Forum Heroes

Our Heroes are outstanding customer professionals, with exceptional personal contribution in developing professionalism and best practice.


BOTs, Apps & Chat: what makes a great online journey for customers?

How do we blend the personal touch with AI & automation? What’s our role as analysts, planners or quality teams? From in-app or web chat to asynchronous messaging, Paul Smedley looks at the latest thinking and shares some examples of ‘omni-channel’ in practice.
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Categories: Library

Planning as a strategic capability for the business at Sky

See how ‘inspired experts’ in the Sky Planning Team drive innovation in planning, to bring strategic value to the business and make life better for customers and colleagues.

Strategy & budget planning join up the business at RSA

See how strategic resource models are evolving and driving continuous improvement, consolidated onto a shared platform with Finance, fast & flexible, with a single trusted source of data.

Transforming sales: joining together for the customer at RS Components

See how sales opportunities doubled in a challenging market, by embracing customer service principles in sales and focussing on colleague engagement, proactive contact and value-add actions.

AI & process transformation at pace and scale at Openreach

See how two rapid innovation programmes are transforming the billion-pound delivery of fibre networks nationwide, engaging people and generating more than £1m efficiency, in less than a year.
 

Planning transformation and systems thinking at LV= General Insurance (LV= GI)

See how Planning gained a seat at the top Customer & Ops table and built confidence in the plan, while at the same time genuinely supporting those accountable for ‘doing the right thing’ in their own area.

The Planning Cycle: implementing strategy & budget planning

A clear target operating model and budget flows into benefits downstream in the planning cycle. Learn what the best-in-class looks like and find out who has been pioneering strategic planning in our recent Standards Benchmarking Accreditations and the 2020 Innovation Awards.

Building a culture of wellbeing: dashboards & coaching at L&G

See how new PowerBI dashboards are driving actionable insight to support a new style of performance coaching and a culture of wellbeing and engagement.

How can predictive analysis be powered by analytics & AI?

See how combining the skills of forecasters & analysts can unlock potential in your organisation and your career. Predictive analysis is like forecasting, but not just for planners, and, if you have access to joined up data, analytics or machine learning are powerful tools.

Releasing Potential: collaboration, empowerment and shared purpose

We share success stories and uncover what releases untapped potential in our organisations and the people who work in them. What sets us free to give of our very best? What makes professionals stand out, in striving for excellence and improvement?

Onboard training from London to Inverness at LNER

See how planning helped tackle complex challenges in introducing the first new train type in 30 years, itself the first step in a journey of digital transformation.

Transforming back office for clients & colleagues at L&G

See how planning and transformation teams worked with operations on an operating model that raised productivity 32%, employee satisfaction 13% and halved turn-round times for customers.

Planning: keeping ahead of the change curve in travel at Jet2

See how the customer contact operation at Jet2 has been transformed, to sustain growth and be increasingly agile in a challenging market, with homeworking, real time automation and digital channels.

The pyramid principle for strategic planning and removing siloes

The strategy pyramid can give direction and drive co-operation. Looking through four different lenses, you can align strategies to common goals, and connect metrics. See how this helps us map out what drives performance and predict the impact of changes and unforeseen events.

Chatbots are transforming the online sales journey at The AA Ireland

See how a small team pioneered live chat and chatbots for sales, differentiating customer experience, cutting the length of chats by a third and raising conversion by 11% at key times.

2020 Vision: clarity and focus, crystallising your knowledge

Twenty years of raising standards has been made possible by the growth of a vibrant professional community, where we continue to share and learn. From the original vision to now, we look at how this shared knowledge has shaped best practice and look ahead to what the future may bring.

Necessity is the mother of invention

In 1970 Edwin Starr said “War, huh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing; listen to me”. However, there is one exception. History does show us that at times of war we do see a significant acceleration in technological advancement. 

There are things we know we know

In some ways it’s great to be in the middle of an unknown unknown situation. To see the world react in the way it has, to see how experts are predicting and explaining their judgement, to read the views of ‘non-experts’ (shall we say) and work our way through myths and misinformation. For many years The Forum has adapted the famous (once infamous) Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns model, looking at our knowledge of impact and certainty of time. This exercise always resulted in us knowing more than we thought. Even now when there is a lot of uncertainty, it’s surprising what we do know.

Planning for wellness: The importance of Shrinkage

It is vital that you are looking at your shrinkage levels at all stages of the WFM planning cycle. Often, we talk about getting shrinkage lower, but we need to remember that it is more that sickness and holidays.

TARGET TAXONOMY

Targets – we all have them.  In the world of Contact Centres, there are lots of them.  A lot of time is spent collating information for reports about certain ‘key’ performance indicators and even more time is spent looking to change or enhance performance in one area, often to the detriment of performance against another.

Standards benchmarking: how the best get better every year!

Peer review is a unique feature of our standards benchmarking and accreditation at The Forum. In effect, we now have a bespoke benchmarking group of planning pioneers that helps ‘the best get better every year’, as one member put it. I’ve been lucky enough last month to lead two superb Standards Benchmarking Days. This is what people were talking about – take a look.

Using rule-based thinking and automation to transform performance real-time

What is the best method for managing the real-time operations in your centre? We asked our members to discuss different methods and think about pros and cons of each. Is rules-based thinking the way to go?

Taking the Focus off Lateness

A lot of time and effort in Contact Centre Real Time Management is spent focussing on schedule adherence.  A resource-heavy occupation, the focus is on making sure that people are doing what they should be doing, when they should be doing it.  Real Time Adherence Monitoring is a key function for Contact Centres all over the country.
 

Starts Monday!

How many times have you been doing the Friday big-shop and thrown in a multipack of Jammy Wagon Wheels, because its on offer, and thought diet starts Monday? On one hand its very easy to put “things” off to the following week, on the other hand Monday’s provide a great “line-the-sand” for us to start again.

The Role of insight

With more and more data available, and an ever-growing expectation to use this information, the role of Analysts has never been more exciting.

Planning for Christmas Leave 2020

How well did you plan for Christmas? Did you accurately forecast your workload? Did you “fairly” allocate annual leave? Were your customers happy; were your colleagues happy? Or, was is just a case of survival and now you are only thinking about January, February, March and the next budget cycle?

Top tips for building performance dashboards from members at the November Conference

During the Data Analytics & Insight Conference in 2018 we held a workshop bringing together ideas around driving performance with data, in particular, we looked at best practice in dashboard & MI design. Here are some of the ideas we took away.

Sociometrics & The Modern Customer Operations World

My esteemed colleague, Ian Robertson, recently shared an article with me – The New Science of Building Great Teams – from the Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2012/04/the-new-science-of-building-great-teams. It’s a great read and features something at its core that I’ve never encountered before – Sociometrics.

What can I learn from chefs & photographers

I recently read an article that stated “The simple act of rotating your plate can make the food on it taste better.” Like many of you my first reaction was scepticism, surely this was yet another of those statistically unsound studies that newspapers seem to love. However, as I read on I found that this was a valid study conducted by the Science Museum scientists at Oxford University. 

6 Top Tips to ensure your dashboards and reports are read and used

For many analysts a constant frustration is that we spend a lot of time creating reports and dashboards that can make a real difference to our organisations, only to find that nobody is reading them. This is not only a waste of our time but a wasted opportunity. An objective of many insight teams is to reduce waste in our organisations, so this is a great place to start.
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