Forum Heroes

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


Behaviour-based quality: what makes the difference?

When we talk about behaviour-based quality we are normally moving away from a tick box exercise (what did you do) and looking more generally at the behaviours that make the difference (what outcomes did this drive).

Unleash the power of data and insight in a connected world

Data is one thing we all have a lot of! To use it well, we need a common language about insight within our organisations and to take steps that overcome skills siloes or gaps. Whatever our level or experience, there is much we can do to support each other as a community of professionals.

2019 is proving to be an exceptional year for our community of insight professionals. The case studies in the Innovation Awards are showcasing new approaches and key emergent trends – very different, but something important in each one. We’ve seen fantastic individuals and teams bringing transformational ideas to their organisations through insight over the last year. We’ve celebrated our first Accredited Insight Teams, through Standards Benchmarking, and the first bite-sized online learning webinars for insight, which launched in January, in The Forum’s new Learning Academy. And all this is part of a broader story, building momentum over the last five years and displaying no signs of slowing down

Operationalising the plan: can we balance supply and demand?

Capacity Planning is fundamental because it demonstrates the link between commercial plans and operational resourcing. To support the business as analysts we need to minimise the variance between operational capacity and the needs of our customers.

Digital: KPIs & resourcing for messaging and social media

KPIs underpin our goals, from a customer, strategy and performance perspective, so we can track how effective we are in achieving our objectives. Moreover, KPIs help us define our resource requirements and may be very different for digital channels from telephony.

Are you engaging? Don’t let your good work go to waste!

How do you get your story across? Insight can drive real benefits, but only when it is communicated effectively, and people want to hear it. That’s why many leaders say that engagement is the most useful skill you can develop as an analyst.

Digital transformation: open source forecasting & the potential for analysts

Data connects. With so much information out there, we need to spend time and open our minds to new possibilities. How do we look for data and insight beyond our own organisation? Is this an opportunity to stretch and deepen our skill set as analysts? Paul Smedley reports.

Explore the new best practice framework for planning

Defining the timeline from strategy to day of operation helps us think differently about how each stage of the cycle influences operational outcomes. This redefined framework brings to the fore the engine driving the planning cycle and how our models and data support this.

Multi-skilling: understanding complexity in a multi-channel world!

As we go searching for cost and efficiency savings, with new channels and more complex calls, we will often turn to multi-skilling and work blending, but does anyone really understand the complexity of multi-skilling and the importance of a skills matrix?

Power Bi: fast and effective ways to gather and shape your data

With so many members starting to use Microsoft’s Power BI, Mary Fealty shows how easy it can be to gather your data from almost any source and shape it so it’s analysis-ready. It takes time to learn and set up your data, but then it runs automatically up to 8 times a day.

AI & Machine Learning: key applications for teams running customer operations

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has captured the imagination of the media, set boardrooms buzzing and sent stock markets bubbling. 2019 is talked about as the year when ideas give way to results. So, what will that mean in practice, for customer operations?

The playbook: don’t wait, you know what to do!

Too many people and organisations don’t have an accurate, trusted picture of the future or a consistent understanding of what business as usual (BAU) means. This leads to problems, as perception and subjectivity project the wrong version of tomorrow.

The playbook: don’t wait, you know what to do!

Too many people and organisations don’t have an accurate, trusted picture of the future or a consistent understanding of what business as usual (BAU) means. This leads to problems, as perception and subjectivity project the wrong version of tomorrow.

Quality Community Interview

Here at The Forum, we have three core communities; Planning, Insight and Quality along with our Leadership Community. If you’ve been associated with us for some time, you will know that Planning is at our heart – indeed for nearly 15 years we were the Professional Planning Forum, or PPF – but our other newer communities are gathering momentum. We caught up with Nicola Callan, our Director and Head of Best Practice in Quality to find out more.

Consultancy delivers fast and effective results

We understand how our member organisations are under increasing pressure to deliver faster, better and cheaper results and we are ready as a team at The Forum to help you achieve exactly that.

Mark Henderson from NHS BSA shares his experience on The Forum's Standards Accreditation

Working through the accreditation it certainly provides you with some questions where the answers aren’t always what you have always thought…..

The Planning Cycle

Defining the timeline from strategy to day of operation helps us think differently about how each stage influences operational or performance outcomes – and how our models and data support this.

Social Data:- Likes and Retweets, right?

Social Media is a rich source of insight but how can we use this to drive real benefits. James Brooks, Innovation Lead at Capita shares his thoughts.

Budget & Capacity Planning: Understand the boundaries, not working within the limits

How would you describe your final signed off budget?

1. A reflective picture of the numbers required to deliver against all targets

2. Numbers fixed by finance/senior management which operations have been challenged to deliver targets with

3. Numbers that do not reflect your requirement or current performance

Disrupting Insight

Over the last few years I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with bringing business model disruption into everyday working scenarios. Particularly the concept of platforms for mass consumption. The basic idea, at a market level, is pretty simple: can you reinvent a business value chain by creating a direct connection of provider and customers while effectively turning your providers into customers too? Ok. I’ve just re-read that too and it’s not an easy sentence to follow so here is an example that I like to use.

Is creativity the future of work?

There continues to be much discussion on the future of work. Nesta, The Innovation Foundation, have released research that suggests that the creative economy is the one that is going to grow the most and be the most human-centred economy by 2030.

Delivering Quality Feedback

You’ve listened to the call, you’ve done the assessment against your quality framework and the feedback is ready. What do you do next?

A question of Structure: What to do with your planning team

One of the questions I have been asked most often through my career in customer service is “how should our planning team be structured?” This is generally accompanied by some more detailed questions like “should real-time be part of planning or part of the operational team”, “should MI and Planning be together”, “should we have one planning team for everyone or many planning teams, one for each line of business”? If I could only come up with a standard model that fits any organisation, I could save a lot of time and make a lot of money!

Be your Personal Best: How I conquered Mount Elbrus

Read Dee Chapman's account of her expedietion to climb the highest montain in Russia; Mount Elbrus

Are you making the most of your apprenticeship levy?

It’s been reported for a while that the apprenticeship levy is not reaping the rewards it set out to when introduced in 2017.

Be Your Personal Best

Personal Bests are important for athletes, whether amateur or professional. These provide a benchmark for comparison and instant feedback for future adjustments to training. Ultimately, we need to track how we perform so we can track our progress. Unfortunately, performance cultures can be negative (always falling short of targets), unhealthy (causing stress, anxiety and burn-out) and therefore not sustainable cultures. So how can we balance the need to understand performance versus a negative short-term focus?

Could your email contact result in a fine?

The biggest risk to sharing sensitive data is by email. How well does your Quality Assurance framework help to guard against this?

Problem Solving

Solving Problems

For some, the attraction is the challenge of solving something so complex, for others it’s the satisfaction when it’s achieved, for others still it’s collaborating and working together knowing that many minds are better than one. Problem solving can be a key enabler to success but how successful are we in the act of problem solving itself?

Behaviour based Quality Frameworks

Say the right thing, do the right thing
 
It’s not unusual to hear that organisations are ‘reviewing their Quality Frameworks’. Regulatory changes, company or departmental merges and ever-increasing focus on customer experience are the most commonly cited reasons for doing this. What’s appearing to be an emerging theme through this is the desire to base a framework on the behaviours the organisation desires to be displayed by colleagues rather than what’s necessarily right or wrong.

We’re bringing learning to you, so you can make a difference

Do you ever feel that your role is so specialised that most training is either irrelevant to you or prohibitively expensive? So do we.
At The Forum we have a clear vision: professionalise our communities. So, this year we took on the challenge of designing and delivering professional development that is completely bespoke to your needs, yet completely affordable.

In 24-hour racing the team always comes first

Forum Member James Stewart, Head of Live Operations at Sky UK, reflects on his roller-coaster ride at the 24-hour European Championships and the resulting team medals.

Across the river Bega, a bar erupts in a cheer. It is the kind of roar that tells you something special has just happened. The commentator is screaming in Romanian and I can see the big screens clearly, Gareth Bale has just scored a wonder goal in the Champions League final.

Meanwhile, I am emptying my belly over the fence being sick once again. Even so, I wouldn’t have swapped a seat at the bar for the fence I am hunched over in the Ion Creanga park in Timisoara for all the tea in China at that moment.

Yep, welcome to 24-hour racing!

Read the full blog.

Date Published: 18/06/2018

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