Monday, September 24, 2012

What is call center workforce optimization software?

Many call center managers are still challenged with having the right number of agents with the right skills, ensuring that calls are handled in compliance with regulations and policies, while also delivering great customer service. Call center workforce optimization software offers a complete suite to automate workforce management, call recording, quality assurance and agent analytics. Call centers can quickly and easily optimize all aspects of their workforce with one affordable solution, resulting in better utilization of resources, better cost management and improved service levels. It unifies workforce optimization across multiple processes to better meet customer needs and deliver more effective customer service. The following are typical components of a WFO suite:
  • Workforce Management
  • Call Recording
  • Quality Management
  • Screen Capture
  • Performance Management and Agent Analytics
The integration and unification of data and functionality of WFO platforms help companies redefine the way they operate and establish a more proactive and flexible call center management. Only an integrated WFO suite allows call center managers and supervisors to “connect the dots” and get the whole picture, allowing them to positively impact productivity, quality and the bottom line. Please follow this link to watch a workforce optimization software video.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What to look for when buying hosted or cloud-based workforce management software

In addition to the core questions regarding functionality and capabilities that address your unique business needs, there are a few additional questions that need to get evaluated especially for hosted and cloud-based solutions. Here are the questions to consider:

The difference between hosted and cloud-based workforce management software
In our last blog post we have clarified the difference between "hosted" and "cloud-based" workforce management software.It is important to understand the difference and the implication on costs, usage and overall risk.

All inclusive pricing (maintenance, support and upgrade)
When comparing offerings, it is key to evaluate costs and pricing for the overall software application life-cycle, such as, purchase, installation, set up, training, maintenance, support, and upgrade.
  • Are there any initial costs for set up, training, etc.?
  • How high are the monthly/yearly subscription fees for usage?
  • Are there any additional maintenance fees?
  • Are there any additional customer support fees
  • Are there any additional upgrade fees for new versions
  • Are there any other fee for additional storage, higher performance, etc.

Integration to other call center software systems
Just as the ACD/PBX systems should be integrated to workforce management software to achieve better forecasting and real-time schedule adherence, it is important to look at other integration points. For example, an integrated workforce optimization solution connects all aspects of scheduling, skills, call quality, metrics and compliance to better meet customer needs and deliver more effective customer service. You can easily identify patterns and analyze metrics at various levels for training and quality assurance purposes and establish quality standards and best practices. In addition, you can combine quantitative and qualitative information for a complete assessment of contact center performance. Only an integrated WFO suite allows you to “connect the dots” to get the whole picture that allows you to impact the bottom line. And today's cloud-based solution make it often more easy to integrate or even offer the integration "out of the box".

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hosted Workforce Management Software versus Cloud: What's the difference?

As many companies have discovered in recent years, the Cloud-based model of delivery has numerous advantages over the traditional hosted models of the past. Both offerings are often confused with each other but, not addressing the fundamental differences, have a huge impact on your call center business.

The traditional hosted model is simply hosting a client server or web application on a set of servers at the vendor’s site or computer center. The vendor then provides an application that was not originally designed to be delivered over the web, with a few changes, and delivers it to each customer via a single, dedicated server. It lacks a multi-tenant architecture and requires separate servers and installations for each customer. Much more costly and less scalable, it also requires support for multiple releases, which is very resource intensive. Typically, vendors who sell on-premise software may also offer a hosted model for on-demand options and sometimes call it "cloud-based".

The Cloud-based model uses a totally new multi-tenant architecture that was designed to efficiently and securely deliver web-based applications at the lowest possible cost. It focuses on fast set up, low operating costs through shared services, highest security for web-based deployment and high performance and scalability through instant and seamless scaling of computer resources (also called “elastic cloud computing”). This ensures available computing capacity when you need it and only when you need it, at the lowest possible cost.

Why should a customer care about the difference? Simply because cloud-based workforce management software offers many advantages:
  • Low cost and fast implementation
  • Multi-tenant architecture with “elastic cloud computing” platform for maximum scalability
  • Architected and optimized for web based security model
  • Automated upgrade procedures
  • New web based interface with focus on ease of use without training

Thursday, September 13, 2012

VOIP call recording unified with workforce management in the cloud

The integration of VOIP call center recording software with workforce management (WFM) as a combined workforce optimization solution can result in more efficiencies, cost savings and overall improved call center performance:

Simplify Agent Administration
Consolidate your user management activities through centralized administration. This saves time and reduces cost; also avoiding "siloed" user databases and redundant user/agent management.

Improved Performance
Better investigative capabilities and call center insights, metrics and alerts across multiple functions help make more informed and faster decisions, resulting in optimized call center performance.

Easy Data Sharing
Data collected by both, call recording software and WFM software, can be easily shared between supervisors, managers, trainers, analysts and even groups of agents.

Better Collaboration across Teams
One way to expedite improvements is to create cross-functional teams that can work together on such challenges as optimal scheduling and improving the quality of each customer call. When call center recording and WFM are in sync, informational silos are eliminated and customer service improves.

Lower Costs
By using a unified solution of call recording and WFM software, a call center can lower some costs and eliminate others, such as the need for third-party integration. A call center can reduce overhead expenses by centralizing all administrative functions in a single source.

For more information about this topic, please also see our call recording blog.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Call center forecasting and scheduling tips and best practices

The following is a list of practical tips, tricks and best practices on how to better forecast call volumes and more effectively schedule your call center team:
If you would like to see some of these tips in action, please watch our video demonstrations about call center forecasting and scheduling.