Member Resources

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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 Forum Heroes

For 10 years our Forum Hero Awards have spotlighted role models for each community of best practice - individuals who stand out for how they learn and share. For 2020, we recognise 3 further Forum Heroes

Partner News: Aspect Announces General Availability of Aspect Via® 20, Its World-Class Enterprise Cloud Contact Center Solution

The only fully-featured enterprise cloud contact center solution designed to meet the demands of large enterprises.

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.

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!

Creating great online journeys and the role of face-to-face service

Is face-to-face part of a wider omni-channel strategy? What is a great online journey? Paul Smedley highlights ways to update yourself with new developments and create a workforce strategy and operating model that can be sustained, for both organisational ethos and costs.

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.

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

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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).

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

Being your personal best with Standards Benchmarking

Its been an exciting year for the Standards Benchmarking programme with a diverse range of organisations being peer assessed to provide a bespoke roadmap of improvement. We also recognised three organisations at this Customer Strategy & Planning conference for demonstrating best-in-class for Planning. In addition, we now have accredited the first organisation from the Data, Analytics & Insight Standards.

Customer Insight: how do we truly listen to our customers?

Customers can determine if we achieve our goals. Do they choose to contact us or not? On which channel? Do they join us? Stay? Leave? Become fans? Give us poor reviews? Buy more? Or Less? If we want to drive improvements, then listening to our customers is key.

Enterprise Planning: enabling customer focus beyond the contact centre

Planning teams continue to expand their roles by moving out of the contact centre into the rest of the enterprise with back office, field and branch planning. Alison Conaghan and Paul Jackson-Moss examine what we need to do to bring our experience to these areas.

Continuous Development methods: quality as an improvement not a metric

What is the future of work in the digital world of robotics & AI? How can new approaches help us improve process and products at pace? Leigh McIlwaine offers insight on the latest methodology for rapid change and suggests topics for us to look into as professionals with a future.

Analysis and Forecasting: ways to build trust within your business

Are you ready to take your forecasting to a new level? Trust arises from the depth and quality of our analysis. But don’t forget the basics. Paul Jackson-Moss shows how engagement and communication is fundamental to understanding what in the business could affect your analysis.

Dashboards: displaying data so it motivates and empowers

There’s so much you can do with very small changes. Take a quick look at the two dashboards below. They display the same data but in different ways and as Bob Stella shows, they can lead to very different outcomes and behaviours

Discover more about coaching for performance improvement

Whether you’re new to coaching, brushing up skills or already active, why not see how much difference you can make? Nicola Callan explores how to help your team’s performance, understand stakeholders and enable the professional development of all around you.

2018 Forum Heroes

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.

2018 World Cup – How will this impact your business?

The draw for the 2018 World Cup took place last Friday, which may not be of interest to everyone but will impact every business. If you haven’t started to think about next year’s World Cup then today is the time to start.

Empowering to deliver excellent Customer Experience

One of the greatest sources of information on what our customers want is our colleagues within our contact centres.

3 Decisions that helped shape the way I work

Prior to joining The Forum, I worked on a project to develop a solution that would support my front-line colleagues in knowing not only the what but the why of a problem.

Automation for the People: R.T.M. (Real-Time Matters)

Everybody hurts when Real-Time management fails, yet “sweetness follows” when there is a unified approach with pre-agreed reactive decisions.  The Forum’s Standards Benchmarking programme has identified that best-in-class behaviour happened when the planning function has a fundamental aim to be the “nerve centre” of the operation through giving increased coverage, increased capability whilst improving operational control. 

Are you in control of your annual leave process?

We are coming up to the time of year when everyone wants to take their holidays. Do you have your annual leave process under control or are you setting yourself up for issues? There are a number of points to keep in mind to help manage the whole process to lessen difficulties and to help increase staff morale.
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 Series

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 2020
28th Sept - 9th Oct, Virtually
Learn first-hand from practitioners and business leaders who are delivering successful change.

National Conferences 2019
Catch up on the highlights
Annual conferences dedicated to the needs of their communities.

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