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.

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 is Redefining Customer Experience

NICE CXone is the industry’s only interaction-centric platform where channels, data, applications, and knowledge converge to improve customer experience at scale.

It is the leading, most complete and unified CX Platform on the market, used by thousands of organizations of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help you holistically run your call (or contact) center operations.

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