Creating and viewing Workforce Management forecasts


You can use forecasting to determine the staffing surplus or deficits at the interval level throughout the day. Forecasting can help you determine the need for future staff based on past history, using KPIs (SLA, ASA, or Occupancy) combined with our proprietary algorithms to produce predictive staffing needs.

Once you have added agents to the scheduling groups, you can use forecasting to view your over and understaffing at the interval level. Workforce Management works directly with Zoom Contact Center to capture historical data. Follow the following 5 sections to configure a forecast and generate recommended staffing levels.

This article covers:

  1. How to create a forecast
  2. How to set up a forecast
  3. How to add scheduling groups to a forecast
  4. How to view a forecast
  5. How to generate staffing

Prerequisites for configuring schedules and activities

How to create a forecast

You can create a forecast to use in your staffing requirements. Creating a forecast involves four steps:

  1. How to set up a forecast - choose the parameters to be used in your forecast.
  2. How to add schedule groups - choose the scheduling groups where you want to generate forecasts.
  3. How to view forecast - see your forecasted interaction volume and average handle duration.
  4. How to generate staffing - create a staffing recommendation.

Note: If you have not set up your schedule groups and queues, follow the instructions in the section titled Set Up Schedule Groups before proceeding.

How to set up a forecast

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation menu, click Workforce Management.
  3. Click Forecasting.
  4. Click Create Forecast.
  5. Enter the following information:
    • Forecast name: Enter a name for your forecast, for example, Forecast for July.
    • Description: Enter a description for your forecast. This field is optional.
    • Number of weeks to forecast: Enter the number of weeks you want to include in your forecast. You can choose up to 4 weeks.
    • Forecast week: Select a time period that you want to create a forecast for. Weeks start on Monday and end on Sunday.
    • Historical data period: Select a history time period to base the forecast on. If no time period is selected, all available data will be used.
    • Add - Select metrics to apply to your forecast section: This section is pre-populated with default values as follows. You can customize these value to change the service level targets.
      • Goal (%) - the default value is 75%
      • Seconds - the default value is 30 seconds
      • Shrinkage (%) - the default value is 20%
  6. (Optional) Click Add Metric to add additional metrics to your forecast. Select your metric categories. You can select multiple categories.
      • Service level target: The Service level is calculated as all calls received in less than the threshold, divided by all calls answered or completed by the queue members. Common modification values: 75%, 30 seconds.
      • Average speed of answer: The time it takes for voice engagements to be answered from the instant a consumer is placed in a queue to the moment an agent answers the engagement. Common modification value: 30 seconds.
      • Occupancy: The percentage of time that agents spend handling engagements vs. waiting for engagements (idle time). Common modification value: 85%
      • Shrinkage: Time in which agents are being paid, but are unable to handle interactions (for example, breaks, staff meetings, training).
  7. Click Add scheduling groups. Follow the scheduling groups section for adding scheduling groups to the format.

Importing historical data (optional)

Forecasts look at historical interaction information to determine staffing needs for future schedule generation. Follow this section if you want Workforce Management to look at imported data from a third-party contact center software to perform a forecast.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation menu, click Workforce Management.
  3. Click Forecasting
  4. Go to the Historical Data tab to import data from another system for forecasting
  5. Click the Import Historical Data button and select your csv file for import. Your CSV file needs the following information for each interval row
    • Start/stop time
    • Queue name or queue ID (generally queue name, which must be different than your Zoom Contact Center queue name). A given queue name can only be associated with a single platform and a single channel.
    • Channel (for example, voice, video, chat, messaging, email)
    • Platform (the platform name will show WFM for imported data)
    • Volume (How many interactions in that interval)
    • Total handle time or average handle time Once you select your file to import, the system will begin ingesting the data. You can refresh the screen to see the status.
  6. Click Create Forecast.
  7. Follow the previous section to set up the forecast.
  8. Follow the rest of this article to add scheduling groups and generate a forecast.

How to add scheduling groups to a forecast

Now you will add the scheduling groups (that you created previously) to your forecast.

  1. Click Add scheduling group.
  2. Select the check boxes of the scheduling groups that you want to create forecasts for. You can select multiple scheduling groups. You can also adjust the Engagement Capacity for messaging queues. This determines the number of engagements an agent is expected to handle at a time.
  3. Click Add.
    • The forecast will perform a validation of the data available in the scheduling group to determine if forecasting is possible.  We recommend at least 3 good weeks of data. If insufficient data, that scheduling group will be excluded.
    • If any of your scheduling groups have a channel that is messaging enabled and has an engagement capacity set, you are able to alter that configuration within the forecast for what if scenarios, we will default to the capacity set at the scheduling group level.
  4. Click Generate Forecast when you’ve added all the scheduling groups
    The forecast you created will display a status of Processing. When the status is Ready, you can view the forecast.

How to view a forecast

Once your forecast has completed processing, you will see a Ready status. You can view your forecast.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation menu, click Workforce Management.
  3. Click Forecasting.
  4. Click the display name of the forecast you want to view.
    You will see the following information
    • The top portion of the page displays a graph to view the forecasted metric over the specified time period for your selected scheduling groups. Each scheduling group is displayed in its color in the graph.
    • Hover over the graph to display the metric data for each scheduling group.
    • The bottom portion of the page displays the table data rows for your metrics and scheduling group. The table shows all the data for the schedule groups, date/time segments, and metrics.
    • Scroll horizontally and vertically to see the data for each scheduling group and their date and time segment.
  5. Use these options to change the data displayed:
    • The vertical (Y) axis displays the selected metric. In the top-right corner of the page, click the drop-down menu to change the metric displayed on the graph.
    • The horizontal (X) axis displays the date and time segments. At the top of the page, click the time period to change the time period displayed on the graph.
    • In the top-left corner, enable the Show totals toggle to see the total data for all scheduling groups included in your forecast request.
    • In the top-left corner, click the drop-down menu to select individual schedule groups to see data for. Click Apply.
    • Click the bars below the graph to show or hide the date segments on the horizontal axis to see data specific to the dates.

How to generate staffing

When you are finishing reviewing the forecast, you can generate staffing.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation menu, click Workforce Management.
  3. Click Forecasting.
  4. Click the display name of a forecast that has a Completed status.
  5. Click Generate Staffing.
    The graph will update with the following data for each scheduling group:
    • Total number of staff (agents) needed for the week.
    • Number of staff (agents) needed each day and for each time segment.
    • The table will show each scheduling group by date, and the number of agents needed for each time segment.

Note: You can use the same options when viewing forecast to customize the data displayed in the staffing recommendation. Once you have generated staffing, the status on your forecast shows it as Complete.