What is Call Volume Forecast in the Call Center

What is Call Volume Forecast in the Call Center

A call center is a place where thousands of calls land every day, and every call is an important one. Therefore controlling this call flow becomes very imperative. If a sufficient amount of manpower is not planned for this call flow, the call may get abandoned, which may cost the call center in the form of a penalty.

What is Call Volume Forecasting in Call Center
What is Call Volume Forecast in the Call Center

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Therefore, there is a dedicated team in every call center whose job is to forecast the call volume and notify the operations team as to how many agents are required to handle this volume per day or in every shift. This team is known as WFM which is the acronym for Work Force Management.

Let's understand more about WFM and its role in a call center 

What is WFM?

Work Force management as the name refers is the team whose primary job is to plan or manage the requirement of advisors to handle a specific call volume. However, the job of the WFM department is not limited to planning and scheduling but also client interaction and preparation of reports.

If you want to learn more about the WFM team you can click here.

What is Volume Forecasting?

Volume forecasting can be defined as "The process of predicting or estimating the number of call volumes in a specific day or month by analyzing previous historical volume trend."

Though the volume forecast can not be cent percent accurate as it depends on previous call or chat volume trends however to get the precise figure there must be an apple-to-apple comparison between the 2 periods.

Let's assume that the WFM team has to forecast the next 3 months' call volume for a telecommunication process. To forecast the call/chat volume, the WFM team will have to look into the previous 3 months' incoming volume trend ( with specific dates, timings, number of agents, etc).

Post analyzing the previous trend of the same period we can predict the forecast. 

Call or chat volume forecasting depends on the process and nature of business.  

Call /Chat Volume forecasting is required only for inbound customer service processes (e-commerce, travel, banking) since the above process involves real-time customer chat/calls and the call center should have adequate manpower to avoid abandonment of calls. 

Whereas for the outbound processes ( sales, collection, retention), the client provides the data in advance on a weekly or monthly basis which is churned by the dialer team by uploading it to the dialer.

As mentioned above volume forecasting can not be 100% accurately predicted as the forecasting depends on various factors. Further in the article, we are going to discuss some Common factors that affect Volume forecasting. 

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Factors affecting volume forecasting?

There may be several factors that can affect the call/chat volume forecasting. Below are a few of them:

Festive Season:

One of the biggest factors which affect volume forecasting is the festive season. Every country celebrates its festive session. Like in India Diwali and Holi are major festivals, likewise in America and other Christian countries, Christmas and New year are majorly celebrated.

Nobody wants to miss the opportunity to spend family time and celebrate the festive season with their family hence obviously the number of PTOs ( paid time offs) or leaves increased during this period. The call/chat volume depends on the nature of the business. 

Example: In India during the festive season of Diwali, e-commerce business expects a high call volume as people tend to purchase new items and gadgets from different online shopping portal while the travel and tourism (accommodation)  business may expect a low volume as people love to celebrate the Diwali festival with family at their home.

Contrary to this let's take an example of the Christmas and New year session where people love to go outside preferably to hill stations to celebrate the New Year so obviously you can expect a high call volume in the Travel and Tourism industry while the e-commerce business may expect low call volume.

Keeping in mind both scenarios the forecasting should be taken care of delicately so that enough manpower should be deployed as per the call volume so that abandonment should not go beyond the threshold.

Ramp up/ Ramp down 

Ramping up or ramping down for FTE seats is a regular process in a call center. Sometimes due to the performance issue client may decide to ramp up or ramp down the billable seats and sometimes due to unavoidable circumstances client decides to ramp down the billable FTEs.

But in either case call or chat volume forecasting should be done very carefully so that customer experience should not get hampered. 

Though to avoid any last-time chaos clients notify in advance of the call center in ramp-up/down cases nevertheless the call center should be proactive from their end so that they can plan the manpower accordingly. 

New product launch:

To be in competition every brand tried to meet the customer's expectations by launching new products. This newly launched product not only increases the trust and customer satisfaction of existing customers but also attracts other customers from the market.

But launching a product without any pre-plan is equivalent to taking a risk therefore call center should expect more incoming calls as compared to other days. 

Example: If a telecommunication company launches a new prepaid tariff plan for its customers without any prior advertisement or detailed information, customers may reach with customer support to know about the new plan and its benefits. These can lead to a spike in call volume hence WFM should forecast the volume keeping in mind the new product launch.

Apart from the above scenarios, there may be cases of high attrition, high planned leaves, and any real-time technical issue which can lead to a high customer influx.

On the basis of call volume forecasted by the WFM team, the operations team prepares the roster for advisors and aligns support staff in the required ratio. 
For a smooth process run in any call center precise prediction of Call or chat, volume forecasting is very vital.


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