Checklist for evaluating workforce management software solutions

When selecting a workforce management solution for a small to medium sized call center you should consider the following criteria:

1. Key capabilities

  • Does it accurately forecast call volumes by supporting the use of historical data and real-time ACD integration?
  • Can you create schedules based on ‘what-if” scenarios, different shift patterns, skill levels and other criteria?
  • Can you easily include agent exceptions (e.g. training, time-off) into the schedule?
  • Can you make intra-day changes to forecast and schedule based on changing call volumes ‘on the fly’ during the work day?
  • Does it give you visibility into agent adherence in real-time?
  • Can you produce performance management reports?

2. Time and resources to implement

  • How long does it take to implement the solution from start to finish? When can you actually begin to get benefits from the solution? (Days, weeks or months?)
  • Can I use the solution over the web without equipment purchase or do I need to buy and install hardware and software?
  • How many people do I need (vendor and own company) to implement the solution?

3. Total cost of purchasing, running and maintaining the solution

  • Upfront: What are the total upfront costs for software, hardware, integration and implementation?
  • Ongoing: What are the ongoing monthly or annual costs such as subscription, maintenance, support, upgrade fees?
  • Other costs: Many solutions have hidden costs that many vendors don’t mention but occur within your company such as: your IT people installing and operating the server, your people helping to implement the solution, integration costs, yearly upgrade costs, etc.

4. Usability

  • Is the solution easy and intuitive for non-IT people to use, making sure that you get the most out of it?
  • Does the solution focus on your call center needs? Many solutions have feature overload that are often contra-productive, especially for small and medium size call centers.

5. Risk

  • Every solution carries a success risk within a given work environment, and you should evaluate that risk. If for whatever reason, the solution doesn’t work for you, can you “return it” or “turn it off” with no or limited financial risk?

6. ROI and payback

  • You purchase a WFM solution to either enhance your ability to grow business or reduce operational costs, or both. So it’s important to clearly understand how long added business or cost savings actually take to recoup the system costs. The sooner the solution begins working for you and the lower the upfront costs, the sooner you realize cost and business operational benefits.