Meeting customer expectations and being responsive to their needs is a challenge for any consumer-focused company, and especially for a call center. One of the biggest challenges is Workforce Planning and Optimization (WFO): forecasting demand to adequately staff the call center at all times. Call center employees with the correct skill level and language must be in place at the correct times to meet customer expectations.

For a company that ships packages internationally and a call center that runs 24/7, the demands are extraordinary. With over 300,000 calls a day, the shipping company was averaging a 20-second pickup time and a customer satisfaction rate of 88-92%. Even with the quick pick-up time, customer satisfaction levels were typically declining and averaging around 90%.

The shipping company sought a demand planning and forecasting solution that would increase customer satisfaction rates and maintain a minimum answer time of 20 seconds. It also needed to accurately forecast call types and volumes, handling times, and staffing requirements.

Having the right staff in the right place at the right time.

First contact resolutions are the goal in a customer call center. This requires having the proper staff with the proper skill set in place to meet demand at the right time each day. When customer satisfaction levels decline, so may that customer’s choice of carriers for their next package, even if they pay a higher price.

At call centers, the goal of Workforce optimization (WFO) is to balance customer satisfaction, service levels, workforce scheduling, agent performance, and operational efficiency. WFO maximizes staff performance at any given time of the day through a combination of data analysis, forecasting, and processes. It covers every functional aspect of running a contact center and is the key to staying relevant in the marketplace.

Workforce optimization is truly the heart of a call center’s operations. In spite of the technology behind it, when a call is routed to an agent, there must be human resources available to provide a solution for the customer quickly and efficiently. This scheduling depends on accurate forecasting so the right number of people with the right skill set are available within the workforce budget and at minimal cost. Workforce Planning and Optimization plays a significant role in maximizing human resources to ensure that every call is handled in a courteous and efficient manner. If this is done with spreadsheets, there is a great potential for inefficiency and inaccurate forecasts. The consequence is low customer satisfaction scores. When state of the art forecasting and demand software is used, automated scheduling is faster, easier, and more accurate.

The solution for the shipping company used Machine Learning and AI combined with automation, scalability, and accuracy to determine demand. Automation creates advanced demand models without human intervention; scalability creates millions of forecast combinations quickly; dynamic forecasts provide the capability to re-plan forecasts due to organizational changes, languages, weather, holidays, vacations, prayer breaks, promotions, and other factors.

After implementing the workforce planning and optimization solution, staffing levels improved to within 1-2% of actual call volumes. Accurate forecasts increased first-call completes and lowered call escalation rates. With more than 300,000 calls a day, representatives are now picking up calls within 5-8 seconds and generating customer satisfaction levels above 92 percent.

“This solution allows us to schedule the network with precision, ensuring that coverage needs are met, service levels are maintained, and costs are controlled to the fullest extent possible. In accomplishing these accuracy objectives, our forecasting group has gained respect and trust from our customers both inside and outside the company.”

CT Global’s WFO solutions can be built for any business with a large workforce. Our solutions forecast and optimize staffing in 15-minute increments to meet fluctuating demand, while other vendors only update theirs once per day.

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