How we build forecasts to improve customer service

Daily forecasting
Written by:
Picture of Shannon Ashley

Shannon Ashley , Design lead

We’ve built automated forecasting so you can be up and running in minutes with clear visibility on where your demand is are coming inand where your team needs to be.

It is crucially important to have the correct number of surfers (🏄 that’s what we call customer service agents) available at any given moment. Underpopulated shifts leave surfers to deal with too much; increasing your wait times, impacting the customer experience and putting undue pressure on your team.

On the other hand, you don’t want too many surfers working on quiet days or channels. This wastes budget that could be better used elsewhere where demand is higher, and can leave your team feeling dissatisfied.

A surfer has a huge responsibility to bear. They are the first point of contact for customers who need assistance. Good customer service leaves a good impression of the brand the surfer represents. The customer will associate a surfer who has given excellent service to their excellent company.

Of course, things sometimes go wrong. A customer can wait for longer than expected before they are helped. When that happens, it’s easy to point a finger at your team.

Accurately matching supply and demand is a vital part of planning a customer support team. You need to align your schedules with arrival patterns, varying opening hours, multiple channels, and often multiple languages and markets too. Surfboards forecasting tools make this easy – and automated.

Stay ahead of the game

When Surfboard first started, our data scientists would work tirelessly to anticipate daily customer inflow with custom handmade forecasts.

We built our in-product forecasting tools to give the same great, accurate results but in an automated and repeatable way – that can be driven by you.

Based on your unique historical data, Surfboard forecasts the number of contacts you’re expected to receive across hour of the day. We then turn this into a staffing requirement based on variables such as average handle time (AHT), concurrency, channel type and, most importantly, your service level agreements (SLAs)

Here’s how automated forecasting works:

Direct ticketing integrations

Surfboard’s integrates directly with your customer service ticketing or telephony platform. We then extract your historical data to analyse your trends and arrival patterns, allowing us to the forecast into the future.

We understand that your choice of customer service platform is context-dependent. One platform may work better for emails, while another works better for chat.

In Surfboard, you can connect as many platforms as you need, with no added cost. Whether it’s Zendesk, Dixa, Aircall, Intercom, or all of the above, we’ve got you covered. You can also mix and match platforms to create different ways of organising your teams. This works well for teams that serve different languages or teams that like organising their teams by case topics.

Refine your forecast by inbox or channel

To master support team ops, you need to refine your planning and forecast by channel. Surfboard offers advanced filtering and conditions, allowing you to configure and breakdown your forecast in any way you need.

Whether you’re splitting by channel; such as live chat, voice or email, priority, language or even inbox, Surfboard gives you the tools to adapt. To make set-up even easier, we pull the filters, tags and IDs you use in your own ticketing system, allowing you to quickly match your workflows in Surfboard.

Surfboard also offers advanced features for planning messaging channels like concurrency multipliers, vital for planning live chat, and control over whether to use messages or conversations when forecasting.

Stay focused on your targets

Accessibility to technology is at an all-time high. Customers are able to contact surfers in an instant via phone, email, or chat, and expectations continue to rise.

Surfboard’s automated forecasting tools allow you to set your SLAs and service targets for each of your ticket groups. Providing refined staffing requirements that help you achieve your goals, drastically reducing planning time and increasing the quality of support.

Don’t get caught short

When translating ticketing forecasts into staffing requirements it’s important to ground your assumptions in how your team work.

Each ticket group can be further refined by the average handle time (AHT) and shrinkage level. This level of planning allows you to confidently schedule your team; increasing efficiencies, lowering costs and improving the customer experience.

Our scenario planning tool lets you experiment with what if? analysis on different outcomes. Whether your planning for a peak, making your hiring plans or outlining your BPO requirements, Surfboard can help.

Fully automated

Once you’re set up, you can kick back while our forecasting algorithms do the rest. Within minutes, you will know exactly how many tickets to expect at every hour of any day. With that knowledge, you can ensure the right number of surfers are working at all times.

Busy this weekend?

Don’t get taken by surprise if you are. Stay ahead of the game and on budget with automated forecasting. Book a demo with our team to learn how Surfboard’s WFM suite can enhance your customer support team.