Metric of the Day: Forecasting Accuracy

Forecasting accuracy reflects the percent variance between the number of inbound customer contacts forecasted for a particular time period and the number of said contacts actually received by the center during that time. (Forecasted contact load vs. actual contact load.) It is a critical, high-level objective in all contact center environments.

Underestimating demand leads to understaffing, which in turn, leads to long wait times in queues, frustrated customers, burned-out agents and high toll-free costs (due not only to the long hold times, but also to the longer call times that might result from dedicating a portion of the call to caller complaints about hold times). On the flip side, overestimating demand results in waste, overstaffing and increased idle time.

Forecasted call load is available from the system used for forecasting (e.g., the center's workforce management system or spreadsheets); while actual call load is tracked by the ACD, workforce management system, email response management system, Web servers, - essentially wherever data is available. Forecasting accuracy should not be reported as a summary of forecasted versus actual contacts across a day, week or month, but rather, as an illustration of accuracy for each reporting interval, typically half-hours.

You can learn more about forecasting accuracy and other imperative contact center metrics by watching our recent complimentary webinar - Critical Metrics for Standardizing your Contact Center.


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