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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is Your Workforce Management Software on the Most Current Version?

Companies that make quality products are always striving to make them better, and that’s a good thing. But when the customers for these products have to spend a lot of time and money to get these enhancements implemented, that can put a strain on a company’s resources.

With traditional, on-premises workforce management (WFM) software, vendors always seem to be rolling out new versions, fixing bugs and upgrading features. But contact centers have to pay for these new versions, through maintenance fees, re-customization projects, re-integration projects, IT resources and sometimes hardware upgrades, and even if it’s a free fix to a problem, it can disrupt productivity and result in costly downtime.

As a result, many contact centers may not be working with the latest version of their software system, preferring to postpone another complex, costly upgrade.

Of course, if upgrades were free, automatically implement over night and did not disrupt the workday, there wouldn’t be any holdouts. And that is exactly how upgrades are delivered with Workforce Management in the cloud. When they are ready to deploy, it happens automatically, during the overnight hours, and without adding a penny to the monthly subscription fee paid by the contact center.

Those not in the cloud might say, “We’ll get there eventually.” But in the meantime, how much productivity may be sacrificed with a system that is out of date?

Also, consider the advantage to call center users when upgrades are introduced incrementally, so any new functionality is more easily digested and soon becomes routine. Contrast this with a call center that schedules major upgrades every 2 or 3 years, which often require a much steeper learning curve to get up to speed on the new system.

These are just a few of the many reasons cloud solutions are set to grow six times faster than all software in 2014, according to IDC. But if you shop around for cloud vendors, please make sure you don't fall for a WFM cloud pretender - click the link to learn more.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Workforce Management Software vs. Scheduling Spreadsheets

“That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

How often do you hear these words in an office, when managers would rather stay with what is familiar than change to something that will make their lives easier and their business run more efficiently?

Why else would so many contact centers still use spreadsheets for scheduling, rather than switch to an automated workforce management (WFM) solution? The advantages to doing so are many – and will be obvious from the first day with the new system in place:
  • Flexibility – Spreadsheets are fine for fixed schedules, but what happens when the schedule refuses to stay fixed (which, let’s face it, is most days)? With WFM, it’s easy to manage flexibility with start, end and break times. Result? Less idle agents, and better customer service.
  • Skill-based Call Routing – Customers appreciate when their calls are received by the agents most qualified to handle them. Inclusion of skills is handled automatically by WFM, so it’s easier to fill each shift with fewer agents, but with those who have the requisite specialties to handle every customer encounter. Spreadsheets can’t keep up.
  • Tracking Adherence – With a spreadsheet a few limited spot checks are possible, but WFM delivers real-time adherence monitoring and analysis. That results in lower shrinkage and improved service levels.
  • Exceptions – They happen every day, but they complicate the spreadsheet process to the point where most requests will be turned down. Agents at a call center with WFM will find their exception considerations handled more graciously. That means happier agents – and happier agents mean happier customers.
  • Saving Time – With WFM, managers can save as much as 25% off the time they devote to creating schedules with spreadsheets. That’s 2 hours from every 8-hour day.
Spreadsheets simply cannot compete. If you’re still using them, isn’t it time for a change? If you are still not convinced watch this video about a call center supervisor explaining the difference.

Monday, April 21, 2014

5 Tips for Getting More out of Workforce Management Software

Workforce management (WFM) software provides the best means of optimizing personnel resources through more accurate forecasting and scheduling. Here are 5 tips that can help call center managers get the most out of their workforce management system.

1. Include all Activities 
The more specific the plan, the better the chance of its success. That’s why it is imperative to include meetings, breaks, coaching sessions and all non-call activities into WFM calculations. To learn more about this, please read our whitepaper Seven Tips for more Effective Scheduling.

2. Continuous Learning
A WFM software vendor will provide initial training during installation. However, managers should request additional information based on the specific needs and objectives of the call center. With a quality system like Monet WFM, there will always be ways that the system can be further leveraged to achieve better results.

3. Think Outside the Box
The old adage about expecting the unexpected certainly applies to call centers, given the high turnover in agent personnel and the abundance of unforeseen factors that can throw a schedule into turmoil. While a manager cannot anticipate every possibility, use the WFM system to run “What if?” scenarios, analyze the results and then forecast, schedule and plan accordingly.

4. Work in Real-Time:
Customer communication happens in real-time, so the WFM system should also be used in real-time to its fullest potential (for adherence, alerts, dashboards, etc.) to ensure optimal performance. Now, when changes inevitably occur throughout the day, managers can respond more quickly. Fore more information, please download our whitepaper Strategies for Improved Agent Adherence.

5. Include Agents in Planning Process
Agent preferences should also be considered and incorporated whenever possible into forecasts and schedules. Many WFM systems, such as the one offered by Monet, also offer an easily accessible and streamlined procedure for shift swapping and bidding, that can motivate agents to better performance.

Monday, April 7, 2014

100 Agents and Still Using Spreadsheets for Scheduling?

Many small and midsized contact centers still rely on spreadsheets for daily forecasting and scheduling. It’s an imperfect system that could be improved by workforce management (WFM) software.

However, what’s surprising is that some larger contact centers, those with 100 agents or more, are also still using spreadsheets for scheduling. Here, the inefficiencies of the system are multiplied, resulting in much lower customer service (under-staffing) and higher costs (over-staffing) - often both, based on the time of day.

When an increase as low as 1% in productivity can significantly impact the contact center budget, it is imperative to identify areas where efficiency can be improved.

One of these areas is flexibility – the limitations of a spreadsheet result in fixed schedules that can produce higher shrinkage and overstaffing. But with WFM it is easier to manage start times, end times and breaks with an ease of flexibility that dramatically improves service levels.

Managers can also consult more detailed and accurate call histories with WFM, resulting in better forecasts. Scheduling is also faster – some managers can save as much as 25% of the time once devoted to filling in spreadsheets – that time can now be used for additional agent training or to attend to other matters.

There are many additional advantages as well, from reducing the number of agents needed for a particular shift to improving agent morale by making it easier to match employees with the hours and shifts they prefer.

Find out more in the Monet whitepaper “The Cost of Spreadsheet Based Forecasting & Scheduling.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to Convince Management to Buy Workforce Management Software

While the economy is steadily improving according to most measurements, companies are still taking a very cautious approach when it comes to new investment. That is one reason why some contact centers have hesitated when it comes to workforce management (WFM) software.

However, making the case for this purchase should not be difficult given the inherent benefits derived from its installation, not the least of which is a net cost savings within months, and a boost in efficiency that will also have a positive impact on the yearly budget.

Saying Goodbye to Spreadsheets
Workforce management software is used instead of spreadsheets for forecasting and scheduling. These critical tasks can now be performed more quickly and more accurately, with data that is automatically collected and organized, rather than having to be entered manually into a spreadsheet.

With Workforce Management solution contact centers realize a high ROI by:
  • Providing more accurate forecasting and scheduling to reduce agent understaffing and overstaffing
  • Improving agent schedule adherence to reduce shrinkage
  • Enhancing supervisor efficiency by spending more time coaching and allowing agents to use the software’s self-service scheduling features
  • Reducing overtime expenses of agents by monitoring intra-day statistics and anticipating when additional agent resources will be needed
  • Decreasing agent turnover by enabling agents to manage their own schedules and empowering them to improve performance by reviewing their individual metrics
Cutting Costs with the Cloud
Still, even with so many potential benefits, some companies simply cannot afford the significant upfront investment required by a traditional WFM solution. But with cloud-based WFM, these costs are dramatically reduced. Plus, there are no maintenance or upgrade costs later on, and no need to have an IT professional on the payroll to handle system installation or repairs. Instead, contact centers pay a monthly subscription cost, and pay only for the capacity and infrastructure they need.

How to get started
Here are a few simple steps to take to convince management that your call center can benefit from a WFM solution:
  1. Identify the key challenges you face in your call center. What takes up too much time? What processes are bleeding money? What is the most frustrating and easily fixable thing you can do right now to make more money for the organization?
  2. Gather and analyze the data that impacts your performance and demonstrate how automated WFM will improve your call center’s performance.
  3. Create a presentation for management that shows how you can transform the company’s call center strategy with a WFM solution.
When these facts and the actual numbers involved in acquiring cloud-based WFM are presented to management, there is a much better chance of approving the investment. For additional information, please check out our whitepaper How to calculate cost savings and ROI of Workforce Management Software.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Workforce Management: A Customer Success Story

We’ve devoted many blogs to explaining why we think Monet’s WFM Live provides an outstanding workforce optimization software solution for call centers. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the experiences of one company who needed such a solution, and did their homework before making a purchase.

http://www.monetsoftware.com/call-center-documents/?file=CustomerCaseGECU

GECU is a credit union that has been serving customers in Texas since 1932. They provide a wide range of financial products, from loans to credit cards, through several channels, including a call center.

Making sure their members receive the best service is a significant concern. So when it came time to take a closer look at their contact center operations, and whether better member services could be delivered with fewer resources, GECU investigated software solutions from several workforce management vendors.

Ultimately, GECU selected Monet’s cloud-based WFM Live as the best available option. Affordability was a key component in the decision, as WFM Live provides such benefits as reduced IT investment, low implementation service fees and a more cost-effective per-user license model. GECU was also impressed by Monet’s technical support and post-implementation training services.

The product itself delivered the enhanced functionality that the credit union desired to achieve its goals. And with the easy to use interface, the company’s employees were able to boost their workforce optimization expertise even faster.

Implementation was completed within two months, an accelerated pace that would likely not have been possible with a non-cloud based solution.

What happened next? Check out our next blog to learn more about the dramatic changes at GECU since the implementation of WFM Live, or download the complete workforce management customer case study right now.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Workforce Management Software: Upgrade or Replace?

When it comes to technology, the only constant is change. If you purchased workforce management software several years ago, it may be time to consider an upgrade. However, as anyone who purchased a first-generation iPad knows, sometimes technology advances so quickly that some upgrades are no longer possible to keep up with new capabilities, and the only option is replacement.

Facing an “upgrade or replace” decision about WFM at your call center? Here are five reasons why replacement might be the better option.

1. Cost
With the dramatic advancement and widespread acceptance of cloud computing over the past five years, this could be the time to determine if the yearly cost to maintain, upgrade and operate your current software is higher than a new subscription-based or cloud-based solution. Do the math!

2. Capabilities
Is your current WFM system not being utilized to its full potential, because it is too difficult to use or no longer able to meet your new business needs? An upgrade may expand its capabilities, but at some point such upgrades will no longer be effective or even possible. 

3. Interaction
To be most effective, WFM software should be connected to your other operations. For example, it should be combined with call recording data to impact quality of scheduling. But if you cannot launch a call recording session from WFM when you see that call times are too long, all the moving parts in your technology are not working together. Watch these Workforce Optimization videos to see how all pieces come together.

4. Flexibility
Flexibility is key in WFM, particularly when it comes to scheduling. If your system is not flexible enough to adapt to your changing business needs, or would require too large an additional investment for customizing or upgrade, replacement is the better option.

5.  Customer Service
The ultimate purpose of every call center technology investment is to improve customer service. An outdated WFM system can put your agents at a disadvantage, and can impact all the metrics that determine what constitutes a successful customer engagement. Though these customers will never see the new technology you select, they will recognize the difference it makes.

For more information on this, please get our whitepaper "How to select a Workforce Management Solution".

Monday, November 18, 2013

Improving Schedule Adherence

Schedule Adherence Monet Workforce ManagementSchedule adherence plays a critical role in the success of any contact center. Workforce management (WFM) software makes the goal of optimal schedule adherence easier to achieve.

How? Monet has created a video demo that illustrates the capabilities and key benefits of using adherence tracking and monitoring tools as part of a workforce management solution. Check out the video and learn about real-time schedule adherence:

The video should prove particularly enlightening for any contact center still using spreadsheets. If that is how forecasting and scheduling is handled at your call center, this is the time to discover how a workforce management system can:
  • Monitor agent status in real-time
  • Monitor and analyze key performance indicators and trends to reforecast, reschedule, and adjust staffing levels
  • Track and compare forecasted and actual center statistics
  • Evaluate adherence and take action to improve performance
Not only will the WFM-generated schedules provide more accurate information, they will make a dramatic change in the manager’s schedule as well. How long does it take to run all of the necessary numbers with a spreadsheet? With WFM, managers can access better numbers more quickly, so they have more time to address other issues, or leave the office on time for a change.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

3 Reasons to Use Workforce Management Tools

When you really think about it, there isn’t any aspect of the call center experience that is not enhanced by quality Workforce Management (WFM) tools. Ask any manager about their goals, and you’ll probably hear something like:

•    Better customer service and customer satisfaction
•    Higher productivity, preferably accompanied by lower costs
•    Employee motivation and transparency

Workforce Management tools can’t do it alone, but it can certainly make these goals more attainable by providing call center managers and supervisor more insights and and a better way to plan and react based on call pattern and other events.

Better Customer Service
WFM generates accurate call volume forecasting from historical data and ACD integration. It also creates flexible schedules that incorporate foreseen and unforeseen variables, agent exceptions, intra-day changes to both forecasting and scheduling, and performance management reports. When forecasting and scheduling are done right, customer service improves. Another WFM benefit is call routing, so agents with specific skills are available to take the calls they are most qualified to receive.

Higher Productivity
By creating optimized employee schedules, WFM improves productivity while reducing call center costs triggered by over-staffing or under-staffing. And in addition to forecasting and scheduling, WFM also creates data on call answer times, first call resolutions, transfer rates and other key metrics that are the key to consistent productivity.

Employee Motivation
With WFM, staff satisfaction will increase, as the system eliminates the uncertainty of manual scheduling, allowing agents to manage their own schedules and set their own schedule preferences as a reward for outstanding performance. By establishing a ranking system, agents are motivated to do a better job.

If you are still using spreadsheets and consider a workforce management system, we encourage you to read one of the following whitepapers:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Workforce Management Software for the Masses

Workforce management (WFM) software used to be complicated and expensive. That meant only the biggest companies with the most sophisticated IT departments could afford to make a workforce management system investment, and employ the in-house expertise to make the most out of the technology.

Call centers that peruse WFM solutions today may find that the situation has not changed. There are still products out there that require a substantial upfront investment, and integration that necessitates extensive personnel training.

However, there is an alternative that places sophisticated and effective WFM capabilities within the reach (and the budget) of smaller and midsized call centers. Best of all, it is not a scaled-down solution with limited functionality – it offers all the same bells and whistles as expensive systems, at a fraction of the cost.

That solution is workforce management in the cloud. The software is delivered over the web, and since it is provided as a subscription service, there is no need to invest in additional hardware and software, or installation. Set up and and configuration of the system is simple and is done in weeks, not months or years.

The cloud-based workforce management model also offers some performance advantages over traditional call center WFM software, especially when more than one call center is involved. Since all data is stored “in the cloud,” it can be retrieved at any call center workstation, as well as on mobile devices away from the office. With more companies hiring telecommuting employees, or working out of their home part-time, that flexibility can be invaluable as the industry continues to evolve.

Finally, the playing field has been leveled between the largest and the smallest call centers. No matter where you are located or how many agents you have on staff, the many benefits derived from WFM are within your reach. To learn more about this topic, please take a look at our workforce management whitepaper that illustrates the difference between cloud-based and on-premise based software.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mobile Workforce Management for Call Centers

Mobile devices allow call center managers to stay in touch with what’s happening at their business from home or on the road. Such flexibility is an advantage, however, that doesn’t mean the workforce management features available on a mobile device have to be as comprehensive as those you can access from the office.

In almost all cases, forecasting, staffing and scheduling will be done on a desktop or laptop, where the full range of metrics that would influence such decisions are accessible. With a cloud-based solution, there is some mobility and flexibility already "built-in", since workforce planning and scheduling can be done on any computer or even a tablet from anywhere with Internet access. 

So, what is the more realistic usage scenario for mobile workforce management for contact centers? When you’re on the road, or in an airport, or taking a day off to attend your son’s soccer game, and you just need to check in or obtain a status report, there’s no need to have every workforce management feature on your phone or tablet. As long as you get automated alerts and key metrics, and take action on any adherence issues that require immediate attention, that should be all you will want or need from mobile capabilities. We think that mobile WFM for contact centers is based on two main use cases:
  • Automatically getting alerts of key metrics (e.g. adherence, service level, call volumes, etc.)
  • Immediately taking action by logging into the web-based WFM solution from wherever you are
We would like to hear from you about your mobile workforce management needs. Please contact us, we are looking forward to talking to you.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Workforce Management Solution 101 - what's important?

Workforce Management Selection Guide - Monet Software
While different call centers have different needs, it’s hard to imagine a call center that could not benefit from a workforce management (WFM) solution. Whatever the specific goals of your business – lowering costs, improving efficiency, better customer service – workforce management can help to achieve them.

But how should you select a WFM solution? Here are the key capabilities to look for, and why they are important.
  • Call Volume Forecast – by using historical data and real-time ACD integration, the system should produce accurate forecasts that will impact scheduling.
  • Schedule Creation – The system should be able to create schedules based on shift patters, skill levels and other criteria.  
  • Intra-Day Changes/Exceptions – No two days are alike in any call center. WFM should be able to consider variables and perform ‘on the fly’ scheduling when needed. It should also be able to measure agent adherence on both typical and atypical days. 
  • Real-time Metrics - Getting alerts when something is not working as planned, and tracking performance and adherence metrics in real-time on a dashboard are critical.
  • Implementation – How long does the system take to install, and how long before it begins to pay for itself? Will additional hardware or software purchases be necessary? How long will it take to train agents on its proper usage? Anything too complex may end up having the opposite effect on efficiency. 
  • Cost – Calculate both upfront and ongoing costs of installation, implementation, integration, maintenance and support.
Our brief workforce management software selection guide provides more details and helps you ask the right questions to find the best solution for your call center.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Workforce Management Software Selection for Contact Centers

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. The goal is to increase efficiency and service levels, while also reducing costs. Here are ten important evaluation criteria for any WFM software solution.

1. Capabilities
What can the software do for your call center? Its capabilities 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.

2. Implementation

Calculate how long the software will take to implement, including installation, configuration, customization and training - weeks, months, years?

3. Integration
How well will the system work with your existing systems, for such necessities as sharing of vital data? Will this be possible out of the box, or will custom integration be required?

4. Cost
Incorporate upfront costs, ongoing monthly or maintenance costs, and any hidden costs in your consideration. Can the system be used over the web without equipment purchase?

5. Usability

How long will it take for mangers, supervisors and agents to get comfortable with the system? Is it confusing? Are there too many features that you may not need, but that can complicate usage?

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

7. 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.

8. Scalability
Can the solution grow with your call center? Can users, modules and additional functionality be added without additional hardware costs or other expensive implementation?

9. Risk
What happens if the first system you buy doesn’t pan out? Can you return it or stop using it without incurring any financial risk?

10. ROI
What will the return on investment (ROI) be, and how quickly will you recoup you investment in the system? ROI can be hard numbers (e.g. cost savings) and soft benefits (e.g. higher customer satisfaction) - both will have a positive impact to the bottom line.

We have recently updated our workforce management resource center where you can download various documents that might be helpful in your selection process.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What is cloud-based workforce management software?

workforce management software in the cloudCloud computing is a web-based delivery model that enables users to connect with applications on-demand from any computer with Internet access. A cloud-based workforce management solution provides the highest ROI and savings of any WFM strategy due to its low upfront investment and low operating costs. Cloud-based WFM software puts call centers in unprecedented control, enabling dramatic cost savings and making scheduling far more efficient. Compared with traditional workforce management software, a cloud-based WFM solution allows companies to:
  • Reduce upfront costs: Eliminate the significant investment just to get started. From purchasing hardware, databases, and software licenses to the high costs of installation and IT staff to support the system, the traditional model simply doesn’t make sense. In stark contrast, cloud-based workforce scheduling software saves both time and money because there are no infrastructure costs.
  • Get started faster: Rather than having to ramp-up to a six- to twelve-month (or more) implementation, WFM solutions enable companies to start managing their workforce in the cloud within a matter of weeks. And, since the solution is web-based, integrating the software with existing systems reduces time and costs.
  • Connect anywhere:  The software is hosted by the workforce management firm so companies can access the software anywhere—whether on the other side of town or the other side of the world. All they need is a computer and a standard web browser.
  • Minimize ongoing costs: Cloud-based WFM software doesn’t just save money during the implementation phase. Companies save time and money in the long-term as well. The WFM firm supports all maintenance of the system, including free software upgrades and troubleshooting. Companies also benefit from the ability to quickly customize or add modules via a single, web-based interface.
  • Pay-as-you-go: One of the most attractive features of the solution is the pricing model. Companies only pay for the capacity and infrastructure that are actually used, typically based on number of users. This usage-based, pay-as-you-go subscription pricing approach not only saves businesses money,  Web-based workforce scheduling software also enables them to quickly scale to manage the demands of changing call center sizes.
Cloud-based WFM software lowers the initial infrastructure costs and ongoing maintenance costs of traditional WFM software. This on-the-fly WFM solution also gives call center managers the tools to schedule the right number of agents at the right skill level at the right time, increase overall schedule adherence, boost service levels, and improve both agent and customer satisfaction. To learn more about this topic, please download our What is cloud-based Workforce Management whitepaper.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Business Value of Workforce Management Software - Part 2

In our previous blog about the value of workforce management software we talked about the business challenges, now, let’s take a look at the key value drivers of WFM software compared to the manual/spreadsheet approach:
    Value and ROI of workforce management software
  • Reduces administrative time: Automated WFM drastically reduces the administrative time spent on forecasting and scheduling, data gathering of call history, and creation of management reports. Most call centers see a reduction by a large percentage  after implementation.
  • Slashes shrinkage and optimizes schedules: WFM precisely measures the sources of agent shrinkage and provides tools to reduce its occurrence. Managers can create staffing schedules that optimize a wide range of critical success factors, such as agent skills and availability, breaks and holidays, skill types, historical and predicted call volume, budgets, and service levels. Skills-based scheduling and routing processes enable call center managers to assign skill levels and types to individual agents, and then automatically route a specific type of call to a specific agent who will best be able to resolve the customer’s issue quickly and more effectively. In addition, they can take advantage of flexible start and end times.
  • Precisely forecasts demand: Automated WFM solutions use historical data to accurately predict the number of agents needed to handle the center's volume in real-time, and allow managers to predict future call volume, handle times, agent occupancy, first call resolution rate, and other service levels. Managers can also run multiple forecast/schedule scenarios, and have the ability to better forecast special days such as holidays and other scheduled time off. It also enables managers to forecast agent requirements based on service level agreements, as well as refine forecasts and performance goals based on collected data. More accurate forecasts ensure more efficient schedules, which prevents under or over-staffing.
  • Increases productivity and service quality: WFM software gives managers the ability to compare forecasts with available agent schedules to find time-pockets throughout the day where agents would sit idle, and then use that time for training, coaching, and meetings.
The bottom line? Lower expenses, higher revenues and productivity, and improved service levels and customer satisfaction. A manual/spreadsheet approach simply doesn’t measure up.

What About ROI and Payback Time?
The large return on investment and fast payback time make WFM software the clear choice when compared with any other method of managing a workforce, forecasting call volumes and creating schedules. A workforce management solution helps call centers realize a high ROI by:
  • Providing more accurate forecasting and scheduling to reduce agent under-staffing and over-staffing
  • Improving agent schedule adherence to reduce shrinkage
  • Enhancing supervisor efficiency by spending more time coaching and allowing agents to use the software’s self-service scheduling features
  • Reducing overtime expenses of agents by monitoring intra-day statistics and anticipating when additional agent resources will be needed
  • Decreasing agent turnover by enabling agents to manage their own schedules and empowering them to improve performance by reviewing their individual metrics
For more information you can also download the "how to calculate cost savings for workforce management software" whitepaper.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Business Value of Workforce Management Software - Part 1

Persuading senior management to change “business-as-usual” call center systems can be a difficult undertaking. The management team often faces both internal and external factors that make it resistant to change. A challenging economic environment also puts pressure on all areas of the organization to implement solutions that reduce costs and increase revenues—all while improving performance and productivity. As each solution competes for investment dollars, only a select few offering the highest ROI will obtain funding.

This short article helps you make the business case for workforce management automation. We will discuss:
  • Business impact (manual vs. automated solutions)
  • Benefits (savings, service levels, employee morale, customer satisfaction)
  • ROI (payback time of investment)
A common misconception is that workforce management software is associated with a large investment. In fact, it delivers significant value to the top and bottom line with a minimal investment. In addition, an automated WFM solution is aligned with a company’s goals of saving money and increasing revenue, productivity, and service levels—and it even starts paying for itself within months instead of years.

Manual/Spreadsheet Processes
Many call centers that don’t use workforce management systems typically rely on spreadsheets. Therefore, let’s first look at a few of the limitations of using spreadsheets to manage a workforce. These inefficient manual systems have a huge impact on the performance of a call center in many areas every day, including:
  • Capturing data: ACD systems that provide massive amounts of data must be manually typed into spreadsheets, inevitably resulting in typing errors and wasting the valuable time of call center supervisors who could be training agents, analyzing trends, optimizing schedules, and performing other productive tasks.
  • Overstaffing and understaffing: The spreadsheet approach to forecasting and scheduling often leads to overstaffing and understaffing, which results in lower service levels and an increase in payroll costs. Customer satisfaction suffers when customers have to wait for long periods to get their issues resolved.
  • Schedule adherence: Tracking schedule adherence using spreadsheets gives managers headaches. It also needlessly wastes time and money whereas automated WFM solutions make it easy for agents to precisely follow their schedules. Shrinkage can become a huge problem for any size call center. For instance, in a call center of fifty agents, occupancy is critical. If five agents take breaks or go to lunch at the same time, occupancy decreases by ten percent and service levels go with it. An automated solution prevents this from happening by carefully optimizing agent schedules and forecasts, and sending alerts by out-of-adherence. A manager using a manual system may be tempted to hire additional agents, while the manager with an automated system has the data at his fingertips to accurately optimize future agent schedules to dramatically reduce shrinkage.
  • Spotting trends: It is difficult to spot long-term trends over weeks and months with a manual system. This data is priceless for accurately forecasting and scheduling agents in the future, special events and other seasonal patterns.
  • Agent retention: One of the many reasons agents leave is because staffing in a spreadsheet system seems random and fixed, while not considering their personal needs. Agent morale decreases and turnover increases when agents do not understand schedules and what’s expected of them.
A spreadsheet based process might work for a few small contact centers, but it is clearly costly and wasteful in terms of time, money, and productivity for many others. Call center managers typically cannot wait to get their hands on a better solution to manage their workforce. The savvy ones are eager to present senior management with an automated workforce management solution to enhance efficiency, increase performance, and realize a high ROI. We will talk about ROI drivers in our next blog post, please stay tuned. In the meantime, you can also download a few workforce management whitepapers from our call center resources library to learn more.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Workforce management software vendor guide

Selecting and deciding on the right workforce software for your call center is crucial. In case you missed the recent buying and vendor guide about workforce management and optimization software in Enterprise Apps Today magazine, please read on. The article lists four leading Workforce Optimization and Management vendors and Monet Software is proud to be one of them.

Here is an analyst quote from the article: “Workforce management applications are designed to automate the deployment of the workforce through workload planning, scheduling, time and attendance tracking, resource management, and rules and compliance management,” said Lisa Rowan, an analyst at IDC. “Increasingly, workforce management applications are being integrated into customer relationship management applications in a contact center environment.” Some of the key features of WFM, Rowan says, are skills and certification tracking, shift/vacation bidding, workload planning, forecasting, scheduling, scheduling optimization, customer wait-time forecasts, coverage management and absence management.

If you are interested in seeing these solutions in action, please visit our workforce optimization demo center.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Workforce Optimization Software Buying Guide for Call Centers

The software application magazine Enterprise Apps Today just published an article about workforce optimization software for call centers. It talks about the importance of workforce optimization as part of the overall call center strategy and highlights several vendors, interviews with executives and a buying guide for call center workforce optimization software.

Monet Software is mentioned as one of the leading vendors for workforce optimization software in the article. Please click this link to read the full article.

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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Workforce Management Software and Call Recording Software work together

It’s common knowledge that workforce management software and call recording software are powerful tools for contact centers to improve quality, service levels and productivity. But today’s complex customer interactions require more than a set of disjoint call center tools. More and more call centers implement unified workforce optimization solutions, that enable them to connect all aspects of scheduling, skills, quality, metrics and compliance to better meet customer needs and deliver more effective customer service. Managers and supervisors can easily identify patterns and analyze metrics at various levels for training and quality assurance purposes and establish quality standards and best practices. For example, if they notice a potential issue, such as out-of-adherence they might get to the root cause by retrieving selected call recordings and then develop tailored training and coaching programs to address it. Our new call recording whitepaper will answer two key questions:
  • First, we will take a look at why call recording is essential for every call center
  • Second, we will discuss how call recording as part of a unified workforce optimization solution can deliver even greater benefits, allowing you to “connect the dots” and get the whole picture to quickly improve call center performance.
Download this whitepaper and learn why call recording software is a must-have for your call center and how its integration with cloud-based workforce management takes call center performance to a whole new level.