Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
October 19, 2011
Forecasting Simulator Eases Call Center Scheduling Activities
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
One of the most obvious challenges within the call center space is accurately forecasting for anticipated call volumes. In fact, forecasting is considered to be one of the most critical steps in the workforce management process. If you can perfect this process, call center scheduling is a snap.
A recent Monet Software blog demonstrated the importance of forecasting for accurate call center scheduling. Call center agents rely on work history to forecast call volume and agent requirements for desired time frames in the future. A forecast of future call volume, agent requirements and average handling time for each 15-minute period of the day according to service level objects help to set your schedule.
The process seems simple enough, yet call center scheduling and forecasting is akin to aiming at a moving target. Fortunately, you can use forecasting simulation to improve the accuracy of your forecasts. Known as a simulator forecasting engine, it will analyze all routing policies and call types when creating forecasts. As a result, you can accurately forecast staffing levels to effectively manage all call types across the call center.
The scheduling simulator also allows you to build scenarios for planning and budgeting purposes. Simulators can also be used to produce call center budgets by completing a costing of all forecasted agent schedules and shifts. By gaining a clear picture of what your scheduling will look like based on simulated scenarios, you can more accurately forecast and schedule according to realistic data.
According to Monet Software, there are a number of ways you can benefit from forecasting simulation:
· Generate automatic forecasts for complex routing strategies, multiple sites and agents with multiple skill-sets
· Forecast accurately for staffing levels needed to manage all call types, and build out scenarios for budgeting and planning purposes within call center scheduling
· Drive regular intra-day forecast updates to automatically calculate a new forecast according to what has already occurred, establishing trends to enable proactive decision making
· Evaluate and plan current and future workforce requirements
· Develop what if scenarios in call center scheduling to determine how a call volume change or adjustment in service level goals during a specific day or week could affect the center overall
· Simulate routing rules, agent skill assignments and schedules according to date range to measure the impact on call center scheduling and staffing.
Call center scheduling and forecasting does not have to be a wild shot in the dark. With forecasting simulation, you’re better equipped to handle anticipated call volumes simple because your forecasts are more accurate.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Chris DiMarco