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11 Courses

Excel for WFM
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Teacher: Wout Bakker MSc.Teacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Excel for WFM

In this two-hour course, you will learn the basic Excel formulas and functions you need for working in a contact center. Although you may find that some of the content is pretty basic, thorough Excel knowledge is essential for understanding and producing a lot of the WFM-related calculations. After this course you will be able to use Excel more smoothly in your routine WFM work.

No previous knowledge is required to start with this course. You do need your own a copy of MS Excel.

When you already have basic knowledge of Excel operations and functions you should not follow this course.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Forecasting Training, one of the seven courses in the Capacity Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.


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WFM Overview
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Teacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.Teacher: Drs. Remco Liem

WFM Overview

In this two-hour course, a detailed introduction to the workforce management (WFM) challenges and processes in a contact center are provided. The course starts with an elaborated overview of WFM processes so that you will learn how these processes interact with each other. Then the sub-processes including Forecasting, Capacity Planning, Scheduling, and Intra-day Management are explained respectively, combined with relevant WFM terminologies, mathematics, and arithmetic. 

In the end, the actual implementation of each process is addressed. The main aim of this course is to help you get familiar with various contact center processes and to build yourself a structure of WFM knowledge so that you can further develop the expertise for your own WFM task.

No previous knowledge is required to start this course.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Capacity Training.


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Theory of Variability
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Teacher: Prof. Dr. Ger KooleTeacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Theory of Variability

Fluctuation can be observed anywhere in the universe. So the fluctuations that are part of the contact arrival patterns in a contact center are certainly not an exceptional process. In this four-hour course, we will solve the mystery of fluctuation by discussing different aspects of variability.

You will learn the basic probability theory, statistics relevant to WFM, including; histogram, mean, median, standard deviation, significance, some well-known distributions, and the relation between scale and randomness. The main aim of this course is to help you quantify variability, analyse the contact center data, and avoid certain pitfalls.

This course requires you to have an operational knowledge of Excel in a contact center. 
The topics are explained without going into mathematical details.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Forecasting Training, one of the seven courses in the Capacity Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.


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Call Arrival Processes
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Teacher: Prof. Dr. Ger KooleTeacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Call Arrival Processes

Contact center service starts with customer requests and needs. But do you know what is the underlying drive of the pattern in which customer requests arrive in your contact center? This question leads us to the so-called Poisson distribution, which is a crucial concept for understanding many parts of WFM, like forecasting and safety staffing calculations. 

For instance, the Poisson distribution is an important assumption underlying the famous Erlang-C and Erlang-X formulas. 

Instead of just diving into the mathematical details of Poisson distribution, in this course you will start with simulating the call arrival process in Excel so that you can understand why it can be described as Poisson distribution.

This three-hour course requires you to have the knowledge of how to use Excel in a contact center and understand the theory of variability. Therefore, we suggest you finish the Excel for WFM and Theory of Variability courses first.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Forecasting Training, one of the seven courses in the Capacity Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.


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Single-Skill Systems
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Teacher: Prof. Dr. Ger KooleTeacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Single-Skill Systems

In this three-hour course, we discuss how to make service level predictions and safety staffing calculations in a Single-Skill System. The Single-Skill System is the most basic system in contact centers, which implies only single-skill agents are considered. It is also the only system we can directly apply Erlang formulas: Erlang C and Erlang X. The main aim of this course is to help you go through the basic idea (both assumptions and background) underlying the Erlang formulas (e.g., what are the differences between Erlang C and Erlang X?) and provide a step by step guide to implement the calculations in Excel. You will also get access to our online Erlang add-ins to play with our variants of Erlang formulas to predict various criteria (e.g., abandonment, occupancy, etc.).

This course only requires you to have the knowledge of how to use Excel in a contact center. You will find the course is easier to follow if you have knowledge of Theory of Variability and Call Arrival Process, but they are not mandatory.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Capacity Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.


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Multi-Skill Systems
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Teacher: Prof. Dr. Ger KooleTeacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Multi-Skill Systems

This four-hour course is an extension of the Single-Skill Systems course. Nowadays, with the understanding of the scaling advantage introduced by multi-skill agents, Multi-Skill Systems become more and more common. However, this also leads to a more complicated prediction of the service level and the calculation of safety staffing, especially the Erlang formulas explained in the Single-Skill System cannot be applied anymore. In this course, we will look for solutions with you. You will learn how to make service-level predictions using simulation and how to use it to solve different planning problems that exist in multi-skill contact centers. You will also get access to our online two-skill simulator.

This course requires you to have knowledge of Variability, especially in the context of simulation Call Arrival Processes. We also suggest you have finished the Customer and Agent Behavior and the Single-Skill Systems course.

In this course, we start with a quiz to find out whether you have enough pre-requisite knowledge to actually start the course.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Capacity Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.

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Multi-Channel Systems
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Teacher: Prof. Dr. Ger KooleTeacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Multi-Channel Systems

Are you working in a multi-channel contact center? Are you ready for extending the knowledge you have for the classical Single-Skill Systems and Multi-Skill Systems to consider multiple channels including inbound calls, emails, chats, and etc.?

Then this four-hour course is perfect for you. It starts by explaining what challenges will be introduced by having multiple channels. Then discusses how to deal with multiple (blended) channels when we make service-level predictions and safety staffing calculations.

More than that, you will also learn a practical shift scheduling solution which is explained one step by one step in Excel.

This course requires you to have knowledge of variability, especially in the context of simulation arrival processes. We also strongly suggest you have finished the Customer and Agent Behavior and Single-Skill Systems and Multi-Skill Systems courses, all at the practitioner level.

In this course, we start with a quiz to find out whether you have enough pre-requisite knowledge to actually start the course.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Capacity Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.


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Customer and Agent Behavior
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Teacher: Prof. Dr. Ger KooleTeacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Customer and Agent Behavior

Different from manufacturing systems, contact centers offer services as “products”. In this service system, agents and customers are involved. Therefore, their behavior plays an important role in the contact center-system-performance. In this three-hour course, we will address the behavior which gives the most effect: how the AHT is influenced by both customer behavior (different requirements) and agent behavior (proficiency), and how the patience of customers affects the abandonment, redials, reconnects, and so on. A better understanding of customer and agent behavior will definitely help you to make a more reliable analysis of your own contact center system.

No previous knowledge is required to start this course, as long as you are interested in contact center WFM.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Forecasting Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.


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Forecasting Overview
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Teacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.Teacher: Drs. Remco Liem

Forecasting Overview

Forecasting is more than a good prediction of tomorrow’s call volume. In this two-hour course, an overview of the forecasting from a contact center perspective is given. From ‘what is forecasting’ to how it should be done for various purposes (e.g., strategical, tactical operational). The main aim of this course is to help you to gain a clear understanding of the challenges that lie within the forecasting profession. You will also be provided with knowledge on how to deal with certain important challenges (at a general level) and what the limitations are regarding forecasting accuracy.

No previous knowledge is required to start this course since the modules are given in a non-technical manner.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Forecasting Training and one of the eight courses in the Intra-Day Training.


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Forecasting Objectives
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Teacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Forecasting Objectives

One of the most important topics in forecasting is how to evaluate your forecast accuracy? This is crucial for you to select a forecast among multiple forecasting solutions. In this five-hour course, you will learn different ways to measure the accuracy of a forecast and the underlying technical knowledge. Moreover, we also discuss different ways in which we can define volumes in the presence of redials so that we can focus on the fresh call forecast. Note that the call volume forecasting is not the only focus, forecasting of the AHT and for instance the abandonment rate will also be addressed.

This course requires you to have knowledge of variability, especially in the context of arrival processes. Therefore, we strongly suggest you finish the Call Arrival Process and Theory of Variability courses first.

In this course, we start with a quiz to find out whether you have enough pre-requisite knowledge to actually start the course.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Forecasting Training.

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Trend Models
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Teacher: Prof. Dr. Ger KooleTeacher: Siqiao (April) Li PhD.

Trend Models

A forecast in contact centers consists of multiple components: trend, seasonality, events, and error (noise). In this four-hour course, we focus on the trend part and help you to go through the most commonly used and efficient forecasting methods on how to identify the forecast the trend: exponential smoothing, holt method, holt-winter method, and linear regression.

Because the linear regression method is very useful also in other domains than forecasting, and it can also be flexible to take seasonality and events into consideration, it will be discussed profoundly. If you are interested in long-term forecasting, the trend prediction should also take trend damping into account, which is addressed as the last topic of this course. 

This course requires you to have knowledge of variability and how to evaluate a forecast. Therefore, we strongly suggest you finish the preceding courses of Theory of VariabilityForecasting Overview, and Forecasting Objectives.

In this course, we start with a quiz to find out whether you have enough pre-requisite knowledge to actually start the course.

This course is one of the seven courses in the Forecasting Training.


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