25. Need to look at the AHT for new starters and the impact that has on forecast
  26. Customer calling and their actions – mailing response rates and the propensity to call over forthcoming weeks.
  27. Looking at unclustered shift patterns, see if preference for consistency and whether we need to do something about team based scheduling
  28. Introduce TOIL with payback at weekends
  29. Use scheduling building blocks with agents to demonstrate demand and the need for different shift patterns
  30. Cost of comfort breaks
  31. Staff focus group/workshop but at senior level and the message to agents may not be the same. 
  32. Personal choice days – child cover
  33. New approach to new schedule and now will engage agents and get their feedback on the existing scheduling
  34. Negative flex can go to 36 hrs with 52 weeks to pay it back, and we have no way of monitoring payback – need to review the process and have system of flagging up when they need to pay back.
  35. Engaging in team meetings and raise awareness, exercise on building shift patterns.
  36. Look at different shift patterns – currently only do 3 for FT agents, look at split shifts and 6 day weeks.
  37. Seek additional flexibility in shift patterns
  38. Expand on agent forums to critique current shift patterns and ask them for improvement suggestions, and use model to test them.
  39. Be more innovative round breaks, and engage agents for their ideas.
  40. Give to back office to try and keep them onside
  41. Re-educate training and team leaders about effect of taking people off phones.
  42. Agent Forums
  43. Properly schedule off line activity and stick to it.
  44. Use deviations to work out best time to schedule activities
  45. Relationship between Ops and resourcing
  46. Understand real time needs
  47. Be aware of what is cancelled at busy times so they can be planned back in at quieter times
  48. Ensure team leaders are aware of what other team leaders are doing
  49. Relationship between teams that we use for flexing
  50. Variety of ways to limit damage at busy times
  51. Think outside the box
  52. Give ownership more to administrators to look at the bigger picture
  53. Train TLs and show them what I do
  54. Impact of shrinkage and the importance of planning it accurately
  55. Changing call routing – make sure plan in priorities and the overflow and the impact on occupancy, rather than conversion/sales perspective
  56. Clearly define my roles and responsibilities and what TMs do for Resource Plannning on the day, and then review where these should lie to improve the process
  57. Print off denied annual leave requests each day to refer to when taking sick phone line
  58. Look at shrinkage trends, currently look at last 4 months, but look at daily shrinkage and the impact that has
  59. Introduce exit interviews to establish reasons for leaving – including questions about Resource planning
  60. Using Bradford Factor for adherence
  61. Cost models – show to my boss
  62. Moving people in and out of queues is time consuming – carry out analysis of skills assigned to the agents.
  63. Put Director on the sickline
  64. Build key meetings into diary 6 weeks ahead, to avoid cancellations.
  65. Ask attendees of meetings what they want to achieve.
Take a look at these articles, videos and links
Advanced Certificate in Managing the Customer Contact


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