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  • Writer's pictureTed Lango

Forecasting for Call Centers

Conceptually, forecasting means the same thing to most people: the idea of telling the future based on some existing knowledge. How we work within the WFM model to generate accurate forecasts requires us to base forecasting activity on solid methodology. It's important that we follow common guidelines so that when we aggregate forecasting data to make business decisions, we can do so as accurately as possible. For this reason, we've developed a model with 4 dimensions that defines "World Class Forecasting".

Key concepts behind forecasting include generating and utilizing:

  • A set of established roles and responsibilities

  • A solid process with clearly defined purpose

  • A collaboration mentality, with all other departments within the organization

  • Clean data, both historical & judgmental derived from collaboration

  • Adoption of Data Governance M&Ps to maintain clean data

  • Support from call center, regional, division and corporate management

  • Technical Tools (WFM Software) and Knowledgeable Resources

Forecasting Roles And Responsibilities

A Forecaster's core responsibility is to conduct functional and analytical processes which take historical data and information for use in predicting what might happen in the future. This role is key to Customer Care's ability to correctly schedule and staff to meet customer's expectations of their call being answered in a timely fashion. Across the Division, this translates into maintaining for all intervals that 80% of calls are answered in 30 seconds or less for all call types except High-speed internet repair calls, whose target is 70% of all calls that are answered in 30 seconds or less.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Forecast call volumes, AHT, shrinkage, OT requirements, Outsourcer requirements within the Customer Care Organization using Verint WFM forecasting modules, MS Excel, and other forecasting tools.

  • Apply both quantitative and judgmental forecasting methodologies. Utilize times series analysis data provided by WFM and blend with both event-driven and driver-based approaches to adjust forecast.

  • Support scheduling, real-time, and business intelligence functions through tight communication with outputs from forecasting exercises.

  • Work closely with the Workforce Manager, Human Resources and Training to perform long and short-term capacity planning to determine staffing requirements for meeting department goals and objectives

  • Develop and maintain resource utilization models and attrition analysis by quarter using historical data within CMS, WFM and other resources to support staffing recommendations.

  • Facilitate regularly monthly meetings with Billing, Marketing/Programming, LMC, Training/HR to ensure all event-driven call drivers are considered in forecasting

  • Leverage data streams to examine driver-based pattern irregularities in bill drops, service interruptions (collections), and techops W/O volume to ensure all event-driven call drivers are considered in forecasting

  • Communicate with Real-Time and Business intelligence to capture event-based and driver-based intervals for future call volume analysis.

  • Work with WFM team members, call center management and other department stakeholders to identify, implement and monitor continuous improvement opportunities in an effort to gain efficiencies and better support company objectives.

Workforce Management may also support other activities within a call center; one common activity involves supporting the validation of various metric or cost improvement programs. Most often, WFM is leveraged to validate that a program is in fact recognizing it's intended achievement by leveraging the same data used to determine staffing requirements.

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