Showing posts with label workforce management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label workforce management. Show all posts

Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting More from your Workforce Management System


When choosing the best workforce management (WFM) solution for your call center, there are a number of considerations to review based on that center’s specific needs.

From capabilities and implementation to cost, usability, scalability and ROI, it’s a decision that will require advance research and feedback from the key members of your management team. Of course, one of the main objectives should be to increase efficiency and service levels, while also reducing costs.

If you’re near the beginning of this process, or have been using it for a while,  here is a checklist of considerations that may be helpful in getting more out of your WFM software to maximize the performance of your contact center.

In the area of process design and improvement, run reports and do analysis in the following areas:
  • Call Handling Analysis
  • Benchmark Analysis

  • Activity Summaries and Details 
  • Work Standards 
  • Quality Form Review and Feedback

  • Evaluation of Coaching Techniques and Calibration

  • Staff Flexibility
In the area of management discipline, take a look at these areas:


  • Intraday Reviews, Adherence and Exception Management
  • Forecasting and Scheduling Best Practices 
  • QM and PM Coaching, Training and Role Playing
Finally, if you need help, be sure to assess the software provider as well, to make sure they will deliver the necessary training and follow-up so your agents, supervisors and managers can get up to speed quickly with the new technology and getting the most value from your investment. If you have any questions, please contact us and we are happy to share some of our best practices with you.



Monday, September 8, 2014

5 Tips for the Overworked Contact Center Manager

Are there any contact center managers who are not overworked? It’s a challenging job with many responsibilities that requires the ability to plan ahead and then make adjustments accordingly when those plans go awry.

However, with Workforce Management (WFM) software in place, it becomes easier to manage the most important daily tasks, and keep customer service levels consistent even when the unexpected happens.

Here are 5 tips for contact center managers that, with a little help from WFM, can make their work days less stressful.

1. Start with an Accurate Forecast
When you get the forecast right, everything else tends to fall naturally into place. With WFM forecasting every activity and running simulations to check accuracy, managers can work from a forecast that will result in fewer surprises during the day.

2.  Schedule All Activities

Incorporating non-call activities into schedule calculation delivers more predictable and management results.

3. Set Notifications
Set alerts and triggers so you are notified right away if something is not going as planned. That gives you more time to make corrections, while shortening the time that the variance can adversely impact customer service.

4. Daily Recap
Review results at the end of each day, to determine what worked as planned and where improvement might be possible. Don’t dwell on mistakes – just learn from them.

5. Take a Break
Many modern WFM solutions allow you to monitor key metrics from a handheld device, so you can step outside without missing important metrics. You may be surprised at the difference just a few minutes outside the office can make.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tips for Proactive and Reactive Contact Center Management

Precise planning can make the difference between contact centers operating at optimal efficiency, and those with personnel and resources that are not properly utilized.

A proactive approach is necessary to formulate such detailed plans, especially when working with a workforce management solution such as Monet’s WFM Live. Here are 3 tips that should help make staffing more efficient and reliable:
  • Plan outbound calls for case management as non-call work
  • Run roster performance simulations several days in advance 
  • Hire flexible part-time and full-time agents
When it’s Important to be Reactive?
So does that mean being a reactive analyst is somehow less important? There are times when it is vital to ensure schedule coverage and streamlined workflow. Once again, having the right technology in place can make all the difference.

How can you spot an effective, reactive analyst? He or she is the one who:
  • Creates employee templates for standard agent types (such as customer service 9-5, cross-skilled overnight, escalations & level 2 afternoon shift) to build a roster that achieves different coverage patterns quickly
  • Schedules meetings in advance with a meeting planner function during times when coverage is acceptable  
  • Facilitates schedule change requests and agent shift swaps 
  • Creates roster shifts when there are coverage gaps for agents to bid on. Agents submit requests which supervisors can approve, to fill and re-balance  the “required vs. assigned” figures 
All of these services are more easily and accurately provided with the right tools. Find out more about how Monet can help managers and analysts achieve their service goals.


To get more tips and best practices, please contact us or check out our workforce management resource library.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Workforce Management for the Helpdesk

Accurate forecasting, scheduling and staffing for a Helpdesk can be a more difficult challenge than doing so for standard contact center traffic.

Many calls to contact center agents cover basic ordering, returning, questions etc. that can be handled in a few minutes. But the typical helpdesk call may incorporate several complex activities that must be handled by different people with different skill sets.

An effective workforce management solution is the key to making a helpdesk run smoothly and efficiently, so cases get closed as quickly as possible with a positive outcome.

Forecasting, scheduling and assigning activities more effectively can optimize case resolution. WFM makes this possible. Managers can match available resources to the specific requirements of each case. By integrating workforce optimization in the WFM solution, case and activity assignment is further optimized, and managers will always be confident that their resources are being allocated in the best way possible.

Best of all, the data is available in real-time, so managers will always have insight into case handling and activity assignments as they occur. Make adjustments as needed, whether that involves adding or reassigning agents, to improve turnaround time.

A helpdesk is there to take on the tougher challenges. With a Workforce Management system in place that support helpdesks, even the most difficult cases can be resolved in a way that customers will appreciate.

You can learn more about Workforce Management for Helpdesks on our website, or just contact us and we are happy to show you how it works.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Intra-day Workforce Management? It’s as Easy as “Drag and Drop”

Wouldn't it be nice to check your contact center status and quickly review agent activities on a single color-coded dashboard? If you see green, you know everything is as it should be. If you see red, you know that action has to be taken, and you are then able to make real-time schedule changes that have an immediate impact on contact center performance.

Thankfully, this isn’t one of those scenarios like “Wouldn’t it be nice if chocolate was good for you?” In this case such quick and easy status checks and schedule adjustments are certainly possible, with a technology solution like Monet WFM Live.

When changes need to be made, the graphical schedule generated by Monet WFM Live allows managers to drag and drop breaks, lunches and other changes. The real-time updates provide an up-to-the-minute picture for agent surpluses and shortages throughout the day.

In addition, reports, organized as easy to read charts, provide managers with the data necessary to create individualized shifts for a particular agent (based on exceptional skills, special needs or other variables), as well as extensive employee-level configuration options for non-call work assignment.

Find out more about WFM Live.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to be a Proactive Workforce Management Analyst

Proactive contact center managers focus on staying ahead of the curve. That means careful, strategic planning, calculating all of the variables and delivering accurate forecasts and schedules that are flexible enough to accommodate last minute changes.

Sounds like a challenge, but with Monet WFM, the process becomes easier, more precise and more flexible. Managers now have the capability to track intra-day trends for immediate adjustments, and for optimal schedule creation, which helps contact centers consistently meet service levels and control costs.

Here are a few additional tips that will help managers striving to become proactive.
  • Enter time off exceptions, meetings and training before the roster is generated to close gaps in roster assignments or shift placement; but if you must enter them afterward, the WFM system can automatically optimize them in a way that reduces manager overhead
  • Impromptu training sessions are easier to schedule with little to no impact by using the meeting planner function
  • Wider lunch and break windows are made possible by flexible shift profiles
  • Enter the maximum allowable time in the Exception Calendar/Time off Manager – this provides more visibility for agents and prevents schedulers from over-committing to time-off, which could impact contact center operation
These and other tips make staffing more efficient and more reliable through better results for agents, supervisors and administrators.

Can Monet help you get more from your WFM solution? Contact our Customer Success team and let’s talk.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How effective is your call center forecasting and scheduling process?

Forecasting and scheduling are vital components in the success of every call center management. Achieving consistent results requires a little art and a little science, but is impossible without concrete data.

For decades, that data was gathered through spreadsheets, and would take hours to compile. Even then, the results were not always accurate, or flexible enough to accommodate last minute changes or other staffing issues.

An automated workforce management (WFM) and optimization (WFO) solution can help you to implement Best Practices. You can easily improve forecast accuracy and in turn, optimize schedule assignment, making sure all the necessary resources are always in place. An integrated WFO solution allows a manager to check KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) against historical data. In a typical call center a manager will ask such questions as:

“When I see that my agents’ Average Talk Time has exceeded the target, does this result in more abandons and a poor service level?”

“If a longer talk time is causing more abandons, are there agents that are still able meet all of their quality monitoring goals while keeping a low talk time?”

By analyzing data in an integrated WFO tool, a manager can then reference what processes allowed some agents to have a lower talk time while meeting their quality targets, and then train the rest of the workforce using these processes.  At that point, a lower Average Talk Time goal may be set for the entire center, resulting in happier customers getting their calls answered more quickly and less overall abandons.

“Call Center Forecasting and Scheduling: Best Practices” details how WFO improves the likelihood of creating reliable forecasts and accurate schedules. There are also sections on how WFM impacts agent productivity, and which criteria are most important when selecting a WFM solution.

Click here to download Call Center Forecasting and Scheduling: Best Practices.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Can You Reduce Contact Center Staffing Costs by 20%?

Staffing is the most expensive resource in the call center budget, so any improvement in productivity can have a significant impact.

What if there was a way to cut your staffing costs by as much as 20%, while also reducing the amount of time you now devote to forecasting and scheduling?

It’s possible – just by switching from spreadsheets to a Workforce Management solution.

Spreadsheets were a great idea for call center staffing, forecasting and scheduling – last century. Today, there are faster, easier ways to handle these vital functions that are also more accurate, more agent-friendly, and more economical for call centers of all sizes.

With a WFM solution such as Monet WFM Live, managers have the flexibility to adjust to unexpected events, manage exceptions more efficiently, and reduce shrinkage by as much as 15 minutes per agent per day.

WFM Live offers a number of additional benefits as well, including:

•    Easier skill-based scheduling
•    Real-time adherence monitoring and analysis
•    Less time required for scheduling
•    Improved service levels

Isn’t it Time For a Better Solution?
Monet WFM Live represents a quantum leap forward from spreadsheets, at a cost within reach of any size call center. We invite you to watch a short workforce management video so you can see yourself how the solution might help you reduce costs in your contact center.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Is it Time for a Workforce Management Health Check?

Does your workforce management system provide all the benefits you need at a reasonable price? If it doesn’t, it may be time to take a closer look at your solution, and if there is something that can be done to bring it back to optimum efficiency. In other words, perhaps it’s time for a check-up that will provide answers to these questions.

1. Are you using the latest version?
Each new WFM product adds additional capabilities, improves existing functionality, and corrects issues with previous versions. With traditional software, these upgrades can also be expensive, which is why many companies delay implementation. But call centers that get their workforce management in the cloud will always be on the most recent version, as it is automatically installed at no additional cost.

2. How do employees work with this system?
WFM is designed to make the agent’s job easier, but if personnel are not properly trained, or if the system is too complicated, your call center may not be getting the most out of its potential.

3. What are its ongoing costs?
For years, the only WFM solutions worth acquiring were those that also required hardware upgrades, ongoing IT support, and yearly (even monthly) costs for maintenance and operation. Call centers still in this situation must make a decision on maximizing their investment, or perhaps switching to the more economical option of WFM in the cloud.

4. How have our needs changed?
Call centers are still evolving into contact centers. Some may expand, some may contract based on other factors. It’s vital that WFM scales with the needs of the business.

5. Is it delivering as promised?
Call centers step up to a WFM solution to access real-time metrics and reports that impact forecasting, scheduling and day-to-day operation. Is the system providing the information you need to make better decisions?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Is your Hosted Workforce Management Vendor a “Cloud-Pretender"?

When is a cloud not a cloud?

That’s the question many contact centers, as well as other types of businesses, now face as they prepare to switch to cloud-based technology.

They have been told that a cloud solution is easier, lowers upfront costs, and increases productivity. All of which is true. Unfortunately, some providers are now trying to jump on the cloud bandwagon with a solution that delivers all of the costs and none of the benefits.

You might say it’s a cloudy situation.

Cloud computing is not a term easily defined, but the differences between a “cloud pretender” and the genuine article become apparent when comparing relative features and costs. Some of the attributes that should be standard with a cloud-based platform include virtualized scalability, the ability to instantly self-provision and auto-provision resources, a shared infrastructure and easy, automated upgrades.

And since one of the objectives of choosing a cloud-based platform is lowering costs, the call center should not be hit with bills for upgrades, maintenance and additional server capacity when making the switch.

While it would seem the differences would be obvious, many companies have selected cloud solutions only to find themselves in a fake cloud situation that lacks the benefits of the real thing. Over the next few years call centers will recognize their error and make the transition from simple virtualization of client-server software to a genuine cloud-based solution.

If you are considering cloud computing in your call center, you can maximize the benefits derived from it by choosing a trusted, reputable provider and getting the right system in place, the first time. Get this whitepaper "What is cloud-based Workforce Management" to learn more about the "true" cloud.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Six Steps to Improved Call Center Staffing

Of all the factors involved in operating a successful, cost-efficient call center, staffing may be the most significant. Out of every dollar spent in call center costs, about 75 cents is related to labor. That makes these decisions pivotal to the operation of the business.

While different call centers have different priorities and different functions, the challenge of staffing remains relatively consistent regardless of size or specialty. These six steps can help a call center manager successfully traverse the staffing minefield.

1. Gather and Analyze Data


The most accurate and reliable guide to staffing, as anyone who studies workforce management can tell you, is to look back at past performance and call center history. Review the reports generated by the automatic call distributor for data on average handle time, number of incoming calls and other key performance indicators.

To create a staffing schedule for, say, the first week of April, the obvious place to start is with the data for the first week of April of the previous year, and the year before if that information is available. The more historical data used, the better the chance of an accurate forecast. Variations should also be considered – where does Easter fall this year? Will that impact call volume? Will more students be on spring break?

When consulting previous weeks/months/years of information, the two numbers that will most strongly impact forecasts are call volume and average handle time, either calculated per hour or per half-hour.

2. Crunch the Numbers for a Workload Calculation


There are three methods typically employed by call centers to translate historical data into a staffing forecast:

Point Estimate 
With this system the call center relies on a basic apples-to-apples comparison of a future point in time with that same point in the past. For example, forecasting next June 15 based on traffic numbers from June 15 of last year. While this is a good starting point, it will not be precise as it does not account for more recent calling trends or new products or promotions.

Averaging
With this method a manager would average relevant past numbers to predict call volume, preferably while relying more heavily on recent data (by creating a formula that uses these numbers more prominently). However, this may still not take into account some changes or events that would have figured into older data.

Time Series Analysis
With time series analysis, historical data is calculated alongside monthly or seasonal changes, as well as more recent events and other variables. It is a more comprehensive approach that typically results in better forecasts.

3. Staffing Calculations


Steps #1 and #2 are used to create the forecast. Now it’s time to formulate a schedule. The call volume forecast numbers are factored into workload predictions, workload being the number derived from multiplying the amount of forecasted calls and the average call handle time.

Most managers will add additional staff to whatever number of agents is deemed appropriate, both to compensate for unexpected absences and to maintain customer service levels should call volume be higher than anticipated. The unproductive hours designated as “shrinkage” – breaks, training time, tardiness, meetings – must also be considered. At most call centers, shrinkage rates fall somewhere between 20% and 35%, depending on the size of the business. In general, larger call centers can absorb these variables more easily because of a more favorable staff-to-workload ratio.

Another factor is how busy each agent will be during a shift, referred to as agent occupancy. The goal is to achieve an optimum balance between not sitting around for extended periods of time between calls, and not having a long queue of calls waiting that might result in rushing a customer call, to the detriment of that engagement. As a percentage, 85-90% is considered an acceptable occupancy range.

4. Create Assignments


Creating a staff schedule is all about getting the right number of the right people in position to handle the customer service needs of the call center. Once the calculations from the previous step have been completed, the manager should know how many agents would be needed for the shift in question.

As some call centers operate with full-time agents and others use part-time and telecommuting employees, this is when shift lengths and resources must be defined, days off specified and personnel scheduled. Depending on the size of the call center, there may be dozens, if not hundreds, of scheduling possibilities. If skill-based routing is also a priority, this will also affect staffing decisions. Once personnel have been selected, the manager also has the option of staggering start times by 15 or 30 minutes, which can reduce instances of too many agents taking lunch breaks or other diversions at the same time during a shift.

5. Management and Adjustment


There is no way to know if a plan is going to work until it is executed. Even with the preparations and calculations already described, staff schedules will likely still have to be adjusted every day. This ongoing management of staff and schedule is referred to as performance tracking.

The main components of performance tracking are call volume, AHT and staffing levels. Deviations from forecasting predictions may require staffing adjustments, assuming enough flexibility has been built into the schedule to make the necessary changes. If not, call center service goals may be in jeopardy. Tracking the number of a calls in queue may also require some “instant forecasting” to adjust the remainder of the shift accordingly. However, over-reaction should also be avoided, lest a random surge be mistaken for a full-day trend.

6. Review, Analyze, and Adjust


The end of a shift is the beginning of preparation for the next one. The challenge of staffing is ongoing, but each day’s results deliver data to analyze that may result in ways to improve performance, both for each individual agent and the entire team.

Conclusion
Many of the most persistent challenges of staffing can be mitigated when call center managers know what to look for, when they have the information they need, when they need it, and when they can act upon it quickly.

No one every said predicting the future was easy. But an effective, automated workforce management solution can make the necessary calculations, remove much of the guesswork and improve the accuracy of schedules and forecasts. Through real-time measurement of call center metrics, agents and managers gain the data visibility necessary to deliver the service that customers expect, and can react more quickly to issues and resolve them before they impact operations.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Introducing Workforce Management to Agents

As call center workforce management has evolved over the decades, its methods have become more refined, more specific and more advantageous. In doing so, however, it has also become more intrusive, at least from the perspective of some agents.

When it was all hard copy spreadsheets, or even after the advent of Excel spreadsheets, its tentacles seemed more distant. But with today’s workforce management software, it really seemed like “Big Brother” had finally arrived. It can generate fear and confusion, as well as concern over being controlled by a super-computer that will monitor what they are doing every moment of every shift.

This can pose a challenge to call center management when introducing this new technology into the workplace. How can the transition be eased into a system that will change the way schedules are created, shifts are assigned, exceptions are considered and hours are calculated?

Here are two approaches that might help.
  • The first focuses on reassurance. Whether this is done individually or collectively, let the agents know that the customer service goals of the call center have not changed – just the methods for helping to achieve them. Managers should be available to answer questions and address concerns. Most agent trepidation is rooted in a fear of the unknown – once the system is explained and demonstrated, many of these fears will subside.
  • Next, stress that the benefits of workforce management software are not limited to management. Now, it will be easier for agents to request shift swaps or days off, so they can better balance work with their personal lives. Walk them through the process until it becomes familiar.
Once agents have bought into the system as well, WFM software can deliver dramatic service improvements as well as agent motivation. If you have question or would like to learn from other call centers, please feel free to contact us - we are happy to share our experience in rolling out workforce management systems.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hosted ACD in the Cloud – Now What?

In several previous blogs we weighed the benefits and drawbacks of a cloud delivery system vs. on-premises hardware and software installation. However, while these examinations focused on an “either-or” scenario, there are many call centers now employing a combination of the two options.

This is especially true with Automatic Call Distribution (ACD). Some contact centers have jumped on hosted ACD or a cloud ACD system, recognizing the efficiency advantages of skill-based routing of incoming calls. The cloud system is particularly beneficial for contact centers with a decentralized workforce, as they can be connected to the system from home or anywhere without additional hardware installation.

However, if a contact center is employing an ACD system without a proper planning of an overall cloud strategy, it may be missing out on the cost and convenience benefits gained from a more comprehensive cloud solution.

Many traditional on-site WFM and WFO systems might not take full advantage of hosted or cloud ACD. When all of these vital functions are planned and handled based on on a complete cloud solution model, the result is a more simplified, streamlined operation, lower costs, improved reliability and scalability, and 24/7 security and management.

Monet’s WFO Live, for example, incorporates workforce management tools to improve scheduling and service levels, call recording capabilities for compliance, and quality assurance to help managers better evaluate the performance of their agents and the call center as a whole. All of these functions deliver the data that makes automatic call distribution more effective.

From forecasting and exception planning to call tagging, reporting and analytics, WFO Live is a one-stop source for call center efficiency, accessed through the cloud for better convenience and lower upfront cost.

If you have questions regarding an overall cloud strategy for your contact center, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to share our cloud expertise.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Workforce Management and Scheduling

workforce management
When you examine how many of the challenges inherent in operating call centers are connected to scheduling and workforce management, it becomes obvious that a consistent, reliable scheduling solution is essential to meeting customer service goals.

The problem, of course, is that scheduling encompasses a lot of moving parts, and requires the precise allocation of human and technological resources. And even when managers find a formula that works, thus achieving a perfect balance of call handlers with times of higher and lower tempo activity, it is not immune from last-minute changes and variables. All it takes is a few agents calling in sick just before the shift starts to render these perfect calculations worthless.

But for every issue that may arise, there is one solution – workforce management (WFM) software. It works because it addresses scheduling challenges before the shift begins, allows for faster reaction times to changes during a shift, and compiles data after each shift that can be used for future forecast and schedule creation.

Before the Shift
The majority of time devoted to scheduling takes place before the day or shift in question. This is when the call center manager will create a forecast for a specified time, then create a schedule based on that forecast.

This is when data will be reviewed based on historic trends dating back months or years. WFM compiles this data, factoring in quantitative judgments that make it easier for managers to build a proper schedule. Forecasts can be created based on both best case and worst-case scenarios, which will reveal opportunities to further improve efficiency.

Other factors to consider when creating a schedule include skill-based routing – to make sure calls are received by the agent best qualified to take them, and agent preferences that should be accommodated whenever possible to boost company morale.

Some call centers still rely on spreadsheets to track scheduled time, agent availability, and such daily occurrences as work breaks and training sessions. The same tasks can be accomplished more quickly and more accurately with WFM software, particularly at call centers with more than 25 agents.

During the Shift
This is when the best-laid plans sometimes fall apart. It’s also when WFM software proves its superiority over spreadsheets. One of its best features is intra-day management, a graphical display of real-time call center activity that lets managers check their schedule accuracy.

If the forecast and schedule is out of sync, customer service is suffering and so is the call center budget. Fifteen minutes a day may not seem like much, but if agents are out of adherence that long every day, the result can be tens of thousands of dollars in additional staffing costs.

Acknowledging adherence issues and addressing them on tomorrow’s forecast is not enough. With intra-day management, managers can review agent schedules and change them by dragging and dropping breaks, lunches and other exceptions. Surpluses and shortages are displayed for each pre-set time period throughout the day, so managers instantly know which resources are available and how they are being utilized.

After the Shift
There is value to the data collected from every shift. WFM software tracks agent performance, achievement of key performance indicators and schedule accuracy, as well as costs and revenue.

Choosing a Workforce Management Solution
There are several factors that can influence the selection of a WFM solution. While all of them will increase efficiency and service levels, it’s important to achieve these goals while also reducing costs and accelerating ROI. Keep these criteria in mind before you start the selection process:

Capabilities
A WFM solution should include accurate call volume forecasting from historical data and ACD integration, flexible schedule creation that incorporates foreseen and unforeseen variables, agent exceptions, intra-day changes to both forecasting and scheduling, and performance management reports.

Implementation and Integration
Does the system work with a call center’s existing hardware? If so, how long will it take to implement, and for agents to get comfortable with the system?

Cost
Incorporate upfront costs, ongoing monthly or maintenance costs, and any hidden costs in the budgeting consideration. Can the system be used over the web without equipment purchase? Weigh the advantages of an on-premises solution vs. a Cloud solution.

Metrics
Besides forecasting, scheduling and adherence, other key WFM metrics that should be able to be reviewed via dashboard include call answer times, first call resolutions and transfer rates. The more metrics that can be tracked, the easier it is to zero in on issues that impact customer service – and the easier it is to correct them. 

Unification
How unified will the user experience be across solution components? Will the dashboards show everything necessary to monitor a call and discover how and where corrections should be made?

Scalability
Can the solution grow with the call center? Can modules be added without additional hardware costs?

Risk
What happens if the first system purchased doesn’t pan out? Can it be returned without incurring any financial risk?

ROI
What will the return on investment (ROI) be, and how quickly will the call center recoup that initial investment?

For more information, please download this Workforce Management Selection Guide which provides a more detailed check-list and criteria to consider when choosing a WFM system.


WFM Live From Monet Software
The call center is the perfect dance of call volume, agent availability and productive interactions – at least that is the goal for every call center manager. The challenge, however, is turning those goals into reality when trying to implement call center scheduling tools. Workforce Management (WFM) Live from Monet Software can help.

Monet solves contact centers’ two biggest business issues: meeting service levels and controlling payroll costs. Monet’s workforce management software is cloud-based and delivered as a service, avoiding a large upfront investment and painful hardware and software implementation.

Plus, the system is fully integrated into Monet’s Workforce Optimization Suite, which delivers web-based applications for call recording, quality monitoring and performance management a low monthly fee with minimal capital investment.

A simple set up (within 30 days in most cases) has agents and managers up and running quickly, with a level of functionality that meets or exceeds industry standards. Forecasting, scheduling, real-time adherence, ACD integration, intra-day management, exceptions handling, supervisor collaboration, reporting and more, all delivered within a secure, scalable and reliable system.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Workforce Optimization for Business Process Outsourcers (BPO)

As a Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) your contact centers often have to represent an array of clients in very different businesses, and you must be able to adapt to meet their specific needs.

Does multiple clients mean multiple headaches? Certainly it can be a challenge to deliver a great customer experience for each company, and more importantly for their customers, who should not be able to detect that their call has been outsourced.

The Solution? Workforce Optimization!
Workforce Optimization software (WFO) is the fastest and easiest way for BPOs to achieve all of its customer service goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. WFO comprises a suite of automated services, including:
  • Workforce Management
  • Call Recording
  • Quality Monitoring
  • Screen Capture
  • Performance Management and Agent Analytics
With these tools in place a BPO is much better equipped to serve the needs of its clientele. Workforce management streamlines forecasting and scheduling so the call center is prepared for each day’s challenges. Call recording helps confirm that agents are meeting the needs of each customer base, while also providing a record for BPO clients to review so they can listen to how their customers are treated.

Quality management and screen capture deliver the key performance indicators to improve service levels, while performance management and agent analytics provide scorecard analysis and reports to further refine agent performance. 

With WFO, a business process outsourcer can juggle the specific forecasts and schedules for different clients, while delivering a better experience for all of their customers. If your organization provides contact center related BPO services, please talk to us and let us know what your current needs and challenges are and we will share with you how we have helped other Business Process Outsourcing companies.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Contact Center Management for Public Sector Healthcare Agencies under the Affordable Care Act

Last year’s passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, has introduced dramatic policy changes that will impact consumers, employers, insurance agencies and healthcare providers.

Today, as the rollout continues, thousands of Americans have questions about whether they can keep their current insurance, or if there might be something better available through one of the exchanges. Companies that provide employee coverage must confirm whether they are compliant with the new guidelines, and doctors and hospitals will also have to adjust to this new healthcare paradigm.

But while cable news pundits debate about whether ACA is wonderful or disastrous, many of the questions being asked about ACA are being routed into contact centers that serve both patients and providers, while also having to satisfy a high level of compliance and security regulations. 

Dealing with these numerous challenges is easier with Workforce Optimization (WFO) software. With WFO, contact centers can more accurately forecast and plan personnel needs by running “What If” scenarios and analyzing the results. Once the level of increased demand has been determined, scheduling becomes more efficient and flexible, ensuring better utilization of limited resources and improved cost management.

Of course, public sector and government healthcare agencies are often further challenged with resource constraints. Thus a flexible cloud and SaaS investment model becomes more desirable, as it allows healthcare organizations to effectively manage costs as workforce demand fluctuates. Plus, with the cloud delivery model there is:
  • Minimal upfront investment

  • Fast set up

  • An expedited learning curve for users
  • A low predictable monthly subscription

  • Security to protect data and information
  • Scalability to address fluctuations and peak hours
 

Contact us to learn more about how a wide range of healthcare organizations at the city, county and state level are using Monet Software for their workforce optimization needs.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Workforce Management Case Study (Part 2)

In our last workforce management blog post, we took a closer look at one customer’s experience with Monet’s WFM Live.

http://www.monetsoftware.com/call-center-documents/?file=CustomerCaseGECUThe Texas-based credit union GECU sought to improve efficiency and customer service at its contact center. Following an exhaustive search, GECU selected Monet and its cloud-based workforce management solution.

Just a few months after implementation, the results were in: Because of improvements in forecasting methods, GECU was able to reduce its number of agents, while delivering better customer service. With the more accurate scheduling made possible by WFM Live, there was a 30% reduction in unscheduled breaks. Costly overtime scheduling was reduced, while call volume spikes were managed more easily.

Today, the quality and service levels at GECU are solidly placed in the top 97% tier.

Best of all, these changes were all made through an economical solution that reduced upfront investment while achieving rapid ROI. One GECU executive reported that the system paid for itself after just a few months, with three years of subscription costs offset by savings in salaries, overtime and administrative costs.

There’s a reason why contact centers and businesses like GECU choose Monet to meet their forecasting, scheduling and budgeting challenges.

Read the full GECU workforce management case study here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top 5 Workforce Management Blog Posts of 2013

Over the past 12 months we’ve published dozens of blogs focusing on the importance of workforce management (WFM) and the difference it can make at a call center. We’ve selected the top five of these blogs, based on popularity and feedback. If you missed them the first time, here they are once again:

1. Workforce Management Visualized With Dashboards
Find out how dashboards provide valuable insight into forecasting, scheduling, adherence and metrics.

2. Five Tips for More Accurate Call Center Forecasting
Outstanding call center customer service begins with an accurate forecast. This blog describes five workforce management activities that will result in better forecasts.

3. Use Workforce Management to Engage Employees, not Control Them
How can you break through the “Big Brother” mindset to create a positive impression of WFM among call center agents? By including them in the scheduling process.

4. What is Cloud-Based Workforce Management Software?
If you haven’t converted to a cloud-based system yet, you’ve certainly heard of the inroads this technology has been making in call center systems. This blog details why such solutions have become popular, with benefits ranging from cost savings to increased flexibility.

5. What is Call Center Shrinkage, and How to Minimize It
When schedule adherence goes awry, shrinkage is often to blame. And when that happens, reduced service levels almost inevitably follow. Find out more about shrinkage and how to manage it at your call center.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Challenge of a Flexible Workforce: Scheduling

The advantages to a call center of a flexible workforce cannot be discounted. When agents have more say in the shifts they work and the breaks they take, they are more likely to provide outstanding customer service. They are also more likely to stay in their position, which reduces employee turnover and the time and cost issues involved with training new hires. In addition, the call center can also benefit from staggering shifts and flexible start and end times. Flexibility is often a win-win for all involved.

The challenge, however, is to reap the efficiency, service and cost benefits of a flexible schedule without the difficulties involved in its creation. Spreadsheets, the traditional method of scheduling, are not as user-friendly when flexibility is part of the mix.

The answer is workforce management (WFM) software. A WFM system makes it much easier for agents to add, swap or cancel shifts, even without a manager’s approval (if the call center allows). And by doing so via a Web-based interface, rather than submitting requests via telephone or email, changes are handled more quickly and there is a record of each change. That helps to avoid conflicts later.

When a call center first makes the switch from a fixed to a flexible schedule, it can be problematic in the short term as both agents and managers adjust to the new status quo. One way to limit confusion is to make the transition gradually, by granting access to the flexible shift model to a few agents, and then expanding it over time to the rest of the workforce.

Whatever short-term issues arise from the transition are nothing compared to the improved service levels and lower personnel costs that will inevitably follow. Please take a few minutes to watch any of the scheduling demos to get better understanding of how WFM can help you create and manage a more flexible schedule.

http://www.monetsoftware.com/call-center-workforce-scheduling-demos/


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Workforce Scheduling Made Easier

It takes both art and science to staff a call center. Next to hiring the right personnel, scheduling plays the key role in maximizing resources and making sure calls are handled in a courteous and efficient manner.

This is important stuff that deserves your attention, but it can’t occupy too much of your time that could also be devoted to improving service levels and achieving the company’s operational and fiscal goals. It must be done, but it needs to be done quickly.

Workforce Management: Say Goodbye to Spreadsheets
The best way to make scheduling easier is to switch from a spreadsheet-based system to once that uses workforce management software. Now you’ll have the flexibility to better (and automatically) manage start times, end times and break times.

Flexibility is also an important element of agent satisfaction – when you can staff a roster with the agents you need, and balance those needs with agents working their preferred shifts and hours, you’ll have happier agents (which always results in happier customers) and lower employee turnover.

What you don’t want, however, are agents at your office door all day with questions about which shifts are available, if they can change their Monday schedule to Wednesday, etc. An automated solution delivered through a Web portal will allow agents to bid on shifts, swap or cancel without taking up a manager’s time. The system will have parameters in place, set by the call center, that will approve or reject such requests automatically.

Of course, the wealth of information provided by WFM isn’t much good if it is not presented in a way that is clear, concise, and accessible to changes as needed. Choose a WFM system that allows for real-time changes to be easily implemented, that shows summaries of all agent statuses, including exceptions. If you can’t find the data you need quickly, look for another system.