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July 2014 News: What happens when we challenge current thinking?


What happens when we challenge current thinking?

July 2014





This month a huge surge of best practice events for members – sometimes several in a week – has shown how we can each make a real difference when we challenge current thinking.Why not take a few moments this summer to ensure you and your teams are taking full advantage of the enormous wealth of resources within our professional communities of best practice?How are you using this to inspire and support you and your teams in bridging the gap and rising to your customers’ challenge this year? 

Over 100 members from 50+ organisations joined the second set of workshops in the Volatility & Flexibility Challenge in June. Motivated and focussed individuals have mostly come along with detailed analysis of what is driving volatility in order to widen and deepen thetools for resourcing flexibility that help us be genuinely agile.One key benefit of the new ‘challenge’ approach to our networking events, is the chance for time away from the office to work with others, challenge thinking and focus on developing new approaches to being more agile in how we respond in a volatile world. 

Our practical, specialist training and university programmes are also at a new turning point - with the first Advanced Diploma graduates in Contact Centre Planning and Management this month. We are getting solid evidence and feedback that these programmes stand out for the way students make practical innovation in their regular work roles – providing genuine payback to sponsoring managers.When did you last review the full range of qualifications and training? Did you realise how much is available already? Let alone the new modules piloting in the autumn for analysis, analytics, people management and leadership. 

As you know, we believe in unleashing the potential of our support teams, so that planners and analysts can work with colleagues at all levels to make a real difference. This requires time, recognition and support. Above all, it’s really important to us that there are opportunities for everyone, however busy we are in the office - whether attending events and training or taking a few minutes to watch a video presentation at home or sharing the link with colleagues or planning an away-day around the online materials. 

In particular, have you see the conference workshop and case study presentations now available on PPF TV at no charge, for you to view or share with colleagues and the new post-conference blogs. Like the keynote presentations last month, they can challenge and inspire you in rising to your (internal or external) customers’ challenge. As many students have found, if YouTube is blocked on your work computer, they will be available at home on mobiles and tablets. Even in exceptionally busy departments, can we invest an hour or two at home for our professional development? 

However for those able to invest in time out of the office, why not take advantage of the magnificent training and best practice opportunities on offer? Now is the time to ensure you have reserved a place for our National Seminar in Liverpool on 16th October, our London Networking Event on 2nd October, the specialist workshop on Back Office and Real-time – or to visit our innovation award winners and finalists on-site in September.



In this edition

* Rights to flexible working extended

* Six benefits of creating contact centres as a service

* PPF Members win at the European Call Centre and Customer Service Awards

* Catch up with our roving reporters at the PPF Conference

*Our students graduate from the University of Ulster

* Are we agile in responding to volatility?

* Stepping stones to success with Speech Analytics

*Latest jobs



Customer Contact Innovation Awards

Best Practice Site Visits


Training Highlights

Volatility and Flexibility Workshop 3
Across the regions

8th September
Advanced Certificate in Customer Contact Planning and Managementfor Analysis of Data and Speech
Begins on-line

9th September
Specialist Seminar on data in the Back Office
Salford Quays

11th September
Introducing Speech and Text Analytics

23rd - 24th September
Back Office Planning

23rd - 24th September
Planning for Outbound

7th - 8th October
Advanced Certificate in Customer Contact Planning and Management for the Analysis of Data and Speech

7th - 8th October
Advanced Planning Techniques (Forecasting & Scheduling)

7th - 9th October
Advanced Certificate in Customer Contact Planning and Management

Introducing Speech and Text Analytics

Click here to review full calendar.


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Contact Us
The Professional Planning Forum is the independent industry body promoting best practice in contact centre resourcing and planning.

Contact us to find out more.
+44 (0)333 123 59 60


Catch up on the latest News and Blogs

For more details on these stories click on the links below,or look online for even more stories.

Take a look at these latest blogs from our roving reporters to explore the hot topics that attracted the attention of over 600 delegates at the annual PPF conference in Brighton in April

Momentous Day for Professionalism in Customer Contact Operations

Last week’s graduation ceremony at the University of Ulster saw the first students receiving accredited awards under the recently developed Customer Contact Planning & Management programme. This is a key milestone to celebrate in the development of professionalism in the industry. 

24 students graduated with Advanced Diploma and Advanced Certificate awards, with 10 of these students proceeding to the final level of the BSc programme, joining 5 students already working towards their industry specific BSc honours degree. Distinctions at the Advanced Certificate level were awarded to Nick Reid (Three), Mark Blake (Rational Group/ Pokerstars), Tracey Campbell (Affinion International). 

Christine Denham (Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council) attended the graduation and was awarded a Commendation in the Advanced Certificate. She shared her thoughts, “This is a great way to celebrate the completion of the certificate and the five months of work I put in, I look forward to using the Advanced Certificate to progress my career and recommend that others complete the course.” Read more.

Are we agile in responding to volatility? The flexibility challenge

Take the chance to review the key outputs from two great workshops at the 2014 conference. These set up the work that has been carried out by many members within the Volatility & Flexibility Challenge. Watch the videos, share your ideas with us and get in touch if you would like to be part of the next set of challenges in this area. More videos can be seen on PPF TV.

Volatility and Flexibility

Watch this video to explore techniques for measuring the variability of your workload, understand what flexibility you require and explore how you can monitor progress in becoming more flexible - for both people and customers. Led by Phil Anderson, this workshop includes round table discussions, updates from our member working groups. It will help you understand how the Flexibility Toolkit could work for you, learn ways to measure volatility & flexibility, see how volatility at different time horizons helps you determine the flexibility tools you require and gain insight into the ways that managing volatility is fundamental to successful planning. 

Homeworking & Lifestyle Shifts

Watch this video to see how to achieve buy in from stakeholders, understand how lifestyle shifts can be achieved for the benefit of all, learn how to overcome barriers to homeworking. Led by Dave Vernon & Steve Woosey the workshop focusses on overcoming the barriers to implementing homeworking and examines how lifestyle/trade-off shifts can deliver for both colleagues and the business. Hear from our table facilitators on how to influence the key stakeholders and deliver a flexible workforce through the use of homeworkers and lifestyle shifts. Take away some techniques that can help you make this a reality in your business. You can also watch read or watch the award winning case studies on Homeworking from Arise and Sensee. 

What's new? Best Practice Round up

Find out what members are up to and what’s new in the Planning Forum world - online, in training or in our events and activities

  • Joined up IVR As awards finalists Three and TalkTalk have found, breaking down inter-departmental silos and transforming IVR together can lead to massively reduced budgets and dramatically improved take up of self-serve. Judging by the packed session for IVR routing and resourcing and the subsequent workshop at this year's conference, there is still a keenness among contact centre professionals to improve in this area. Read the full whitepaper.
  • Stepping-stones to success with speech analytics In 2010 just a quarter of Planning Forum members were investigating the use of speech analytics. Today there is a clear appetite to adopt the tool but people are still very unsure of the basics. This articles asks industry experts the five most frequently asked questions. Speech analytics has come a long way in the past four years. Back in 2010, when the Professional Planning Forum first conducted research on the topic, just a quarter of its members had started examining the technology’s potential. Fast-forward to 2014, and it’s a different story. Read the full whitepaper.
  • 2014 Back Office Data Challenge The next major event in the 2014 Back Office Best Practice and Education Programme, with strategic sponsors Aspect and eg Solutions, is a free to members full day seminar focussing on the challenges of obtaining data in the Back Office. Taking place on 9th September at the Copthorne Hotel, in Salford Quays, Manchester, the full day workshop, with some thought leadership, research and case studies will provide a forum for all working in non-telephony environments to share frustrations, ideas, challenges and best practice.
  • Ofcom Complaints Bulletin for June 2014 Ofcom has published its regular Telecoms Complaints Bulletin for June 2014. Ofcom receives and monitors complaints from consumers who are dissatisfied with their experience in the communications sector. It uses this data both to take enforcement action against specific companies that are breaking existing Ofcom rules and also to highlight problem areas where new rules may be needed to protect consumers. The full document for this bulletin is available for download by clicking here. 

Latest Jobs

For more details on these and view a wider range of available positions, look online.

  • Forecast and Planning Analyst, @Benenden Health, York, Not disclosed
  • Resource Forecast & Schedule Analyst, @The Utility Warehouse, North London, Up to £30K +bens
  • Senior Planner & MI Analyst, @EE, Doxford and North Tyneside, Not disclosed
  • Demand Planning Analyst, @Three, Glasgow, Not disclosed
  • Head of Analytics, Home Based, with travel (some international), Up to 70k + OTE
  • Resource Planning Analyst, Yorkshire, £25-30K
  • Head of Workforce Management & Optimisation, Midlands, £75-80K +car +bonus +bens
  • Head of Workforce Management Europe, Flexible with Travel, To £80k base +car +bonus +bens
  • Resource Planning Manager (Interim to 6 months), Anglia, circa £400 p/d


For more details on these and view a wider range of available positions, look online.

Douglas Jackson


Do feel free to forward this newsletter to colleagues or to email me if you do not wish to get the regular newsletters.

With best wishes,

Dave Vernon,
Head of Membership,
Professional Planning Forum




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