Kat Worman, WFM Product Owner, Calabrio, [email protected]
for the contact center is tough. Understaffed businesses can result in
long wait times for customers and leave agents frustrated and even
unmotivated. Customers may be forgiving of long wait times once, but
don’t expect them to be forgiving if it happens regularly. On the other
hand, labor costs are typically 70-80 percent of the budget, and
overstaffing further bloats costs.
accurate forecast means you have the right agents available with the
right skills at the right time. It’s critical to a successful customer
experience. So how do companies find the balance to keep both employees
and customers happy?
it’s important to decide what constitutes success. Without proper
context, it’s impossible to develop an accurate forecast. Typically,
+/- 5 percent accuracy is the industry standard, but the math isn’t
always that simple. For example, if the target is set at 100 contacts,
106 contacts will show as failure, meaning contact centers can’t always
rely on industry standards when setting goals.
defining success, it’s important to determine metrics. Here are the top
three metrics contact center managers should use to ensure an accurate
forecast, every time:
Contact (call) volume
many calls your contact center receives is a critical piece of the
forecasting puzzle. But it’s not the only piece. That data should not
be used to simply look ahead; it should also be used to see how closely
forecasted interactions match the actual number of contacts. With this
complete view, you’ll be able to make adjustments to achieve greater
long your agents need to resolve an inquiry, or handle time, will give
you an idea of agent availability to answer new requests. However, call
handle time shouldn’t be based on just the first transaction, but the
entire series of subsequent calls that are related to the same case.
Daily contact arrival pattern
known as Forecast Accuracy by Interval, daily contact arrival patterns
show the busiest and slowest times of day. This allows you to determine
the number of agents you need to manage daily peaks and valleys. From
there, you’ll be able to account for schedule inflexibility. This
ensures the scheduling plan matches the number of agents required to
handle the work to the required staffing based on the forecast workload
and the assumptions.
these numbers are important, how you gather them should be equally
considered. Be sure to use real-time and historical data across
specific time periods and apply prior year trending data to compensate
for the increases or decreases in call volume. In addition, don’t
forget to include non-phone interactions such as chat and email,
because those still require time and resources from your team.
is crucial to staffing a contact center that consistently meets
customer needs. When done effectively, it improves the experience for
employees and customers while effectively managing budgets. With the
right metrics and data, contact center managers can take the pain out
of the process and create an accurate forecast, assuming business as
usual, every single time.
recently published a White Paper entitled, “The Top Three Ways to
Forecast for your Contact Center.” The paper is available now for
If you have responsibility in any way for forecasting in your contact
center, this paper should be in your resource library.