Forecasting and Staffing for New Channels

As mobile and social open up new channels and new types of contacts, it’s critical to forecast and staff for evolving workloads. Mobile and social impact staffing resources, and different types of interactions each require a specific approach to resource planning. The five most common examples include:

• Real-time, with single response. In this example, the organization handles interactions as they occur (e.g., text or phone conversations initiated by customers), with one response generally being sufficient. These are service-level-type interactions (meaning they need to be staffed so they can be handled as they occur), so the staffing approach is like that for traditional inbound calls.

• Real-time, with multiple exchanges. In this case, the organization strives to handle interactions when they are initiated, and the dialog involves multiple back-and-forth messages. These are service-level-type contacts with staffing considerations like those of chat. (Here’s an article that goes into more detail.)

• Interactions that can be deferred. This approach involves addressing inquires or issues that do not require an immediate response. In this scenario, staffing is response-time oriented, like that for email or outbound contacts that are scheduled. Think of Lucy in the chocolate factory and adjust staffing accordingly.

• Outbound. Here, the organization contacts the customer—in a mobile setting, often proactive through text or a call. Like traditional outbound calls, these interactions are easier to manage and incorporate than customer-initiated contacts, but must be staffed and managed nonetheless.

• Self-service. The requirement here is to be cognizant of how existing as well as emerging channels and interactions will be impacted. You’ll get fewer of some types of contacts, more of others. Perhaps most importantly, the content and complexity of interactions will evolve as mobile services mature.