Forum Heroes

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

5 Top Tips to communicate with confidence

To turn insight into action we need to effectively communicate and get people bought into our ideas. Analysts with both the technical skills to interpret data and the communication skills to get people engaged are few and far between. Why is that?

The Future Is Coming. Are You Ready?

The world of contact centre planning is very quietly going through something of a revolution at the moment. Teams are more and more being asked to divert their attention from the confines of the telephony floor and to focus more on Customer Operations; to look at back office activities, branch networks and, increasingly, Field planning. More and more Forum members are bringing us challenges that are far removed from Erlang or Talk Times.

Lifestyle patterns the cornerstone of your Workplace Wellness Strategy

Over 50% of organisations now have a Wellness Strategy. Typically, top of this list is: Meaningful work, respectful culture and flexible hours and working. Wellness Strategies may be relatively new, however, wellness is not new, as quoted by Sigmund Freud 100 years ago "Love and work are the cornerstones to our humanness".  If you want to take this seriously this needs to be built into your organisation’s strategy, budgeted for and built into your operating model. There is a cost, but how will you pay?

Are we focusing on what are customers really want or what we think they want?

I recently saw on the News that Boris Johnson had pledged to invest in the HS3 rail link reducing the travel time between Leeds and Manchester from 50 to 30 minutes at a cost of £39 billion. This a journey I do regularly so my initial reaction was ”brilliant”. However, after that announcement I continued to use the trains and this made me rethink how highly journey time really rates in my list of priorities as a customer. Here is what really matters to me.

Any holidays booked?

The classic hair dresser question “have you got any holidays booked?”, probably as most people have a holiday and most people like to talk about their next planned adventure. Not only that, it is a legal entitlement. However, too often the annual leave process can be “clunky”, an all-round problem, administrative heavy and unfair.

The Skills Matrix, by Phil Anderson

Multi-skilling provides a great opportunity for efficiency savings, customer service improvements and adding variety and ownership for advisors.  Multi-skilling also adds layers of complexity which can be very difficult to understand and accurate plan for.  As we go searching for cost and efficiency savings we will often turn to multi-skilling and blending channels, but does anyone really understand the complexity of multi-skilling and the skills matrix?

Lifestyle Pattern Jigsaw

Lifestyle Pattern Jigsaw, the puzzle of almost infinite outcomes restricted by a lack of understanding and bad practice, only limited by business knowledge and our imagination.

Connect and Communicate with Andy Bounds

To make connections that work, it’s not what you say that counts. What matters is what people do differently after you’ve said it. Andy Bounds is famous for his training, his books, his Tuesday Tips, his ability to help people do what needs doing. Take a moment to learn something you can use.

Targets drive behaviours

We know that targets drive behaviours. The problem is that it isn't always the right behaviour. When we are targeted it is human nature to find the easiest way to achieve that target.

2019 Forum Heroes

The Forum Hero awards were presented to four outstanding customer professionals, recognising their exceptional personal contribution in developing professionalism and best practice. They join our growing rank of heroes, reflecting excellence at all levels in our profession.

Measuring the value of insight and your return on investment (ROI)

Insight rarely delivers benefits directly but it does enable decisions that can realise tangible value. During their insight standards assessment, Ember’s approach to measuring the value of insight really stood out so we have asked them to share their knowledge.

How can a fresh approach to feedback increase your customer retention?

Collecting feedback in the traditional way doesn’t make enough of a difference, as Guy Letts explains. A recent breakthrough moment came with the discovery that feedback must be integral to the customer journey. Find out more.

MyTime: enabling wellbeing and engagement at work at esure

See how the quality of analysis, planning and engagement drove success in implementing new working patterns for everyone, in one of the biggest people changes esure has ever completed.

A new operating model for workforce engagement at E.on

See how a comprehensive review of working patterns laid the foundation for a transformation that’s been designed to drive better experience for customers & colleagues at a lower cost, across all channels.

Innovations help Capita stand out from the crowd

See how the Innovations Team has transformed the role of insight, at pace, with ground-breaking twitter analytics within six months and the new Customer Service Alexa skill for three clients in just 60 days.

2019 Innovation Awards Finalists

Be inspired by 12 high impact and ground-breaking innovations, shortlisted for the 2019 Innovation Awards and presenting their stories at the 2019 Customer Strategy & Planning Conference in Warwick on April 8-9. We’re proud to announce that these 2019 case studies shine the light on key trending topics for our members.

Fully engaging customers drives retention & growth at The Times and The Sunday Times

See how these famous news institutions thrive through digital transformation, strategically deploying data science and a personalised approach to engagement with content.

Changes amaze customers with paperless mortgages at RBS

See how digital transformation creates change in mindset & culture. It’s a UK first, with fast offers that amaze customers, some in 24hrs. Satisfaction jumped 50%, with rapid adoption across all channels.

Making Data Accessible and Engaging at NewDay

See how a new performance scorecard is creating visibility across teams to drive best practice, enabling colleagues to own their own performance and raising aspirations.

Creating an environment where success is inevitable at Anglian Water

See how an enterprise-wide community of insight professionals is connecting and developing people, based on principles that anyone could learn from. They share, innovate & create proven value.

Resource planning for engineers’ training at Openreach

See how analysts and stakeholders connected, making it possible for new tools, data and processes for resource planning to transform the delivery of Learning, Development & Resourcing for field engineers.

The power of planning to transform the business at British Engineering Services

How flexible resourcing and strategic use of planning helped them stand out from competitors on service and create a new, one team culture that’s doubled sales and raised month-end service by 50%.

Enterprise-wide: planning & analysis for field, branch & back office operations

Digital transformation is creating massive opportunities across the whole organisation. So, if getting started is difficult, you know what to do but not how to do it or you just want to see how others work, get in touch, you are not on your own.

Holiday booking: making it effective and easy

Too often the annual leave process is clunky, admin-heavy, unfair and with bad operational impact. Having seen some great approaches as well as some awful ones, here is my list of guiding principles, which require action at each stage of the planning cycle. 

Powerful insight drives a new operating model at Capita PIP

See how data-driven optimisation and a robust operational governance framework transformed this field-based service and became a benchmark for group-wide best practice.

Make it personal: one more thing to help colleagues at EE

A real shift of mindset in Planning means they are delivering solutions that, a year ago, many considered impossible. This comes from placing ‘personal’, a key company value, at the heart of their thinking.

Love to Listen: agent-led flexibility and change at Anglian Water

See how an experienced planning function joins up the business, helping teams embrace the need for change and reclaim the No:1 spot for service in the regulator’s ranking.

What makes a great analyst? Take a leaf out of these books!

Analysts need to be able to listen & draw ideas from others and the professional community is a great place from which to learn. What does good look like? It’s a top question we get asked, so Ian Robertson put it back to some experienced analysts on LinkedIn and shares the results.

Influencing Success: creating a win-win every time

Do you think of influencing as devious and underhand? Perhaps you don’t like the idea of being manipulative? Nicola Callan challenges our perception of influencing and shares some top tips for influencing success.

How to size your planning team & benchmark your service levels

What are the key considerations when you are looking to design your planning team or respond to challenges within the organisation. What service goals should we be working to and how are these set? How can an outside-in perspective help?
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As an independent association established since 2000, we offer a trusted space for professionals in contact centre, field service, back office or retail operation. Benchmark against the best in class and learn from innovators and pioneers.

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Covid-19 Webinar Series 2

You have a community of support at The Forum. See the series of free webinars to help you through this unusual situation.


Customer Strategy & Planning 2021
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Learn first-hand from practitioners and business leaders who are delivering successful change.

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