Tips on How to Forecast and Schedule Contact Channel Responses
With more electronic media such as e-mail, chat, Twitter and others are used in customer communication in addition to calls, according to officials of Monet Software, “the question of forecasting and scheduling resources for those channels becomes more important.”
In a recent blog post the company presented three suggestions “that might help you better manage multiple channels in your service center.”
First, forecast and schedule based on response time and urgency of the various channels. Determine which communications merit an instant response, which need to be answered that same day and which are of “soon as we get around to it” importance. Classify your inbound calls, chat e-mails, letters and outbound calling accordingly.
Monet officials say there are two good models for forecasting workload for non-call channels. Use the transaction history for each channel: If you have historical numbers, you can forecast based on those, figuring the number of emails, average work time for e-mail, efficiency. The post itself goes into greater detail on how this is done.
“If you don't have exact numbers, you can use a shrinkage factor: e.g. 10 percent for e-mail work,” company officials say.
And the post mentions the potential approaches for scheduling. One is “fully blended,” where agents work all channels as work arrives. The danger of this is that agents can burn out and is therefore not recommended.
The other, more recommended approach, is banded work. Under this method, you schedule time blocks based on agent availability throughout the day. This helps find time "pockets" in the core schedule where agents are available. In addition to avoiding burnout, this gives you more expertise on each channel.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Chris DiMarco