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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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”. 

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. 

2020 Vision: what skills help the modern analyst stand out clearly?

The role of an Insight Analyst has evolved significantly over the last 20 years. Simply being good at Excel is no longer enough. So, take a look at the seven top skills we see developing among successful analysts, setting them up to produce great insight for the next 20 years.

AI & Process Transformation At Pace And Scale At Openreach

Virtual Site Visit, held on 23rd June 2020

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.

Summary 
Innovation expertise, recruited into Openreach, has been a catalyst for rapid transformation, with field engineers, support teams, unions & managers all onboard. A pioneering Machine Learning algorithm was developed in close collaboration with experienced engineers. Network Enhanced Analytics (NEA) predicts non-value activities and automatically reallocates resource to create capacity. In the service desk, process & systems transformation led to a new single Heads-Up Display (HUD), replacing 27 different systems. This radically simplified the service experience, for colleagues and customers, with calls down 30% and 16% faster. Both were delivered in only a matter of months and now an embedded continuous improvement culture means these solutions are sustained and continually developed. As a result, the new FTTP network can be rolled out faster and at lower cost. 

Planning for COVID-19 Series Takeaways

Just as lockdown was announced we launched our Planning for COVID-19 series of learning module webinars. Starting back on 24th March the first module covered forecasting, followed by sessions on homeworking, scheduling, real-time, mental health and creating future business continuity. These free webinars were designed to provide supporting knowledge to help Planners during this unprecedented time. The additional Networking session brought together the group to discuss and share their experiences. The last in the series looked at capturing learning and using COVID-19 as a catalyst to shape the strategy and build for the future.

How can choosing the right metrics bring your strategy to life?

Do we present people with more information than they can realistically act upon? It could be insightful, but insight without action delivers no value. What happens, instead, if people look at information and immediately do something with it? They love it and want more!

The Learning Academy: invest in yourself and your people

With a major expansion of our learning materials in the last 12 months, see how members are creating personal development pathways for their own needs, as individuals or organisations. Learning is accessible virtually or face-to-face and can lead to professional accreditation

How can we release the value of partners in transforming our business?

Great partnerships have this in common, both teams become increasingly in demand. With technology transformation a key challenge for business leaders, see how these brilliant award finalists brought learning from the outside that deliver on key organisational objectives.

Target Typology: how are your measures & targets understood?

Are your key metrics understood? What behaviours are your targets driving? Learn about different types of targets and the misconceptions that surround them. Why not look afresh at what happens today in your organisation and how you might move forward?

COVID-19: learning how to plan for the unexpected

If ever there was a time for good planning, this is it. This pandemic has been without doubt ‘disruptive’. Not only do we need to respond ‘in the moment’, but it can also be a positive catalyst for rethinking our operating model and strategic objectives.

Digital challenge: why do data-driven organisations perform better?

Data matters, because it’s helping us grow new opportunities, offer new services and drive huge efficiency. So, what does this mean for analysts and business leaders? How do we seize this opportunity for our organisation? Read about the emerging trends and learn from great case studies.

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?

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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?
 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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.
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

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

National Conferences 2020
Catch up on the highlights
Annual conferences dedicated to the needs of their communities.

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