Now is a Better Time than Ever to Update from Manual to Automated Forecasting Models
Even in the best of times, determining the right staffing
levels needed to keep a contact center operating efficiently while adequately
meeting customer demand is a delicate balancing act. Staffing too many agents
needlessly drives up costs: staffing too few at peak times causes service
levels to suffer. The first step in making informed forecasting calculations is
to accurately estimate the volume of calls coming into a business’s contact
center. Of course, this is easier said than done, particularly in an
environment where many organizations are experiencing dramatic call spikes driven
by concerned and often panicked customers.
While there are many ways a company can try to figure out
the number of calls coming into the contact center, the method will ultimately
depend on which sources of information to which it has access. Obviously, the most
effective way would be to obtain an accurate calls-per-day figure from an
Automated Call Distribution (ACD) system. But even though these systems have
proliferated over the years, far from every company that could benefit from
such a solution has one in place. For
many businesses that do not have an ACD or effective call logging solution, the
option becomes simply asking staff to manually log the number of calls coming in.
Trying to match agent availability and skills with staffing
needs while keeping track of work hour limits and labor costs is a daunting
task, especially when done manually or with Excel spreadsheets. Some companies
still employ downloadable templates to do their scheduling in Excel, often
employing Erlang C formulas.
While using Excel can be a viable option for some smaller
companies, it can turn into a tedious, time-consuming and inefficient process,
particularly when there is a need to scale up rapidly. Making it all work is
dependent on the contributions of a few lead users who have the requisite knowledge
and system access. These lead users must frequently create new tables or
worksheets …sometimes entire new files…to set up new staff groups, forecast
time periods, call types, forecast variables, or forecast methodologies, and these
files then must be stored and linked together. If they include elements an entire
team to needs to access, the files must be stored on network shared drives. In
addition, spreadsheets tend to get progressively more complex, hard to maintain
In an evolving period that calls for rapid response and
flexibility, businesses are becoming increasingly frustrated with the
limitations of Excel and are now seeking a simplified and more accurate
planning process. Contact center managers and executives are seeking to find
ways to connecting themselves with the tools that can take their WFM practice
to the next level. Now they can take advantage of a focused educational
presentation to help them expedite the timetable to understanding and
implementing a more time-effective solution.
WFM leader Genesys will present a complimentary tutorial “Best
Forecasting Methods In the 21st Century.” on CrmXchange. The webcast,
scheduled for Thursday, May 28th at 1:00pm ET. will be led by Shawn McCormick, Senior
Solution Architect, Genesys. Shawn brings to the table more than two decades of
experience supporting the Workforce Management/Workforce Engagement needs of
companies of all sizes from just about every industry sector. He started his
career as a manager doing scheduling on paper from a forecast sent down from
corporate and thus respects the tradition while embracing the enhanced
possibilities offered by WFM technology.
Among the topics he will delve into are a review of what is
actually possible and how automated forecasting plays a role in preserving
business continuity. This includes:
- Considerations for the manual planning processes and the
perspective of faithful Excel users.
- If automation is right for a specific company – what needs
to be looked at to make the correct assessment?
- How the use of AI enables businesses to perform the planning
process more accurately and rapidly than ever.
Register now for this topical webcast: if you are unable to attend the live
presentation, a link will be posted 24 hours later to allow you to access it.