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Insiders Guide to Planning: WFM Forecasting and Special Days/Patterns

5 min read
Author David Evans
Date Apr 25, 2012
Category Workforce Management

In the last blog we covered long term forecasts and what components are required. Today we will be covering another key component of the WFM forecasting process – special days and special distribution patterns.

Forecasting within WFM for ‘Special Days’

All forecasts from long term down to intra-day need to take special days and special distributions into account. A special day may be:

– a national holiday
– a specific event
– the day after a specific event.
– a one-off or recurring event.

A good example of a special day is Bank Holidays in the UK where the organisation either is closed or working at reduced rates. So a special day is where the volumes are deviating significantly from the normal. In a retail environment it may mean volumes are up due to a product launch or sales promotion.

Contact Arrival Patterns

A special distribution is the intra-day contact pattern that deviates significantly from the normal arrival pattern. A good example is the day before or after a national or bank holiday. The contact arrival pattern will be different to a normal working day and therefore the requirements for this will differ. After a Bank Holiday the contact arrival patterns may be increased in the morning as customers “catch up” after the holiday. The overall contacts received across the day may be the same as normal, but the pattern of delivery will be different. It is also worth remembering that a special distribution may apply to the average handle time (AHT) of the contact as well as the contact itself.

Putting Workforce Planning Into Practice

The utilisation of special days and patterns are therefore fundamental to a workforce planning team who are trying to optimise resource. As part of the governance in a planning team it is vital to include the implications of national holidays and other special days in the long term WFM forecasting.

All leading Workforce Management (WFM) applications possess the ability to cope with special days and patterns however it is still down to the workforce planning team to ensure these are being captured and recorded correctly. It should be a part of the team governance to keep this part of the system under review as failure to use a day or pattern can be costly and impact on customer service.

So just to re-cap:
– Map out all special days and distributions you expect to have over the course of the year
– Anticipate how volumes may deviate from the ‘norm’
– Track these special days and patterns over time to optimise your handling of them with each occurrence

Contact us to now find out more about WFM forecasting tips and techniques!