Create a skill

Create a skill to forecast for. Start by choosing the channel type, for example Inbound telephony, Email or Chat.

There is a wizard to help you create a skill and define all the skill settings. The settings define for example which activity the forecast is connected to and the service level target. The procedures below guide you through the steps of creating a skill.

When the skill is created, continue by creating workloads. All settings related to the actual work, for example defining open hours and connecting queues, are defined for the workload. More than one workload can be set up for one skill if the workloads share the same service level targets and the agents can handle the calls on all the workloads within the skill.

The agents are assigned to one or more skills.

Prerequisites

  • You have the Forecasts permission.
  • The activity to use for this skill is created and the Requires skill check box is selected for that activity. See Create activities.

Page location

Client > Forecasts

Procedures

Configure the general settings for the skill

  1. Right-click the channel type that you want to create a skill for and select New skill.

    The Inbound telephony and Chat channel types are used for highly time-sensitive contacts where the service level is within the length of the defined interval. The other channel types are used for tasks that can wait but should be handled within for example 24h.

    The channel type cannot be changed once the skill is created.

  2. Enter a Name for the skill.
  3. Enter a Description for the skill if needed.
  4. Select the Interval length for the skill. The interval length is defined based on the interval length available in the queue data for this skill.

    If this field appears dimmed and cannot be changed, another skill uses the same activity with that interval length. If the new skill has a different interval length, you must select another activity.

  5. The Channel type is already set to the one you clicked to create the new skill. It cannot be changed.
  6. Select an Activity for the skill. The available activities are the activities for which the Requires skill check box is selected.
  7. The Color setting currently has no effect.
  8. Select a Time zone.

    It's often most convenient to select the time zone where the workload is. If the workload covers several time zones, you can select the time zone where the resource planners are.

  9. Enter a time for the Midnight break.

    This is the break point for the workday. Normally this is set to midnight. If the workloads close after midnight, set the midnight break to the actual time the workday ends. The midnight break is set according to the skill time zone. See About skill settings for more information.

  10. For telephony and chat skills, enter the Abandon rate. This is used to forecast the number of agents needed and calculate the predicted service level. Analyze your abandon rates when the service level is reached or acceptable and enter that abandon rate for the skill. Avoid using the average abandon rate. See About skill settings for more information.
  11. For chat skills, enter the Max parallel tasks. This is the number of chats that an agent can have ongoing at the same time. The resource need is calculated as the total resource need if each chat was handled one at a time divided by the Max parallel tasks value.
  12. Click Next to define staffing thresholds for the skill.

Configure staffing thresholds

The staffing thresholds defines what should be considered overstaffing, understaffing and critical understaffing for the skill when comparing the schedule to the forecast. This means that there are more agents scheduled than what is required to cover the forecasted need, or that there are too few agents scheduled.

These thresholds have no effect on the forecast. They are used to display staffing level indications in the schedule and for validations of requests and self-scheduling. If you need to adjust the thresholds later, this is done in the skill properties.

  1. Define the Critical understaffing threshold.

    For intervals where the critical understaffing threshold is exceeded, the relative difference is highlighted in red in the Schedules module. When validating absence requests based on intraday staffing, the request is denied if any interval during the requested absence exceed the critical understaffing threshold.

  2. Define the Understaffing threshold.

    For intervals where the understaffing threshold is exceeded, the relative difference is highlighted in yellow in the Schedules module. When validating absence requests based on intraday staffing, the request is denied if more intervals than what is defined by the understaffing tolerance exceed the understaffing threshold. This threshold is also used to validate moves of lunches and breaks in self-scheduling.

  3. Define the understaffing tolerance in the For max field.

    This setting defines the percentage of the intervals within the absence request period that must be above the understaffing threshold for the request to be approved. This is only used when validating absence requests based on intraday staffing.

    EXAMPLE   The understaffing tolerance is set to 75% and the intraday staffing validation is used. This means that if at least 75% of the requested intervals are within the understaffing threshold, the request is approved.

  4. Define the Overstaffing threshold.

    This indicates that more agents are scheduled than what is required to cover the forecasted need. For intervals where the overstaffing threshold is exceeded, the relative difference is highlighted in blue in the Schedules module. This threshold is also used to validate moves of lunches and breaks in self-scheduling.

  5. Click Next to define skill priorities.

Configure skill priorities

Use the skill Priority and Avoid settings to define how to handle this skill when scheduling and optimizing the schedule.

IMPORTANT   Leave these settings in the default position in the middle when you create the skill. Adjust them later if needed to meet your needs. This is done in the skill properties.

  1. Define the relative Priority for this skill compared to other skills.

    High priority skills have a higher impact on the selection of shifts than low priority skills.

  2. Define if you rather Avoid understaffing or overstaffing for this skill.

    Neutral means that one hour of understaffing is equally bad as one hour of overstaffing. If set to avoid understaffing, shifts will be selected to cover the understaffing even if that at the same time causes more overstaffing.

  3. Click Next to define skill templates with service level targets.

Configure skill templates for Inbound telephony and Chat skills

Configure the parameters in the skill templates to be used in the resource calculation for the skill.

NOTE   The values you set when creating the skill are used as default values for the skill. Use Prepare skill to change the default values in the skill template or set different values for different days of the week or for different intervals within a day. In Prepare skill, you can also set limits on the minimum or maximum number of agents to schedule. See Adjust skill targets for more information.

  1. Enter Service level target. The service level is expressed as a combination of a Percentage and a number of Seconds.

    EXAMPLE   The service level 80% and 20s means that the target is to answer 80% of the calls within 20s.

  2. Enter a target for Minimum occupancy.

    The occupancy is the percentage of the scheduled time on the skill activity that the agent is actively handling contacts. The resource calculation might result in a too high resource need for skills with low volume. Use the Minimum occupancy setting to define an acceptable occupancy level and keep the forecasted need lower.

  3. Enter a target for Maximum occupancy.

    In some cases, the resource calculation results in an extremely high occupancy level for skills with a high volume. Use the Maximum occupancy setting to define a manageable occupancy level for the agents and increase the forecasted need.

  4. Enter the expected Shrinkage.

    Shrinkage is the loss of resources because of unplanned absences, such as sick leave. This is used to calculate the total number of agents to schedule, including the number of agents required to cover for unplanned absences.

  5. Enter a target for Efficiency.

    The efficiency is the percentage of the scheduled skill time that the agents are available to handle contacts. This is used to adjust for the fact that the agents might need to leave their desk for example to ask a question or to visit the restroom. Define a realistic efficiency level.

  6. Click Finish to create the skill.

Define skill templates for other types of skills

Define the parameters in the skill templates to be used in the resource calculation for the skill.

The values you set when creating the skill are used as default values for the skill. Use Prepare skill to change the default values or set different values for different days of the week or different intervals of the day. See Adjust skill targets for more information.

  1. Enter a target value for Handled within. This is a target for the maximum time a contact have to wait for their case to be handled. The maximum Handled within time is 24 times the interval length of the skill.

    NOTE   The handled within time is only counted during the skill open hours. If an email arrives during closed hours, the handled within time is calculated from the first interval of the open hours. This means, if you promise your customers a reply within 24h and the skill is open 8h per day, set the handled within time to 8h or less.

  2. Enter the expected Shrinkage.

    Shrinkage is the loss of resources because of unplanned absences, such as sick leave. This is used to calculate the total number of agents to schedule, including the number of agents required to cover for unplanned absences.

  3. Enter a target for Efficiency.

    The efficiency is the percentage of the scheduled skill time that the agents are available to handle contacts. This is used to adjust for the fact that the agents might need to leave their desk for example to ask a question or to visit the restroom. Define a realistic efficiency level.

  4. Click Finish.

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