Five organisations won prestigious innovation awards for outstanding initiatives that are making customer operations great places to work and transforming the experience of customers.

Organised by The Forum – our official media partner – these awards celebrate excellence in the industry and, together with our five Forum Heroes, were presented at the Forum’s 15th anniversary conference in Newcastle on 28th April.

British Gas Service and Repair gained the overall Innovation of the Year Award for delivering an exceptional end-to-end customer journey. A focus on customer experience led to a new operating model for planning, and used insight to improve NPS, backlogs & efficiencies at the same time in Service & Repair, cutting broken promises 78 per cent

They were also presented with the Innovation Award for Customer Experience.

The winners were selected by a team including 15 experienced industry practitioners, many of them previous winners or finalists. Judges visited each of the 13 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, Founder and Chair of The Forum. “It is exciting to see how customer operations are developing. This year’s theme, Changing Gear – Rise to the Customer Challenge, is exactly what all our winners have achieved.

“They are addressing the twin challenges of sustainable improvement and responsiveness to a fast changing market.”

The Innovation Award for Sustainable Culture was awarded to Motability Operations, whose approach to knowledge management builds trust and supports effective conversations, getting it ‘right first time’, optimising call length and helping advisors give customers confidence.

The Innovation Award for People Empowerment was won by Hughes Insurance, where continuous improvement has transformed the organisation’s culture, engaging everyone in shaping improvements to customer service, streamlining processes and realising over £150,000 in cost-savings.

The Innovation Award for Customer Outcomes was gained by LV=, whose focus on the customer, led to removing sales incentives & targets, part of a strategic change involving new approaches to engagement, performance management and cross-skilling.

RESPONSE picked up the Innovation Award for Transforming Communication, using a desktop and mobile APP to connect people, focussing performance around one version of the truth and opening up a two-way conversation in the business.

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.

The 2015 Heroes are:

  • Richard Abdy, Workforce Scheduling & Planning Manager, NE Ambulance Service
  • Ivan Smith, Support Services Manager, Motability Operations
  • Dee Chapman, Call Centre Manager, Essex & Suffolk Water
  • Ruth Mercer, Service Quality Manager, Hughes Insurance
  • Colin Whelan, Senior Solutions Consultant, Aspect


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