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5 Tips For Smarter Workforce Management in Contact Centre’s During The Christmas Season And Beyond - Business Systems UK Ltd - Blog

5 Tips For Smarter Workforce Management in Contact Centre’s During The Christmas Season And Beyond

It’s Christmas Season! Hurray! This means mulled wine, mince pies and festive holiday films. All happy stuff.

But let’s not forget that the Christmas season for some, especially for contact centres depending on the industry they are in, can be a stressful time. Contact centres must often be ready to handle an influx of inbound customer requests, enquiries and purchases, ultimately affecting scheduling, service level expectations, staff morale and the customer experience.

Let’s spare a thought for those who are caught up in all of this. Better yet, let’s provide some expert tips on how to manage this seasonal period.

1.Use Your Historical Data and Profile Delivery Effectively 

For Workforce Management professionals, accurate historical data volume and the profile (arrival rate of that volume) is key to forecasting the workload for each channel type. It’s important to include the whole seasonal period of Christmas, as the months before and after will also be influenced. Retail contact centres for example will need to incorporate the month of January into their historical data. January is a busy time for handling enquiries and returns/exchanges as well as January sales. And let’s not forget Black Friday in November. All of this means that the periods requiring bespoke forecasting outside ‘business as usual’ levels have become greater.  If accurate data from previous years can be incorporated into these forecasts, then the greater the level of accuracy.

With a Workforce Management System, you will be able to create accurate forecasts for all channel and media types (email, chat, phone, social media) with the use of historical data and precise algorithms. The system will take seasonality into account and add in knowledge of future campaigns to forecasting periods making the process simple and insightful. This can be done for multiple years in advance.

However, if your still using excel for your scheduling needs then try out this template brought to you by Call Centre Helper.

2. Make Use of Powerful ‘What-If’ Scenarios

In order to prepare for the seasonal period, planners should put together different forecasts and should make use of a feature within many workforce management systems - ‘What-If Scenarios’. These scenarios can be based around many different situations such as achieving service levels, marketing initiatives, flexible shifts or outsourcing.

Let’s take the example of a marketing initiative or a product launch during Christmas time. The marketing team have mailed out a mass campaign with 50% off and free delivery if you order before a certain date. Or, if it’s a product launch of a new version, their offering a free upgrade for all customers who have previously purchased. You can expect that the contact centre might be flooded with inbound contact such as emails, webchat, or calls. If this type of marketing initiative has happened before, you’ll be able to use historical data.

If not, using the ‘what-if’ scenario feature will help you predict the impact on the demand and will help you plan accordingly to ensure you have the right number of staff available with the right skills. For current and future use, don’t forget that when using this feature, having different forecasts on hand that are ready to be pushed into your live scenario will be of huge benefit.

Pro Tip:  Make sure using this feature isn’t a one-off exercise and is part of your planning cycle - keep repeating it to help you assess, take action and proactively nip challenges in the bud

3. Use Real-Time Management for Monitoring Adherence and Performance

It’s also important for workforce planners to use Real-Time Management during seasonal periods. Real-Time Management allows you to monitor your carefully laid plans, ensuring they are both occurring and being followed; if not dedicated alarms will proactively prompt for investigation. This will allow you to assess and feedback into the operation the variables which kept you off track such as training needs or undesirable behaviour.

Once these alerts are addressed, they are fed back into your planning cycle which after each pass will become stronger and more efficient as discrepancies are addressed.

Likewise, if something unexpected occurs such as being busier or quieter than anticipated, effective Real-Time Management will allow you to proactively react by making use of automation features – this leads us onto our next point below – number 4 – make use of workforce management automation features!

4. Make Use of WFM Automation Features

Real Time Monitoring working alongside re-optimisation features can ensure better use of the resource you have in the business before switching to measures that will equal additional costs (such as agents working overtime). Often with a workforce management tool this is at the touch of a button where activities such as meetings for example can be isolated, so they are not moved during the process.

If you find volumes are higher or lower than expected re-optimisation allows you to react and move resource around or re-jig offline activity such as meetings or training. Re-optimisation can also notify the agents immediately of the changing requirements. Furthermore, working variables such as overtime automation, shift trading, additional or reduced holidays (allowed on the day) can all be automated with quick agent notification, allowing pro-active protection of all your vital metrics such as service level performance, customer satisfaction and employee morale.

Overall automation will free you up to focus on other tasks which will also deliver great value to your business!

5. And Lastly… Engage Your Employees!

Our last tip is all about your employees and boosting their morale and employee engagement. If you manage to do this, you will be rewarded with lower sickness and attrition plus improved customer service – factors which can spell disaster if they rear their heads during Christmas time! In order to boost engagement, consider the following different options:

  • Mobile App : Some workforce management tools have a mobile app so the agent can plan events and request them without being at work (an invaluable feature for all agents whether they are a parent with childcare arrangements needing to be met or whether they are a member of Generation Z looking for workplace flexibility.)
  • Shift Trading : Allow shift trading, so that when holidays can’t be approved, there are alternative work shifts agents can consider which fit their lifestyle. It’s common to find that agents working the same shift and activity will usually trade their shifts in order to exchange their lunch and/or break for a more beneficial time. Often, having this option will reduce the chance of the agent going off sick.
  • Self-Scheduling : Advanced WFM tools allow the ability for agents to move their own lunch or break within set parameters (i.e.: if the move improves service levels)
  • Scheduling Methods : Don’t forget there are different scheduling types/methods to consider such as:
    - Preference based scheduling where agents can provide input regarding required shifts. Preferences can be accepted or declined by the planner thus ensuring the perfect balance of service level attainment and employee satisfaction. Where a high number cannot be accepted it may be that an agent has a small number i.e.: Two “Must Have” preferences where those are guaranteed whereas the rest are not; again with the emphasis on balancing employees requirements whilst still attaining your targets.

And that’s it from us. The BSL team hope you have a fantastic Christmas and if you have any requirements or need any advice on scheduling your team during this busy period then please get in touch! Don’t forget that BSL have a team of expert consultants with real-life experience in Workforce Management, particularly in forecasting, scheduling and WFM implementations (especially switching from an excel only based environment to a WFM tool). Being vendor agnostic, we can recommend the best tool for you or provide expert consultancy to make the most of your current set-up!


Publish Date: December 12, 2019 5:00 AM

2021 Buyers Guide Knowledge Management


Combines knowledge management with call support as continue improvement.

eGain Corporation

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eGain's knowledge management software, powered with Case-Based Reasoning, an Artificial Intelligence technology, lets you provide intranet or extranet access to the common knowledge base, enabling contact center agents to provide distinctive, productive, and brand-aligned experiences in every interaction, across all channels and touchpoints.

eGain Corporation

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eGain Knowledge+AI™, the top-rated, analyst-awarded knowledge management software, guarantees quality customer service by infusing your customer service agents with knowledge, making all agents as productive as your best ones. By providing agents and other users a range of ways to get to information from the common knowledge base, it ensures fast, consistent, and accurate answers.


FuzeDigital offers an affordable yet comprehensive knowledge base to answer your consumers' and staff questions. When assistance is needed, our email management system ensures your timely and accurate delivery of responses. Used by companies large and small that seek to deflect common questions while providing exceptional support.


Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

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Knowmax is a knowledge management software for enterprises. Customer service of any organization can leverage this tool to create, curate & distribute the knowledge at assisted as well as digital channels promoting self service.


Knowledge Management software
livepro are experts in Customer Experience Knowledge Management and are passionate about improving customer experience. livepro is feature-rich yet easy to use, delivering answers to agents – not long complex documents to dig through. This makes customer service quicker, easier and more efficient. Staff require next to no training on complex procedures thanks to livepro’s intuitive design, which brings confidence up and training costs down.


ProcedureFlow is a step by step visual guide that supports agents as they navigate company processes. With a knowledge management solution that simplifies complex information, employees can spend less time searching and focus on what they do best. ProcedureFlow’s simple and intuitive platform enables contact centers to quickly and easily create, maintain, and update company processes in real time. With ProcedureFlow, teams can work more efficiently, better serve customers, and drive results that matter most to their business.


Knowledge is your company's most valuable asset. An intelligent Knowledge Base can harness that asset, supporting your customers and empowering your agents.

Purpose-built with your users in mind, the knowledge base stores all information your customers need and search for, from policies to product details. Integral to CX, an intelligent knowledge base allows customers the freedom to self-serve whilst delivering them great results at their convenience.

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Knowledge can be seamlessly integrated with your customer service tools to ensure complete coherence of information, even when it's updated.

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