I sometimes ask myself why I didn’t become a meteorologist. Think about it: in what other role can you be incorrect so frequently and still have a job? It’s not like anyone can blame the meteorologist or point their finger at them when they’re wrong. It is, after all, the weather.
“Predicting the location and intensity of thunderstorms is like peering into a pot of boiling water and trying to figure out where a bubble will pop and how big it will be.”
— The Washington Post
Fortunately, in most cases, weather’s unpredictable nature and the inaccuracy of the corresponding forecasts cause only minor inconveniences. You might be caught outside without an umbrella, or find yourself driving in snowy weather without a windshield scraper.
But in business, inaccurate forecasts can do much more than inconvenience your company—they could bankrupt it.
Take contact centre forecasting. For most contact centres, the primary goal is balancing customer service and service level goals while minimising staffing costs. Since staffing typically comprises 70 to 80 percent of a contact centre’s budget, it stands to reason that the top way to stay within budget is by preventing understaffing and overstaffing.
After all, if you overstaff your contact centre, you pay agents to wait for calls that will never come. And the result if you understaff it is even worse: customers frustrated by long wait times may decide to buy from your competitors instead of maintaining their relationship with you.
It’s easy to see why so many contact centre leaders believe good forecasting is the foundation of contact centre scheduling.
Contact centre forecasting:
Like anything that is meaningful, however, it’s not always easy. In fact, many of these same leaders tout forecasting as one of the most challenging ways to optimise contact centre staffing. This is because contact volume itself can be so unpredictable, and unexpected events—like a website outage—can create unanticipated contact surges and long handle times.
But don’t let the potential hurdles scare you away. Developing accurate forecasts takes commitment and the use of intelligent applications like Calabrio Workforce Management can help you learn from these unexpected events, so you can predict them better next time.
The payoff to your business is well worth it.