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Workforce Management Helps to Identify Trends and Respond to Fluctuations in Call Volume

November 10, 2011

With all the technological innovations emerging in the call center space to streamline interactions and keep costs down, one challenge that continues to plague the call center manager is fluctuations in call volumes throughout the day. These leaders must be able to update the forecast, create a new schedule and staff according to projections that are sometimes no better than the best guess. Workforce management solutions can make a difference, when used correctly.

This recent Monet Software blog highlighted this scenario, stressing that there are two scenarios that tend to occur. First, there are often events the call center should have known were going to occur, but overlooked them for various reasons or were simply never informed. Planning with the right workforce management platform should help to avoid the impact the call volume could create.

Second, there tend to be events that simply cannot be planned for due to external drivers. These can include sudden product issues, weather or even catastrophes. When call volume fluctuates due to external events, constant monitoring and quick action can help to lower the impact on service levels and customer satisfaction. 

So, how do you use workforce management solutions to overcome the challenges presented in these two scenarios? The good news is that workforce management forces you to anticipate and plan for such events. When you spend the time and effort to achieve a more accurate forecast, you can minimize surprises.

To do so, learn from the past and anticipate those events that may cause call volume fluctuation. If you stay in constant communication with other departments within the company, you can more easily avoid the call volume surprises.

You can also leverage your workforce management solution to analyze call history, more easily spot triggers and anticipate factors that will impact your call volume. Be sure you also keep in touch with other departments, educating them on the implication of “surprises” in terms of service levels and customer satisfaction.

Workforce management software also allows you to monitor and act as you can establish a dashboard or set up alerts that will notify you if unusual or fluctuating call volumes occur. When the system alerts you to variances between actual call volume and forecasted call volume, you can also analyze this deviation and trend lines for average handle time and call volume.

This trend should then be applied to the next period or the rest of the day by recalculating the forecast for each interval. Move things like breaks and trainings around to accommodate the new schedule, which is simplified with the workforce management platform. You can then investigate the cause of the deviation and learn from it so you are better prepared in the future.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco

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