Thought leadership

Organised by the Professional Planning Forum, these sought-after awards, celebrate and benchmark excellence in the industry. These awards, together with our five Planning Forum Heroes, were presented at the Forum's 14th conference in Brighton on 29th April, where each talked about how they achieved their outstanding results. The Planning Forum also organise opportunities to see them and learn more during their best practice site visit programme this summer.

Arise Virtual Solutions gained the overall Innovation of the Year Award for achieving high performance homeworking at scale. Their modern resourcing model motivates people to work flexible schedules, which in turn helps clients to resource rapidly to manage volatility, deliver quality and gain 20-30% efficiency savings. They were also presented with the Innovation Award for Agility and Empowerment.

“Agents are running their own businesses, it’s a different mind-set. The key is that they hit the metrics and hit them consistently, “explains Kier Greenwood, Client Results Director EMEA, Arise. Steve Woosey, Chief Executive of the Professional Planning Forum, continues, “Arise stood out for the way they re-thought what it means to work in a customer contact centre today. They have provided real choice and accountability and at the front-line, people, planning, communication and technology have come together to break the mould.”

The winners were selected by a team which included 19 experienced industry practitioners, many of them previous winners or finalists. Judges visited each of the 17 shortlisted organisations, and then assessed them against a strict set of criteria.

"Every year judging visits exceed our expectations and amaze our external judges", says Paul Smedley, Chair and Founder of the Professional Planning Forum. "It is exciting to see how customer operations are developing and it is clearer than ever to see how it is our people who build success. Our conference theme this year reinforced what we saw at all our visits to finalists; that our collective success is achieved through our people, understanding the part they play, developing the skills required and creating an environment of innovation.”

Six further awards recognised innovation in specific areas:

The Innovation Award for Digital Customer Solutions was awarded to Santander, who use screen sharing technology to replicate the branch experience on sales calls, raising customer satisfaction to 97%, cutting credit card fulfilment times 75% and lifting revenue 17%.

The Innovation Award for Interactive Intelligence was won by Webhelp UK, whose Insight programme has scientifically brought data and people together to drive continuous improvement, delivering quantifiable benefits to both customer and client.

The Innovation Award for Enterprise Planning was gained by UPC, where planning was empowered to lead operational delivery, as part of an enterprise-wide collaboration, managing sales 83% above budget, with call rates 30% below.

Capital One swept away the Innovation Award for Engagement, who proved the value of fully engaging people – on shore and off shore – in building trust with customers and raising net profit 45% above target.

The Innovation Award for Strategic Collaboration was presented to LV=. Their transformational planning approach has removed workplace siloes, engaged staff and delivered remarkable customer service, while saving the business £1.1 million.

Lastly, Neopost was awarded the Innovation Award for Insight for their imaginative and pragmatic approach to using speech analytics to focus the delivery of improvements for both colleagues and customer in their 150-seat centre.

Planning Forum Hero awards

Planning Forum Hero awards were presented to five outstanding customer contact professionals, recognising their exceptional personal contribution in developing the role of planning, analysis or quality. They join our growing ranks of heroes, and reflecting excellence at levels in our profession.

The 2014 Heroes are:

Catherine Kellett, Operations and Planning Manager, The White Company

Garth Harriman, Speech Analyst, Neopost

Rachel Jones, Resource Planning Manager, Worldpay

Abida Ghauri, Service Manager, Harrow Council

Steve Pink, Head of Operational Performance, LV=




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