Monday, March 26, 2012

Extend the value of workforce management software with call recording

The goal of workforce management is to create a more productive work environment through the planning, management tracking and analysis of such vital activities as agent performance, forecasting, scheduling, and adherence. 

With call recording software solutions, it’s possible to capture valuable intelligence from agent-customer interactions, and thus improve both service levels and service quality / sales conversions. Data gathered from customer contacts makes it easier to forecast the length of future calls, find out why some calls take longer, and respond accordingly with training or changes in procedure. Call recording software can also assist with assessment of agents’ skills and performances, allowing for skill-based routing and scheduling. Please read more about this topic on our call recording and monitoring blog.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Workforce Management Software Selection Guide for Call Centers

Every call center has different needs. Size, structure, industry, type of calls and many other factors determine your unique requirements. However, there are some guidelines and key questions you should consider when selecting workforce scheduling software for your call center:

Key Functionality:
  • Forecasting: Ability to run simulations to calculate a precise forecast for future call volume, agent requirements and average handle time for any time interval of the day, based on historical data from your ACD.
  • Scheduling: The scheduling engine should incorporate all call types and other activities to generate staffing schedules that optimize a wide range of factors, including agent availability, skills, holidays, breaks and service levels.
  • Exception handling: Integrated exception calendar to simplify scheduling of agent exceptions such as time off and one-time or recurring training meetings.
  • Intra-day management: Graphical display of agents' schedules with drag-and-drop functionality to quickly manage breaks, lunches and other exceptions. Real-time updates can be made to required and assigned agents instantly, and display surpluses and shortages for each time period of the day.
  • Real-time adherence: Ability to compare planned agent activity to actual activities throughout the day, as well as real-time views of forecasted and actual call volumes, handle times and other key performance indicators.
  • Configuration & administration: Ability to set up unlimited number of center splits or agent groups, each with its own set of service objectives and guidelines. Management of multiple sites and time zones. Ability to set hours of operation by day of week, and service level goals down to 15-minute intervals if desired.
  • Metrics and reporting: Ability to report and analyze all agent activities including their schedule adherence and key performance indicators. Managers need to get actionable insights through tools such as call center dashboards, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and real-time alerts.

Implementation and user adoption -
Questions to ask when evaluating the implementation:
  • Implementation and setup: How long does it take to implement and configure the solution to your unique needs.
  • User setup: How much effort is it to set up users in different locations such as remote and home offices?
  • Training: How much effort does it take to learn and productively use the solution?
  • Usability: Is the solution easy to use so that users can leverage the full potential of the software?

Total cost of ownership -
Evaluate key cost drivers of the software:
  • Upfront cost: How much do you have to invest upfront for software licenses, hardware and other software?
  • Implementation cost: Costs for internal staff and consultants to implement the software and train the users.
  • Ongoing cost: Calculate the internal cost of operation, as well as external cost such as ongoing software maintenance fees, subscription and consultant fees.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Call Center Scheduling Tips - Part 2

This is part 2 of our list of call center scheduling tips (here is part 1 in case you missed it):

5. Compare ACD logon time to time-clock entries

Make sure agents are logged in and ready for calls coordinating with the clock time.
Consider using the ACD agent log-in and log-out times for payroll – dependent on the culture and procedures you have established

6. Include all activities in schedule

When developing your forecast and schedule make sure to include
  • Breaks and lunches
  • Multiple tasks (calls, email, etc.)
  • Training
  • Time-off
  • Realistic buffer for shrinkage

7. Rank agents and match teams by personality

Rank your agents
  • Creating a schedule by agent rank can be very effective in reducing costs and increasing sales
  • Rank according to call completion time, calls per hour or other performance measures including sales and order size
Match personality and team
  • Studies have shown that a good relationship with colleagues drives motivation and performance
  • Your schedule should leverage this by teaming up the “right people
For more information about call center scheduling, please also see our new and updated corporate website.