How To Forecast Customer Service Needs In 2024
As cool as it would be to have a crystal ball that outlines exactly what next year’s customer service workload will look like, that’s just wishful thinking – the real-life magic is using your data to forecast customer service needs and ensure that you’re allocating your business resources appropriately.
Because let’s face it – whether you’re under or overestimating next year’s traffic to your online store, you’ll end up either wasting money on agents who aren’t being fully utilized or burning out a team that’s too small to handle the sheer volume of tickets & inquiries.
There’s a better way to do business, and the secret is practicing E-Commerce demand forecasting to predict customer service needs in 2024 and set your business up for a successful and profitable year (cue New Year’s Eve-themed noisemakers).
The 3 Key Components Of E-Commerce Demand Forecasting
Ensuring that your customer service channels have the appropriate coverage for the coming year is a MUST for both your team and your customers.
After all, you never want to find yourself in a position where either your agents are burnt out or your customers are frustrated with the lack of preparation.
Performing E-Commerce demand forecasting is a proactive way to determine how many agents you’ll need, which is why we’re laying out the key components of this process for you below.
1. Collect Historical Data
We’ll say it ‘til we’re blue in the face – data should ALWAYS be the driving force behind any major business decision, particularly one that determines how successful your customer service efforts will be.
When collecting data to forecast how many customer service agents you’ll need, we recommend looking into your transaction-to-ticket ratio, net promoter score (NPS), and customer effort score (CES).
A. Your transaction-to-ticket ratio identifies the number of customer service tickets your brand received during a specified period. Calculating this metric will offer greater insight into how many agents you’ll need to cover your customer service channels in the future, particularly during periods of heavy marketing or paid ads when your brand will expect additional traffic.
B. Your net promoter score (NPS) measures how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to family and friends, which is important to review, particularly after events such as new product or feature launches, or after you’ve made changes to your customer support. These insights help with forecasting support needs because they allow you to determine how many more agents you may need in 2024 before, during, and after a launch or shift in your customer service processes.
C. Your customer effort score (CES) determines how much effort a customer has to put in to have their ticket resolved, which is helpful for understanding where and when your customers need more support. If you’re noticing bottlenecks consistently cropping up at certain times or stages of the customer journey, you’ll want to add more agents to smooth the experience and ensure that your peak seasons don’t result in unhappy customers.
2. Analyze Customer Behaviors
Similarly, with your NPS & CES scores, incorporating your customers' past behaviors into your customer service forecasting process will tell you a lot about what to expect in the upcoming year.
Start by analyzing the patterns and seasonal trends that emerge from data for past customer service inquiries. A common trend for many businesses is spotting the peaks around holiday shopping seasons and the valleys during off-seasons (think slow winters for brands that sell swimming & surf gear), but there’s often even more to it.
For example, are the majority of your customers turning to your troubleshooting articles first when they pop onto your website or immediately sending a message to your live chat?
You can also look at data from your social media platforms. During past periods of high engagement, your DMs, comments, and (fingers crossed!) sales from new customers likely increased, which indicates that you’ll need more agents covering social media customer support channels while you’re promoting more products, running ads, or asking your audience to participate in polls and surveys.
3. Estimate The Agents You’ll Need
Once you’ve compiled your data, you can use the information to assign the appropriate number of agents to your customer service channels based on need.
We also recommend calculating your agent capacity by calculating how many tickets your agents completed daily within a specified period.
Having all the information about your customers’ behaviors as well as your customer service team’s abilities will offer a bigger picture that you can analyze to determine how many full-time or part-time agents you’ll need to handle inquiries each month.
However, we’ve found that flexibility is tremendously important for most E-Commerce brands, which is why we encourage outsourcing customer service to a company that allows you to scale your level of support up or down based on need.
No more overspending on agents during slower periods or scrambling to fill the gaps during high-volume weeks or months – just the flexibility you need to meet staffing requirements in a totally cost-effective way.
Keep Up With Your E-Commerce Customer Service Needs By Partnering With TalentPop’s Skilled Agents
Forecasting customer support needs for your E-Commerce brand is a data-driven strategy, but even the most detailed insights can fail to anticipate slower weeks or periods of extreme volume.
Fortunately, that’s where TalentPop comes in to help. With our transparent pricing model (as low as $8/hour per agent) and easily scalable customer service solutions, we make it totally simple for you to add agents during unexpectedly busy periods or decrease your level of support during slower times.
Plus, we pair each of our clients with a dedicated Customer Success Manager who will oversee your agents and help you use their skills (and availability) to your advantage.
Enter 2024 on the best foot possible by forecasting your customer service needs and partnering with the right team to help you tackle them.
Schedule a call with us today, and we’ll show you how to get started.
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