How to Create Accurate Monthly Call Forecasts
Below is a monthly forecasting checklist. By the 3rd week of each month business leaders should go through this checklist with their respective WFM partner and document their agreements. This checklist is designed to get Operations and WFM talking and asking questions to flush out the thinking that went into the last forecast and to make any necessary changes.
Monthly Forecasting Checklist:
Review last month forecast vs actual for accuracy. Access impacts that drove calls (email or chats) higher or lower for the month. Will any of those issues carry over to the next month?
Have WFM document all of the assumptions they have applied to the new forecast. If Operations does not agree with them, have appropriate changes made. Operations sign’s off on the change.
Will there be any cross-training of your agents? If so, how many and what days? (Full shifts for day(s), select hours over the day(s), in available time, overtime, etc.)
Will you have any new training programs that existing agents will have to participate in? If so, how many people and for how long? (Full shifts for day(s), select hours over day(s), in available time, overtime, etc.)
Should agent coaching time be increased if Service Levels are above the plan?
Do you know of any AHT drivers that will push that KPI up/down? Think about the impacts of new staff or new processes or system changes. Will AHT change? By how much and starting when?
Do you know of any call back drivers that will drive this KPI up/down? By how much and starting when?
Will you require extra support (i.e. senior agents, bilingual agents, etc) for any new Initiatives, program, event or business areas next week? If so, how many, when will they be needed and from where will they come?
Do you expect Schedule Adherence will stay at the current levels [state level] into next week or for the month?
Do you expect Absenteeism will remain at the current levels [state level] next week and for the month?
Do you expect any attrition in the training or production staff next week?
Will there be any new hires joining the organization? How will the new agent skills affect existing agents skills to support the queues?
Is there a long-range weather warnings that may impact the center next week or next month?
Will any back-office efforts (think delays in processing) affect the call center and drive more contacts?
Will the company make any website changes next week that will drive more contacts into your line of the business?
Will the company make any IT or System changes next week that will drive more contacts into your line of the business?
Will the company make any public announcements next week that will drive more contacts into your line of the business?
Will any public or company holidays impact the forecast?
Could there be unplanned vacation time that was not accounted for in the plan?
Remember to document, in writing, your thoughts, predictions and your reasoning. You want to keep a record of that as it will help you in your planning next month.
VERY IMPORTANT - This list is not complete – it needs to be updated when the Business or the WFM teams learn that they forgot to ask about or remember something that did, in fact, impact the short or long term forecast.