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Forecasting and scheduling for multi-channel contact centres

5 min read
Author Business Systems UK
Date Apr 26, 2017
Category Workforce Management

It is no secret that as consumers we want to communicate with a brand when we want, however we want, making the multi-channel contact centre a very popular theme.

In fact, most of us use two or more channels, top of which are the website (85%), phone (75%), email (65%) and live chat (58%).

Despite this, a recent study found that 58% of retailers provide different answers to the same question across multiple channels. This is not a surprise as too often, although a contact centre will support multi-channel communication, these channels are managed in silos. For the planning department, this creates great complexity and manual effort if their workforce management system does not offer multichannel forecasting methods.

So how can you optimise resource planning and workforce planning in a multi-channel contact centre?

Workforce Management (WFM) Technology

Most of the latest enterprise Workforce Management (WFM) solutions today facilitate automated or serviced queues across multiple channels. It may be difficult but the “universal” queue or the integrated platform is possible, enabling the customer to move easily between channels. Cost constraints and infrastructure may hinder the migration to a converged platform, however the good news is that there is technology available that can link existing channels to populate and consolidate customer information automatically, and automate navigation.

Understand the workforce planning demand

A Multi-channel contact centre requires an accurate method of forecasting and scheduling resource. This is only possible with a WFM application that can track volumes for multiple contact types and create multi-skilled schedules. The WFM application will be able to forecast the requirements for each contact type across the day and also provide proactive real time management to cope with unexpected demand and efficient workforce planning. WFM will capture the volumes and handling times to build a set of historical profiles that can be used to improve the accuracy of forecasts across different contact types going forward.

Empower Employees in a Multi-Channel Contact Centre

Consistency of service is critical for the multi-channel contact centre experience and this can only be achieved if the employees have access to knowledge and tools for delivering the service. Without a knowledge base, and effective performance management and quality monitoring support, it will be a real challenge for the employee. Real time process guidance can be used to assist and prompt employees, whereas other technologies such as interaction analytics and business intelligence can provide meaningful insight to the business to ensure processes are efficient and agents are fully supported.

If you want to find out more about how you can optimise your resource planning and workforce planning for multi-channel, feel free to get in touch with the team.