March 23, 2017 by Jim Lewis

Managing Call Center Staffing Through Phone Data

There are many reasons that staffing needs fluctuate for call centers. Some of those reasons might include predictable patterns such as seasonal demands or typical call flow, such as a doctor’s office receiving more calls in the morning. Other reasons are predictable, but are more sporadic - such as a product launch or software update. Still more call volume fluctuations are completely unpredictable and cannot be planned. Regardless of the type of fluctuations your organization experiences, it’s imperative that you have the ability to measure those fluctuations to ensure you’re making good business decisions, both in the moment they occur and from a historical perspective.


Here are 3 Ways Phone Data Can Help You Manage Staffing Levels:


1. It Provides Historical Trends

Having a historical perspective of call volumes is vital to building a call center staffing strategy. However, it goes a bit further than just access to the previous year’s numbers. It’s also about measuring annual change to help you predict trends. For example, if you manage the call center for a hotel chain and have several years’ worth of data, this is better than just comparing the previous year’s call fluctuation. You can determine how that fluctuation is changing from year to year and create a model to predict changes for this year, to staff agents accordingly. This is a great tool for a strategic manager who is setting staffing levels and agent budgets for the year based on trends he or she can discern from call volume and business needs.


2. It Allows You to Understand Cause and Effect

Once you have your historical data, one of the best ways to maximize that data is to slice and dice it in a way that allows you to determine causation. Let’s say you notice a spike in call volume one day. It’s difficult to remember that pattern week to week. but if you have a ready dashboard of visualized data, you can easily discern this trend and be prompted to drill into the data. This allows you to move past simply correlating the trend to a certain day of the week (like Monday mornings at a doctor’s office), time of month (on or around the first of the month in the banking industry), or federal holidays to determine deeper causation. The key to adjusting for the fluctuation of call volume is to understand the cause, which will help you predict future fluctuations and make business decisions based on how to handle them.


3. It Enables In-The-Moment Decisions

While historical data is invaluable for creating effective call center strategy, it doesn’t bridge the gap to the daily, hourly execution of that strategy. In addition to the ability to effectively execute strategy, real time data such as queue times and queued calls can clue you in to those times when you’re experiencing a completely anomalous fluctuation on call times. It also works for situations when call volume is much lower than normal. Having the ability to notice those fluctuations in the moment means you can pull other departments in to handle your volume or jump in and handle calls for another department if possible, leading to a better customer experience for everyone and flexibility in staffing resources.


The problem with most phone data reporting systems is that they can do one of these activities very well but have a difficult time doing all of them. OR they can do all of the above but not from a single pane of glass, meaning you have to sign in to five different locations to get an accurate picture of the historical and real time data that combine to help you set staffing levels that create the customer experience you desire.


Discover the tool that provides business insights and analytics from your phone system, sliced and diced any way you need from a single pane of glass to enable better business decisions.


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