Call Center Scheduling Feature Article
December 12, 2011
Planning for Unplannable Contact Center Fluctuations
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Monet Software has put together another fine blog post on handling fluctuation in call volumes throughout the day -- yes it’s still one of the key challenges in managing a call center, as they say.
You know the common questions Monet runs through -- how to update the forecast? How to create a new schedule? How to staff for this throughout the day -- is there a way to plan for this?
As Monet says there are generally two scenarios in this situation. On the one hand, you have the events that the call center should have known about, but didn’t. For whatever reason -- it wasn’t informed about a campaign, it didn’t plan for the event, what does it matter what the excuse is? There’ll always be one and it won’t matter a bit. Most of the call volume-related impact can be avoided through planning.
And on the other hand, there are events, mostly external driven, that cannot be planned for. Think of sudden product issues. Weather. Catastrophes. One doesn’t pencil those in two months ahead of time. By the same token call volume fluctuations due to these external events cannot be planned for, but you can enact constant monitoring, and quick action can lower the impact on service levels and customer satisfaction.
Two recommendations Monet gives:
Anticipate and plan. Spend time and effort to achieve a more accurate forecast in order to minimize surprises. This involves learning from the past, anticipating events that might cause call volume fluctuation and staying in constant communication with other departments of your company to avoid call volume surprises.
Monitor and act: Establish a dashboard or set up alerts that notify you about unusual or fluctuating call volumes. As company officials say, “When you notice that the actual call volume is different from the forecast, you should analyze deviation and trend lines for both, call volume and average handle time. Apply this trend to the next period or rest of day by recalculating the forecast for each interval.”
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