Now, before you ask us help on how to forecast, you might ask yourself:
“Why should I even Forecast? Things are going to change, and I’ll have wasted my time.”
But also...you should really Forecast.
Because if a Forecast had an online dating profile, it’d say:
“Your history is so important to me. I want to know your backstory and all those little details that make you who you are. At the end of our first date, don’t get weirded out when I predict where you’ll be this time next year. Hint: It’s with me ;)”
Why should you consider something long-term with Forecast?
- Because forecast finds your trends over time
- As it lets you check your gut feelings against real data
- Gives you an idea of where you are vs. where you should be
- It's a launchpad for creating outstanding schedules
- Lets you know, down to minute-level increments, how you should be staffing
- Forecasting, you can see where and when your team needs help
- Have a rough idea of the future, which will either give you an edge over your competition - or put you on a level with them, if they forecast too.
How to forecast manually:
A few ways to simplify (a complicated) process
Remember, a Forecast helps you plan with real information and not just guesses. So it’s setting you up for success, not telling you what to do with every minute of your agents’ days. Use it as a guide, and you’ll see how worthwhile a Forecast can be in no time.
If you want to do it manually, just follow these 4 simple steps:
- Start NOW!
The more data you have logged, the more information your Forecast has to work with and make those predictions as accurate as possible. Your future self (and team) will thank you.
You can use an automated call distributor system (or ACD) - or you can have your agents log this themselves. You're interested in finding out the Call Volume and the Call Duration.
- Now look for recurring patterns
If every Friday afternoon you have a dip in call traffic, note that down. Every wednesday morning, your social media chats are on fire? Make a note of that too. If you have data going back a few years you might even find specific weekends where things always get hectic - and maybe they're not even where you'd expect them to be.
- Take "Destabilizing Events" into account
Remember, it's called forecasting for a reason. This isn't just about looking back, it's about thinking forward. So if you're company is going to launch a Super Bowl campaign or start charging half for your products, you'd expect an increase in call volume. Make sure that your Marketing and Sales teams keep you in the loop so you can prepare for these events in advance.
On the other hand, if you're expanding your Customer Support services (adding a chatbot, or a new social channel), asyou need to accommodate for those new contacts too. You'll need extra hands on deck. Consider what those channels might look like and guesstimate how much of current traffic will be rerouted there and how much new traffic they might generate.
- Accept the inevitable: This. Isn't. Perfect.
For all the work it involves, you’ll never know everything. You'll never get staffing perfect every time. But you will get closer and closer as you go along! And in those golden days when everything runs smoothly, you'll love it. The more you forecast, of course, the better balance you'll have between smooth sailing and the odd stormy day.
How to forecast effortlessly:
Well. If you're a Zendesk customer, you can set up Tymeshift here. It takes less than two minutes to get up and running. And then it takes all the data that you already have logged by Zendesk to create a quick and effortless with our unique forecast feature.
Plus, we know thanks to cross-validation that our forecast accurate: possibly the most accurate forecast in the market.
We’re Tymeshift, an effortless WFM solution made exclusively for Zendesk to make workforce managers’ lives easier. Our workforce management tools include shift scheduling, forecasting and analytics. A perfectly intuitive Zendesk integration makes your CX agents’ lives easier. Learn all there is about us and our product on tymeshift.com