Are You Ready For the Omnichannel Forecast Challenges of Tomorrow?

Can you imagine having tomorrow’s newspaper on your desk today? If you can, then you know that understanding what’s going to happen in the foreseeable future holds tremendous value and opportunity. You’ll be hugely successful in the stock market, prevent disasters from happening and anticipate almost everything!

Of all the subjects that I discuss with customers, forecasting is the one that’s most likely to cloud the faces of contact center management—and there are lots of reasons why. Forecasting is both an art and a science. Accurate forecasting has a major influence on the performance of your contact center. Leveraging omnichannel and workforce management is a large part of the equation.

Getting it right means happy customers and happy employees. And getting it right across all channels in today’s omnichannel customer engagement environment is more critical than ever.

There are a lot of reasons why your operation should intensely focus on forecasting.

Forecasting is central to any tactical or strategic business processes—achieve accuracy and everything else follows. But forecasting is also a highly specialized area; not many people know how to do it. To succeed in forecasting, celebrate those that do it well and help others catch up. While this is easy to say, it requires a holistic knowledge of all business drivers to get good results. It’s also hard to delegate accountability. And it’s difficult to train people in forecasting because they tend to have an individual style, which often makes it hard to measure.

Being difficult to measure makes it difficult to incentivize. When forecasting works, everything is usually fine. But it’s an easy first point of blame when things go south. Forecasting isn’t an exacting field—a forecast might be 100% for sales calls, but 15% for service calls. It’s never as easy as it seems, especially without a modern set of tools to help level the playing field and give all stakeholders the access and tools they need to succeed.

Workforce management forecasting help is out there!

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that Genesys can work with you to understand and resolve this. Modern workforce management software provides users with several flexible options designed to help manage this fascinating and complicated subject.

One thing I’ve noticed is that every business I’ve ever worked with has had a different requirement when it comes to forecasting. This could explain why it’s intimidating—successful forecasting in retail does not necessarily mean that an analyst could repeat that success in other markets like utilities, for example.

A great place to start is a staging workshop or a workforce management (WFM) health check. This session involves all key stakeholders, allowing them to review, develop and document forecasting processes in as much depth and detail as possible or appropriate. The aim of the workshop is not to completely demystify forecasting—that would be a shame. The goal is to capture, preserve and document all the details that are so easy to overlook. For example, a forecaster may not even realize he or she unconsciously checks the marketing mail-drop each month before finalizing numbers.

Forecasting is an easy-to-achieve and powerful first step toward transforming any WFM team from impenetrable spreadsheet jockeys into the pulsating heart of the business.

The goals of the forecasting workshop are:

  • Acknowledge the importance of this work. Without a forecast of demand, we cannot run our business. We must have accountability from all involved and buy-in from senior stakeholders.
  • Identify, discuss and mitigate each pain point.
  • Describe expected benefits for fixing each pain point.
  • Work through the points one by one, documenting and describing the solutions and best practices of each.
  • Define a clear plan with roles, responsibilities, activities, deliverables and timelines.

It’s important to understand that this is not a product training. We won’t train people on how to use the software; we will discuss features and functions in Genesys WFM, making best practice observations and helping attendees understand how to translate the software into real-life.

It’s here that the forecasting workshop can really deliver—bridging the gap between the art and the science of forecasting. It will allow the forecasting wizardry to flourish, encouraging Excel users to flex their muscles and begin using Genesys Workforce Optimization (WFO) forecasting and scheduling software to enhance and progress their success.

Today’s forecasting algorithms and methodologies are extremely powerful, cover a variety of requirements and are supported by an experienced and technically advanced team of WFM experts. You can be sure that the workshop will be hugely beneficial to everyone involved in the planning team at your business.

If done well, it will feel like having tomorrow’s newspaper in your hand today.

To learn more about successful workforce management planning in an omnichannel world, download our whitepaper Planning and Managing Your Omnichannel Workforce today.