What is Forecasting?
For contact centers, forecasting is the process of estimating future contact volume (from channels such as phone, chat, and email) and the number of agents needed to handle that volume. Forecasting relies heavily on historical volume data which typically provides information about seasonal trends and year-over-year growth or decline. Forecasts should also account for upcoming business events such as the introduction of major new products or the rollout of new software updates. Historical data can also be used to help model these events.
Forecasting isn't a project that is done once and then set aside. It's a dynamic process with frequent updates. Workforce managers, who are typically responsible for forecasting, may do a long term forecast to calculate how many agents are needed for hiring plans, but then they will update shorter term forecasts frequently to help with agent scheduling decisions.
This brings up an important point - good scheduling relies on good forecasting. Schedules are built based on forecasted volumes, which means forecasting influences both labor costs and customer experience with a direct impact on KPIs like average wait time and average speed of answer.
Forecasting is critical to the customer experience and the bottom line, so it's fortunate that workforce management software exists to make the forecasting process smarter and more accurate. Top tier solutions can factor in multiple channels and multi-skilled agents, simplifying the complex task of forecasting for omnichannel delivery. These are critical capabilities for today's experience economy.
How NICE can help
NICE CXone is the market leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world. Our solutions include powerful forecasting software designed to help contact centers meet their service and financial goals. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations.
NICE CXone Workforce Management empowers you to anticipate business demands and optimize your workforce with the industry’s most intelligent and accurate omnichannel forecasting engine. Leverage AI technology, machine learning, and over 40 patented algorithms to achieve your SLAs without overstaffing. The modernized, intuitive interface reduces the training and skillset required to create and manage forecasts and schedules and improves agility with easy intraday capabilities. As a unified component of the CXone platform, CXone WFM is the first of its kind, streamlining and minimizing administration and maintenance and the complexity of managing teams across locations.
- Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.
- Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording, and performance management (PM).
- Analytics – turns insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable. These solutions include interaction analytics, customer surveys, reporting and performance management.
CXone provides an intelligent, unified suite of applications covering the breadth of contact center management disciplines, simplifying administration and streamlining the user experience.