How to forecast and schedule for multiple channels - calls, emails, chat

With more electronic media such as email, chat, twitter, etc. being used in customer communication in addition to calls, the question of forecasting and scheduling resources for those channels becomes more important.

Here are 3 suggestions that might help you better manage multiple channels in your service center:

1. Forecast and schedule based on response time and "urgency” of the various channels

Customers usually use more than two channels to reach out to your contact center. The phone is still the preferred customer service channel in the US and is the one that requires the best response time to keep your customers happy.

2. Two models for forecasting workload for non-call channels:

  • Use transaction history for each channel: If you have historical numbers, you can forecast based on those:=># of emails, average work time for email, efficiency=> 100 emails/day, 5 min per email, 8.3 hours=> Apply efficiency factor: 90% => 9.25 hours
  • If you don't have exact numbers, you can use a shrinkage factor: e.g. 10% for email work

3. Potential approaches for scheduling

  • Fully blended: Agents work all channels as work arrives. The danger of this is that agents burn out and is therefore not recommended.
  • Banded work: Schedule time blocks based on agent availability throughout the day. Find time "pockets" in the core schedule where agents are available


Want to learn more about managing your multi-channel call center? Watch our workforce management software demos.

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