Today’s world is about instant gratification, and people expect answers with the click of a button. Often you cannot find the information you need on Google or your mobile app. The next logical step is to call someone, but this can lead to frustration as we are left on hold for what seems like hours waiting for a response from a call-centre representative, resulting in a poor customer experience.
Staffing call centres appropriately is a delicate balance: having too few operators on duty risks customer dissatisfaction, while having too many is money down the drain. Call volume forecasts tend to be inaccurate, as they do not take into account the effect of marketing campaigns or forecasted policies in force. Nor do they predict the effect of external events such as the Superbowl, the Olympics or even hot weather which may lead to lower volumes of customer advice calls.
Contact centres are a direct link to an organization’s consumer base. In today’s customer experience environment, they are critical to success. This is one reason insurance companies are implementing analytics to optimize resource planning. This was the case with one insurance customer who had an 18 percent variation in their forecasts; on some days staff were working beyond their capacity, while on others they were incorrectly allocated. To produce more accurate forecasts, SAS analyzed three-years’ worth of call centre data in conjunction with both internal data and external data.
This customer can now build accurate 90-day scenarios to forecast not just call volumes, but also the different types of call to expect: such as new customers, existing customers adding people to policies, or claims. These scenarios are flexible, so new information such as severe weather warnings, can easily be added for timely, relevant and accurate call volume forecasts. As a result, this insurance carrier forecast variation dropped 8 percentage points, with an estimated annual saving of millions of dollars on customer service resources alone. Plus there are the intangible benefits. Customers are no longer left “Hanging on the telephone” as call-centre analytics provide a better customer experience for consumers who are accustomed to instant gratification.