Nowhere does the axiom ‘No plan survives contact with the enemy’ apply more than to call centre workforce management (WFM). The Planning and Operations teams need to react quickly and appropriately to the unexpected, e.g. unplanned call spikes and suddenly high sickness levels. Operational effectiveness measures the ability of the WFM and Operations teams to identify and adjust to the situations that develop within the week and day so that the staffing levels are as near ideal as possible in each period and the speed of answer goal (service level or ASA) is met as consistently as possible.
The following elements are needed:
A. The revised bodies-in-chairs requirement by period based on the actual workload (volume and AHT) as opposed to the originally forecast workload. This is the calculated staffing requirement once the true workload is known after the fact.
B. The actual positions staffed for each period. This is the true bodies in chairs by period or the number of agents who actually logged in and were available for work. (In a single-skill environment, this is easily reported by the ACD, but in skill-based environments it may be an estimate based on allocation of staff by skill.)
C. The forecast Service Level (SL) or Average Speed of Answer (ASA) by interval. When the forecast is created and the staffing model applied, a forecast for the SL or ASA for each interval should be calculated. You should know whether the SL target is expected to be hit or missed in each interval. This is the expectation given that the work arrives exactly as predicted and the staffing follows the plan perfectly.
D. The actual SL or ASA by interval. Once the actual workload and staffing are known, the ACD typically reports the actual SL and ASA for each interval.
E. The total variation of staffing and SL/ASA results – (plus and minus) for each period, as well as the standard deviation and correlation coefficient to identify pattern anomalies. This is where everything comes together. Regardless of the accuracy of the forecast or the efficiency of the planned schedule, when the day arrives, the whole centre does what it can to make adjustments to deliver the SL/ASA goal. Measuring the actual results in terms of the SL variation and the match of the actual staffing to the final requirements will identify where the challenges occurred so that you can do effective analysis and take improvement actions.
With thanks to Chris Dealy at injixo