How to Easily Forecast Call Volume for Call Centers

Gladly Team

Read Time

4 minute read

Call center volume has a tendency to fluctuate — and often without warning. Being able to forecast call volume for a call center can better equip your support staff to handle tidal waves of high volume, which is especially important when considering external factors like supply chain issues or holiday seasons which have the potential to create compounding issues for support centers that aren’t well prepared.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be clairvoyant to have this kind of insight. You can leverage historical data to predict call center volume during specific windows of time. With a clearer picture of what’s to come, you can better fortify your support center for times that demand more effort and even additional staffing.

Why Predicting Call Center Volume Is Essential

Knowing how to forecast call center volumes isn’t just a bonus for increasing workplace productivity and maintaining quality for your customers. This type of anticipation, when done correctly using analytics, protects your staff from being inundated with an insurmountable level of work, and ensures a consistent flow of business uninterrupted by volume-driven delays.

If your support center is thrown off by a period of high volume, your customer service agents will suffer under the pressure of extra requests. As a result of their stress and frustration, agents may be less fit to provide quality experiences, which customers can feel. This causes a snowball effect that can lead to lower revenue in the long term.

In fact, our Customer Expectations Report found the average customer will leave a brand altogether after just two negative support experiences.

Gladly Pro Tip

The more you know about incoming volume, the more you can staff up and prepare your team. Furthermore, you can leverage that information to give them the tools they need to succeed. Learn best practices for hiring seasonal and high-volume employees.

How to Forecast Call Volume for a Call Center

Forecasting call volume balances out backend analytics with the insightful application of data. To get started, make sure your support technology uses an analytics framework that accurately measures and records the influx of requests over time.

With the correct analytics infrastructure in place, you can use these tools to keep a keen eye on stretches of time that are likely to have spikes, such as holidays, return periods after holidays, and new product launches. You’ll likely uncover recurring monthly or quarterly periods that you may not have noticed before, allowing you to accurately forecast future potential high-traffic timeframes.

Building off of that information, you can prepare a more robust response for dealing with the traffic. The right management tools will help you assign teams based on channel strength, direct the flow of traffic to the right specialists, and allow for fast collaboration across channels.

Gladly Pro Tip

Create a strategy of workforce management and collaboration so that when these busy periods arrive, your team is prepared to handle the high volume and feels comfortable leaning on one another — and reaching out to you, the manager — for assistance.

How to Calculate Changes in Call Volume Over Time

Before you can manage peak call volume, you need to know when your call center is at its busiest to allocate staff appropriately. You can forecast long-term call volume by comparing it year over year, finding an average growth rate, and multiplying it by this year’s call volume to discover next year’s potential volume.

Call Volume Rate Change Calculation

If your call center has a yearly call volume over three years of 10,000, 15,000, and 20,000, you have a year-over-year growth of 5,000 calls. Divide that yearly growth by the last two years’ total call volume to find growth rates of 33.3% (from year 1 to year 2) and 25% (from year 2 to year 3).

Add these rates together and divide by two for a 29.15% average growth rate across the last two years. Then, forecast next year’s calls by multiplying this year’s call volume by that growth factor to get 25,830.

This equation looks like this:

Future call volume = Call volume over a time period x (1 + average growth rate)

Gladly Pro Tip

Mastering call volume is a key metric for reaching support center operational efficiency — but it’s just one of the many key metrics CX leaders should track. Learn more about which customer retention metrics your team needs to know.

Using Gladly to Prepare for Call Volume

Gladly provides a number of tools that help you measure and act on call volume forecasting for your support center, which empowers your agents and support center with the technology to maintain their effectiveness despite the wave of requests.

  • The Gladly Insights analytics dashboard shows support volume spikes on specific channels in certain windows of time, helping you predict future traffic and respond accordingly.
  • Gladly workforce management features help you better staff and oversee how your team deals with pressing tasks, especially during high-volume periods.

Our comprehensive platform provides our customers with the ability to maintain strong customer relationships, regardless of busy seasons and holidays. Try a demo of Gladly to understand how forecasting call volume works in action through the creation of a sustainable, well-functioning customer experience.


Experience the first all-in-one customer service platform

Sign up