Accurate forecasting is one of the most critical, and often overlooked, drivers of operational efficiency. And as you know well, support team efficiency leads to cost efficiencies, happy leadership, and even happier customers. In other words — get forecasting right, and you’re very likely to deliver a lot of strategic value internally and externally.
This belief has guided our roadmap from day one, and it’s why we’ve invested so much time and care into building a world-class forecasting experience. This means delivering more accurate forecasts out of the box, and providing you with more control and configuration options when it comes to fine-tuning your forecasts. We’ve rounded up all these key updates below.
Combine your forecasts with historical arrival patterns
Forecast totals in Assembled make it easy to upload your forecast data without having to specify time increments. Simply upload a CSV file or import the data via our API and Assembled dynamically generates forecasts for all your support channels using a hybrid of your internal predictions and arrival pattern data. Let’s say you’re expecting 10,000 phone calls between May 1 and May 5. After you import this volume data into the system, Assembled displays an hourly forecast that takes into account how that traffic might change based on past phone call arrival patterns. Make no mistake, forecast totals aren’t just a standard upload — they were designed to help you and your team more easily focus on maximizing forecast accuracy over an extended period of time.
Product manager Marc Dupuis explains in this video:
Optimize email SLA with backlog forecasts
In a world where most customers prefer email support over other channels, support teams have to contend with never-ending backlogs that have been impossible to forecast and difficult to prepare for. And if you’re like most support teams, you’re probably staffing for email more aggressively than you need to.
With our new email backlog forecasting model, your email SLA now accounts for existing and forecasted backlog and business hours. This game-changing feature also enables you to visualize your historical backlog and see how it might change in the future. Not only is this a major win for email-centric support teams, but it also only exists in Assembled.
See this new feature in action:
Use dynamic average handle time for bullet-proof staffing
We see this chain effect every day: you can only meet your SLA if your staffing is optimal, and you can only get staffing right if your productivity data is accurate. To us, this comes down to having a clear sense of average handle time (AHT), which has historically been difficult to attain. We’ve addressed this head-on through our new dynamic handle time forecasting feature, which helps you more accurately and quickly determine average handle times as an input into staffing. This means that you no longer need to manually comb through reports to arrive at the best number, and that Assembled presents you with a more accurate and dependable metric that dynamically shifts depending on the time of day. So, for those chatty customers on Saturday nights, we factor in longer average handle times into your staffing plans.
Create forecasts that account for your business’ seasonality
No business looks exactly the same, and neither should your forecast. Our updated forecasting experience includes a new and improved seasonality model that accounts for the unique patterns faced by your business. Whether you’re an e-commerce company that sees peak ticket volume during the holidays, or if you’re a subscription service that anticipates spikes on the first of every month, we’ve got you, and your forecast, covered. Additionally, our model factors in company growth, so you’re always set up for success at scale.
Get better control with new configuration features
The following updates to Assembled’s forecasting capabilities are designed to give you more accuracy and control so you can focus on what matters most.
Automated and manual adjustments for outliers
While we offer accurate forecasts right out of the box, no one knows your team or business better than you do. Let’s say you need to adjust your forecast based on foreseeable events, or perhaps you’ve encountered an unexpected outage. Assembled’s new forecast adjustment and outlier removal feature makes it easy for you to make custom changes. In the background, Assembled automatically runs outliers/adjustments for key holidays and also suggests potential outliers so it’s easier for you to tackle right away.
Multiple forecast models to choose from
Whether you want to base staffing around a weekly average or around seasonality patterns, we’ve got best-in-class options for you. Choose between different forecast models and decide which one delivers optimal value for your business.
Forecasting by queue
Go beyond the support channel and optimize your staffing down to the individual queue level. This level of granularity in forecasting ensures team efficiency, so you have exactly the right team members staffed at the right times.
When fielding a lot of volume from live channels and evaluating SLA more granularly, shorter intervals can make a world of difference. That’s why Assembled now offers the option for 15-minute intervals (in addition to 30- and 60-minute intervals) for both forecasting and staffing.
Simplified SLA tracking
Now you can select from hours, minutes, or seconds for your SLA metrics across all channels and queues. Assembled will automatically do the conversion for you based on the values that you fill in.