Member Resources & Library

Enjoy a trusted place where you can easily find solutions, explore the full Forum archive


Unlocking the Opportunity: National Conference

Our National Conference focusses on our individual communities of Leadership, Planning, Insight and Quality providing a community focus to develop topics, discuss challenges, share ideas and learn from fellow professionals. The last face-to-face Forum event was in November 2019 in Manchester. The pandemic gave us an opportunity to do something different and experiment with virtual events which have proved extremely popular. With the opportunity to hold face-to-face events now opening up, it gives us another opportunity to experiment. 

The question now is: How do we combine the best of virtual and face-to-face?

Partner Article: Sensée Creates 500 New Work-from-Home Contact Centre Roles

Sensée, the work-from-home specialist, is creating 500 new permanent and temporary positions to meet the growing demand for homeworking staff.

The vacancies are for Customer Contact Advisors, Team Managers and back office staff to work for new and existing clients. Start dates are immediate.

Partner News: Come Together at ACE 2021

The recent merger of Aspect Software and Noble Systems, two leaders in the CX space, to become Alvaria has created a centre of excellence that combines the best and brightest of both companies. Alvaria is a new global force delivering leading-edge customer experience and workforce engagement software as well as cloud services technology solutions to many of the world’s largest enterprise contact centres. 

The four stages of insight: shaping the future

Our true measure of success lies in what is done with information we provide and how much it is trusted. Take a look at this changing focus of analysis and consider what it means for your role and function, whether you are in planning, insight, quality, management or leadership.

Small investment for big gains

No one will pay more attention to your development than you. There will be times when great learning is presented to us, however, continued professional growth is a habit and fortunately one that is easy to develop.

Workforce strategy: a framework for forward thinking

8 areas have been identified, from our strategy round tables, as key to a future-proof operating model for the ‘next normal’.

Many organisations and sectors have faced exceptional stress during the pandemic, both economically and operationally, in terms of working from home and responding to so many changes at such short notice. While sectors have been impacted differently, the most successful organisations during the pandemic, in each sector, have been agile and resilient, as recent research by McKinsey demonstrates.

Beware of the Leopard!

I recently saw on the BBC website that additional travel restrictions have been imposed on eight areas in the UK including where many of my family live.

This has been in place since Friday, but nobody knew about it. There was no announcement it was simply posted in a subsection of a governance Covid advice page. But since as far as anybody was aware there had been no change, there was no reason to visit that page.

Research Update

These reports are worth reading to understand the latest trends.

Understand How to Enable a Hybrid Labour Model Using WFM Tools

As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more prevalent and available to all people, companies are considering when the right time to bring staff back to the office might be. 

Partner Article: Double success for Sensée at the 2021 Forum Awards

Work-from-home specialist Sensée has won an Innovation and Transformation Award for ‘Engaged Homeworking’ at the 2021 Forum Awards. The company also received a Highly Commended Partnership Award for its groundbreaking homeworking partnership with Bupa at the gala awards evening on Friday 23rd April.

Partner Article: New survey paints positive picture of Employee Engagement during lockdown

Homeworking is here to stay say top UK contact centres

Throughout lockdown, business leaders have debated the tricky issue of how best to engage and support their people while working from home.  

2021 Hero Awards

Forum Hero awards were presented to three outstanding customer professionals, active in our Customer Strategy & Leadership Forum, 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.

The key to unlocking opportunities is to understand the problem you are solving

You are the key to unlock opportunities, whether this be a personal change, a team development or a business transformation. In celebrating 21 years at The Forum, Phil Anderson looks at the part you can play in influencing the people around you, changing mindsets and overcoming the issues that block or slow down progress in our member organisations.

Have planning roles changed in the last 5 years? Yes, and by a huge amount

This morning, I was flicking through LinkedIn articles looking for an external view on what a successful Contact Centre Resource Planning team should look like. I found an article from November 2015, and to describe this as an ‘eye-opening’ read would be a shining example of understatement. Here’s what it said in a nutshell.

Partner Article: How to Use AI and Analytics to Adapt and Innovate

Are you struggling with bad data in your CRM? Have you tapped into the wealth of information your contact centre interactions data holds?

Partner Article: Access in the Palm of Your Hand with Aspect Workforce Mobile with the Infographic

The ubiquity of smartphones has changed the way we live our lives. In this mobile world, we’re used to conducting much of our lives and business from the palms of our hands through apps. Contact centre agents are no different, so shouldn’t they be able to use an app to manage their work schedules? 

Partner Article: State of the Contact Centre 2021: Cloud is here. What's next?

We all know that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and that contact centres have followed suit, with 3 or 4 now using full or partial cloud solutions. Calabrio’s original research, State of the Contact Centre 2021, is based on a survey of 273 contact centre managers in 3 major global markets and in a variety of industries. 

Partner Article: Making the move to cloud in contact centres: 3 key questions to ask

As organisations look to future-proof customer experience they are reviewing their contact centre strategies with many turning to cloud-based technology for all-round agility. Magnus Geverts at Calabrio shares his top tips for a smooth and successful transition to a cloud-first approach.

Data visualisation – what can we learn from the media?

Following on from my last article we are seeing a lot of data being displayed graphically, we can take some great ideas from these but we can also see examples of some of the common pitfalls we need to avoid.

How correct data can give wrong answers

We can learn a huge amount about the interpretation of data when looking reading articles about Covid19. 

Five Years On....and what have we done?

As we are looking to prepare our 2021 Best Practice Guide, I’ve spent some time recently flicking through older versions of the guide to see what content we featured ‘back in the day’. One article in particular caught my nostalgic eye.

365 Days Later....

Well, here we are in March 2021 and for those of us in the UK, this brings us to a significant milestone. We have been in lockdown (at various levels) for a whole 12 months, now. What an alarming and sobering thought that is. And I can assure you that no-one thought that this would be the case, no matter what the ‘I-told-you-so’ merchants say to the contrary.

Partner News: EBI.AI launches Community AI with cost-effective AI assistants for local councils

Coventry City Council is first to join the exclusive network for local councils overwhelmed with calls about bins, Council Tax and Covid

Partner Article: Recovery Accelerator Kit at Calabrio

Insights & Tools You Can Use to Increase Your Pandemic Escape Velocity Insights.

365-days later

Well, here we are in March 2021 and for those of us in the UK, this brings us to a significant milestone. We have been in lockdown (at various levels) for a whole 12 months, now. What an alarming and sobering thought that is. And I can assure you that no-one thought that this would be the case, no matter what the ‘I-told-you-so’ merchants say to the contrary.

Budget Planning

Budgets don’t typically create excitement, more of a necessary evil, “we need to do it”, it is often a long drawn out, boring process which often feels like a making the numbers fit, which few people follow anyway. Tedius detail, wild estimates, ambitious sales targets and even more ambitious handle times and shrinkage percentages.

In the fact the only thing potentially more tedious, unnecessary and, drawn out would be a keynote on the very topic.

Planning for Outbound

Outbound dialling – viewed by some as a nuisance, and by others as a vital tool in the battle to serve customers in the most effective and efficient way possible. Whether done manually via a list or automatically using the latest in Dialler systems, hundreds of companies employ tens of thousands to make outbound calls for making sales, managing inbound queues, imparting information, or collecting outstanding monies. It is a very important consideration for modern companies.

Which possibly makes it more surprising that so little consideration is actually given to the best way to build capacity plans or plan FTE requirements.

Partner News: Using automated analytics to identify contact centre issues and solutions in turbulent times

New Calabrio ebook provides practical advice and strategies from 3 award-winning organisations

Planning for Wellbeing: Considering the Employee Lifecycle

As a result of Covid-19, each aspect of the employee lifecycle has been challenged. This has provided an opportunity to design and rebuild a new and joined up approach, supporting both the long- and short-term strategies. The uncertainty of planning during a pandemic has led to decisions being made with a short-term view in mind; some of these responses may turn out to be poor enduring solutions.

Partner Article: Aspect Workforce Optimization

Aspect Workforce Optimization v21 is the most advanced enterprise cloud solution for the mobile workforce—making it easy to manage, schedule and motivate agents working from anywhere.
 

Partner Article: Overcoming Inertia

Moving to your Contact Centre to the cloud is easier and more critical than ever!

Partner News: Sensée named Small/Medium Outsourced Contact Centre of the Year at the 2020 Contact Centre Network Northern Ireland Awards

Sensée named Small/Medium Outsourced Contact Centre of the Year at the 2020 Contact Centre Network Northern Ireland Awards

Partner Article: AI – Enabled Contact Centre Analytics for Dummies

How much do you really know about AI-powered analytics? Have you really tapped into your Contact Centre Interactions, and the wealth of information they hold?

Partner Article: Watch On-Demand! Webinar - Enabling Flexible Working Practices

As organisations change their “Target Operating Models” post Covid, many are looking to challenge their current scheduling methodology (and advisor contracts) as they integrate some form of homeworking strategy into their business. 

Watch on-demand David Vernon’s presentation from The Forum’s National Conference - Enabling Flexible Working Practices.

Turn Customers into Fans with help from a CX Rockstar

The pandemic has changed how contact centres operate. Agents working from home and changes in customer expectations are just two of the challenges that organisations face. Ed Creasey of Calabrio discusses how successful Customer Service Managers can boost their skills to deliver exceptional customer experience (CX) in extraordinary times.

Just when we thought it was safe to go back to the office…

There’s an old expression I’ve heard – ‘It’s the hope that kills you’. I think it’s most often used to describe the lives of fans of certain football clubs, if I’m honest, but I’m certain it applies in all walks of life. Its premise is simple – if you have no sense that things may improve, you can easily suffer deprivations. However, once you are shown hope that things may one day improve, you will suffer the pangs of disappointment when improvement fails to materialise. The beggar is only truly down at heel when he is aware of the millionaire, I suppose.

Benchmarking: The benefits and the total lack of drawbacks

Have you thought about the awesome power of benchmarking? If not, maybe you should.

Partner Article: Sensée announces 200 new UK work-at-home contact centre jobs

Homeworking specialist Sensée is recruiting immediately for 200 new work-from-home roles.  

Partner Article: Remote Workforce Management – from survive to thrive in 3 easy steps

Richard Pinnington of Calabrio discusses how workforce management means so much more in challenging times. 

Leadership Discussion Part 3: Technology

What technology is required and what is currently missing to support the future working environment?

Partner Article: Is collecting debt in large volumes on the horizon?

Is collecting debt in large volumes on the horizon?  Aspect is a leader in the outbound dialer market with contact capabilities that power automated, compliant campaigns, that help you send the right message at the right time – which helps improve collection activities.  

Partner Article: Wave Goodbye to 2020: What’s in store for 2021?

As we say farewell to 2020 there are plenty of positives to take from this year of change and challenges. Magnus Geverts at Calabrio sums up the lessons learned and reveals his top 3 predictions for 2021.  

2021 Best Practice Programme

We have now launched our programme of activity for 2021, combining the very best of virtual and face-to-face to offer you a variety of ways of maximising your membership.

The forced virtual environment of 2020 has given us a huge learning opportunity to understand how we can grow our community, make more events easier to access whilst still ensuring value. 

These can be accessed through your membership, or pay-as-you-go.

Redefining the role and responsibility of Planning; Creating the right team to deliver value

Regenerating, rejuvenating or just reviewing your role and responsibilities is a great way to continuously improve. 2020 has been a year to rethink and reflect on how we used to do things, how we need to respond now and to consider what the future could bring. There may have always been problems which have never been addressed, and the response to handling COVID-19 has exacerbated the problems; you may be under difficult cost challenges and need to adapt; or, you want to stay ahead of the game and look for new opportunities. It doesn’t matter why, what does matter is that you are willing to challenge your current state and think about positive change. Redefining the Planning team is a healthy way of re-engaging with stakeholders and the wider business, so everyone is clear on their role and responsibility.

Partner Article: Look forward not back: 4 ways to future-proof your contact centre

Heightened customer expectations are here to stay and are having a huge impact on technology in contact centres. Ed Creasey at Calabrio shares a forward-looking plan for the “new normal”. 

Planning for field operations: optimising routing & regions

Field planning is changing, with huge benefit by softening regional borders or increasing flexibility, from both an efficiency and engagement perspective, and some organisations more supply-led in the way they set appointments

Partner Article: Calabrio Unveils New Platform for a New Era of Workforce and Customer Engagement

First-ever virtual Calabrio customer conference showcases cloud-based WEM platform designed for the modern, agile contact centre

Virtually Everything!

Bringing people together is at the heart of The Forum’s vision and values. It was not that many years ago that virtually everything we did was face-to-face, onsite in venues and hotels, now virtually everything we do is virtual. This has been a huge learning opportunity for us, and as we look to create our best practice programme for 2021 and plan our next face-to-face events, I thought it would be good to share our journey during 2020.

Partner News: How to Calculate Contact Centre Spin

Read how Call Centre Helper investigate the mysterious metric of contact centre spin and explain why it can be such a headache for contact centre planners.

Why it pays to add AI to the shopping list

When it comes to sustainability, consumers are clamouring for change and driving the corporate agenda. Henry Jinman of EBI.AI shows 3 ways ethical retailers are using the power of Artificial Intelligence to create a sustainable shopper experience. 
About us

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.

Learning Academy

On-demand modules

We have a wide range of virtual modules that you can view at your own pace.

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.

Conferences

National Conferences 2021
w/c 1st November Virtually and 9th November face-to-face
Annual conferences dedicated to the needs of their communities.

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

Get in touch
The Forum,
PO Box 173
High Peak
SK17 1DL

Copyright © 2021 - All Rights Reserved - theforum.social