Call Center Management Feature Article
July 13, 2009
To Improve Call Center Management, Ditch the Spreadsheets, Adopt WFM
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
These forecasts are generated by integrating the WFM system with the center’s ACD. Using historical call data, the WFM system can determine, based on past call volume and other factors such as time of day, day of the week and time of year, about how many incoming calls a manager might expect. What’s more, these systems can forecast volume for other types of contacts – such as Web chat and email. The manager can then schedule agents based on each agent’s unique skill sets. In this regard they can build call center teams that are custom tailored to handle the predicted volume for each type of contact. This ability to accurately schedule agents based on forecasted volume is something which spreadsheets simply can’t do.
So how does the spreadsheet approach stack up against an automated WFM solution? Here are a few quick bullet points comparing the two:
--With a spreadsheet, you are limited to a fixed schedule, which can lead to higher attrition and/or overstaffing. Whereas with a WFM system you have total flexibility -- you can easily manage start, end and break times, which can drastically reduce agent idle time and improve service levels.
--With a spreadsheet, you can’t automatically incorporate call history to arrive at a forecast – you have to do it manually. Not only is this time consuming, you generally end up with less accurate forecasts. Whereas with a WFM system you get real-time and historic ACD call history with accurate forecasting and the ability to make quick schedule adjustments.
--With a spreadsheet it’s difficult to mange agents based on their specific skills sets, mainly because it’s difficult to account for which agents have which skills. That means you can end up overstaffed with agents with certain skill sets, understaffed with others. Whereas with a WFM solution you can schedule agents automatically based on their skills, resulting in more efficient staffing and higher service levels with fewer agents.
--With a spreadsheet, tracking and schedule adherence are next to impossible: You are limited to “spot checking” only. This leads to higher shrinkage, missed service levels and over/under staffing. Whereas with a WFM solution r you get real-time adherence monitoring and analysis, which in turn can reduce shrinkage by 15 minutes per agent per day, as well as improved service levels.
--With a spreadsheet, you can’t account as easily for staff exceptions and desires. This, in turn, can result in lower agent motivation and higher shrinkage. But with a WFM solution, you get automatic consideration of exceptions, which keeps agents happy and boosts productivity.
--With a spreadsheet, you’ll spend more administrative time handling the scheduling process. This takes away time from more important activities like monitoring and coaching. With a WFM solution you can save up to 25 percent the time you spend creating schedules.
Monet Software offers a fully Web-based WFM solution that is quick and easy to deploy. There is no need to invest in additional servers or network equipment – the vendor manages the service, including the infrastructure. And because the software is offered on a subscription or “pay-as-you-go” model, companies can neatly represent the cost of the service in their monthly budget reports. That means no surprises for maintenance, repairs, upgrades or other service.
The company’s Monet WFM Live offering -- which is currently available on a 30-day trial basis -- includes advanced analytics capabilities that enable call center managers to accurately forecast how many agents will be needed for a particular shift, based on call volume, as well as a slew of other advanced features. For more information, click here.
Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.