Workforce management in a contact center or help desk is the art and science of having the right number of employees with the right skills at the right times, to meet accurately forecasted volumes of work at a predetermined service level with minimized costs.

Workforce management is a critical task for contact centers and help desks, as poor planning and execution can have a negative impact on your business (revenues, costs) your customers (satisfaction, loyalty) and even your employees (motivation/turnover/burn-out).

The objective of workforce management software is to gain visibility into call center metrics such as service levels, schedule adherence, average handle time, etc.

Whether you are new to workforce management or a seasoned contact center manager, here’s a short reminder of what workforce management software does:

  1. It collects the data from your Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), Contact Center Infrastructure (CCI) or CRM system to identify the patterns i.e. the days, times, holidays, seasonal periods when you can expect a spike in call/case volume.
  2. By gathering and analyzing the data, it calculates an accurate forecast and staffing requirements meaning that a manager can forecast needs and schedule staff accordingly.
  3. It automates your staff roster creation considering agent availability including available staff with the required skills, holidays, breaks, employment contracts, business policies, etc.
  4. Workforce management software monitors and manages agent schedule adherence in real time so that you can take corrective action when necessary.
  5. It provides reports, scorecards and analytics to align your people, process and systems to your business objectives. Workforce management software tracks performance both on an individual level and as a whole and helps you interpret Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  6. It helps reduce operational costs and boost your contact center’s efficiency while improving your employee’s morale.

Is Workforce Management Software important?

It all depends where you stand. If your call center has less than 30 agents, you can keep up with spreadsheets to forecast and schedule.

However, if you have more than 30 agents, experts state that manual scheduling and forecasting can become inefficient, time-consuming and prone to error. Consequently, if your call center has more than 30 agents and if you’re planning to grow your team, now might be the right time to invest in workforce management software.

What Are the Types of Workforce Management Software?

Workforce management software can be on-premises, hosted or in the cloud.

On-premises: An on-premises system is one in which hardware and software must be installed, deployed and maintained at the contact center. All equipment is purchased up front. It is traditionally associated with large enterprises that have the budget to acquire the capabilities deemed necessary, and the full-time IT staff available to configure and modify systems as needed for optimal control.

Hosted: A hosted system relies on an outside service provider. The contact center purchases the necessary software, which is installed in a data center on either physical or virtual servers that may be owned or leased by the business. Implementation is similar to an on-premises solution, but the cost is lower because the hardware does not need to be purchased. However, the contact center must still pay an initial provisioning fee as well as a monthly fee for the rental or usage of the hosting center’s equipment and personnel.

Cloud: A cloud-based workforce management software doesn’t need to be installed on the company’s IT system. Concerns such as computing capacity, physical space, bandwidth and storage are no longer issues. The contact center pays only for the time and capacity that it needs. A cloud solution provides the highest ROI and savings of any WFM strategy due to its low upfront investment and low operating costs.

Want to learn more on these 3 delivery methods? Download our whitepaper about Cloud vs. Hosted vs. On-Premise Contact Center Software.

What Are the Main Benefits of Workforce Management Software?

While workforce management software represents a cost, its central role is so crucial that it is worth the investment. Given that staffing can be the most expensive resource in the contact center budget (60 to 80%), therefore, even a 1% increase in productivity can significantly impact the bottom line and provide a quick ROI.

Let’s take a quick look:

Lower operational costs

Workforce management software automates key tasks that have an immediate impact on your bottom line through more accurate call volume forecasting, staffing calculations and scheduling and daily performance tracking. It also means less errors and less manual processes. Time equals money, consequently the less time you waste, the more you can get done.

Boost productivity

Workforce management software provides metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you can monitor and track in real time. These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) reveal the big picture as well as individual performance that you can leverage to take corrective actions and make improvements.

Reduce financial and non-compliance risk

Thanks to workforce management software, more data can be delivered to managers and supervisors. You must also abide by the company policy, worker’s contract rules, country regulations, etc. With an automated WFM system, call center leads can reduce the risk of inadvertent violations and bridge the gaps in compliance that can lead to costly errors.

Improving customer satisfaction

Workforce management software can help optimize omnichannel support and make sure your customers are connected to the right agent with the right skills to help them resolve their issue during the first interaction.

Improving employee morale

By providing more transparency, work flexibility and improving supervisor/agent communication, workforce management software helps make your agents happier and more engaged. This leads to less attrition and more satisfied customers.

 

Want to learn more on Verint Monet Workforce Management solution? Request a free demo

 

If improving agent productivity is one of your goals this year, the most important step you can take toward its achievement is the addition of a workforce optimization (WFO) solution. WFO provides insight into customer interactions and service levels, delivering the data necessary to make important decisions about optimal management of personnel.

However, as with any other solution, it works best if you use it correctly.

Workforce Optimization is great. Unified workforce optimization is even better.

What’s the difference? In a word: togetherness. When everyone at the contact center works together, customer service improves. But in some businesses you may have one team focused on scheduling and staffing, another team dedicated to call recording and quality management. But there should also be an effort to analyze how both of these groups are functioning, and establish goals that may require changes in procedures from each of them.

However, as much as we may want these team members to cooperate, at too many call centers they are forced to make isolated decisions and act independently because they do not have access to information outside of their area or function. They need immediate access to information traditionally found in other areas and they need information automatically passed to them to eliminate slow, error-ridden manual processes.

A unified WFO solution delivers business integrations that let your contact center make faster, more informed decisions with a new level of visibility into workforce performance, customer service processes and customer intelligence across the enterprise.  You can quickly get to the right information to drive a new level of performance improvement.

In our workforce management software demo videos, you’ll find out how a unified workforce optimization framework brings diverse functions together with features like a single graphical user interface and central administration.

BPO is short for Business Process Outsourcer. This is a third-party service provider that handles any operations or responsibilities that a company is unable or unwilling to do in-house.

Call center services are often outsourced to BPOs where agents represent multiple companies in different businesses. Ideally this is achieved invisibly, so customers will believe the person they reach works only for the company they wished to contact. It’s a challenge, but one that is better managed with workforce optimization software.

The definition of workforce management (WFM) may vary depending on its application.

Wikipedia provides this general description, “In many markets and industries, workforce management is all about assigning the right employees with the right skills to the right job at the right time.” This definition certainly applies to contact centers. If a manager schedules the right agents with the appropriate call-handling skills on the shifts where those skills are most needed, he or she is certainly on the best track to an efficient operation.

What does Workforce Management include?

As mentioned above, workforce management can also be defined as achieving and maintaining operational efficiency. By doing so, contact centers can reduce their operational costs, boost productivity and enhance customer experience.

Contact center workforce management usually encompasses the following activities:

Forecasting: In the contact center, forecasting is used to predict the call/email/chat workload as well as staffing requirements based on historical data in order to avoid understaffing or overstaffing.

The more historical data you have from different channels (phone, chat, email, etc.), the more accurate your forecast will be as you will be able to identify trends and patterns.

Scheduling: Contact center scheduling is one of the most complicated tasks as you need to juggle business needs, scheduling rules, contracts, shift patterns, flexible working hours and ever-changing requirements.

In addition, you need to take into account other contact center metrics such as Average Handle Time (AHT), shrinkage, Average Speed of Answer (ASA), service, levels, etc. to make sure you deliver the best customer experience possible.

Adherence Tracking: Schedule adherence monitors how closely your agents follow their assigned activities. Schedule adherence can be impacted negatively by a number of factors such as agent tardiness, unscheduled or extended breaks, chatting with their co-workers, etc.

Intraday Management: Intraday management refers to the set of activities within a day or a contact center shift to manage unexpected events in order to rebalance the workload with available resources and maintain service levels.

Performance Management: Performance management plays a paramount role in the contact center’s success by aligning your people, processes and systems to your business objectives such as service levels, customer satisfaction, agent churn, costs and revenue.

What can a Workforce Management Software do for your contact center?

While you certainly know what to do to meet your goals, how to get there is not always an easy path. That’s where workforce management (WFM) can help.

Contact center WFM software can collect historical call/email/chat data to analyze it and predict future workload. It can also include flexible schedule creation that incorporates foreseen and unforeseen variables, agent exceptions, intraday changes to both forecasting and scheduling, and performance management reports.

Workforce management software therefore automates some of the most time-consuming and error-prone tasks for supervisors while enhancing the forecast accuracy and schedule flexibility.

Workforce Management (WFM) can help you:

These are just some of the many benefits that a WFM solution can bring to your contact center. When selecting a vendor, you should keep your current business in mind as well as your future needs and chose a solution that fits into your environment and can adjust to your growing needs.

Verint Monet is a simple, cost-effective cloud WFM solution that provides an ACD neutral option for businesses looking to improve their contact center and help desk operations. With over 65 integrations including Salesforce, Verint Monet is the perfect option for customers looking to implement an omnichannel SaaS workforce engagement solution.

Learn More About the Benefits of WFM

 

There are three areas that are immediately affected when your call center is out-of-adherence:

All three areas are avoidable when you understand the impact of out-of-adherence within the call center. In order to find out the costs associated with call center scheduling and out-of-adherence, you need to measure and quantify the effect. Let’s consider that you have 200 call center agents and due to out-of-adherence activities, they lose 10 minutes per day. At an average of $15 per hour wage for your 200 call center agents, the resulting cost is $130,000 per year.

Take the time and do the math and understand the actual hard dollar costs associated with out-of-adherence for your call center and evaluate the necessary internal changes needed to reduce the wasted time. For ideas and more information about schedule adherence, please read this whitepaper: "Strategies for improved call center schedule adherence".

Cloud workforce optimization solution recognized for improving customer experience through innovative contact center technology

Los Angeles, CA, November 10, 2014 — Monet Software, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based contact center workforce optimization software, announced today that TMC has named Monet WFO Live: Workforce Optimization in the Cloud as a finalist of the 2014 Customer Experience Innovation Award winner presented by TMC’s CUSTOMER magazine.

The 2014 Customer Experience Innovation Award recognizes best-in-class companies setting the standard in delivering exceptional customer experiences.

“It is very gratifying to have WFO Live recognized for this prestigious distinction,” said Chuck Ciarlo, CEO at Monet Software. “Our objective is to deliver innovative solutions to the marketplace, and as much as we are honored by this recognition, our greatest award is the feedback we receive from contact centers that are running more efficiently thanks to WFO Live.”

Monet WFO Live is a complete suite for call centers to automate workforce management, quality monitoring, analytics and performance management. 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.

“Congratulations to Monet Software for being named a finalist of the 2014 Customer Experience Innovation Award. WFO Live has been selected for advancing customer service technology and therefore the ever-important customer experience,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “We’re pleased to recognize this achievement.”

About Monet Software, Inc.
Monet Software Inc. is a global provider of workforce optimization software solutions for call centers. Monet's cloud-based solution, Monet WFO Live, is an affordable and easy to use call center optimization software solution that includes workforce management, call recording, quality monitoring and performance management. Call centers will start improving service levels and reducing center costs without the upfront expenses and IT requirements of traditional workforce software. For more information about Monet Software, please go to https://monetsoftware.com/ or subscribe to our blogs about Workforce Management and Call Recording.

Monet Software Contact:
Monet Software
310-207-6800
press@monetsoftware.com

About CUSTOMER
Since 1982, CUSTOMER magazine (formerly Customer Interaction Solutions) has been the voice of the call/contact center, CRM and teleservices industries. CUSTOMER has helped the industry germinate, grow, mature and prosper, and has served as the leading publication in helping these industries that have had such a positive impact on the world economy to continue to thrive. Through a combination of outstanding and cutting-edge original editorial, industry voices, in-depth lab reviews and the recognition of the innovative leaders in management and technology through our highly valued awards, CUSTOMER strives to continue to be the publication that holds the quality bar high for the industry. Please visit http://www.customer.tmcnet.com.

About TMC
TMC is a global, integrated media company that supports clients' goals by building communities in print, online, and face to face. TMC publishes multiple magazines including Cloud Computing, M2M Evolution, Customer, and Internet Telephony. TMCnet is the leading source of news and articles for the communications and technology industries, and is read by as many as 1.5 million unique visitors monthly.

TMC Contact
Rebecca Conyngham
Marketing Manager
203-852-6800, ext. 287
rconyngham@tmcnet.com

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