Call Center Management Feature Article
March 30, 2009
Workforce Management Software Critical to Call Center Management
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
Not only do you have the challenge of recruiting and training agents, delivering good customer service and meeting project goals, there’s also all those “HR-related” problems: worker tardiness, employee disputes, even the occasional lawsuit – not to mention the potential for facilities problems and equipment failure.
If you’re using spreadsheets to manage agent schedules, you’re probably having a difficult time tracking who is arriving late (or perhaps leaving early) on a weekly or monthly basis. Using a WFM solution, you can quickly and accurately track which agents are showing up late – including how often and by how much – and address those issues to improve agent productivity. This is just one example of how today’s WFM systems have become indispensable call center management tools.
Another advantage of today’s WFM systems is their ability to schedule agents based on their unique skill sets. For example, if you’re call center handles emails, but you only have a certain number of agents who are trained to handle those contacts, then you’ll need to ensure that you have the proper number of those agents on hand to handle the volume. A WFM system can analyze your historical email data and arrive at an accurate forecast to help you staff accordingly.
Many larger organizations with distributed call centers now rely on WFM to manage the agents across all locations centrally. But small to medium sized businesses are discovering the advantages of WFM for effective call center management as well. Some WFM software vendors, such as Monet Software, are now offering their solutions on a hosted or software-as-a-service basis. Because the software is delivered via the Internet as a managed service, that means companies can quickly and affordably implement a WFM solution with minimal up-front investment: Typically all you need is the computers and a high-speed line. Some vendors such as Monet Software are offering their hosted solutions on a trial basis, so you can try the software out for the short term and see if it meets your call center management needs.
For example, you should find out whether the solution offers accurate forecasting; flexible and erratic scheduling that include agent exceptions; intra-day changes to forecasts and scheduling; visibility into agent adherence and management reports. Monet Software’s WFM systems offer these features and more, plus they can be customized to meet your call center management needs.
You should also consider how much time it will take to implement the solution. Remember that a substantial delay in meeting your call center management needs will only result in more lost revenue.
Of course, as with any software investment, you should always consider return on investment and total cost of ownership. Find out not only how much the system will cost to set up and integrate with existing systems, but also what the ongoing costs will be. Find out about reliability – and if possible, ask other users what they think of the software. Also, be sure to find out if there are any hidden costs – ask the tough questions!
Today’s WFM systems have become a critical part of the call center software ecosystem -- and companies of all sizes they are now viewing WFM as critical for achieving effective call center management. For more information, visit www.monetsoftware.com.
Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard