Thursday, July 29, 2010

Agent Adherence – you can only manage what you measure

In a recent survey and study by ICMI one of the top challenges mentioned by call center managers was “consistent adherence to schedule”. In another study by DMG, over 30% of call center managers indicated that agent adherence is a key challenge. Of course, there might be several reasons for this based on call center specifics, but one statement is probably true for all: You can only manage agent adherence if you have a way to measure it. Many call centers still have no reliable way to track and monitor adherence. Workforce management solutions can help in two ways:
  • Real-time adherence: At any moment you can see if members of your team are adhering to the schedule, or not. Real-time monitoring is a key element to better manage call center performance throughout the day, especially if the call volume fluctuates and you don’t need the “out of adherence” challenge on top of it.
  • Adherence reporting: The reporting help you to compare adherence for certain time periods, certain teams, etc. You are able to identify potential causes for low service levels or other issues. In addition, it helps you proactively work with you team, educate about the importance of adherence and provide a “fair” way to motivate and promote positive behavior.
Again, only if you can measure it, you can actually start improving adherence. In a previous blog post "Are you monitoring schedule adherence in your call center?" we have talked about 3 steps that will help you improve schedule adherence. Please take a look if you have not read it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cloud versus On-Premise WFM Software - Part 2

Last week we posted the first part of our article cloud versus on-premise workforce management software - here is the second part.

5. Software upgrades
Cloud: Painless and automated upgrade procedures ensure that customers are always on the latest version. Upgrades and new features are made available on an on-going basis, typically at no cost.
On Premise: Manual upgrade processes often get postponed (or avoided) by the customers due to the effort and costs. New features won’t be available to users.

6. Implementation success
Cloud: Typically, a cloud based vendor has a bigger financial incentive to make customers successful, solve issues and maintain them as a long term customer (subscription model).
On Premise: The on-premise software model is characterized by a high upfront license fees as key motivator, and potentially a lower financial motivation to make the solution work as fast as possible.

7. Usability
Cloud: New web-based user interface often have a stonger focus on usability and ease of use, similar to consumer based web applications such as amazon.com or ebay.com.
On Premise: Traditionally, older client-server software were not always optimized for usability, making it more difficult for the user to take advantage of the software features.

8. Investment risk
Cloud: Lower risk - if a customer is not satisfied with the solution they might be able to cancel the agreement or switch to another vendor.
On Premise: Typically, higher risk due to upfront investment. The associated "switching" costs are higher in case the software doesn't meet the needs of the customer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Best practices in call center scheduling

Please join us for our upcoming webinar "Best practices in call center scheduling" that will be hosted on August 5, 2010 at 10 am PST. We will talk about the following:
  • Schedule optimization: How to properly handle call, non-call activities and exceptions, breaks, lunches, training, etc.
  • Schedule adjustment: How to deal with call volume fluctuations and adjust schedules
  • Schedule adherence: How to set goals, measure adherence and keep agents motivated to adhere to schedules.
We hope to you see you there.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cloud versus On-Premise WFM Software - Part 1

More and more companies discover that the "Cloud" or "SaaS" (Software-as-a-Service) based model has advantages over the traditional premise-based solutions. The following two part blog post compares the two models in more detail and illustrates how the differences can impact the cost, implementation, usage and success of the Workforce Management solution in your organization.

1. Set up and implementation
Cloud: Typically faster set up by simply creating a new customer account, loading of data and system configuration that only takes days or weeks.
On Premise: Installation of hard- and software that can take several months to purchase, install and configure.

2. Upfront costs
Cloud: No upfront investment for software and hardware - offered through a monthly subscription fee that typically includes training, support, maintenance and upgrades.
On Premise: Large upfront investment - purchase of hardware and software, cost for installation, configuration and implementation by IT consultants. Can add up to a 5 or 6 digit capital expenditure.

3. Operating costs
Cloud: Lower operating costs through shared services infrastructure, dramatically reduces the cost for the individual customer.
On Premise: Costs for running your own server operation, including back ups, maintenance, upgrades and hardware replacement that is often not accounted for.

4. Scalability and performance
Cloud: High scalability through multi-tenant architecture and "elastic cloud computing" platform that allows for maximum scalability of data-intensive scheduling scenarios.
On Premise: Scalability limited through server installed and operated by customer.

Please stay tuned for part 2 of this comparison.