See for yourself why over 500 delegates flocked to Birmingham for the wide range of conference events and use the information to share with colleagues. With over 500 delegates at the diverse conference events, Customer Contact Planning 2010, the Planning Forum’s 10th Anniversary Conference, represents one of the largest gatherings of experts in the industry’s annual calendar.  This year's event was held at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham's NEC on 19-20 April and included the National Outbound and Back Office Forums, the Public Sector Transformation Forum and the Customer Planning and Strategy Forum.

The conference theme - Passionate about Performance - was explored with case studies, presentations, workshops and discussion. How many of us can say hand on heart that everything we do in our customer contact operation is really aligned to the customer? Let alone creating an environment in which our people can be truly passionate about performance, so that they contribute to the maximum and the organisation avoids wasted effort

With highly rated speakers, 8 parallel one-day events offering a choice of 24 diverse conference sessions, together with a larger exhibition area than ever before and enjoyable entertainment on both evenings, it was voted a really successful event by delegates. Over 80% rated the conference as excellent or outstanding and almost 90% would recommend it to a colleague.  Delegates singled out the excellence of the networking opportunities and presentations, with some speakers rated almost 100% as excellent or outstanding.

"Great day; I learned loads", explains Phil Anderson, Resource & Planning Manager from Gold Medal. "My highlights included the opening words, which set the tone of the day.  It's a good group of delegates, which was great to share ideas." "What I found most useful was taking different ideas from the case studies", concurs Brian Greehhoff, Collections Manager at Activ Capital. "Great chance to see a range of exhibitors in one room", continues Mike Henson, Resource Planning Manager at Prolog Connect.

For many delegates, like Seval Willa from Office Depot, Tim Wright from the Dixons Store Group and Maureen  Ferguson from Carnival UK, the round table discussions and networking opportunities were the highlight.  "I most enjoyed the sharing of ideas, hearing the case studies and how other organisations have overcome some of the challenges my own organisation faces", comments Theresa Smith, Operations Manager at Nationwide Building Society. "Good opportunities for discussion. Open and honest forums", agrees Joanne Taylor, IntraDay planner at RBS Insurance.

For David Hingley, Head of MI at Shop Direct, the most useful part is "learning how others have succeeded so I can plagiarise their ideas". It is "being able to speak to people from other organisations about what they do [as well as] listening to speakers on what other businesses have done", adds Christina King, IntraDay Resource Manager at British Gas. "As a result I will be presenting new ideas ... to improve our business." 

Many delegates highlighted the value of the specialist one-day forums this year. "Very very enjoyable, great insight into outbound calling", comments Steven Gurr Outbound Team leader at Netflights, commenting on the presentations about customer-focussed outbound.  The  "The MI Session was inspiring", enthuses Gianluca Stella, Acting Head of Workforce Planning EMEA at American Express. "Excellent customer strategy session with great speakers" adds Nick Lane, Director of Strategy & Planning at Orange.  "Looking at customer strategy area which isn’t a core role of mine was very insightful", Andrew Cowie, Capacity Planning Manager at British Gas.

The first National Back Office forum gave the chance to showcase how much progress has been made in taking planning and performance disciplines into this area - and the presentation to Scottish Power of the overall Innovation of the Year Award sealed success for many delegates working in this area.  The Public Sector forum and the specialist forums for workforce management and planning for people

"Inspirational ... speakers connected with the audience and made the session feel interactive", comments Jane Langan, Contact Centre Manager at the SRA. "I have gone away with a book full of take aways and action plans that have the potential to make significant positive change to my organisation".

So how do you put it in a nutshell? "Fantastic day – all excellent!" Anita Yanell-Jones, DAS. "It gives an excellent view of current best practices and issues ... spanning many industry types" Paul Burgess-Clements, Head Of Operations at Hastings Direct. "The opportunity to network with like minded people. I like the way you split us up and group people together, this definitely helped", Richard Abdy, Forecasting, Planning and MI analyst at NHS Direct.

"I really enjoy the PPF conference each year as it gives an opportunity to find out about how the industry is progressing", sums up Sharon Ryder, Telephony Channel Manager at Worcestershire County Council.

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