Great Call Center Management Begins with Forecasting
Why do you engage in workforce management (WFM) in your contact center? At its core, workforce management allows you to determine who should be working when, and helps you match your resources to your needs. While this is the goal of a good workforce management solution, technology exists today to do so much more.
Improving your forecasting, scheduling and staffing to optimum levels can boost key performance indicator (KPI) results as well as the quality of the customer experience, which will significantly help the business’ bottom line. According to a recent blog post by Monet Software (News - Alert) CEO Chuck Ciarlo, great workforce management starts with a great forecasting tool.
“If the forecasts generated by WFM are not accurate, it creates a domino effect that will throw the rest of your numbers off as well,” wrote Ciarlo. “Result? Overstaffing, understaffing, missed sales and angry customers.”
Most contact centers are using some historical figures to predict the future. But we live in an era of plentiful data, and traditional methods of forecasting simply can’t take advantage of these ready sources of data the way an up-to-date workforce management software solution can.
“A WFM review of forecasting capabilities begins with the compilation and analysis of historical data,” wrote Ciarlo. “This is not just what happened at the call center on this day last year or five years ago, but also takes into account other variables that impact call volume – holidays, special promotions, annual events, weather conditions. Anything that can cause a fluctuation in workload should be considered.”
Chances are good you may be missing opportunities to draw data from non-call channels such as Web, email, chat or even your organization’s mobile app. Customers expect the same high levels of availability of help from these channels, too, and treating them like afterthoughts compared to calls will land a company in hot water with its customers very quickly. Ciarlo noted that forecasting today must provide an integrated view of all channels and the capabilities of the multi-skilled workforce, as this will be essential for proper scheduling.
“Most WFM solutions rely in part on forecasting based on averages. It’s effective, but not sufficient by itself,” he wrote. “Find a forecasting tool that goes beyond that, one that can process every piece of data you provide and use it to deliver more accurate forecasts.”
The more precise contact center management can get with its forecasts, the more benefits it can reap from a workforce management tool. A company can’t grow without expanding its customer base (not only in numbers, but in the quality of service offered), and old-fashioned methods of forecasting and scheduling are likely blocking most companies from the kind of growth they’re seeking.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi