Scheduling Perfectly and Accurately
As hard as one might, accurately forecasting call volumes in a contact center is extraordinarily hard and definitely not foolproof. Any number of reasons can lead to call volume spikes, and without enough agents to meet the high demands, a bad reputation can emerge for poor service. So, how can management guarantee the schedule is spot on? Here are a few tips for best forecasting possible.
Using a calendar from previous years to make informed shift predictions is one method, but it can be ineffective because of changing needs. This is why it is essential for call centers to install a Workforce Management (WFM) system. It will help track company highs and lows, while following patterns. Through these patterns, an efficient and accurate schedule can then be created.
Additionally, be aware of upcoming events such as sales, holidays, email coupon blasts. These factors could dramatically affect the call center volumes and cause a huge spike. Make sure that, even if the call center is fully staffed, a few agents are on call, just in the case of the unexpected. And always communicate with all areas of the call center to be aware of the big picture so no one is left short changed.
When scheduling, especially in an omnichannel environment, always ensure the appropriate agents are on the schedule. If there is a live chat option, there should be an agent who is proficient in handling that channel. The best agents mixed with the good should be on during peak times; knowing who works best when and at which channel (email, SMS, chat, and phone) will increase productivity and efficiency.
Month by month schedules in a contact center can help to see how well whatever scheduling system implemented is working. Even bi-weekly schedules will allow agents and other superiors to offer feedback. It is all about working together and observation, mixed with a little trial and error to be able to perfectly forecast a contact center’s schedule.
Edited by Ken Briodagh