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  • Welcome to Customer Contact Planning & Strategy Blog Posted 6 years ago
    Read on and enjoy our new conference blogs - scroll through the pages and add your comments.  With over 600 delegates across the two days, this event was buzzing, action packed and stacked with great ideas and loads of enthusiasm for making things happen.  This year we wanted to let you hear about this through the voice of our members - roving reporters who shared the insights they picked up as they went along.  These conference blogs are part of our strategy of involving members and friends of the Planning Forum in creating best practice materials that enables members to learn and innovate. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this 2013 initiative.  
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Professional Planning Forum Conference Blogs

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Feedback and news about the Annual Conference: Customer Contact Planning & Strategy 2013


What on-earth is Gamification?

One of the keynote sessions at the Professional Planning Forum’s annual conference this year included a presentation by Debbie May, General Manager, Enterprise WFO at NICE Systems.  I was surprised by the lack of recognition from the audience when Debbie talked about gamification and how it can benefit contact centres.  

While gamification might be a new term, there is nothing new about its motives.  Since the early days of contact centres incentives, competitions and rewards have been a popular method of motivation.  The only difference now is that technology has allowed the automation of the process to become even more inclusive and used for both motivation and education.  Gamification is all about employee engagement – putting people first.

The Aberdeen Group recently published a report confirming what anyone involved in the contact centre world has known for years ie that internal recognition for positive performance and competition with other team members are the top non-financial motivators.  So what are the benefits of automating the recognition and reward process by way of gamification:

Top Six Benefits of Gamification

1) Cost effective – awarding points and badges via an online game is better value for money than costly mobile devices or dinners for two
2) Not location dependent – online competitions can run across different sites, countries and continents.  Colleagues from across the globe can take part
3) Ongoing employee engagement – individuals can choose to compete against themselves.  Many agents want to do more – more calls, more sales, decrease average handling times gamification can be used for measuring performance
4) Faster employee induction/onboarding – one contact centre reduced its training time from 20 days to 14 hours and found more people completed extra training and advance learning modules using gamification techniques
5) Corporate goals – gamification helps align people’s actions to corporate goals  
6) Retain Talent – increased internal recognition leads to a decrease in staff churn rates. 

Where to start?
I asked Debbie May where was the best place to start in terms of gamification?  Her advice was to start small, walk before you can run (very appropriate – more about that latter) and begin with a phased approach in one site or department first.  Taking this approach means it is possible to conduct a pilot first before rolling out the “game” to the rest of the operation.  For example, NICE has gamification in its performance, compensation and workforce management modules with further releases on the way.  

Finally, for those of you in the keynote session at the conference, you will be pleased to hear that after a week in Rome, Debbie has just achieved her latest Best In A Day badge (30,000 steps) in the pedometer app she talked about.  

Other useful Links: - 
http://www.gamification.org/
http://www.informationweek.com/social-business/marketing/7-examples-put-gamification-to-work/232901489
http://www.gamification.org/wiki/Gamification_Examples

Blog report from Mary Phillips, PR Artistry Limited  www.prartistry.com
This article is written by the author, who takes full responsibility for the content. These are not the opinion of the Professional Planning Forum and we take no responsibility for accuracy, appropriateness or any other aspect of the content.  Please contact us direct if you feel any blog should be amended or removed and we will discuss this with the author. These conference blogs are part of our strategy of involving members and friends of the Planning Forum in creating best practice materials that enables members to learn and innovate. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this 2013 initiative. 

 


Innovation Award for Customer Analytics 
I was lucky enough to be part of the recent Professional Planning Forum Conference, a superb event that promotes contact centre best-practice.  This year’s theme – Putting People First – really captured the mood.  I was particularly impressed by the presentation given by Experian and the success of its Nottingham-based contact centre handling over 200,000 contacts every month. 
 
It comes as no surprise that Experian, best known for the market-leading CreditExpert product, won this year’s Innovation Award for Customer Analytics.  With customer satisfaction up 11% and long-term customer retention up 38%, Experian used insightful data to empower 270 agents, helping them to conduct meaningful conversations with customers that deliver real customer loyalty.

Experian has managed to bring together data from all departments – planning, quality, customer insight, knowledge management, operations, product and marketing – to create a joined-up approach to analytics and a collaborative feedback culture that has been vital in making the changes that really matter to the business. 

 Known affectionately as the Actionable Analytics (AA) Forum, Experian’s continual improvement methodology has generated a new QA framework that’s good for staff and for business: increased revenues, operational efficiencies and improved staff engagement. 
 
Bringing together different divisions with the help of the AA Forum and augmenting telephony and IVR systems with the latest speech analytics technology they now have valuable business insight.  It also saw a new era of happier staff and even happier customers.  

The use of call analytics has been vital, achieving nine-times ROI already!  Experian can delve down into accurate data that pinpoints ‘the needle in the haystack’ giving them ‘irrefutable proof’ to tackle the most urgent problems first in the right way. Issues that prevent a great customer experience are now communicated, shared, prioritised and resolved in the spirit of teamwork. 

The results speak for themselves:
• Over 50 process changes have been delivered
• Average hold time halved in just five months, boosting customer satisfaction
• Customer satisfaction up 11%
• Customer retention up 38%

Thank you to the PPF for allowing everyone at this year’s conference to learn from the Experian story. 

Marvellous stuff!

Blog report from Mary Phillips, PR Artistry Limited  www.prartistry.com

This article is written by the author, who takes full responsibility for the content. These are not the opinion of the Professional Planning Forum and we take no responsibility for accuracy, appropriateness or any other aspect of the content.  Please contact us direct if you feel any blog should be amended or removed and we will discuss this with the author. These conference blogs are part of our strategy of involving members and friends of the Planning Forum in creating best practice materials that enables members to learn and innovate. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this 2013 initiative. 


Putting People First

09:00 In years gone by, the Planning Forum would kick off the first keynote session of its annual conference with a motivational speaker. This year, CEO Steve Woosey takes the job on himself, talking about his family and how they use their points of difference to develop confidence with one another. It’s inspiring patter, and hopefully a taste of things to come.

09:23 When Steve gets on to the topic of this year’s conference – putting people first –he’s quick to point out that it’s amazing what people can achieve when you give them the right environment. If you give people freedom, he says, it’s unbelievable how they can drive things forward.

09:25 According to Steve, there are five critical steps in putting people first: i) removing the barriers that prevent people from doing a great job; ii) aligning metrics and values (personal purpose);  iii) genuine involvement – creating systems that allow your frontline teams to challenge behaviours and way things are done; iv) supporting people; and v) lighting the fire in people. Steve reckons that ifyou get steps one to four right, there’s no reason why people can’t set the world on fire.

9:32 A big part of lighting the fire in people is about giving them the right training to do their job as effectively as possible. No wonder, then, that the Planning Forum is launching the world’s first customer contact planning and management degree – in association with Ulster Business School. To give people a bit of insight into this exciting new qualification, Steve welcomes to the stage Course Director Tim Moruzzi, who chats about the different awards available as part of the programme – ranging from certificates of higher education right upto the full BSc.

9.38 When the top sponsor gets up to speak at some events, there’s a risk that what they’ve got to say will come across as a sales pitch. That’s simply not the case when Debbie May, General Manager at NICE Systems UK – gold sponsors of this year’s conference – takes to the stage. As well as cracking several jokes, she engages delegates by asking them about their personal contact preferences and encouraging them to apply that understanding to their own customers. It’s about anticipating what the customer wants to do – regardless of the channel they choose to interact through – and reducing the effort they have to go through.

9:54 After a few further ‘putting people first’ insights from NICE Systems’ Debbie May – this time focusing on ‘gamification’ (engaging employees through positive reinforcement and competition) – it’s time to hear from the Planning Forum’s Chair and Founder, Paul Smedley. What he says is pretty rousing. Putting people first is about turning dreams into reality, he tells us: being young enough to dream, mature enough to make dreams happen, and being supported by people to help that happen.

9:56 Paulcites a whole raft of research to show how putting people first comes through giving customers the right environment to operate in. He’s quick to point out that this environment isn’t singularly about first contact resolution, though. It’s also about letting people self-serve or interact via social media, if that’s what they want to do.

10:09 Having reminded us that the phone is no longer the primary channel customers use – and that the web is now far more important in terms of frequency of interactions – Paul hits the delegates with his number one message: that organisations have to become fit for the customer’s purpose.

10:13 What exactly does being ‘fit’ for the customer’s purpose mean for Paul? By way ofexample, he tells delegates about an Italian holiday he and his wife, Nicola, took a few years ago during which their car broke down not just once, but twice. The first time they called their UK insurance company, they received areally great service; both the interaction and subsequent fix were spot-on. But the result of the second call wasn’t so positive. Apparently, their policy only allowed them to have one European breakdown – but nobody had had told them this when they had signed on the dotted line.

10:17 As Paul’s story continues, the moral becomes clear: how can you possibly understand the whole customer experience without understanding the whole customer journey? While the quality of some or even most interactions and services might be great, their value will be negated if other parts of the journey are off-kilter. (If your Europe-wide car insurance only covers you for one breakdown, for example, and your car breaks down twice!) In Paul’s case, it was the second agent he spoke to that encouraged him to report the incident to the regulator. Why? Because she – despite being closest to the customer experience – wasn’t empowered to raise the problem internally.

10:25 As the keynote draws to a close, I’m getting a flavour of what to expect from the conference ahead. Putting people first might be about creating an environment that helps the customer, but organisations have to remember that this environment is multi-faceted. To be truly fit for the customer’s purpose, youneed more than multiple channels, integrated CRM systems, transparent communications and robust measures to test them all. You also need to map the customer journey from end-to-end, and that means paying attention to the voice of the agent as well as the voice of the customer and the voice of the business.

Blog report by Alex Coxon, Features Writer for the Professional Planning Forum andone of the industry’s most experienced journalists

This article is written by the author, who takes full responsibility for the content. These are not the opinion of the Professional Planning Forum and we take no responsibility for accuracy, appropriateness or any other aspect of the content.  Please contact us direct if you feel any blog should be amended or removed and we will discuss this with the author. These conference blogs are part of our strategy of involving members and friends of the Planning Forum in creating best practice materials that enables members to learn and innovate. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this 2013 initiative.


Customer Strategy & Planning 2013

Something that immediately struck me at Customer Strategy & Planning 2013, apart from the packed, buzzing auditorium for the opening speeches, was when Steve (Woosey), asked those attending the event for the first time to ‘stand up’. I am not sure on the usual attendance statistics for ‘first timers’, but was surprised and encouraged at just how many of the audience would be seeing the PPF conference for the very first time. 

Throughout the day I managed to speak with a number ofdelegates who were present at the conference for the first time and identifiedwhat I felt to be three different categories of attendees; some were starting out on their Contact Centre careers, others had recently migrated into the‘planning world’ from other functions within their organisations and the third group had significant change programmes planned. What brought them all together was a willingness to share and an appetite to learn about Best Practice across the industry, or, a desire to make additional contacts they could call on, or,network with again in the future. It made me realise that it is events like this, (coupled with the first ever Customer Contact and Planning Management Degree that the Professional Planning Forum has done a fantastic job of pulling together with the University of Ulster) that will help our industry step off the ‘we are on the Edge of Great Things’, as suggested in one of the opening slides and achieve the greatness we can.

Putting People First

A key theme through this year’s event was ‘Putting People First’ and this is where I think we may be seeing the evolution of Resource Planning with the critical integration of all the departments across the whole business to achieve great Employee Engagement and Customer Service.  This focus on people seemed to resonate throughout many, if not all, of the sessions I was lucky enough to attend. Time and time again the speakers and case studies told of how their people were trusted, engaged, involved, empowered and consulted, which in turn enabled them to deliver some fantastic business results and achieve best practice.

Some of the delegates I spoke with had already embraced an enhanced employee engagement culture and were working closely with their operational colleagues to deliver more effective planning and performance, but, many had still to make this shift. For example, I spoke with another delegate, who was uncertain whether they would be allowed to make the changes they wanted to when they returned to their business. I think this does emphasise how important it is that the whole business is fully aligned with the ultimate goal, which was certainly another key element in many of the best practice presentations and case studies.  It was those businesses who had a very clear vision twinned with the commitment to see it through, that went on toachieve the best results. Despite that individual not knowing how much theymight be able to change, we did refer back to the ‘starfish story’,   also used in Steve’s opening speech; This story,of the young boy who was told he could not make a difference as there were so many starfishes stranded on the beach, but, as he threw one back into the sea said,‘I made a difference to that one’, is something that we will all do well to remember when we embrace tasks, or challenges which may at the time seem too big to contemplate.

Big thinking

Another strong theme from some of the sessions and speakers was about big thinking; Peter Massey (Budd) and Bill Price (Limebridge), shared some of Amazon’s strategy to be the World’s Best Customer Centric business, inaddition to some detail around their theory on how ‘The Best Service is No Service’, as, ‘Not a lot of customers wake up in the morning and say “greatI've got to contact you.”’. We discussed this in the breakout session andgenerally agreed that we found our most positive experiences of brands, ororganisations, was when we didn’t have to pick up the phone or make contact.  When something had gone wrong, which was whenwe were most likely to call, the experience became less positive, as the services and interactions weren’t fluid and a lack of empowerment, trust, orineffective processes made the experience less successful.

In the same session, the 7 Key Drivers to Customer Happiness also had some great, fun breakout sessions, with each of us being asked toapply these principles to our own relationships with our spouses/partners andthen, our work colleagues.  I and many ofthe other delegates found this a real eye opener and if anything, we realised how much we did not do, as opposed to how much we did against these key principles.  I will certainly be looking to try and develop my 7 key steps to improve and many of my fellow delegates said that they would too.

My final observation isaround courage. 

Following some sessions, some delegates made comments on how certain change or, ideas couldn’t, or wouldn’t be able to be delivered within their team or business.  There is no doubt that transformational change can be more difficult for certain environments, or companies, but some change and new ideas can be made in every organisation.  Take the overall innovation winner BT Retail, who managed to affect change despite its size and the complexity involved. It is all about finding your own vision or, goal andworking to achieve that.  I hope that by the end of the conference andafter such inspirational speeches and case studies, a few more people will be motivated to try.  To quote Craig Holland, Head of Customer Contact Centres from Avios in their session; “Be Brave – It is easier than you think”.

Michelle Ansell
Douglas Jackson
Email: michelle@douglas-jackson.com
Visit: www.douglas-jackson.com

This article is written by the author, who takes full responsibility for the content. These are not the opinion of the Professional Planning Forum and we take no responsibility for accuracy, appropriateness or any other aspect of the content.  Please contact us direct if you feel any blog should be amended or removed and we will discuss this with the author. These conference blogs are part of our strategy of involving members and friends of the Planning Forum in creating best practice materials that enables members to learn and innovate. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this 2013 initiative.  


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