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Causes of Inaccurate Call Center Workforce Forecasting & How To Avoid Them - The Connection - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Causes of Inaccurate Call Center Workforce Forecasting & How To Avoid Them

Without effective workforce forecasting, call centers cannot serve customers well or function profitably.

Virtually everything that goes into optimizing resources — recruiting, hiring, staffing, and scheduling — depends on having an accurate estimate of the work that will come your way.

How accurate does your forecast have to be? As a general rule of thumb:


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  • Large agent groups (100 or more agents) generally see relatively stable contact patterns. You should strive to forecast workforce needs to within 5 percent (or better), down to specific intervals (see table below).
  • Small groups (15 or fewer agents) often have more volatile patterns and should shoot for plus or minus 10 percent.
  • Those in-between should strive for something as close to 5 percent as possible.

In a perfect world, workforce forecasting would also be perfect. So, think of it as a work in progress, with continuous improvement as your top priority.

To help you reach your goals, we have identified ten common barriers to forecasting accuracy. In most cases, call centers with inaccurate forecasts usually find that two or three of these issues are most prevalent. The good news is, you can avoid these problems! By identifying the culprits, remedies become evident.

READ: Call Center Forecasting Challenges Managers Face

1. No Systematic Process Exists 

No excuses! Two myths often used to justify the absence of a systematic forecasting process focus on the “impossibly unpredictable” nature of the environment or claim that forecasting is simply not worth the time and effort. These misconceptions will set you up for failure because you cannot forecast successfully without establishing a consistent process.

2. Assuming "the Forecasting Software Knows Best" 

Forecasting software can be very helpful in collecting and analyzing data, running scenarios, contrasting methodologies and predicting potential outcomes. But you cannot just plug numbers in and have accurate forecasts pop out. The software does not know about your marketing plans, competitor activity, or any significant initiatives you have recently put in place that will literally reshape services. Software is a tool, not a replacement for humans.

3. Failure to Forecast at the Agent Group Level 

Even a perfect forecast of the aggregate workload will be of limited use if you route contacts to specialized groups. If you have a group of Spanish-speaking agents handling services A, B and C, you will need to forecast contacts from Spanish-speaking customers who need help with those services. This, of course, is a prerequisite to effective recruiting and hiring.

4. Ignoring Your Forecast   

If the forecast has been wildly inaccurate in the past or if no one understands the assumptions used in the process, it will not be given the credence it needs in the planning steps to follow.

5. Including Exceptions in Building Your Forecast 

Utility companies see contact volume go up when storms knock out power. The financial industry gets swamped when markets swoon. And all contact centers know what it is like to deal with a surprise spike in volume from an unannounced marketing campaign. These events are exceptions to normal activity, so including them in workforce forecasting guarantees skewed results. Those preparing the forecast must understand the root causes of past experience in order to make sound judgments about what will most likely be needed on an ongoing basis.

6. There is no Inter-Departmental Communication 

Most of the issues that affect customers and contact centers are caused by something going on in another department of your business. The forecast, as well as any larger business transformation initiatives, can be doomed if communication and feedback don't exist across all departments.

7. Planning Is Based on Unrealistic Goals 

If staffing is based on a handling time of four minutes when actual handling time is more like seven minutes, the resulting staff calculations and schedules will be based on a pipe dream. While things like lower employee turnover, improved training, or better systems could move things toward your desired handling time. However, ignoring reality in the planning process won't help to achieve better results or build confidence in the forecast.

8. No One Is Accountable 

Someone needs to be responsible for pulling together the various types of data needed for forecasting, ensuring that data is integrated into the forecast, and investigating which assumptions were off if the forecast proves to be inaccurate.

9. Agents Are Mixing Flexible Activities into Work Modes 

If agents are not using work modes consistently, especially after-call work, then accurate forecasting will be elusive.

10. Not Making the Connection with Staffing 

Forecasts mean nothing unless they are tied to staff and system resource requirements. Once you have a sound forecasting process in place, you are prepared to hire contact center superstars.

Workforce forecasting takes practice. You will never learn all there is to know about it — but you will get better at it. The best way to improve accuracy is to compare your forecasts with actual results and then ask, "Why?"

Source: https://blog.theconnectioncc.com/inaccurate-call-center-workforce-forecasting

Publish Date: November 21, 2019 5:00 AM


2021 Buyers Guide Customer Experience (CX)

Page: 123
1.) 
3Fiftynine

Branches
Improves customer experience by helping find the agent the right information within a click.

2.) 
Abacus Cambridge Partners

Combining unmatched experience and specialised skills across more than 40 industries and business functions, Abacus works at the intersection of business and technology to help organisations meet their key priorities and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. Headquartered in the United Kingdom and offices in the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, Abacus has more than 800 global customers and over 2800 customer-focused employees working in 30+ countries.

We offer the following services:

Business Process Outsourcing
Customer Experience and Customer Relationship Management
Enterprise Resource Planning
AI & Robotic Process Automation
API M...
(read more)

3.) 
Alvaria

Alvaria CXP
Alvaria CXP empowers enterprises to deploy contact center & customer self-service solutions on voice (IVR), text/messaging (chatbots), and mobile channels (disposable apps) with a design-once-deploy-anywhere approach. CXP Pro speeds up time-to-market, lowers customer service cost, lowers average handling time (AHT), frees agents from repetitive tasks, improves the customer experience through 24/7 availability, and increases first contact resolution (FCR). Deploy on-premise or in the cloud.

4.) 
AmplifAI

AmplifAI Performance Acceleration for Sales & Service
AmplifAI integrates all contact center data sources, and uses AI to drive personas which capture the metrics and behaviors of high performing agents, and then delivers actions to the organization to replicate the high performers. This process drives a sustainable and consistent agent improvement model that allows for faster speed to proficiency and improved performance across the call center resulting in improved productivity, sales and customer experience.

5.) 
At Random Communications

Contact Center Observation Services
Remote Contact Center Monitoring Programs - Working closely with your staff every day can often take complete objectivity out of the picture when trying to evaluate quality and agent performance.

Telephone/Email/Chat Mystery Shopping - A well-planned mystery shopping program can yield invaluable data about how your customers view the quality of your contact center service interactions.

Competitor Analysis - ARC Competitive Analysis Programs are designed to objectively compare your company with your competition.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys - ARC’s Customer Satisfaction Survey programs are designed to provide you with an objective measuring tool for gauging the level of customer sa...
(read more)

6.) 
BravaTrak

BravaTrak
BravaTrak is the High-Performance Coaching System for contact centres. It helps you increase customer experience while improving employee engagement.

It does this, by:
- Providing you with a customer experience coaching framework
- Turning your managers into High-Performance Coaches
- Giving you real-time visibility of your managers’ coaching activity

We’ve refined this system over the past 27 years, working with over 50 large organisations. It’s been tested and proven across inbound sales and service, and outbound sales and retention.

Whatever the nature of your channel, BravaTrak can help you avoid missing your customer experience targets, while improving employee engagement.

7.) 
Britannic Technologies

INBOX
INBOX: A place for every digital interaction!

INBOX allows any digital interaction to be blended into single or multiple queues with zero service interruption with implementation. Organising them by business context with smart tagging and search filters, the events can be automatically prioritised and categorised.

Automating the route to the correct agent or business orchestration rule. It also connects with all your social media channels, enabling you to respond and route accordingly in real-time.

8.) 
Calabrio

Calabrio ONE Workforce Optimization
Calabrio is revolutionizing the way enterprises engage their customers with Calabrio ONE, a unified workforce optimization (WFO) suite—including call recording, quality management, workforce management, voice-of-the-customer analytics, and advanced reporting—that records, captures and analyzes customer interactions to provide a single view of the customer, and improve the overall agent and customer experience.

9.) 
Callsultant

Outsourced Contact Center Services, Contact Center Consultancy Services
We offer a wide range of inbound and outbound services including;
-Sales, lead generation, market research, fundraising, appointment setting, collections, telemarketing, customer service, help desk, order taking, technical support. In addition, we provide omni channel support services such as chat & email support along with back office processing services such as transcription, data entry, Order management, E-Commerce order follow-up.

10.) 
ComSys S.A.

CFront for Digital Communication Channels
CFront by Comsys is a state-of-the-art application that enriches contact centers with digital communication and collaboration capabilities. CFront is natively compatible with Aspect Unified IP and Cisco Unified Contact Center (UCCE/UCCX) platforms and connects them with all the major communication channels.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with technology vendors like Cisco®, Aspe...
(read more)

11.) 
Conectys

Conectys delivers a wide range of customer experience solutions including customer service, technical support and virtual assistant solutions.

We provide omnichannel customer support services through phone, email, web tickets, live chat, social media, good old fax, and the latest mobile apps. From switchboard solutions, to customer and technical support, we have the outsourced call center service package to fit your requirements.

12.) 
Connex One

Omnichannel
The Connex One Customer Engagement Platform enables inbound and outbound interactions through a secure, cloud-based, omnichannel engine. The feature rich platform offers everything from AI and Automation to Workforce Optimisation, consolidating the customer journey into one place.

13.) 
Consilium Software

Consilium UniRSM™
Many contact centers are providing critical services in these challenging times, with agents not only having to handle new customer situations, but also with agents often working alone from home without the face-to-face support of their supervisors and managers, who may also be working remotely. Trained and proficient agents translate into happy customers, with monitoring and coaching playing an important role in developing agents’ abilities. Consilium UniRSM™ is a perfect solution for this, where supervisors can perform real-time quality monitoring and coaching by dialing in from any phone with secure, role-based access.
Has your contact center moved to Cisco Jabber softphones for agents,...
(read more)

14.) 
ContactEngine

ContactEngine connects conversations across entire customer journeys with One Voice delivering exceptional CX and demonstrable business value for organizations around the world.

ContactEngine provides proactive customer service by helping your customers through the channels they’re most comfortable with. It aims to contact your customer before your customer contacts you.

15.) 
Creative Virtual

V-Person™
Creative Virtual's V-Person virtual agent/chatbot technology and V-Person Live Chat™ bring together humans and AI to create conversations with customers and employees across touchpoints in a seamless, personalised way and at large scale. V-Person conversational AI solutions can be deployed across any channel (web, mobile, social media, messaging apps, voice, IVR, smart speakers, kiosks, contact centre, HR, service desk) in over 35 languages.

V-Person virtual agent/chatbot and live chat implementations are underpinned by V-Portal™, our knowledge management, workflow management and business intelligence orchestration platform. We use a hybrid approach of natural language processing (NLP),...
(read more)

16.) 
CUSTOMER SQUARE

CROSSCRM.CX
Cross CRM is powered by Customer-Square,french firm specializing in customer-relationship and contact centers, since 2008 we help companies with a large customer capital to maintain, and develop.

Originally for our own needs, the CRM analytics services and Quality Monitoring provided by Customer-Square, we began to put CROSS-CRM.COM on the market in 2013.

CROSS-CRM manages daily interconnection with your CRM tools to centralize data and analyse CX on all channels, and is able to provide deep analytics insights.
The platform also provides Quality Monitoring, Speech Analytics and Survey tools to get a 360 view of your customer interactions.

We ended this features list in 2008 by add...
(read more)

17.) 
Customer Touch Point

Engage To Influence
Customer Touch Point specialises in long-term and instant impact customer experience solutions for organisations worldwide, providing the tools and support they need to deliver effortless customer experiences. We are also the brand behind the powerful Engage to Influence™ methodology, which sits at the core of every single customer project.

By delivering real-time customer insight; designing customer journeys to positively influence behaviour; and implementing end-to-end technology solutions that provide a seamless experience across all channels, we enable our clients to improve customer experiences and reduce cost of contact at the same time.

Our solutions include:

• Contact Cen...
(read more)

18.) 
CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting, fast turnaround on requested updates, and detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities to support process improvement efforts, build customer loyalty and improve your bottom line. Developed and managed by Mobius Vendor Partners, CustomerCount was initially designed for the timeshare and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries.

19.) 
Eckoh

Eckoh Experience Portal
Cloud-based portal that delivers Eckoh's complete Secure Payment and Customer Engagement solutions. Simply take the solutions you need today and add additional ones as you need them. All from one supplier.

Flexible to scale up, and down, to suit your business needs and helps you prepare for future customer engagement needs.

20.) 
eGain Corporation

eGain Virtual Assistant™
eGain Virtual Assistant™ is a lifelike, conversational virtual agent providing a unique, interactive, and personal way for users to get answers and assistance on your website, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A user simply chats with the virtual assistant (also called virtual agent or chatbot) like they would with any human agent. The chat bot understands not only the words but also the intent, thanks to a portfolio of AI technologies, including machine learning and reasoning. It acts like a guide, helping customers navigate the website and taking them to the relevant place. The VA provides answers to customer queries, even helping in shopping decisions. At any point, it can seamlessly esca...
(read more)
 
Page: 123



View more from The Connection

Recent Blog Posts:
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Benefits of Outsourcing Your Appointment Setting ServicesJanuary 30, 2020 5:00 AM
Customer Service Trends to Look Out for in 2020January 16, 2020 5:00 AM
Causes of Inaccurate Call Center Workforce Forecasting & How To Avoid ThemNovember 21, 2019 5:00 AM
Call Center Staffing: Best Practices for an Outstanding TeamOctober 31, 2019 5:00 AM
It's All in the Numbers: Your Ultimate Guide to Call Center MetricsOctober 17, 2019 5:00 AM
Customer Satisfaction Metrics: What You Should Know About CSAT and NPSMay 30, 2019 5:00 AM
How to Identify the Best Customer Service Assessment Test for Your Call CenterMarch 28, 2019 5:00 AM
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