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Capacity Planning

Manage your Resources.
One of the key ways to improve call centre efficiency is to optimise the personnel resource. Whilst Automatic Call Distributors (ACDs) and other related technologies and equipment can assist in this task, workforce management software is specifically designed to help achieve this goal. This is important since approximately 60% of the operating costs of a call centre are associated with staffing. Overstaffing will result in low staff productivity, high idle time and increased costs whilst understaffing is likely to lead to the delivery of poor customer service, the strong possibility of lost revenue and agent burnout.

Customer demand is dynamic. Consequently call centres experience wide fluctuations in both call volume and call type (hence complexity). These fluctuations may be either expected (e.g. marketing promotion) or unexpected (e.g. a storm which generates insurance claims). Since it is impossible to predict exactly when customers will call, resourcing must work on the basis of 'probable' work volume.

Despite high variability in customer demand, the workload of a call centre can be predicted provided that sufficient historical data is collected and analysed. The core responsibility of the call centre manager is to ensure that customer demand is met by staffing at a level which either meets a desired level of service or maximises revenue (e.g. catalogue, telemarketing). This must take account of the "random arrival nature of calls" which increases the number of staff required to complete a given workload. This is because calls cannot be queued (or stored) in the same manner as normal workflow items (e.g. paperwork).

During the course of a day or period, unexpected events may occur. This may impact the predicted workload by either altering expected call volumes or Average Handling Times (AHT). The call centre manager must monitor the impact of these intra-day events and make adjustments accordingly to best meet service levels. These events can later be analysed to identify where lessons can be learned and improvements made.

For more information, please refer to the Key Considerations of capacity planning.

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