Now that we’ve bulked up back office staff by attacking skill gaps and enlisting allies from the contact center where possible, let’s address two more ways to deal with back office forecasting emergencies.
Today it’s all about having insight into the causes of inefficiencies and asking yourself, “Are there priorities that need shifting or places that are causing bottlenecks?’
Turn a Hard Impact into a Soft Landing
Sometimes a simple shift of priorities is all that is in order. Take a look at your schedule. Are team meetings, training, HR seminars, or offsite activities scheduled at times that take staff away from critical back office time? If your answer is yes, reschedule lower priority activities to keep the focus on productive work at crucial times. Rescheduling at the first sign of trouble will help minimize negative impact.
Question Assumptions and Root Out Bottlenecks
When the immediate crisis has been dealt with, do a post-mortem on the forecast. Dig deeper into how much lead time and warning you had before the imbalance was noticed. Forecasts should be accurate and reliable for at least a 90-day period. Review the forecasts generated for the problem period and consider the following:
What is the length of your forecast? When was the forecast finalized and did your managers notice the problem then?
When was the problem reported to management? What actions were taken to minimize the impact?
Were the forecast's modeling assumptions changed during the forecasted period or after the forecast was finalized?
Did other organizational stakeholders alert the back office to potential workload shocks, such as product launches or marketing campaigns? If so, were those warnings heard and promptly added to the model?
When you understand the root cause of bottlenecks you can adjust forecasts or processes to reduce the risk of repeated emergencies in the future. Now we’ve addressed people (Part 1) and priorities (Part 2), so it’s on to performance (Part 3) in our next post.