Improving the accuracy of Workforce forecast

Workforce forecast consists of matching the available resources in the call center to the demands of workload. This forms an integral part of planning in call centers. However, while making forecasts a lot of discrepancies can creep in since accurately predicting workload is very challenging.

Without a proper workforce management system in place, the rest of the activities in call center management can prove to be difficult. When accuracy of workforce forecast is not achieved, there can be a lot of blame games played too.

Even when the forecasting is carried out by highly trained experts, they can still go grossly wrong if they are not made familiar with all aspects of the call center.

workforce management

Methods to improve accuracy of workforce forecast

Some important methods that will help improve the accuracy of workforce forecast are listed below.

  1. Consistent use of ACD modes: Call center agents can play a crucial role in affecting the predictability of workload as they influence the average handling time. For example, they may queue up some work to do after wrap-up, which was originally supposed to be done before wrap-up. This can skew reports giving less accurate forecast. This can be addressed by instructing the employees as to the priority of work that has to be done during calls and afterwards.
  2. Quality is important: In the event of huge backed-up queue of calls, employees might have to face a trade-off between service level as well as quality. Even in such a situation, it is better to focus on quality as it creates lesser hassles. This will help in increasing the accuracy of workload predictions.
  3. Callbacks are to be avoided: The system of call-backs can cause a lot of confusion and inconsistency. It always helps in accuracy of workforce forecast to handle and finish off inbound calls at the first round itself.
  4. Analyze impact of growth: While predicting workload, it is important to take into account the impact that growth would have on various aspects of call center and figure out projected time-frames and costs and other key decision points.
  5. Interact with other departments: A forecast is never complete without a holistic view of all the departments. Adequate information from other departments is essential for an accurate forecast.
  6. Transforming workforce forecast into a collaborative process: Actively involving lead agents and supervisors in the process of forecasting, perhaps on a rotating basis can be very helpful for accurate information. They will not only help them understand the shortcomings but help them strive for reaching the set goals. They can also provide feedback on the reactions of customers because of any changes in the industry or call center activities.

Apart from these measures, the workforce management system can be improved by tracking absenteeism, educating callers on the availability of alternate services and minimizing elevated and transferred calls. It also helps to manage non-phone activities such as research and correspondence.

Forecasting of the workload will be made easier if the factors that affect caller tolerance are analyzed. The accuracy of the forecasts in a call center can be improved to a great extent if errors are avoided. This can be accomplished by completing most of the work during the calls themselves.

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