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Free Webinar: Today's Unpredictable Economy Warrants More Powerful Call Center Forecasting Tools

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Free Webinar: Today's Unpredictable Economy Warrants More Powerful Call Center Forecasting Tools

June 12, 2009
By Patrick Barnard
Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
In today’s unpredictable and highly volatile business environment, it has become increasingly challenging for call center managers to forecast call volume. The economic downturn has, in many cases, completely disrupted the customer purchase cycles and other usual trends that businesses have seen in the past: For example, customers might be calling into your center in droves one day – at levels that are reminiscent of the not-to-distant past – but the following day volume will suddenly and inexplicably drop.

As such, many of the traditional methods for forecasting call volume and determining staffing requirements -- such as Erlang equations or spreadsheet forecasting -- have become inaccurate and unreliable. What’s more, many of the software systems used for forecasting call (and other contact) volume have become outdated as well, due to the changes that have occurred in consumer behavior -- including the fact that customers are increasingly using alternative modes of contact, such as email and Web chat, to carry out informational interactions. That means call center managers not only need to accurately forecast call volume, but email and Web chat volume as well, so that they have an agent pool with the right mix of skills sets on hand, once those contacts start coming in.

At the same time, call center managers are under more pressure than ever to run their centers efficiently and cost effectively – and as we all know, labor is the single biggest cost facing any call center. As such, managers must continue to rely on advanced software systems that can help them predict, within a high degree of accuracy, how many agents are needed, based on skill set, to handle volume for any particular shift. With the increasing unpredictability and complexity resulting from the ongoing changes in the economy, contact centers today need advanced technologies that are capable of analyzing more than just call history data in order to arrive at accurate forecasts. What’s more, they need systems that can help them do more than just schedule agents -- they need them for things like optimizing the hiring/overtime mix for the call center network, or to produce variance and what-if analysis for the back office center.
In the upcoming free webinar, “Strategic Planning Technologies: Contact Center Modeling From Forecasting, to Requirements Generation, to Hiring/Overtime Plans to Budgets and Variance Analysis,” scheduled for 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT, this coming Tuesday, June 16, Ric Kosiba, Ph. D., president and one of the founders of Bay Bridge Decision Technologies, will discuss the outdated technologies that are still being used for forecasting, what-if analysis, and capacity planning, and the issues associated with continuing to use these technologies for your ever-evolving contact center network. Kosiba will also highlight new mathematical and modeling technologies that can improve the speed, accuracy and scope of your planning process.
This is the second in a three-part webinar series being sponsored by Bay Bridge Decision Technologies and TMCnet. To register for this free, informative webinar, click here.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard
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