Contact center scheduling and forecasting overview

Scheduling contact center staff is the “art and science” of having the right number of employees, with the right skills at the right times to meet anticipated call volumes (and other communication channels such as email, chat , social media). And all this has to happen with a targeted service level and at minimal costs. Contact center forecasting and scheduling is a critical task and poor planning and execution can have a negative impact on revenues and cost, customer satisfaction and also employees motivation. Key tasks of contact center scheduling include the following activities:1. Call Forecasting – Calculation of call volumes based on key parameters:

  • Call history data
  • Call patterns (day, week, season, etc.)
  • Special day patterns (holidays, etc.)
  • Other event or business drivers that might impact call volume/pattern (sales campaign)

2. Staffing requirements – Calculation of staffing needs based on:

  • Service level, ASA and average handle time
  • Type of calls (required skills)
  • Anticipated workload

3. Schedule – Creation of a schedule for every day based on your unique needs:

  • 15 or 30 minute increments
  • Consideration of all activities (call and non-call)
  • Flexibility regarding start/end times, breaks, etc.
  • Multi-skill routing

4. Schedule Adherence – Monitoring and managing adherence as team effort:

  • Inform and educate about adherence importance and impact
  • Measure and manage adherence throughout the day (real-time adherence)
  • Provide incentives for adherence

5. Exception handling – “Stuff happens”, be prepared to manage exceptions and changes throughout the day:

  • Changes in call volume or arrival pattern (campaigns, external events, etc.)
  • Staffing or scheduling issues (training, sick, absenteeism, etc.)
  • Business related exceptions

6. Measure Success – Define what “success” means for you center and measure & adjust accordingly:

  • Analyze hourly/daily/weekly reports
  • What worked, what didn’t? Investigate causes for under-performance
  • Apply “learnings” into future forecasting/scheduling process

Every contact center is different, but one of the most challenging tasks from the above list for every center is most likely schedule adherence. If you would like to learn more, please download our whitepaper “How to improve schedule adherence in your call center” and discover new ways that might work for your contact center.

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