Call Center Scheduling Feature Articles
10/18/2016 - The standard approach to customer service in the call center has typically been to ensure the agent can satisfy the customer's needs in the least amount of time. While it sounds like efficiency, the same old approach to hitting the numbers may not be enough to keep the customer base happy. In a market where workforce management is a formidable tool, it may just be time for a change.
10/18/2016 - While the focus on quality in recent years has meant that contact centers are urged to pay a little less attention to time and more attention to the customer experience - by, for example, emphasizing first-call resolution rather than average handle time - it's impossible to ignore time. An expertly trained and congenial contact center agent isn't going to please too many customers if he or she leaves them waiting too long, or handles only a few customers a day with the white-glove treatment.
10/12/2016 - The ongoing task for anyone involved in the call center - from the front lines, to management and the back office, is to ensure customer needs are always being met. It's the chief goal no matter what industry or market you're talking about: Keep the customers happy and keep them doing business with you.
10/12/2016 - Complaints are a cost of doing business, and while you will inevitably identify some serial complainers who are truly a thorn in your contact center's side, most people don't revel in complaining. They usually have - or believe they have - a good reason for speaking out. Instead of viewing it as a burden, say customer support experts, turn them into an opportunity for intelligence gathering.
10/4/2016 - What are the best qualities for a contact center agent to have? Faultless sales skills? Deep knowledge of products and services? Skills with using the company's enablement technologies such as CRM and knowledge bases? While all these skills are no doubt critical, one of the most important is empathy.
10/3/2016 - Call handle time is an interesting metric in the call center. While it provides vital information needed to improve customer care delivery, it's also been sometimes seen as a poor way of assessing success for each call. Just because a call ends quickly doesn't mean everything was resolved successfully, and just because an agent took a little longer on a call doesn't mean the customer wasn't getting the care and attention they needed to keep a good relationship with the company.
9/27/2016 - In the contact center, meeting efficiency metrics and targets starts with a great schedule, and it's management's duty to put these schedules in place. The best manager in the world, however, can watch the day fall apart when some workers demonstrate that they're simply not capable of managing their time properly and sticking to a schedule. It's a problem familiar to most managers, but in the contact center, where every minute counts, it can often be a catastrophe.
9/26/2016 - For someone who spent their entire career working in a formal office setting, or the ubiquitous "cube farm," a visit to a technology company in Silicon Valley is an eye-opening experience. Most of the office space is dedicated to informal work areas or common areas, and employees roam the premises, inside and outdoors, with laptops, tablets and smartphones. Meetings are held not in a blank rectangular room with a large table, but in lounge areas. The feeling behind these open office environments is that relaxed, and mobile employees are collaborative employees.
9/20/2016 - The activities that need to take place throughout the call center in a given day could easily fill a textbook. The strategy that outlines why the call center exists down to the scheduled individuals needed to meet demand all play into how the center is run. Call center scheduling is often done according to forecasted volumes, but what happens when intraday activities are not meeting projections?
9/19/2016 - Automated workforce management is being adopted by many industries and corporate functions today, from factory labor to sales to mobile workers. While it can help all these functions increase efficiency and reduce costs, it's critical to ensure you're picking a solution that's matched to the workforce it's supposed to serve. In the contact center - one of the many functions that can greatly benefit from automated workforce management - it simply wouldn't make sense to use a solution created for factory workers.
9/15/2016 - One industry that's set the tone with advancements in communications and technology and how staff is managed is the call center. What was typically once a brick and mortar location full of agents on the phones has transformed to a place where workers don't even need to be in the same physical location to get the job done.
9/15/2016 - In a busy contact center, scheduling is one of the most vital functions a manager can perform. It's not only about keeping the customer experience positive by avoiding long call queues and transfers. It's also about budgeting, hiring, resource allocation and employee engagement and retention. At the core of a great schedule is a workforce optimization solution that lets managers use historical data and information about predictable future events to right-size the workforce throughout the day, week and month.
9/8/2016 - If there are a hundred ways to get customer support and technical support right, there are a million ways to get them wrong. With communications changing rapidly - new media channels such as mobile app and social media being added - organizations are under a great deal of pressure to build a great customer experience. But it's easy to forget that not all support workers are there to help outside customers. Service desks, for example, exist to meet the in-house IT needs of company employees. As anyone who has ever used an in-house company service desk knows, the process doesn't always go smoothly.
9/6/2016 - Project management is an important part of the business world today, especially when so many project team members are spread across the globe. Project management is also more difficult today because of the mobile worker, but it does not have to be an impossible task. Companies are beginning to utilize attendance tech to manage projects, especially if a large portion of the project team is working outside of the office. Today, we will discuss the connection between project management and attendance tech.
8/31/2016 - To be truly effective, telcos will have to zero in on the customer experience, as perceived by the customer. A failure to anticipate needs, adjust according to demand and personalize the interaction will result in lost customers. The focus will no longer be just on call center scheduling, but instead the optimization of resources to exceed customer expectations.
8/30/2016 - It's a given that engaged employees are better employees. In the contact center, customer engagement is impossible without employee engagement. Sounds like an easy prospect, but…how do you engage your employees? You can't buy employee engagement in a box or order your employees to become more engaged. You can't hire the most positive people on the planet and expect them to stay that way during the daily grind of a job…not without a lot of help.
8/23/2016 - Most companies ask themselves this question regularly: how's our customer experience? There is evidence that too many companies simply can't answer the question. It's not uncommon for organizations to paint an overly rosy picture of the service they offer. The reason for this is that they're simply not asking customers for the right feedback. Of, if they are, they're not paying attention to what customers are telling them.
8/22/2016 - The idea of embracing robots as key contributors to society is something that has fueled the Sci-Fi genre for years. In more than a few movies, it's been the downfall of human civilization, giving rise to the machines and changing the world forever. While we haven't quite reached that pinnacle, we are in a place where robots have replaced human employees, forcing some to wonder if it's just the beginning.
8/15/2016 - The last thing a frustrated or angry customer needs is to encounter long hold times and "your business is valuable to us" messages. If you have good self-service channels in place, assume that every call that comes into the contact center needs to be handled with kid gloves. Your customer may be on his or her last fraying nerve.
8/15/2016 - Call center scheduling solutions provider, Monet Software recently posted a blog on the topic of performance management and the first five steps you need to have in place to be effective. Let's look at a few of these steps as they pertain to performance management and call center scheduling.
8/11/2016 - While a great deal of business today has gone digital, making the assumption that we now live in a digital business world is erroneous. Countless processes are still manual and on paper, and many of these old-fashioned processes run parallel to digital operations, but they never actually meet. For many companies, it feels like they're keeping a dark, shadowy relic alongside their new, shiny digital processes. Because of a lack of integration with the digital world, many business processes need to be duplicated: one on paper with manual tasks, and another in the company's digital realm. It leads to unnecessary work, duplicate efforts, errors and a lack of insight into business processes.
8/8/2016 - There are times the largest discount retailer doesn't seem to have customer care in mind. During a recent stop at our local Walmart, it was clear that the stocker was much more concerned with getting his product on the shelves then letting a customer retrieve one of the items for purchase. It was during the afternoon and the store was rather busy. Will this particular customer come back to get the item or find another provider?
8/5/2016 - While in recent months, call center jobs have been coming back to the United States-some have even called it a call center renaissance-there are still those considering moves overseas, taking jobs from Americans and giving these to people in completely different countries. This is an emotionally-charged issue, with lives and livelihoods often at stake, and so Ohio Democrats are pulling together a bill making it harder to leave the country with call center jobs in tow.
8/1/2016 - In a perfect world, companies would treat their most valued resource - their customers - with nothing short of worship. They would permit only their most skilled and seasoned employees to interface with customers, and they would tailor their support processes around customers' wants and needs, no matter how expensive the endeavor.
7/27/2016 - Every company seems to have "improve customer service" on their to-do list, yet evidence shows us regularly that only a minority of companies seem to have truly mastered customer support. So why is it such a difficult concept to get right?
7/25/2016 - If offered the opportunity to work in the call center environment, too many in the crowd would consider it menial work, something that was settling instead of career-changing. The reality is the industry has come a long way in terms of technology, innovation and driving revenue and profit for the organization, but the public still perceives it as a role that requires little intellect, skill or experience.
7/19/2016 - In the ongoing effort to build better contact center agents who have more skills (both soft skills and hard skills), experience and enthusiasm for their work, regular one-on-one coaching is critical. Classroom training is important for new agents, but it's generic and can only go so far. Most companies that pursue a policy of employee engagement today recognize that more frequent performance feedback and coaching can boost the agents' morale and personal goal-setting.
7/18/2016 - While "Robocop" and "robo home housekeeper" (courtesy of "The Jetsons") may still be concepts for the distant future, the idea of "robo agents" in customer service may be a more attainable future. Automation is rapidly entering the customer relationship - let's face it, most customer inquiries can be automated with existing technology today - and the "smarter" this automation becomes, the less room it leaves for human agents…or so it seems.
7/13/2016 - By hiring properly, you can minimize gaps in the first place to ensure that all your agents are well-suited to speak to your valuable customers. Technology can help fill those final gaps, and ensure that your hand-picked pool of professional agents is being deployed to the best of their best abilities.
7/12/2016 - The focus on global service delivery providers in the past few years has been driving a competitive advantage through more efficient processes. While such an approach is sometimes just sugar-coated policies put in place to keep people in line, those actually driving change in their environments are reaping the benefits.
7/7/2016 - The "dog days of summer" is a common phrase in the English language, but it doesn't apply only to bored school children with nothing to do but laze around the yard. American business typically slows down during the summer months, too, as families take vacations, workers take advantage of unused vacation days and European partners go on hiatus for weeks at a time thanks to generous vacation schedules.
7/6/2016 - Perhaps most importantly, avoid doing nothing. It can be tempting to follow what you've always done and simply hope for the best. Such an approach, however, can cause stress, drain resources and produce poor outcomes. The tools are available to help you make the right choices and build a strategy - it's up to you to use them as prescribed.
6/30/2016 - In most industries, the contact center is the only front for customer support. The hospitality industry, along with the rest of the travel sector, faces a unique challenge in that it's necessary to blend contact center and digital customer support with in-person customer care. Hospitality is one of the most competitive industries in the world when it comes to winning and keeping customers, and few hotels can afford to make even a single misstep with customers.
6/29/2016 - Beyond keeping track of average handle time, managers using modern workforce management can keep a careful eye on a number of other quality metrics. The real advantage is that they can do it live, as call center operations are unfolding.
6/21/2016 - For this to work with call center scheduling, the culture is such that agents work around the anticipated call times. Sure, they can ask for particular shifts, but their experience and skillset will dictate whether or not they get first crack at these perks. A willingness to pay their dues and step up to the plate when it comes to customer satisfaction will go a long way. Eventually, that habit will produce even better customer satisfaction outcomes and then everyone wins.
6/21/2016 - What agents will value, however, is more potential to excel in their jobs and benefit from their efforts. Employee engagement is much higher among employees who don't feel their jobs are dead ends, but instead learning opportunities and a way to climb the ranks to supervisors and managers, if they excel, or at least to gain experience that can be brought to another job. First, however, they need to be prepared to excel.
6/16/2016 - Until girls catch up in the STEM jobs, there may still be a part for human customer support workers to play alongside chatbots. Some companies are offering human-driven chatbots to better personalize the customer experience. While the chatbot can be responsible for typing scripted language, the human could ensure that the response is adequately warm, human and personalized for the machine.
6/14/2016 - On the call center side, WebRTC has the potential to change more than just the number of channels used in interacting. Call center scheduling will change to reflect those available to take more video calls. It's not uncommon for call centers to schedule according to anticipated call volume and skillsets; video simply introduces another track to pay attention to and schedule accordingly.
6/10/2016 - It's a general rule that the larger the workforce is, the more complex managing it becomes. Employees often have competing needs, and trying to manage everyone fairly usually results in someone becoming disgruntled. Government agencies, no stranger to large workforces, are often still reliant upon manual workforce management systems, which is one of the many reasons they carry a strong reputation for inefficient people management.
6/9/2016 - The good news is that it is contact center industry trade show season, and some of the latest and greatest contact center enablement technologies will be on display. While ICMI is finished, the next show to kick off will be Call Center Week 2016 in Las Vegas, which will be held at the Mirage Resort on June 27 - July 1. A number of contact center innovators will be participating, including workforce optimization solutions provider Monet Software, which will be at Booth 616.
6/1/2016 - Contact center managers are some of the busiest people in industry, and it appears that they continue to be handed more hats to wear as technology evolves and customer demands escalate. In addition to being bosses, trainers, recruiters, motivators, counselors, planners, coaches, software experts and disciplinarians, contact center managers have had to become data specialists, as well. Customer support generates enormous amounts of data on a daily basis, and many companies collect this information. Call center managers are increasingly being expected to use the data to improve operations.
6/1/2016 - Many companies have made the virtual contact center model work for them. Jet Blue Airlines, for example, uses nothing but home-based agents, and the company has some of the best customer support in the airline industry. It's vital, however, to ensure that your underpinning technologies support good workforce management, scheduling and employee engagement.
5/24/2016 - Many traditional contact center practices today were put in place (ostensibly) to build efficiency into the contact center. Most agents are still measured for performance on how many calls they can take during the day, and managers - directed by operations executives - are continually looking for ways to shave precious seconds off each call and keep head count low in order to save on labor.
5/23/2016 - Next, of course, you'll need a call routing solution that's smart enough to take a number of complex factors - such as personality - into consideration. Workforce optimization solutions can help here.
5/18/2016 - Even at companies with a reputation for the best customer service, mistakes happen. A support team is only as strong as its weakest link, and inevitably the day will come when:
5/17/2016 - So what are the cons to telecommuting? Some employers don't like the idea of paying workers they can't see. Though technology allows contact center managers to keep track of workers through performance management and workforce management solutions, and instant communications such as chat, some managers like to be able to see faces. Others believe that it hurts the social workplace when it comes to employee cohesion.
5/13/2016 - When social media first debuted in contact centers, companies handled it by hiring (usually younger) dedicated workers to keep an eye on these channels. In these times of omnichannel customer engagement, however, this isn't always possible. Customers expect the same quality transaction across multiple channels, which means sometimes that agent must "follow" the customer.
5/11/2016 - If you were a fly on the wall of the marketing C-suite of many companies right now, chances are good you'd hear a lot about bots. Bots are automated, interactive and intelligent self-service chat solutions that can help solve customers' problems when those customers communicate with them in natural language. Many high-profile companies are beginning to use them, most notably Facebook and Microsoft.
5/4/2016 - Forecasting call center volume is a tricky business. Without a crystal ball, managers need to make a lot of educated guesses based on historical call volume and new developments (product releases, sales, etc.) or current events (storms, power outages). Managers also need to analyze the call center's existing key performance indicators and determine whether the current staffing is meeting the forecast call/contact volume. The problem is, it's so easy to get wrong.
5/4/2016 - While self-service today is seen by some as an avoidance tactic on the part of companies, younger consumers are more likely to express a preference for finding their own answers. Self-service in a customer support scenario is a good thing…if the self-service channel is well designed and easy to use. The point of self-service is to help customers help themselves, not block customers from expensive live help options.
4/29/2016 - While bots are intended to offload some live call and contact channels for human agents, it's important that they be fitted together properly with live help, according to a recent article by Heather Clancy writing for Fortune.
4/28/2016 - Schedule flexibility and adherence might seem like opposing concepts, at least with more traditional methods of schedule building. Today's solutions, however, are bolstered by data analytics and robust reporting, which will allow the complicated schedules of the future to be more easily maintained both for the benefits of agents and customers…regardless of which channels they use to communicate.
4/21/2016 - In the average contact center today - with their multiple channels, skills-based routing, remote workers and high turnover (which means lots of training) - schedule adherence is one of the biggest "devils in the details." A tight schedule created well in advance may seem like a great idea, but schedules rely on people to follow them, and people aren't always great at sticking to schedules.
4/20/2016 - For years, call center jobs have been painted in a negative light. Long, stressful hours taking call after call from angry or annoyed people on the other end of the phone for little pay never seemed like something anyone would want to do by choice. Today however, thanks to advancements in call center technologies, automation and tactics to achieve better customer service, this is no longer an accurate depiction of the call center and how it operates.
4/19/2016 - Looking for ways to boost sales is what companies of all sizes do…it's the reason they're in business. Today, however, the methods of increasing sales are different than those in the past. Vehicles such as direct mail, email and cold-calling have been on the decline for years, but many companies continue to put a great deal of effort and money into those marketing media.
4/15/2016 - A lot of contact centers today don't actually consider themselves contact centers. They may be a few people who handle calls part-time, and generally get along with a makeshift collection of communications and knowledge base or sales technologies. They may be using softphones and working remotely, or they may be distributed all over a single building. Whatever the configuration, even the smallest company has a contact center, even if it's only one person.
4/14/2016 - The end result is more accurate forecasts and schedules for more efficient case management and faster case resolution, which leaves help desk and customer support employees free to help more customers with a frankly better quality of service, helping customers realize a better customer experience.
4/6/2016 - It's important to remember that schedule flexibility doesn't just work to improve employees' lives. It can also help improve contact center operations directly. If you ever need to fill in extra hours, bring workers in earlier, or extend the contact centers' hours because of a weather problem, a new promotion or other one-time event, the flexibility you have in your scheduling solution (and the goodwill you've earned from your employees) will help you plug these holes before they get a chance to bring down customer satisfaction.
4/5/2016 - Finally, it's important to consider the merits of a good workforce management solution if your company relies on customer support personnel who are not all located under the same roof. Thanks to the cloud delivery model today, workforce management can tie all the employees of a contact center, regardless of where they are located, into a single well-oiled machine.
3/31/2016 - Many companies are feeling pressure these days to improve the quality of their workforce optimization. They know - because the word "optimization" appears in it - that's it's something that helps a company use resources better. They've read case studies that show that workforce optimization (WFO) can yield very fast return on investment. But they may not be so certain exactly what's it's going to do for them.
3/30/2016 - If contact center managers are still using manual scheduling processes, it's time to halt. Look into a modern scheduling solution that can use historical information and new data to precisely estimate what the needs of the contact center will be next month, next week, today and in the next 15 minutes. This is particularly true if your contact center manages a lot of skills such as product and service knowledge, selling and support, and foreign languages.
3/24/2016 - There are very few business functions that ever stand still. Business IT, for example, moves at dizzying speeds, and for most companies, requires a team of professionals just to keep up. The contact center is another fast-moving department. Customers' preferences change regularly, and the quick pace of telecommunications technology advances means that the customer support function needs to be ready to adapt, and quickly.
3/24/2016 - From a contact center agent's perspective, each call is only a tiny portion of his or her day. Get most of them right and you're ahead, right? But turn the equation around and look at it from the customer's viewpoint. This may be the only call the customer makes today, and its outcome is likely to stick in his or her head, forever coloring that customer's view of the company. For this reason, it's critical that contact center agents make a good first impression.
3/15/2016 - For starters, you may want to look at some of the improvements you've made recently and ask yourself, do these actions really improve the customer's experience, or just the company's bottom line? Certain metrics that seem to measure quality are sometimes actually working against customers, according to Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post.
3/14/2016 - Keeping the contact center properly staffed has always been a challenge. Today, it's even more of a challenge. Decades ago, people stayed in jobs a long time. They all worked under the same roof. They seldom worked while "on the road," and if they did, they weren't in regular communication. They were also typically all the same type of employee, particularly in the contact center: young workers marking time while waiting for something better.
3/9/2016 - Once agents are fully trained and ready to begin taking calls and other contacts, ensure they always have a place to go when they have a question by keeping an open door policy.
3/8/2016 - It's no secret to anyone who has worked in a contact center that customers have no patience today. They have no patience for telling their stories more than once, and they have no patience for transfers to other departments. Above all, however, they have entirely lost their patience with waiting on hold.
3/1/2016 - The most important point perhaps is to create an environment where you would enjoy the work and thrive. Listen to your agents and what they need to be successful and then create a culture that supports these elements. In doing so, you'll not only keep your quality agents, you'll also deliver awesome service to your customers.
2/29/2016 - Scheduling breaks is one of the most critical points. Contact center workers are not like robots: they can't do high pressure job with only one break a day for lunch. Sometimes, workers under pressure need a few minutes to sort their brains out before they can get back on the phones to do a good job, and will often take breaks when they need it. This can throw off a schedule in a major way.
2/25/2016 - In the contact center, even the very best schedule can go awry. Employees could show up late or leave early (or simply not show up at all). Power or Internet interruptions can put everyone behind, and even innocuous things like fire drills can render the schedule obsolete. A good schedule, however, can withstand unexpected occurrences. For companies using workforce management and scheduling solutions, this flexibility comes from the ability to engage in intraday management.
2/23/2016 - That pressure is one of the reasons why call center agents don't always stick around. The job seems easy enough in theory, but attrition rates are high, costing the call center department thousands more than it should. A constant stream of turnover makes it more difficult to deliver the consistent quality experience and can make call center scheduling a nightmare.
2/23/2016 - If you're a contact center manager, you know the scenario. You spend the time bringing a candidate in for an interview, find he or she is a pretty good fit, and hire and train that person. Just about the time the new agent is starting to show skills and knowledge, he or she quits. This leaves you one agent short until you can begin the recruiting and hiring process all over again. It's an expensive, time-consuming never-ending revolving door.
2/19/2016 - When companies sit down to plan ways to improve the customer experience, few of them begin by thinking up ways to improve the employee experience. While it should be obvious that the well-being of agents directly affects the loyalty of customers, many organizations resist the connection: it may mean they have to spend some money.
2/18/2016 - In recent years, the tasks of forecasting has become somewhat easier thanks to technology and new ideas for success. Companies are beginning to realize precisely how important a good forecast is to the success or failure of a contact center's efforts, and that it's closely tied to the overall customer experience.
2/9/2016 - From the outside, scheduling for the contact center would seem like a relatively straightforward process. You look at historical data, which tends to be quite reliable when it comes to predicting call/contact volume. You factor in outside information: is the company having a new marketing promotion? Are you a power company and a storm is expected? Has there been a product recall? Finally, you create a schedule that should come very close to meeting the actual customer demand in terms of call or contact volume. You deploy the schedule, and everything falls apart. What went wrong?
2/8/2016 - This kind of collaborative staffing approach will likely prove helpful, and give HotSchedules and PeopleMatter some extra force in the market. It's a valuable service the two companies are delivering, after all, and that kind of value is commonly rewarded in the market.
2/4/2016 - If your goal for this year is to reduce headaches, complexity and down-time in the contact center, it should be the year you approach the cloud to begin solving some of your biggest problems. The cloud model can provide contact centers large and small with all the advanced functionality they require, and administration and upkeep of the software becomes the best kind of problem there is: someone else's problem.
2/3/2016 - Let's face it: no one likes a job review. They're awkward, nerve-wracking and generally uncomfortable affairs, largely because they happen only once a year. Because raises and bonuses are often tied to a worker's performance, that once-a-year review - which may be based on your performance on a really bad day you had recently - there is a lot at stake.
1/26/2016 - While they seem funny now, ask any group of people to deal with the weird, the hostile and the plain stupid day in and day out, and there will be repercussions, according to a recent blog post by Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo.
1/25/2016 - Technology, of course, has helped with the forecasting process. Once an onerous job of combing through old call records, we now have software that can examine historical records and provide managers with the information they need. Some solutions even offer analytics that can help improve the forecast by taking into account factors that would be too complex for most call center managers to cope with.
1/20/2016 - The contact center sees some of the highest turnover of any company function. The work is stressful and poorly paid, and employee burnout is common. High turnover, however, is expensive, and companies that can figure out a way to reduce turnover even a little bit will reap the rewards: lower recruiting, hiring and training costs; improved customer relationships and more harmonious work environments for the agents who do stick around.
1/19/2016 - In January, most contact centers begin to slow down from the holiday rush. The returns are complete, and customers simply aren't in a buying mode (they need to catch up with the bills from the holidays!) It's often a quiet time for call volume, except perhaps for companies that offer winter seasonal services, like heating oil, plowing or winter sports gear. It's a great time to sit down and begin solving some of the problems that traditionally plague contact centers during busy times. One of the biggest, of course, is agent attrition.
1/15/2016 - Monet WFM Live is a cloud-based management solution that delivers workforce management, call recording, quality assurance and performance management. Its customizability was particularly attractive for HSA.
1/13/2016 - Few people would ever say that call center work is their favorite job. It's often a stopping place for workers, many of them young people, before they move on to get a better job. The nature of the work and the pay, unfortunately, mean that the contact center has some of the highest turnover of any industry, perhaps second only to the restaurant industry.
1/11/2016 - Many contact centers have problems with attendance, and not even the most powerful scheduling solution will be able to cope if enough workers call in sick or simply don't show up. At this point, it's essential to understand the root causes of absences, and if the problem is a lack of morale, take concrete steps to make employees happier at work.
1/6/2016 - So the holidays are over, and your contact center is settling down into business as usual, right? Seasonal employees are packing up and ready to leave, customers have returned everything they don't want or don't need for exchanges or credits and have taken a vow of "no spending" at least until springtime. It's going to become quiet, and the holiday rush is nothing but a stressful memory.
1/5/2016 - The contact center, which is probably the most rigidly scheduled department in any company, is a different bird. Here, the workforce management manager is the one who builds the schedule and follows up with adherence. Often times, this puts the workforce management manager in conflict with the human resources department.
1/5/2016 - Contact center managers are not unlike the average human when it comes to greeting the New Year Resolutions. Many are ringing in 2016 by taking stock of their priorities, and refocusing their businesses to meet emerging trends and changing customer needs. Increasingly, this means adding quality monitoring to the mix.
1/4/2016 - Companies today should be tracking the number of days lost to absences so they can compare historical data in the future; the reasons for absence and their duration; which departments or teams are losing the most days to absences; and individual employees' absence records. Beate O'Neil, head of wellness consulting at Punter Southall Health and Protection Consulting, told Barrett that companies should be careful, however, of creating too many categories for the reasons for absences.
12/21/2015 - If you're still scheduling with manual, spreadsheet processes, you're taking too much time to do schedules, agents can't easily request changes, you're much more likely to make mistakes and the schedules aren't readily available online. Your time is valuable and if you have more on your plate than call center scheduling, make the investment in workforce management solutions that enable you to move this process online and incorporate automation.
12/14/2015 - Increased functionality is another great reason to move to the cloud. Advanced call center capabilities like analytics, speech recognition, reporting, social media integration and more - typically functions available to only the largest premise-based contact center solutions - are now within reach of smaller contact centers. There's also the matter of the reduced need for IT expertise with the cloud.
12/14/2015 - Is one of your goals to better automate tasks and allow agents to request changes online? A hosted workforce management solution may be in your future, yet you won't be able to find it in Santa's bag. Instead, consider what Monet Software can do for you, especially beyond these key capabilities. What if you could enable screen recording to better track activities and schedule according to performance? What could you measure with access to speech analytics? Would desktop analytics give you better insight into activities and the best placement for each agent?
12/8/2015 - Planning for the holiday period is vital, and "planning" should mean more than just extending the call center's hours. It's critical that contact centers examine historical data from years past and make accurate forecasts of this year's call volume. Once you've taken on extra help - turning part-time workers into full-time workers, hire temporary work, let agents work from home or outsource part of the call volume to a third party - it's time to check and see if you're really prepared.
12/7/2015 - Cloud contact center solutions clearly offer numerous advantages in the way of cost, flexibility and maintenance. Another major factor is security, and while cloud offerings were previously perceived as insecure compared to on-premise solutions, that is no longer the case. Cloud providers typically specialize in securing their very specific offerings, and can also provide added assurances in the way of disaster recover and backup measures.
12/4/2015 - What businesses need to concern themselves with this year is how to prepare their customer service agents for success. With the increase in shopping for the holiday season, the demand for high-quality customer service will reach one of the highest points of the year. Simply the increase in customer support calls will place a heavier burden on call centers; in addition, agents will need to be prepared to give information about more products and services that they may see at any other time.
11/30/2015 - It's worthwhile to spend some time checking your scheduling and your quality monitoring processes along with your metrics. Do agents have breathing space to go above and beyond for customers? Will they actually be penalized for doing so? Instead of managing with a company-first approach, try switching things around to create a customer-first attitude.
11/25/2015 - Another important function for a scheduling solution is to help companies maintain schedule adherence even when the unexpected happens. Even the best schedule in the world won't help when the contact center is hit with an influx of unexpected calls, or when agents have to spend more time than expected with a single customer to resolve a complex problem, according to Wise.
11/23/2015 - In case you haven't noticed - it's Thanksgiving week. For some of us, that means a lot of family time and great food. For others, it means the start of the craziest time of the year. If you're responsible for call center scheduling, you already know the hours of operation, the agents coming in at different shifts and the type of volume to expect. If you haven't prepared appropriately, you may notice an impact on agent stress, absenteeism and overall morale.
11/17/2015 - Cloud-based, integrated workforce management and workforce optimization solutions can often provide enormous benefits quickly to the average contact center today. By being able to perform better forecasting and scheduling and use outside workers to help fill in the gaps, contact centers can raise their quality of service, expand their reach and lower their costs all at the same time. They can even pull data from more sources to build a more realistic picture of operations, and use sophisticated reporting and alert capabilities to ensure that issues are resolved before they turn into large problems. Ciarlo calls the advent of cloud contact center solutions a new revolution in the contact center.
11/17/2015 - Like it or not, the holiday season is here. Christmas music is starting to play; decorated trees are going up; special Black Friday and Cyber Monday pricing is trending; and call centers are bracing for an uptick in traffic. The individual responsible for call center scheduling is about to get very busy. Is there a way to make his or her job a little more manageable?
11/10/2015 - Creepy, spooky and frightening are all words we associate with the recently concluded Halloween festival. Even though we made it through the fun and excitement of this year's season, these same words can still easily apply to your call center if you don't have the right tools in place to keep customers happy and agents working efficiently.
11/10/2015 - The ability to schedule agents in the contact center to avoid overstaffing and understaffing has obvious implications for the customer relationship. Understaffing means long hold times, rushed and burned out agents, mistakes and a lack of resolution to customer queries. Customers are forced off the phone quickly because agents are trying to keep up with an arbitrary average handle time limit. This, in turn, often leads to customers having to call back again. When they do, they're frustrated and less loyal, and in the long run, these callbacks can cost a company quite a lot.
11/3/2015 - At the same time, that means you need to have the right technology in place. If you expect the employee to use his or her equipment and their only access to the Internet is a dial-up connection, you're not going to get the results you need to satisfy the expectations of customers. Provide your agents with the technology they need to get the job done right and to deliver the kind of experience your customers have come to expect.
11/2/2015 - Some haven't considered how much value is involved in connecting sales to accounting for smoother management of accounts payable and receivable, let alone the value of connecting sales to marketing. The value of connection is tough to underestimate, as it can produce some great results once every part of the organization has an idea of what everyone else is doing. It allows for better contribution and understanding of current conditions, keeping everyone moving toward the same goal.
10/29/2015 - The call center industry is going through a transition as consumers continue to use self-service options. But, there is still a large percentage of the population that continues to rely on call centers to address their needs. The 2014 European Contact Center Benchmark, which was just released, revealed contact center employment grew at 3.6 percent in 2014.
10/28/2015 - . Making it all fit - new channels and old - can be a huge challenge. It's an important one to get right, however, since customers will judge your company on how easy it is to do business with you. They'll seldom wait around for an explanation or an attempt by a company to salvage a transaction.
10/23/2015 - There is ample evidence that managers who lead to inspire workers and help them achieve their personal goals in alignment with organizational goals are the best motivators a workforce can have. These managers understand building fair schedules to facilitate work-life balance, ongoing training that is inspiring and not punitive, regular performance reviews designed to help workers succeed, and encouragement and motivation during every-day work (in the form of gamified solutions, rewards and opportunities).
10/22/2015 - Figuring out the nuances of what customers like today and what they don't like is a full-time job. We use analytics, we poll customers, we read feedback on social media sites and message boards, and we listen in on recorded calls with screen capture. We know that customers like self-service, for example, as long as it's easy and yields good results. We know that customers prefer not to engage in a live session with a customer support rep unless there is a need to do so. A variety of factors affect customer wishes and preferences, and understanding them is something of an art and a science.
10/13/2015 - As with any team, the contact center is just as strong as its weakest link. Keep this in mind when you're attempting to use the contact center team you have to achieve your business aspirations, your customer excellence plan, and your financial goals, according to Chuck Ciarlo, CEO of Monet Software, in a recent blog post.
10/12/2015 - When several members on your team are taking a few minutes here and a few minutes there on a regular basis, it appears as though you are understaffed to meet the demands of the call center. The obvious next move to fix that issue is to hire additional staff. You've now incurred more cost in the call center that is completely avoidable if employees simply adhere to the call center scheduling plan.
10/8/2015 - For certain customer-facing companies, the holidays can be more than a little daunting. Many businesses see the lion's share of their sales happen during the December holidays, and beginning in November, they need to expand their resources - both human and technological - to meet the coming rush.
10/5/2015 - Making this investment in the agent base is something call center management cannot afford to miss. Given the role technology plays in the call center today, effectively managing training should be a given and not the exception. Management has access to real-time information that shows the best time to schedule training with a specific agent so as to avoid idle time and help them boost their capabilities in areas where they are lacking.
9/29/2015 - It's that most wonderful time of the year again. While it's too early for Christmas carols, customer support departments are feeling the autumn weather, and anticipating the holiday headaches to come. With about eight weeks to go before "Black Friday," or the day after Thanksgiving when most people begin their holiday shopping (as well as its close twin, Cyber Monday), contact centers across North America are already in hiring mode to onboard temporary workers so they can meet customer demands. It's not, and never has been, an easy task.
9/28/2015 - The same is true for a number of consumers and businesses in the market. We've come to expect immediate responses - something texting and social media has taught us. We expect people to be waiting on the other end of the line at all times to respond to what we need, when we need it. Any delay in response affects how we feel about the situation. This emotional response forms the customer experience and you do have the opportunity to impact that experience.
9/23/2015 - In the business world, unless you're part of a virtual emergency problem-solving team (like many IT workers), it's still generally accepted that the work day goes from 8:00 or 9:00 to about 5:00 or 6:00, Monday through Friday. This may work fine for most departments - there are few "emergency accounting problems" that crop up at 8:00 pm or on Sunday - but for the contact center, it gets a bit tricky.
9/22/2015 - A feature-rich portfolio of contact center functionality that becomes someone else's headache when it needs maintenance, added to the ability to "right-size" the application for your specific contact center needs today and tomorrow is the hallmark of a great cloud contact center solution. Most companies will find they're not going to miss paying harried IT workers overtime to deploy and maintain a premise-based solution that has little flexibility for changing operations, but comes with a huge price tag before it can even succeed in promoting customer care.
9/16/2015 - Customers, particularly younger customers, are adopting technology in a way that has outpaced adoption rates of technology in most companies. It's easy to understand why: switching customer support technologies isn't something you can do every six months. It can be expensive and disruptive and prone to cost overages and feature-creep (in which everyone in the organization has a pet feature they want, whether the organization needs it or not).
9/15/2015 - For these reasons and more, it's critical to keep contact center agents happy in their jobs. This will require training them sufficiently and providing adequate technologies to offer excellent service. It will also mean valuing them and their expertise, and empowering them to make decisions that can actually help customers. Few contact center agents actually like angering customers. But often, the stress they experience leads to apathy.
9/11/2015 - What do your customers want in their relationship with you? Some might jump immediately to quick and quality service, while others may get into more detail. The extent of the relationship often has a lot to do with the complexity of the products or services you offer. If the customer expects significant interaction, you may need a workforce management solution to ensure you can effectively stay on track.
9/11/2015 - Many companies today use performance management in the contact center in order to evaluate agents. They may use the information to promote or demote, determine raises or apply spot training as needed to agents who need to brush up on their skills. But these functions are only the tip of the performance management iceberg: companies that have successfully implemented wide-ranging performance management are able to use it to improve processes across the entire spectrum of contact center operations.
9/2/2015 - In the quest to develop the best call center experience, it's easy to overlook the role of call center scheduling. Yes, you know it needs to be done, but do you incorporate the way you schedule into overall strategy? You may not think it matters much as scheduling is a tactical activity. But in reality, agents have everything to do with your success and scheduling has everything to do with agents.
9/1/2015 - At most contact centers, the process of scheduling is carried out very much as it was 10 or even 20 years ago. Managers generally use spreadsheets and a few key mathematical formulae to determine how many people they need on the phones and when. While this method can give managers some idea of the resources they will need, they're inflexible, hard to check for compliance and generally apply only to phone calls. Some companies do use scheduling software, and while this makes the job somewhat easier, it, too, is often inflexible when it comes to handling multichannel communications. In 2015, the problem can be summed up in two words: social media.
Contact Center Agents Can Be Either Generalists or Specialists, but Workforce Management Must Be Adaptable
8/27/2015 - There are some age-old matters of opinion in the world: toilet paper roll over or under? Beatles or Rolling Stones? Do dogs or cats make better pets? In the contact center world, the age-old question goes something like this: is it better to cross-train agents to handle multiple skills and channels, or use dedicated pools of single-skill agents?
8/27/2015 - Traditionally, there are some workers that need to remain highly scheduled in order to ensure no lapses in coverage or productivity. Store clerks, factory workers and contact center agents stand out particularly, but there are hundreds of others. While office workers are generally able to take a break when they need it, millions of Americans find themselves so locked into a schedule that they must wait to take a restroom break when it's "in the schedule."
8/19/2015 - Time theft is one of those phrases that almost sounds loaded from the get-go. It enrages managers, because it represents a failure of management to keep employees where said employees need to be as well as lost resources. Bringing allegations of time theft to employees offends the basic sense of honor, and can make everyone worse off. But time theft is a point that needs to be addressed to make the business everything it can be.
8/18/2015 - How much a workplace contributes to this work/life balance will dictate how well its employees are engaged with their jobs. It's in managers' best interest, therefore, to ensure that workers' schedules aren't burning them out. The quality of a boss - a strong indicator of employee engagement - is often measured by how well that boss manages' employee's schedules. This idea is backed up by recent research.
8/12/2015 - Customers today are being set up by companies to believe that they will receive a competent customer support experience, but many organizations aren't backing up their promises with action by integrating their channels and building a true 360-degree view of the customer.
8/10/2015 - The same can happen for call center scheduling. When agents are respected for their roles outside of their profession, they are more likely to go above and beyond the requirements of the job. Plus, management can show appreciation through other perks and even public acknowledgement through social media channels, demonstrating the valuable role agents play in the organization overall.
8/5/2015 - Is your contact center an integrated omnichannel wonder center that handles all customer communications, either inbound or inbound, regardless of communications channels? Do all customer support agents have a 360-degree view of the customer relationship, including self-service activities the customer engages in? Can your workers easily see a customer's history with the company in a single view on the desktop? Do you have the social media channel integrated onto the contact center platform and do your agents use it for both inbound and outbound social media communications?
8/3/2015 - The important point here is that the information needs to be accessible. While of course it will be stored in a large, centralized data pool initially, it's no good to anyone if it stays there, or if it's delivered in a format incomprehensible to anyone but an IT expert.
7/28/2015 - Government agencies set up to assist citizens with programs for their health and better living, are a vital function across many states in the U.S. For those tasked with managing and maintaining the operations, the job can quickly become compounded by a need to deliver quality services while still keeping agents happy.
7/27/2015 - As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. You're managing your business' value in the marketplace on a daily basis while at the same time striving to maintain superior customer service and employee satisfaction. There's a lot on your mind and the minds of your employees, too. Some days, it feels like 9 a.m. becomes 5 p.m. in a heartbeat. At times like this, you spend most of your time just trying to keep the ship afloat.
7/24/2015 - Regardless of the industry in which you compete, you have customers that need attention. Maybe you need to launch outbound campaigns to connect with the right individuals at the right time. Maybe you need to answer calls from customers wanting to make a purchase, ask a question or complain about something they don't like. You may be one of the operations that must manage both, which can be a challenge for call center scheduling.
7/20/2015 - In the realm of customer service, it's easy to look at the operations, customers and even staff as all numbers. You anticipate a certain call volume, for which you have to have a certain number of agents available to take their calls. Within the context of each call, there is a certain process that is followed and certain metrics you are trying to achieve. These numbers are all important in call center scheduling, but are they all you need to consider?
7/15/2015 - Customers are tired of being generic. They have always been individual and not the same, but for decades businesses have treated them more or less the same because it was hard to effectively provide individual customer service to scale.
7/13/2015 - Companies today want to improve the bottom line and are on a constant hunt for ways to remain successful. Management must stay on the cutting edge of the latest technologies and strategies to ensure they are meeting the needs of customers and employees.
7/8/2015 - It's also important to engage a player that will allow you transparency every step of the way. Do wish to be able to view the call center schedule at any moment you wish? How about access reporting, call recording and key performance indicators? A transparent, responsible outsourcer should allow you access to any information that is relevant to your operations and your customers. According wo WCCI, a responsible outsourcer will offer clients access to features such as remote monitoring, remote training, onsite training, digital recording and comprehensive reporting services. The outsourcer should have nothing to hide.
7/7/2015 - Many companies today promise top-notch customer support, but when it comes to actually providing it, the promises fall flat. Unexpected call volumes, high turnover or inexperienced or bad management are just some of the reasons for this. Truly experienced call center managers can get a grip on a busy contact center and run it successfully, but these individuals don't grow on trees. When contact centers do fall short, however, it's worthwhile to pinpoint WHERE the bumps are occurring. Many organizations put blame on the agents, but agents are only as good as the person managing them.
7/1/2015 - Customers are demanding today. They like fast service. They like accurate service. They have a wide variety of needs and questions, and they expect contact centers to provide them. Many companies respond by providing contact center workers with access to more and more knowledge bases and applications. Unfortunately, this sometimes has the opposite effect than companies intended. More data doesn't always mean more intelligence.
7/1/2015 - As workforce management solution provider, Monet Software highlighted in a recent blog post, there are benefits to paying attention to these two challenges. When you apply the right resources to keep your good employees and prevent burnout, the result is a better pool of quality agents overall. Everyone on your payroll will benefit from the intentional approach to support, quality interactions and positive feedback. In the end, employees are happy, content to stay put and deliver the quality experience your customers have come to expect.
6/26/2015 - As younger customers - those of the so-called "Millennial Generation" - gain more buying power, the importance of telephone support will decline as they flock to their preferred channels, which are social media and chat. For companies focusing all their scheduling and quality efforts on the telephone, more customers will be lost through the neglected channels.
6/22/2015 - Monet Software now offers integration with Salesforce Service Cloud. CEO Chuck Ciarlo shared the news with TMCnet at Call Center Week in Las Vegas.
6/16/2015 - In the contact center, we do many things that help improve the customer experiencing, making it faster and easier. Whether it's flexible scheduling for agents, skills-based routing, quality monitoring, robust agent training or customer relationship management, everything we do is (or should be) focused on improving the customer journey.
6/15/2015 - The typical agent who works the 8-5 shift every day is likely to see communications that are a little bit different from the agent who works the night shift. The demographics of the audience at that time is different, as well as the tools they prefer to use to conduct interactions. The stagnant feeling will be the same for those that work that later shift, however, as they won't see a lot of variation in their activity, either.
6/12/2015 - In the contact center, there are people, processes and technology, and all three contribute to the quality of customer support a company can offer. But people are the cornerstone of the contact center, and the rest is often just widow-dressing (important window-dressing, but still…) Understanding employees is one of the most vital functions of a manager, and in today's customer support environment, this means understanding the Millennial generation worker.
6/8/2015 - In the early 1970s, my parents, in their early twenties and still somewhat newlyweds, adopted two pre-teens. The story of how this came together is pretty fun, but the reality at that time was taking on two nearly adult-sized individuals to a household with one baby and two green individuals was stressful on the pocketbook. While dad secured as many jobs as he could, mom looked for ways she could generate income at home.
6/4/2015 - "Wage theft" is a concept we often hear in conjunction with employers who stiff workers by failing to pay overtime, docking pay for job-related training or simply not paying workers for the time they worked. Employees aren't always the victims, however: wage theft's opposite, "time theft" can victimize employers, as well. Think of scenarios in which workers leave early and have a friend clock them out hours later. Time theft of this nature costs American businesses a great deal of money - it's a problem that affects about 75 percent of businesses, according to some studies -- and it's not always an easy or inexpensive problem to remedy.
6/2/2015 - The implementation of the call centers scheduling tools from Monet Software gave Bayview the capabilities they needed to drive efficiency. As a result, the company is much better suited to improve employee outcomes, control the costs associated with customer service activities and manage exceptions through digital options.
5/28/2015 - To ensure the proper approach to customer interactions, call center management must implement proper training and quality monitoring. Agents should try to keep a customer, but there are scripts to follow and lines that should never be crossed. If all calls are recorded and monitored for performance, the agent going off on the customer is much less likely, especially if those calls are scored for performance and shared with the agent.
5/26/2015 - There's nothing quite like the three-day weekend. No matter what you have planned, an extra day to enjoy it and a shorter work week afterwards are something to be savored. At the time of this writing, I am trying to recover from a long weekend of family time. I have five siblings and I live across the state from all of them. If one wants to come to visit, I jump at the chance to have some of my family all to myself.
5/21/2015 - In the days of the traditional call center, agents were scheduled according to need and availability. While forecasts could change, the hours and the demands of the job changed little from day to day. One frustrated customer blended into the next and wins in the way of the satisfied caller added a needed boost. Today, virtual call centers permeate the industry, putting a whole new spin on call center scheduling.
5/20/2015 - To that end, any technology investments have to be in platforms and applications that are easy to use and make sense to the user. If an agent has to use technology just to use technology, it won't be adopted or deliver the benefit you want. If they instead understand why it matters and it blends easily into the workflow, agents - who are more likely to be Gen X and millennials - will make it a part of their routine.
5/18/2015 - It may be time for your contact center to reevaluate your criteria for hiring new agents. What worked 10 or even five years ago may no longer be a benefit to the company.
5/13/2015 - Just as listening is critical, so too is speaking like a human being and not a robot. Agents required to follow strict scripts cannot respond to customers the way they expect: with a customized plan of action designed to solve the customer's issue quickly. Agents constrained by rigid scripts will likely hate their jobs, and employee engagement will be low…leading to poor customer engagement. Consider empowering agents by giving them some autonomy with which to do their jobs.
5/11/2015 - Before the arrival of the multichannel contact center with various skill-sets needed to handle customer interactions, call center scheduling was pretty simple. Management forecasted for anticipated volume and scheduled agents according to need and availability. Today, those demands have changed and the agent able to adjust to managing multiple channels with efficiency will be in high demand.
Texas Credit Union Reduces Contact Center Headcount and Improves KPI with Monet Software Scheduling Solution
5/6/2015 - Workforce management and scheduling are critical functions for every business, but in the contact center industry, these solutions, used properly, can be the difference between success and failure. Not only is the contact center an expensive function for a company, it has the potential to earn revenue, if properly handled. It's also a very complex place, since the average contact center today is juggling both inbound and outbound contacts, and a variety of communications channels, all of which must be carefully balanced to ensure that the customer experience is optimal in all of them.
5/5/2015 - Finally, flexible scheduling - easily possible with a good workforce management solution but nearly impossible with spreadsheets or other manual methods - can help improve employee retention and boost satisfaction. This leads to lower turnover, which leads directly to lower costs and higher customer satisfaction.
5/4/2015 - While all of this information is accessed over the Internet, it's still secure. And while the agent is working offsite, supervisors can still assess performance in real-time. This approach also gives supervisors much more flexibility in hiring and managing a proven agent base as they can select individuals from around the world, able to work hours when other agents are asleep. This gives the call center greater availability for customers who call at all hours of the day, while eliminating the need to build centers around the world.
4/30/2015 - With employee engagement becoming such a difficult prospect in the contact center - American workers in general are not engaged; contact center workers less so - smart companies need to find ways to challenge their agents to do better. For some companies, it's about preventing the mind-numbing boredom that can come from repetitive tasks.
The U.S. Contact Center Industry is Growing, and with It the Need for a Multichannel, Multi-Skilled Platform
4/28/2015 - Monet recommends that for the modern multichannel and skills-based contact center of today, hiring managers look for the following qualities: courtesy and professionalism in all communication; attendance and punctuality; outstanding verbal skills and/or written skills; the ability to multitask; a responsible team player; the ability to adhere to a strict schedule; the confidence to work independently and problem-solve without assistance; the ability to stay calm in a fast-paced work atmosphere; familiarity with the technology found in contact centers; and the ability to listen to and respond to coaching.
4/21/2015 - And today, more than ever, customers use those voices to share their experiences with peers, family and friends, which influences potential new customers. Nobody has ever - EVER - raved about an experience with a company that was based on a call center script (except, perhaps, in an angry way). To ensure that the customer experience remains positive and customers can get off the phone with their issue solved as fast as possible, toss out the script and ensure the agents are properly trained, able to answer questions (or find answers for unusual questions) and scheduled properly so that enough customer support personnel are available when the phone rings.
4/20/2015 - In the world of call center scheduling, we tend to focus a considerable amount of time on finding the right candidates, schedule adherence, shift projections and skills-based routing. All of these activities are important, but they pull attention away from the value of onboarding quality employees. If we expect them to perform, we have to give them the tools and training to do so in a short amount of time.
4/14/2015 - When it comes to delivering quality customer service, no one pays more attention to the details than those in call center management. These professionals know the importance of each and every interaction and what the outcome can mean to the bottom line. A failure to implement the right strategy can mean failure in the numbers and more money spent on replacing customers lost through churn. To prevent such an outcome, organizations need to invest in the right training.
4/13/2015 - Ask any contact center agent what stands between them and doing a great job, and you'll probably hear that it's a lack of knowledge and resources required to service customers to a high degree. Agents either lack access to knowledge bases entirely, or they cannot access the information they require quickly during the course of a telephone call. The result is a frustrated customer, a long call and a less-than-fulfilled agent. Training can help ameliorate this knowledge gap, but in a busy contact center, finding time to train agents on an ongoing basis can be very tricky.
4/9/2015 - Today, most organizations have rather one-size-fits-all policies when it comes to managing their workforce. It makes sense: tailoring a management policy to each individual worker would be difficult, costly and cumbersome. But it's worthwhile to remember that some workers are going to be more comfortable with workforce technologies than others. While their level of comfort isn't always predicted by their age, it's often true that younger workers are simply more comfortable with all manner of technology.
4/8/2015 - While the premise-based solutions of several years ago may have been expensive - although still worth it for most contact centers - today's cloud-based solutions can help drive large improvements in efficiency without breaking the bank. With workforce management solutions, it's easier to manage start times, end times and breaks with an ease of flexibility that dramatically improves service levels, says Ciarlo.
4/2/2015 - While it may not seem like it in the Northeast U.S. at the moment, warm weather is right around the corner. Spring and summer present peculiar dilemmas for most contact centers: they mean more vacations and holidays by workers, and an uptick in customer activity for many industries, particularly travel, hotel, entertainment and resort destinations.
4/1/2015 - Before talent benchmarking, the contact center was successful in its hiring practices 47 percent of the time. Once benchmarking was put in place, the company improved that number to 59 percent, demonstrating a 25 percent improvement. The method also helped cut down the number of times the organization hired agents who were later found to be poor fits within the company and likely failed to deliver on quality customer care expectations.
3/24/2015 - For both root causes of disengagement - a lack of work-life balance and improper training - a robust workforce scheduling solution can help. Workforce management and scheduling software can help ensure employees have the right amount of flexibility coupled with the right amount of predictability to keep employees satisfied with their jobs. A good scheduling solution can also help find ways to build time for regular training into the day without negatively affecting operations. The end result is more relaxed employees with better control over their jobs. And this is precisely the right recipe for an engaged workforce.
3/23/2015 - Most customers - if not all - have had at least a few customer support fiascos during their life. They're hard to forget: they involve multiple calls and contacts to a company that can't seem to find any answers, or offers conflicting information. Snippy customer support personnel put the call on hold repeatedly, transfer it multiple times and still can't find an answer. Retailers ship the wrong products, or provide defective products and make it difficult to get a return or resolution.
3/17/2015 - Better scheduling. When it comes to the right agents handling the issues, companies will need to begin amping up their scheduling capabilities to ensure that specialists in subject matter, languages and channels (i.e., not all telephone agents are good in written-word channels, or social media) are available at all times to maximize each customer experience.
3/16/2015 - To prevent these types of violations, the infographic recommends that employees take three essential steps: keep records of time, ask supervisors about overtime pay and speak to a lawyer if denied overtime. On the other end, employers should track employee job requirements, keep detailed records of all employee hours, and pay overtime to avoid wage and hour lawsuits.
3/11/2015 - Today, all but the tiniest contact centers engage in some type of skills-based routing. Whether it's for foreign language abilities, product or service knowledge, to play to a particular agent's strengths (account retention, for example) or any other reason, most call centers understand that the first available agent is not always the best agent to take the call. While skills-based routing helps both customers and the organization, it complicates the scheduling process. Managers, once tasked to ensure that all communications channels were adequately covered, now need to ensure that all skills are sufficiently available on each shift.
3/9/2015 - Monet Software, a provider of call center scheduling solutions recently tackled this topic in a company blog. The company is a big proponent of paying attention to service levels and believes the companies who put this as a priority in their quest to always improve will enjoy long-term success. To accomplish this goal, Monet Software suggests that you start with asking the right questions.
3/5/2015 - Many companies today are still employing workforce management solutions that cannot handle multichannel customer interactions, and cannot integrate back-office functions into the workforce as a whole. In these cases, says Ciarlo, growing companies looking for improved efficiency would be well served to investigate a system that will allow them to take a more proactive approach in managing back office activities and call center growth - no matter how busy you get in 2015 and beyond.
3/3/2015 - The small business is the lifeblood of the American economy. While we all tend to look to the Googles and the Apples of the world as driving opportunities, the reality is that innovation, job creation and expansion have always been driven by the small business. For those at the helm of these operations, sustainability is dependent upon the satisfaction of the client base.
2/25/2015 - A third critical benefit that modern workforce management will provide is the ability to run complex analytics on workforce management processes in order to spot trends, correct problems before they occur and make better use of existing assets.
2/23/2015 - To truly drive the optimal call center scheduling activity for the week, you must rely on accurate forecasting of the volume of work and the requirements of your staff. Workforce management software can help ease the process and put the tools you need online and at your fingertips, making it much easier to leverage transparency and identify patterns in shifts and daily duties. Outcomes are also improved if you can factor in the preferences and skill sets of your individual agents.
2/19/2015 - Customers actually like answering their own questions quickly on their own time, which is why they respond well to properly crafted self-service options. To implement self-service effectively, companies need to determine why customers call the majority of time.
2/18/2015 - Do you have your own quiet room? When my kids were small, such a concept was foreign to me. There was always a demand or they simply wanted to be near. No room was off limits and even taking a shower was sometimes too much separation for them to bear as there was always a question that needed to be answered immediately.
2/10/2015 - But one of the most critical reporting elements is the service performance report, which can help contact center managers understand how actual performance compared to projections and expectations. It's this report that helps uncover gaps in training, hiring and employee performance. Managers can target poorly performing individuals or teams for better training, or can drill down to root causes of a breakdown in processes, identify it and eliminate it.
2/9/2015 - The latest trend shaking up a number of industries is the use of gamification. Call center scheduling solution provider, Monet Software recently published a blog on the topic, pointing to the importance of turning the workplace into a fun place. For environments where high productivity is a must, introducing fun may be more than just a little challenging.
2/5/2015 - Abdey points out that a good call center manager will "need to know what [home-based agents] are up to during work hours." This is where cloud-based solutions for workforce management and scheduling come in. Home-based agents can be included in these solutions just as premise-based agents are, and managers and supervisors can track their statistics - availability, average handle time, etc. - very readily from supervisors' desktops. It may require managers to work outside their comfort zones, according to Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo, but it's worth the effort. Starting small with a home-based program could help.
2/3/2015 - While Zappos hasn't yet determined how best to adjust pay in the Open Market system, the idea is interesting enough for exploration. If all things are equal and your most experienced agents select the choice shifts, wouldn't the customer experience naturally be less than you have the potential to achieve? Yes, you will have a few of your experienced agents who like the rush of the busy time, but the majority are likely to opt to take the easier shift if it's worth the same amount of money in their pocket. Why not sweeten the deal?
1/30/2015 - Unfortunately, when a job gets stale, productivity declines. Staff get into ruts, goals and improvements flatline, and performance suffers. Again, the call center is no exception.
1/28/2015 - With modern WFO and scheduling solution, the creation of schedules is a more transparent process. Employees can access schedule details when they need to (even from phones and tablets), so they feel less like orders from on high. Employees can automatically bid for overtime and/or vacation time based on parameters like performance or seniority, and workers can even swap shifts with one another without a manager's input as long as they have the right skills.
1/22/2015 - As we get further into 2015, those companies able to meet customer expectations in terms of customer service will set the tone. They will deploy these strategies and others to establish dominance. While no hover board is needed, a continuing look to the future will help maintain that competitive advantage.
1/19/2015 - Monet Software recommends a relatively simple process to improving adherence. First, identify your current adherence levels using the following formula: [phone time+ other work related activity time]/ ([shift time] - [lunch/dinner] - [break] + [exception time] +[overtime]) = schedule adherence. Next, write the report's authors, you need to identify the reasons agents are falling out of adherence.
1/13/2015 - Having the optimum number of agents at the right time with the right skills, in the right place is essential to success in the contact center. Unfortunately, many companies are still trying to accomplish this with manual processes and spreadsheets, which is why they are hitting and missing so often. Modern workforce management and scheduling solutions help by automating critical tasks to help bring about more accurate call volume forecasting, staffing calculations and scheduling and daily performance tracking, so companies are not caught unawares by high call volumes (and when they are, they can manage it better).
1/12/2015 - In doing so, the call center is much more likely to be scheduled according to actual call volume. Nothing hurts performance like too many calls coming in and not enough agents to handle the volume. Likewise, your bottom line can't afford for agents to be sitting idle. The occasional few minutes can allow for valuable training, but too much time spent with nothing to do can lead to boredom and the disinterested agent.
1/6/2015 - Before you implement or overhaul a metrics plan, ask yourselves a few questions: are these metrics for the benefit of our company or our customers? Do they conflict with one another? Have we put too much emphasis on rushing customers off the phone? Are we punishing agents for really helping customers? Do we want to work towards short-term goals or long-term goals? It's important to remember that metrics that will improve long-term goals - and improvement in customer satisfaction, for example - may affect quantity metrics in the short-term. It's a small price to pay for long-term gains.
1/5/2015 - It's that time of year when businesses, and in particular contact centers, begin examining their existing processes to look for ways to save money and boost operations during the year to come. While there are many ways to do this, it's advised to start with the areas that will make the biggest positive impact on call center operations.
12/29/2014 - The word job shouldn't be synonymous with stress, but for some in the call center industry, this is a reality. Call center agents have a significant amount of pressure put on them in a given day, from the number of calls they should handle, to the amount of time they should spend on each call to the way the calls should be resolved before disconnect.
12/22/2014 - Many companies today will go to great lengths to save money, even when it doesn't really make sense. In a customer support scenario, these efforts can be disastrous. According to a recent study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialist International, more than one-third of companies have expressed an interest in replacing human customer service agents with automated system in the next 10 years. While automation certainly has a time and a place - for simple transactions such as checking balances, or for routing phone calls and handling routine inquiries - customers still value live help, and when they can't get it, it's likely they will go where they can get human help.
12/22/2014 - There are a number of metrics that call center management examine in assessing the performance of the customer service division. Criteria like number of abandoned calls, number of calls per hour, absenteeism, schedule adherence, First Call Resolution, call escalation and so much more are examined on a regular basis. If you don't have the right agents in the right place at the right time, however, these metrics may not matter.
12/16/2014 - The adoption of the self-service channels also means that contact centers need to focus on more complex transactions. These complicated calls should be handled by knowledgeable, well-trained agents if they are to reach successful conclusion. Likewise, those interactions need to be secure and private, something the laws in the U.S. are designed to protect. The increased visibility the brand has into the customer experience is also a perk for keeping the customer service division at home as changes are made more easily.
12/15/2014 - Performance in the contact center is a measure often top of mind for call center management. To get a first-hand look at how one solution is enabling call center management to implement workforce optimization to improve performance, make time for Monet Software's webinar, How to Gain More Insights into the Performance of Your Contact Center.
Frost & Sullivan Study Outlines Potential for New Support Interaction Optimization Solution Category
12/12/2014 - The analytics and performance management integration ensures that agents are following best practices, which can boost the quality of customer support while shaving precious minutes off transactions. This will be particularly important going forward as support transactions become more technologically complex. Imagine a future in which nearly all Americans have a wearable technology device (in the same way nearly all Americans carry smartphones today).
12/8/2014 - Many companies investigate the idea of the home agent model based on costs. Often, they find far more benefits than cost. Dramatic improvements in the customer experience and better call center metrics are often a welcome, if unintended, result.
12/2/2014 - For many contact center organizations, schedules are created once a day - or once a week - and assumed to be adhered to. In reality, these schedules created far in advance of the actual day often bear little resemblance to what the day ultimately looks like. It wouldn't matter even if managers attempted to fix things: intraday management, or real-time adjustments to schedules, are very difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish with more traditional schedule building techniques.
12/1/2014 - To effectively focus on consistent improvements in the call center, make it a point to identify the information you need to make informed decisions. Implement a solution that allows you to capture information in real-time and make changes where necessary to drive better performance. In doing so, you'll realize the outcomes you need to positively impact the bottom line.
11/26/2014 - For customers today, a company's Web site is the single most important destination before a purchase is made. Even if the purchase is ultimately made in a brick-and-mortar store, more often than not, the buying journey begins on a Web site, either on a personal computer or a phone's mobile browser.
11/24/2014 - When all agents are trained to properly handle those frustrating calls, call center scheduling will adequately accommodate the needs of your environment. If not, schedule in such a way that those more experienced agents are ready to turn that frustrated customer into a happy customer.
11/20/2014 - Every contact center has a mix of agents working with customers. A very small handful of agents are superstars. These are the people who can sell easily, build rapport with customers, handle objections and bring angry customers back to the fold. Nothing seems to get them down, and they can pull a good performance out every day. Most companies wish they could clone these people.
11/17/2014 - In the call center space, it's not uncommon for management to focus solely on the performance of the agent base and outcomes from customer feedback surveys. While these are certainly important areas of concern, they shouldn't be the only areas of measurement. Focusing only on metrics and customer satisfaction leaves out one very important element - agent satisfaction. When it's time to work out your call center scheduling, agent happiness needs to be a factor.
11/14/2014 - The holiday season can be one of the most stressful for call center managers. Volume is up from increased customer activity, whether product questions, issues or purchases. Seasonal agents need to quickly ramp-up or they will be a weak link in the call center chain and introduce problems when time is most limited. Most agents also will be looking for vacation time, since nobody wants to be working during the holidays.
11/13/2014 - The challenge for call centers is not just that they will have more to do; customers will expect the same level of care and support they receive any other time of the year. This means your hold times can't get longer, your social media channels have to be just as fluid and your self-service channels can't experience latency. To ensure the best possible experience for all involved, the time to start planning is now.
11/5/2014 - There are three main reasons why having call center scheduling in the cloud is far superior to on-premise solutions: Cost, ease of use, and agility.
11/4/2014 - It's not enough, of course, to simply know that the contact center is out of adherence: a good manager needs to know why, and the reasons may not be readily apparent. Thanks to a good workforce management solution, managers can drill down and uncover the reasons for the lack of adherence.
10/30/2014 - As we enter the month of November, the holiday season and vacation time are usually on the minds of many team members at any place of employment. In the call center, too many agents taking off time during the busiest time of year for customer interactions can be a recipe for disaster.
10/27/2014 - The call center has come a long way with technology, not only in the addition of new channels such as social media and mobile app, and the adoption of twenty-first century tools such as data and speech analytics, but also in tried-and-true functions such as workforce management and scheduling.
10/22/2014 - Monet Software understands the demand on call center management to exceed quality expectations while keeping costs low and is fully hosted on Amazon's EC2 platform - making it reliable and secure. It also offers ACD, WFM, forecasting, scheduling, call recording, quality, performance management and analytics together - so users don't have to piece together different solutions from the market and hope they all work. Instead, they get the offering they need already together, via the cloud - which means, faster ROI, easier implementation, and a much shorter learning curve for management teams. Who doesn't like the sound of that?
10/20/2014 - The good news is that since many of today's modern workforce management solutions are delivered via the cloud, the cost and effort of updating the technology won't get out of hand. If a company needs to update its contact center platform to be more omnichannel, it may not have much left in the tech budget to invest in premise-based workforce management.
10/14/2014 - When it comes to shortcuts, they are usually a good thing. A shortcut on our morning commute might cut out five to 10 minutes. A shortcut in cooking a complex recipe might save some work. In a business environment, shortcuts can seemingly save money and time. But it's critical for companies to ask themselves what might suffer if they take the easy way out. Often times, it's customer service, particularly in the contact center.
10/13/2014 - Call center scheduling has never been an easy task, even when the center was small and the hours short. Now that you're paying attention to the skills the agent brings to the table, the complexity of the task increased. It's no longer a matter of who is available at a certain time, but whether or not the right people are available at the right time.
10/9/2014 - Every contact center spends at least part of its time tracking some type of metric. Whether it's a simple approach that measures average handle time (AHT), one of the most commonly tracked metrics, to a complex measurement system that pursues first-call resolution and net promoter scores (what percentage of your customers become brand advocates for you), metrics are bound to be at least part of your operations.
10/6/2014 - Finding a job with paid time off (PTO) is a dream come true for some professionals. It often communicates to the team that they are valued enough to take a little time for themselves when needed. In some environments, cashing in that PTO simply means the employee will catch up on work when he or she returns to the office. When it comes to call center scheduling however, it means the manager will be short a valuable individual for a set amount of time.
10/3/2014 - These solutions provide the initial agent requirements based on historical call information and trending analysis as well as service level objectives. Agent requirements can be displayed in 15-minute intervals along with projected occupancy rates. They also allow managers to run simulations and play various "what-if" scenarios to help predict what would happen under certain circumstances.
10/3/2014 - This may mean using all the data and metrics a contact center gathers to do activities such as allowing agents to participate in the quality assurance process and evaluate their own contacts; undertaking coaching sessions that focus on behaviors instead of scores; inducing contact center teams to work together to build better goals, metrics, and standards; and finding a way for managers and agents to work together to solve problems.
9/24/2014 - The basic technology, implemented properly, accomplishes these things, but many solutions have even more to offer, which makes workforce management one of the most compelling purchases in the contact center, according to a recent blog post by Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo.
9/24/2014 - According to Ciarlo, a good workforce management solution can also help in the area management discipline, allowing managers and executives to conduct intraday reviews, adherence and exception management, forecasting and scheduling best practices and quality monitoring and performance management coaching, training and role playing.
9/17/2014 - Once upon a time, most of a call center manager's day was spent walking the aisles, listening in on conversations (one side of them, anyway) and doling out advice. On rare occasions, a manager might "plug in" to an agent call and listen to both sides of the conversation. With time at a premium, however, this practice was generally reserved only for training or evaluation sessions.
9/16/2014 - Further, a set of quality management tools like call recording and screen capture mechanisms and a set of analytics tools covering both desktop and speech functions, are offered. This helps address other possible problems in the earliest stages as well as take advantage of previously unforeseen opportunities, the kind that give businesses the extra juice required to reach the next level of operations.
9/12/2014 - These solutions also take into consideration all the skills your agents have to ensure that people with the right abilities are always in place to handle the predicted workload of the contact center. Allowing employees flexibility while scheduling manually for all these skills would induce headaches in even the most skilled call center manager.
9/11/2014 - Vodola told AOL that one of the most important things call center agents must keep in mind in order to empathize with them is that customers are human, not simply a voice on the phone or a customer account number.
9/4/2014 - By using a cloud-based solution, companies can keep upfront costs down and configure the solution to the precise parameters they require. Organizations can also use and administer the solution remotely, and allow remote offices and home-based workers to use the solution. While premise-based workforce management may have been too cost-prohibitive for companies in the past looking to improve efficiency and automate back-office work, the cloud has made it possible for organizations today to extend the same benefits beyond the immediate confines of the contact center.
9/3/2014 - Companies should look for a solution with robust exception planning, which will allow them to build in flexibility for events such as employee jury duty, vacations and training and coaching sessions. These can be scheduled far into the future or recorded as recurring exceptions, according to Ciarlo.
8/28/2014 - Excellent customer service, employee satisfaction, enthusiasm and office organization are all desirable characteristics of a company. To achieve the aforementioned, there must be solid call center management tools. These will help break down KPIs and allow managers to better assess their needs.
8/28/2014 - Irrespective of the size of the contact center, workforce management is a challenge. In addition to making the right technology decision to help manage a workforce, it's also important to understand and address the most basic of workforce issues.
8/21/2014 - When it comes to managing a pool of contact center agents, most organizations today use some tried-and-true methodologies. They build a schedule based on the contact center's forecasting needs and the agents' skills. They spend a little time training and evaluating agents. After that, they generally let them loose and hope for the best.
8/18/2014 - There are many things that annoy us about dealing with customer support departments: poorly designed interactive voice response (IVR) systems that lead us in circles- agents who don't have any answers, rude personnel and the need to keep repeating our details every time the call is transferred. All these things can contribute to a poor customer support experience.
8/12/2014 - When the right agents with the right skills are scheduled at the right time of day, the center is better equipped to handle the anticipated volume of traffic. The center is also better equipped to move those calls more efficiently through the internal process so that agents can handle more calls during a given period of time. As a result, the cost of operating the center goes down and efficiency goes up. The key, of course, is to ensure that customer satisfaction is maintained at the same or an improved level.
8/11/2014 - There is some conventional wisdom that dictates that agents who are able to make some of their own decisions in their work are better performing, more engaged and more likely to stick around and pursue a contact center career, according to a recent white paper by quality assurance solutions provider Scorebuddy.
8/5/2014 - Have you ever talked with a call center leader who feels there is no room for improvement within their environment? Given that the call center is generally a cost center for the organization, focusing on a reduction in costs tends to be a consistent strategy. Without a proven plan to carry out, however, it can be a challenge to identify the best areas to control costs without hurting productivity or customer care.
8/4/2014 - The success or failure of a contact center endeavor may seem like it rests on how well agents and managers do their jobs, but there's more to it than that. Even the most well-meaning agent or the most skilled manager will fall behind and fail to meet his or her goals if the contact center is working to a realistic schedule.
7/31/2014 - Most organizations seem to know instinctively that innovation is the lifeblood of a successful business. Various studies have found that as many as 90 percent of executives count innovation as one of the most important factors in success. We live in a world where changes, particularly in the ways we communicate, seem to happen on a weekly basis.
7/29/2014 - For most contact centers, even a small percentage reduction in labor costs could translate to significant savings for the year for the business. Smart organizations are accomplishing this by automating more processes using modern technologies and ditching manual processes that leave a great deal of room for error, such as scheduling and workforce management on spreadsheets, something a surprising number of companies still engage in today, according to Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post.
7/22/2014 - There is a host of contact center research that reminds us what customers find most annoying. At the top of the list are rude or unhelpful agents. Following that is the need to repeat themselves over and over again after getting transferred around. Being given incorrect information is also a bit peeve, as is navigating through a frustrating or difficult-to-use interactive voice response (IVR) system.
7/21/2014 - Breaks are critical not only to take the pressure off employees, but also to allow them to communicate with coworkers, sharing knowledge and experiences and building team feelings. This is a critical factor to keep in mind when scheduling employees. While the "nose to the grindstone" model may work in the short term for many contact centers, in the long-run, cultivating a positive company culture through collaboration may go much further.
7/15/2014 - "The ability to forecast schedules is dependent on the ability to forecast call volume," writes Ciarlo. "The challenge here is the number of factors that can impact this statistic, from online marketing to economic conditions to social networking. Analyze call forecasting data to uncover trends and over time these forecasts should zero in more accurately numbers."
7/15/2014 - Call centers put considerable effort into scheduling and take into account many aspects of customer service like zones, peak call periods, workforce efficiency and customer satisfaction. This effort is largely wasted, though, if agents don't adhere to the schedule.
7/9/2014 - It would be nice if we could see into the future when it comes to business. We could know when every sale would come in, when busy times would happen and when things were about to fall flat. We could be prepared for sudden opportunities in advance, and put aside some money for tight times.
7/8/2014 - In a recent blog post, Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo highlighted a study by Software Advice that surveyed call center software buyers to gauge their attitude toward new and existing solutions for their contact centers. The results were somewhat unexpected.
6/26/2014 - Do you hate work? If you're an American, you're in good company with most of your fellow compatriots.
6/25/2014 - Many contact center managers pride themselves on their brilliant schedules. Whether they're using spreadsheets and manual algorithms or workforce management solutions, they may be delighted with the bold, efficient schedules they've worked out for their contact centers. The problem arises when these schedules are actually put into play: often, adherence is low, essentially making the schedule useless.
6/24/2014 - Many organizations that have among their stated goals, "customer engagement," are missing an important first step to achieving this goal. Customer engagement simply isn't possible without first attaining employee engagement.
6/18/2014 - Most business people today would agree that data analytics are hugely useful to business processes and part of the recipe for success. The problem is that there are nearly as many definitions of what analytics are as there are businesses. To some companies, it means data mining of unstructured data. For others, it means deriving meaning from recorded calls. Others find analytics are a tool for understanding and predicting customer behavior.
6/16/2014 - There is a strong disconnect between how well companies think they are servicing customers and how well they actually are. Many companies are often stunned to find that their customers rate their customer experiences far lower than the company thinks they should. Often, this is a result of outdated contact center processes that were designed a long time ago to support a customer that doesn't exist any longer.
6/12/2014 - Most contact centers engage in some kind of performance management system. Often, it comes in the form of using the center's call recording solution to listen to a small sample of the agent's calls, rating them according to some internal system, tallying and averaging these calls, and offering raises or promotions (or extra training to fill in some knowledge blanks).
6/10/2014 - While contact centers incur a number of expenses such as technology, telecommunications infrastructure, telephone bills and overhead, the lion's share of expenses are related to labor. In fact, it's estimated that in the average contact center, between 60 and 80 percent of ongoing call center expenses are related to staffing.
6/3/2014 - What tools do you use to manage your call center staff? Do you have an interactive, web-based solution that allows you to track activity in real-time and make changes on the fly when activity exceeds expectations? Or, are you still relying on the spreadsheet method that provides no visibility and is housed only in one area?
6/3/2014 - The contact center, more than many other departments or functions in a company, suffers from a certain type of syndrome that can be tied to longevity. Contact centers have been around for decades, so many of the ideas used to manage them are decades old. The same can't be said of advertising and marketing - functions that have had to evolve to meet new channels such as Internet and social media - or even sales, which has seen automation change the way sales departments sell to customers.
5/30/2014 - Call recording itself as a QM tool can go a long way in providing on-going training and feedback and offer insights on when to schedule agents. With call recording, managers can stay up to speed on agent performance; how calls are being handled, whether they're being accurately routed, or if a problem arises, how to use the information for future calls. They can also see when call queues get overloaded so they know how to better staff and schedule agents.
5/30/2014 - There are a number of reasons why call centers invest in call recording. For some, it's a matter of compliance, demonstrating the value the organization brings to the market. For others, the focus is on training, capturing the right and wrong way to do things and to prepare the agent base for the next scheduled shift.
5/22/2014 - Building a schedule for telephone work alone won't cut it. It's often the non-telephone work that sends a schedule off the rails. A high quality scheduling solution will enable call center managers to add any agent activity type into adherence monitoring. This includes non-phone work on channels such as e-mail and social media, and non-customer work such as training, breaks and after-call wrap-up. Managers can set up custom thresholds and variances to exactly match the center's needs, and monitor all agent activities in real-time with custom alerts.
5/22/2014 - To find efficiencies and improve the quality of customer service being offered, many organizations are turning to analytics to find in-depth intelligence into operations that the human eye may be incapable of spotting. Increasingly, this is being done at the desktop level, where complex work days full of tasks can be analyzed to see how employees are interacting with an organization's technology.
5/16/2014 - Monet also suggests giving out incentives for good attendance. This way the monitoring is not viewed so much as a negative event as it is an opportunity to win something. This turns schedule adherence tracking into a positive.
5/16/2014 - As customers, we value our time more than ever. Everyone is rushed, everyone is busy. Most people have only a few minutes each day to call insurance companies, banks, doctors, utility companies or the retailers from whom they've made purchases. If you string customer calls for relatively easy issues out to 15, 20 or more minutes, you're not going to be racking up any brownie points, according to a recent blog post by Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo. And those experiences will be relayed to others.
5/8/2014 - In the call center culture, using software solutions is a common denominator when it comes to making processes easier. Call centers need to properly forecast and schedule their call center staff while maintaining service levels and providing the best service to their customers. The right software solution can help manage the aforementioned, and a recent survey highlights what call centers want when it comes to employing the right technology for their agents and staff.
5/8/2014 - Working in a call center certainly has its pain points. Demands to meet service quality metrics, dealing with irate customers, knowing your call is being recorded and you are always on watch - might make the job seem like a fit for a certain high tolerance individual. But, there are some bright spots to remember with the call center too. Thanks to new technologies, you might just be handling calls from your PJs, or you could find that your schedule is flexible enough working at a call center that you don't have to pay a high cost baby sitter, or that you can still finish up those classes for your degree.
5/2/2014 - Contact centers today use a variety of solutions and technologies to ensure that customers are being serviced in a timely way. After all, everyone's time is precious, and today (more than any other time in history), customers are happiest and most loyal when they need to put forth as little effort as possible to do business with a company.
4/28/2014 - Developing a product that meets the needs of a target market is a great first step to a company's success. What really sets it apart from the competition however, is third party accolades that speak to its strengths and market positioning. For Monet Software, these accolades come from TMC for its Monet WFO Live, a cloud-based call center workforce optimization solution.
4/25/2014 - Proper scheduling also enables the right amount of agents to deal with call volume. Too few agents and the call volume will be overwhelming and hold times will be too long. Too many agents and there will be both wasted manpower and bored agents.
4/23/2014 - Contact centers have a few things in common these days. They are all handling far more than calls, fitting in e-mail, web chat sessions, social media and even mobile interactions among the call queues. Secondly, they are all using some form of workforce management to forecast and schedule their days. The problem is that many contact centers are still using workforce management for calls alone, which leaves multichannel interactions at the whim of spare time…something that's not often found in the contact center.
4/15/2014 - When I took on my first job as a teenager working at the mall, the best source of technology was the register we used to scan items customers purchased. Everything else was done on paper, from checking in inventory to staff scheduling. As I worked my way through to store manager of a different line, technology improved. We received weekly specials through a DOS-based computer and timesheets were entered through the POS system. Still, I scheduled staff with pen and paper.
4/14/2014 - Every company knows, in theory, that properly managing and motivating employees results in maximized productivity and cost savings. While it seems obvious, far too few companies actually engage in the practice. In the contact center in particular, where turnover is high and wasted manpower results in large amounts of wasted money and poor performance results in lost customers, effective performance management is particularly critical.
4/11/2014 - Employee management is one area where many companies have been stumbling lately. While there is no shortage of value in building a strong company culture that supports friendships and socializing outside of work, "open" operations that make employees feel like they are part of a team and that their opinions are valued, and a supportive environment that monitors performance regularly with the goal of helping employees grow, can become liabilities when misfortune strikes.
4/9/2014 - There's a reason companies have often approached the idea of running a contact center with dread. The average contact center is expensive and complex to run, and companies often don't see the kind of immediate and tangible financial results they might hope from such a large organization. Customer goodwill isn't the kind of thing that can be accounted for on a balance sheet.
4/3/2014 - Is your contact center made up of the very best agents? In your dreams, perhaps. While every call center has a couple of ringers managers wish they could clone, the truth is that in order to keep the call center staffed, many contact centers are full of "good enough" agents and even a few "could be a lot better" agents. But what if you could turn the latter two types of agent into the types you wish you could clone?
4/3/2014 - As with most industries, in the contact center, labor is the number one cost. It's estimated that between 60 and 80 percent of ongoing call center expenses are related to recruiting, hiring, training and paying workers. Unfortunately for the contact center, extremely high turnover - which is endemic in the call center industry - pushes this figure higher than in most industries.
3/27/2014 - In companies that haven't been using a workforce management solution, scheduling is often accomplished via spreadsheets and a mix of proprietary "tricks" the scheduling manager has developed over his or her tenure. Regardless of how inefficient the process, it's one that agents are used to. Workforce management solutions, though they create better forecasts and schedules and offer a lot of advanced features that save managers time, can seem a little "Big Brother-ish" to agents.
3/25/2014 - The contact center as a business function goes back to the mid-nineteenth century. You would imagine, then, that most companies, particularly those that have been running contact centers for years or decades, would have mastered the process fully by now.
3/20/2014 - This ease of use inherent in cloud design also should be a factor when evaluating software solutions. When the choice is between an on-premise solution and a cloud-based solution, chances are that the cloud solution will be easier to use and more able to integrate with other data sources.
3/20/2014 - Excellent customer service, employee satisfaction, enthusiasm and office organization are all desirable characteristics of a company. To achieve the aforementioned, there must be an arsenal of call center management tools. The characteristics are also known as key performance indicators (KPIs), which are a necessary part of any business aiming for success. What do your KPIs say about your call center?
3/13/2014 - Every company has within it, some jobs that most would rather not do. Often, the lowest-paid, highest-turnover positions are found here. Things like call center work or retail sales typically fall into this category. But these are often the front-line positions between the company and the customer, and therefore are vital to the long-term health of the business. How can companies keep people interested in these positions and turning around the best results? Gamification.
3/11/2014 - While running a contact center on a day-to-day basis is far from easy - it requires juggling a number of balls - from agent hiring and training, to unpredictable absences and ensuring service goals are met - it's often an easy prospect compared to the hurdle of justifying purchases to upper management. Many companies are tight on the purse strings today (for good reason), so they are often unwilling to authorize purchases that don't lead to an improvement to the bottom line in an obvious way.
3/5/2014 - In today's competitive marketplace, it's important for organizations to have real-time visibility into how efficient their labor deployment is-both in terms of unit labor cost and overall labor utilization within their facilities.
3/5/2014 - Today's workforce management solutions allow for automated vacation requests that can be granted based on a number of factors, including seniority or performance. Employees can view their schedules themselves, bid for overtime and even trade schedules with other employees. This takes a lot of the manual tasks out of the hands of managers, who are then free to do their real jobs. Employees appreciate the function because it's more transparent and more fair, and provides them with some control over their schedules.
3/5/2014 - While historical data has traditionally been used to build forecasts, the hard part has been to determine what historical data is most applicable. WFO solutions make it easier to determine call volume by call type and uncover patterns.
2/24/2014 - By analyzing data in an integrated WFO tool, a manager can reference what processes allowed some agents to have lower talk time while meeting their quality targets, and then train the rest of the workforce using these processes, the paper noted.
2/24/2014 - With a lot of confusion around the change in healthcare, the contact center has become the front line for many U.S. citizens trying to make sense of the new healthcare landscape. This has required agents well schooled in procedures and program knowledge.
2/21/2014 - It's therefore important to differentiate between historical events that are likely to be repeated - a regular holiday, a sale, a new product or service promotion or a school break that will see parents requesting time off - from an event that is unlikely to reoccur at the same time - a storm or long power outage, a plague of the flu or a major traffic jam.
2/18/2014 - The truth is that today's cloud-based workforce optimization solutions, which don't require much capital outlay up front (unlike premise-based solutions), are ideal for smaller contact centers and non-profit organizations. They can help them make the best of the resources they have, and substantially lessen the pain of unforeseen events. (Monet offers a case study regarding how the company's WFM Live solution helped Texas-based credit union GECU.)
2/12/2014 - Also watch where one-time instances turn into long-term problems. For instance, the agent who comes in late once a week is affecting the performance of the call center for that entire week. If it isn't addressed, it's likely the agent may start to come in late two days a week, three days a week and so on. This time spent away from the phones starts to add up and impacts the performance of the center as a whole. If the behavior spills over onto other agents, the outcome could be significant.
2/12/2014 - How does your contact center flow on a daily basis? Do your agents show up on time? Are they ready for the work day when they arrive? Do they know what is expected of them whether the phones are ringing or not?
2/10/2014 - Scheduling software is becoming an essential tool for any office with a local or mobile workforce. It reduces the need to control, and also allows companies to see the workload of every employee, reducing incidences of assigning too much or too little work. It also reduces incidences of conflicts when it comes to employee and any other resource usage.
2/7/2014 - While the company may be choosing a new workforce management solution to build in better adherence, more precise forecasting or to free up managers from routine tasks like time-off requests, many employees are likely to believe that it's a "Big Brother" step by the company. The contact center should help employees understand how the new solution will help them personally: by making time-off requests easier, for example, or to allow schedule bidding and swapping.
2/4/2014 - Scheduling for the typical workday is a challenging task, even in the calmest of environments. The unexpected can happen and leave you unprepared; customer traffic could increase without warning, leaving too many unserved; and productivity can suffer if too many are on hand without enough work to keep them busy. When this activity is in the call center, all of these variables are multiplied.
1/31/2014 - Try to eliminate the hierarchy that tends to exist in the contact center and side-step potential political issues with peer-to-peer recognition. It also offers immediacy and reinforces positive behavior. When this recognition is shared throughout the company, it provides viability to positive behaviors and encourages others to follow suit.
1/31/2014 - Regardless of the organization or the industry, Monet's WFM Live brings workforce management to a different level in that it not only drives optimization in the employee environment, it also allows for ease of use when it comes to monitoring the schedule, managing exceptions and tracking data for future use.
1/24/2014 - As contact centers strive to improve the customer experience in order to differentiate themselves from the competition, many of them are missing the first steps of the process. To build customer engagement, companies must first build employee engagement. It's quite literally impossible to build a first-class customer support infrastructure with disengaged agents who are overworked, under trained, burned out or just plain bored.
1/23/2014 - Of the 63 percent that admitted to speeding, 37 percent admitted it was due to the pressure of work schedules. Despite serious consequences for taking their speeds up a notch, losing a license was the biggest concern of consequence (16 percent), while harm to self and harm to others just trailed behind (14 percent and 13 percent respectively).
1/13/2014 - Today's workforce has changed dynamically from the days of piece work and the when office workers were tethered to their computer and headset.
1/13/2014 - If you believe that the purpose of the contact center's existence is to delight, retain and win customers, then you need to communicate this fact to the agents. What they do or say on the phone with live customers is what will really make or break the business. Ensure they are truly representing the organization at large.
1/10/2014 - So businesses need to recognize that the Millennial generation is big and definitely will bring changes to how employees are managed. Businesses need to be ready for this shift. Those that embrace the group will find themselves both more nimble and better able to manage their employees.
1/9/2014 - And while gamification has been shown to work effectively, contact centers need to remember the basics, as well. Ensure that agent desktops are easy to use and can help reduce frustrating errors or repetition. Conduct performance evaluation regularly, using a fair process and an easy to understand reporting method. Make use of employees' skills, and offer remedial training where employees require it, and offer agents some flexibility and power to solve problems on their own. Finally, prevent employees from becoming frazzled and stressed by building effective schedules that allow the pace of work to be reasonable.
1/3/2014 - For this reason, communicating goals, methods and challenges to employees is critical. If employees don't understand the goals and how the company plans to achieve them, they can't assist. Since contact center agents are on the front lines, they cannot be effective if they don't understand what the strategy behind them is.
12/30/2013 - Most contact centers use call recording as a critical element of agent performance evaluation. The idea is that at review time, managers can listen to a critical mass of calls by each agent and use them to get a big-picture idea of how well the agent is doing his or her job.
12/26/2013 - In the contact center, there are things that simply need to work. Computer equipment and applications must work. The telephone system must work. The agents must be actively working. The problem is, however, that for a contact center to run efficiently and provide customers with the kind of service they demand, these things must work without being continually maintained and micromanaged.
12/26/2013 - U.S. companies are at a crossroads when it comes to customer support. The offshore outsourcing of previous decades - a business model that was promised to save loads of money on operations - hasn't panned out as well as companies hoped. Costs haven't been as low as promised once travel and management salaries are factored in, and there have been distinct problems with quality. Many customers become indignant when they cannot understand a foreign call center agent's accent, or at the idea of shipping U.S. jobs offshore during a time of high unemployment.
12/20/2013 - That said, it's also critical that you ensure that employees can indeed "do that for you today" by maintaining an effective schedule. Employees who are rushed, overworked or harassed will never be effective employees, and contact center agents who lack the right skills to be handling a certain segment of customers (tech support questions) when they lack the knowledge and experience for it will be discouraged as well as ineffective.
12/19/2013 - If you run a call center operation of nearly any size, from just a few agents to hundreds or even thousands, you probably use call recording software. You may use it to train and evaluate agents, or you may be required by law to record calls (this is particularly true for companies operating in financial services or health care). For whatever reason you record, it's possible that your recording solution is ageing. While many contact centers are feeling budget pinches as of late and limping through with old technology, when it comes to call recording, this may not be a smart strategy.
12/12/2013 - Setting the example in punctuality is also critical, providing the perfect argument for the supervisor to show up on time or even early. This sets the example for the employee base when it comes to call center scheduling, encouraging others to follow the same habit.
12/10/2013 - This need to provide robust customer support by phone as well as "an intense amount of training" raises another need: a robust scheduling solution that means a company can actually take all of the calls it gets and not leave customers on hold, dropped or abandoned. Servicing the telephone channel is relatively useful if you can't do it well.
12/6/2013 - Manual approaches to scheduling staff are not only huge time sinks, they leave call center owners vulnerable to costly mistakes that undermine profitability and operations. Every call and customer interaction means money, so every call center manager should implement a best practices guideline when it comes to staffing their call centers to maintain service levels.
12/6/2013 - Irrespective of the size of the contact center, workforce management is a challenge. In addition to making the right technology decision to help manage a workforce, it's also important to understand and address the most basic of workforce issues.
11/26/2013 - Every contact center tracks some kind of metric, measuring performance and matching it up against historical norms. Some contact centers track far more metrics than others, but most of them keep an eye on what used to be considered the most important: average handle time, or AHT.
11/26/2013 - As the year winds down and we begin to anticipate turkey, candles and sleigh bells ringing, it's also time to look ahead to the New Year and examine the trends that it might bring. For 2014, there are several technological and management trends likely to drive the contact center industry forward.
11/22/2013 - As any call center manager knows, monitoring adherence is really just half the battle. Reporting capabilities must be in place to analyze adherence for the entire day, week, month, team or other criteria. If an agent is consistently out-of-adherence, it's important to know why. It's also important to track this information to know whether or not the agent needs additional training, doesn't understand how to adhere to the schedule properly or is simply unable to meet the demands of the job.
11/20/2013 - The mentor-rookie relationship need not be only face-to-face. It can be nurtured via instant messaging or short phone calls. Ciarlo points out that because these meetings are agent-to-agent, without a manager or trainer present, they should be more informal. This informality can actually help boost the value of the relationship.
Speed Training in Separate Time Blocks Can Help Call Center Agents Become Proficient without Harming Schedules
11/15/2013 - Ciarlo's own suggestions include tactics such as keeping a log of performance observations for rookie agents to help better pinpoint where training is required; getting agents onto the phone faster in a hybrid live-call and training environment while a supervisor watches; encouraging self-coaching and agent-to-agent assistance in a kind of mentoring program for new agents. At the same time, of course, contact centers need to ensure they are using call scoring and quality monitoring solutions to boost the speed-training effectiveness and measure its success.
11/11/2013 - While the ability to put together a useful and accurate schedule is critical in the contact center, not all schedules are created equal. A schedule that looks great at 8:00 in the morning may be laughably useless by 10:00 am depending on a number of factors. These might include agents calling in sick, extended bathroom breaks, lateness back from breaks, meetings, training and countless other factors that can throw a schedule out of whack.
11/7/2013 - Many contact centers build schedules with only active time on the phone in mind. While it's true this is important to get right, it's also critical to build non-work time into the schedule with a high degree of accuracy. By managing agent resources to cover important non-call activities such as training, research, call wrap-up and other activities, contact center managers and schedulers can ensure that schedules are as accurate as possible.
11/6/2013 - While most contact centers engage in some sort of scheduling system in order to ensure they have the right resources in place at the right times, most of them build schedules on a daily basis. If the schedule that is drawn in the morning goes off the rails by the afternoon, there is little ability to make adjustments. For this reason, more successful contact centers consider the ability to manage the workforce throughout the day - sometimes down to time intervals as small as 15 minutes - critical for success.
11/1/2013 - The measurement of call center performance helps to drive the alignment of processes, resources and people to ensure business goals are realized. To that end, Monet Software offers Monet Metrics to ensure the creation of a proactive approach to this measurement. With as much as 70 percent of the budget going towards staffing, it's essential to focus on how to make the most of this spend.
10/30/2013 - Monet Live is an affordable and easy to use cloud-based call center optimization software solution that comprises workforce management, performance management, call recording and quality assurance.
10/24/2013 - Have you ever tried to schedule 25 different people doing similar things in a small room, each one with a different skillset, different availability and different level of training? What if the number of people expanded to 50 or more? While it may sound like a complicated mess, it is the reality for the call center manager focused on call center scheduling. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that complicated.
10/23/2013 - So powerful is the Monet WFO Live platform that it was recognized with the 2013 Cloud Computing Excellence Award. This award is given to companies that most effectively leverage cloud computing in their initiatives to bring new and differentiated offerings to market.
10/14/2013 - Not every call center will have the same rules when it comes to call center scheduling. One thing that will be consistent across the board, however, is that customer interactions need to be handled with care and data collected on the call can be used for greater benefit later. Likewise, gathering information for forecasting and scheduling is critical to the success of the center, especially when used for future planning.
10/14/2013 - Managers in the contact center environment tend to have specific goals, such as improving the customer experience, delivering better customer care, improving productivity, lowering costs, driving employee motivation and keeping all transactions transparent. These goals can contribute to a positive bottom line, but managers have to have the right tools in place to ensure realization without micromanagement.
10/10/2013 - There are few things that make a call center manager panic quicker than the realization that, after the schedule is built, one or more agents has called in sick or simply not shown up. Most contact centers today continue to use a proprietary system for schedule building that may consist of nothing more than a spreadsheet with a lot of calculations. (Hard to believe, but some contact centers are still doing it on graph paper with pencil.)
10/10/2013 - What's less discussed, however, is the benefit of a cloud-based solution from an agent stand-point. Since working on a cloud-based solution only requires a PC and an Internet connection, forward-thinking companies have the option to allow some agents to work from home. While it may not work for every company, and for every agent, for established, professional mature agents, it's a real option, according to Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo in a recent blog post.
10/2/2013 - Business has changed in the last decade in the usual ways: technology innovations have continued, new channels of customer service have arisen, markets have become more globalized and customers have become more demanding. But it's more than that: the very nature of what companies require from the labor force has changed.
9/30/2013 - This challenge is not unusual in the larger call center environment. If a spreadsheet was used to schedule the staff for that shift, panic may set in as the manager tries to determine the best strategy to fill in the gaps. If a robust workforce management solution were in place, the panic may never need to be a problem.
9/27/2013 - Good call center managers share a number of characteristics. They are often empathetic people who understand what makes others tick. They are efficient and detail-oriented and possess the skill to juggle multiple tasks at the same time. They spend much of their day solving small (or even large) emergencies while at the same time accomplishing their day-to-day tasks.
9/27/2013 - Call center scheduling is both an art and a science. In the earliest days of call centers, the schedule was prepared on graph paper based on complex algorithms, and distributed to agents in paper format. Managers had to cross their fingers and hope the day went something like what the schedule indicated. If it didn't, it was difficult to tell. Companies often learned their call centers were frequently out of adherence in monthly reports long after-the-fact. The solution? Hire more agents, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
9/19/2013 - For years, call centers have been turning to workforce management solutions to help keep them on top of schedules and have better insight into historical information to build tomorrow's schedules. In fact, there is evidence that workforce management solutions are even finding their way into non-call center businesses, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
9/18/2013 - The fact that it's a challenge doesn't mean it should be something call center management lets slide in the oversight of the customer service environment. An inefficient approach to scheduling can cripple the business by either incurring too much cost or scheduling agents when they're not needed and leaving clients hanging when a service representative is unavailable.
9/11/2013 - Building and sticking to a schedule is one of the most difficult tasks in a call center. Getting it right is critical, of course, since by some estimates, 60 to 80 percent of a contact center's operation costs are tied to staffing. Over-staffing wastes money and risks boring agents, which isn't likely to endear them to their jobs. Under-staffing risks long hold times - which kills customer relationships, and burns out agents…also unlikely to endear them to their jobs.
9/10/2013 - In the call center, scheduling has always been a critical operation. There are too few agents, and the contact center is overly busy, leaving customers on hold and dealing with frazzled agents who make mistakes. Also, too many agents and workers spend time idling, playing solitaire and redoing their resumes so they can find a job that doesn't bore them to tears. Both scenarios, understaffing or overstaffing, can cost the contact center big in wasted labor and lost customers.
9/6/2013 - What draws an individual to the life of a call center agent? Is it the opportunity to talk to hundreds of people every day? Is it the fast-paced environment? Is it the challenge of meeting performance goals while still delivering customer satisfaction?
9/4/2013 - Most contact centers - those that want to stay in business, anyway - have some kind of quality assurance process. It's a way of ensuring that most customers are satisfied and not churning too much, and that there aren't processes getting in the way of quality.
8/30/2013 - But how often is this used in the real-world setting? According to a recent Monet Software blog, roughly 20 percent of call centers are still relying on spreadsheets for forecasting and scheduling. When this manual process is put in place, these call centers are missing out on the key benefits associated with the efficiency, convenience, functionality and flexibility afforded with workforce management.
8/28/2013 - Many call centers are used to finding out they are out of adherence only days or even weeks later. Real-time adherence - receiving alerts when one or more elements of operations go out of adherence - can almost seem like science fiction when using manual scheduling methods.
8/21/2013 - Schedules are tight in the contact center to ensure smooth operations, and diligent managers build a certain amount of time into the schedule for training. The question becomes: it is enough time, and are managers focusing on the right things?
8/21/2013 - In a society pressed for time, innovations that ensure efficiency are in high demand. This is especially true in the call center or help desk as those charged with catering to customer care must be able to do so in a timely manner. If a customer has to spend time hunting for the right way to contact a company when they have a problem, that company has failed to deliver on customer expectations.
8/14/2013 - For foreign outsourced call centers, time zones have been key when serving North American customers: companies looking to "follow the sun," or provide 24 hour customer service, having agents who are in day shifts while Western contact centers are closed for the night has been an important feature. But for contact centers handling business for companies that have no in-house facilities of their own, this often means contact centers are working on a completely flipped schedule in order to serve customers during the day.
8/13/2013 - Would you rather overstaff your contact center or understaff it? Many contact centers find themselves facing this question at some point. By overstaffing, you can ensure that you always have enough personnel to cover unexpected spikes in call volume and other customer contacts. Overstaffing is very expensive, however, and leads to bored agents that burn out easily. Understaffing, which saves money, is risky because it means in the event of high volumes, customers are left hanging on hold, getting angry. Understaffing leads to frazzled agents who…wait for it…burn out easily.
8/8/2013 - Many call center experts say agent morale is one of the most critical elements of a high quality customer support experience. Nikki Gresham, Supervisor of Workforce Planning for Assurant Solutions, recently shared with call center solutions provider Intradiem (formerly Knowlagent) how she pushed agent morale to the highest levels the company had ever seen by providing flexible scheduling options for the best agents, but doing it in a novel way that goes beyond simple schedule swapping and bidding.
8/7/2013 - Keeping people happy sounds like a fun job - until it really is your job. The call center agent trying to deliver on every customer expectation has a tough task each and every day. It's easier if every customer calling has a simple request, but then why would you need a live agent if that were the case? Instead, the easy questions are often relegated to self-service and agents are left with the tougher challenges.
8/1/2013 - Ultimately, every call center, no matter how large or small, sophisticated or simple, is tasked with building a schedule. While contact centers do this in a variety of ways, either manually, with spreadsheets or with workforce management and scheduling the solutions, the outcome needs to be the same: you need to have enough agents to handle call traffic, including unexpected spikes, on staff at all times.
7/30/2013 - Thanks to the modern workforce management and call center scheduling solutions, these fears are unfounded. Cloud-based WFM solutions such as those from workforce optimization solutions provider Monet Software make it possible for call centers to extend their workforce and scheduling features needed to run a tight ship to home-based agents. The technology also allows them to improve forecast accuracy and track intra-day trends for immediate adjustments, create optimal schedule to consistently meet service levels and control costs, monitor agent adherence (regardless of where the agent is located) and other metrics in real-time to take immediate actions, and track and analyze key metrics to optimize service quality and center performance.
7/24/2013 - When it comes to the call center environment, scheduling can be a complex process. In fact, call center scheduling issues can easily arise from a variety of sources. A recent Monet Software blog examined five reasons call centers have issues when it comes to scheduling. Let's take a look at what this industry expert has to say.
7/22/2013 - In the call center, scheduling and adherence to schedules are incredibly critical. Many contact centers pride themselves on the schedules they build. They start from scratch and create an ideal schedule that has everything the call center requires: adequate coverage, the right skills, and insurance that all customer media will be handled promptly.
7/16/2013 - When employees are working, they have to devise ways to manage both their vacation and sick time. Offering a helping hand in this task, Talygen, a provider of business management automation, has unveiled a new leave and vacation management module.
7/15/2013 - Call center scheduling may not be the favorite task of the manager on duty, but it's a task that must happen if the center hopes to drive a successful operation. In the United States, there are certain rules in place to protect the employee and ensure a healthy environment. In the Philippines, new laws have been introduced to protect the rights of the call center worker.
7/8/2013 - Vendors offering WFM solutions are competing to gain from the growing business opportunity. In one of the recent developments in the industry, MVP Systems Software, a provider of appointment scheduling and workload automation software, announced the release of JAMS Job Scheduler 6.0, the latest version of its flagship job scheduling solution.
7/8/2013 - With increasing competition and challenging economic conditions, companies are forced to turn to technologies that help improve productivity like Appointment scheduling, call center scheduling and workforce management solutions are among some of these technologies that help improve productivity in businesses.
7/3/2013 - Appointment-Plus, a provider of workforce and appointment scheduling software solutions, unveiled a revamped Book Now button. The new feature helps businesses run more successfully and profitably. The new tool makes Facebook page into a money-making tool. Placing a Book Now button next to the special offers and deals can bring instant sales, says Get Satisfaction. According to Get Satisfaction, 43.5 percent of customers follow a business' Facebook page for special offers.
7/1/2013 - Workforce management and scheduling find the best use among call center agents and field workers. Recently Monet Software, the pioneer in call center scheduling software, recently stated its solutions help organizations solve some of their biggest problems such as meeting service requirements.
6/27/2013 - Epazz, a provider of cloud based business software solutions, is expanding its workforce management and scheduling portfolio with the acquisition of a scheduling software company.
6/26/2013 - Employee scheduling software is one such technology that is quickly transforming to address the needs of modern workforce. Though scheduling software is largely used in call centers, it is gaining popularity in other industries as well. To address the needs of modern enterprises, EmLogis, a provider of employee scheduling software, has come up with its latest online employee scheduling software code named Elm.
6/25/2013 - Until recently, the use of workforce scheduling software was limited to call centers and some professional networks, but the scenario is changing now. Today, scheduling software is gaining popularity in other areas of businesses.
6/21/2013 - There are many tools that help improve call center performance. Call center scheduling and workforce management solutions are some of them. Communications solutions like predictive dialer and Automated Call Distributor (ACD) are also used to improve efficiency of call center agents.
6/21/2013 - In call center scheduling space, companies like Monet Software has created a unique space by delivering innovative software solutions that improve workforce productivity. The company has launched Monet WFM Live, a call forecasting and employee scheduling solution that includes ACD integration, real-time adherence and intra-day management.
6/20/2013 - Proper scheduling can not only be applied to managing human resources, but rather to managing movable resources like vehicles. As fuel price increases and tightening budget puts pressure on business, vehicle routing and scheduling optimization emerge as the next logical step for companies to ensure maximum utilization of their mobile resources.
6/17/2013 - As the call center industry continues to become more competitive, there is one factor that is an overriding issue for each organization: proper scheduling. At first glance, this might seem like an insignificant factor compared to the larger picture, however, efficiently scheduled agents are a critical part of a call center. According to Monet Software, a provider of call center solutions, as much as 60 - 80 percent of ongoing call center expenses are related to staffing.
6/14/2013 - Scheduling software solutions can be broadly classified into two - appointment scheduling software and workforce scheduling software. The first category of scheduling software is mainly used by professionals like doctors, lawyers and photographers, whereas the second category is largely used by call centers, other IT-enabled service (ITES) providers, and retailers that employ a large number of workforce.
6/14/2013 - Workforce scheduling software is becoming increasingly important in today's challenging economic environment. Organizations are turning to such software solutions as part of their efforts to improve employee productivity and reduce the cost of employee management.
6/7/2013 - In one of the recent developments in this segment, Visix, which designs, develops and supports a suite of browser-based digital signage products, announced the launch of a niche version of its PowerPoint scheduling software.
6/5/2013 - Call center scheduling is designed to help increase the workflow in a call center, however, most organizations end up paying needless money for inefficient staffing, like putting on too many or not enough agents on at a certain time. Worse, they also suffer often because they don't have the staff to support the calls during peak times.
6/3/2013 - It is vital that call centers have a systematic scheduling system in place to assure that every customer will receive the best customer experience. Monet Software, a pioneer in scheduling software, has not only created solutions that helps organizations solve some of their biggest problems that include meeting service requirements, but has also released an array of helpful tips that can be used in the call center about these issues.
6/3/2013 - User Solutions, a provider of workforce scheduling software, has enhanced its Resource Manager software offering a flexible, intuitive and easy to use solution to help customers achieve their production scheduling goals with a minimum number of transactions.
5/29/2013 - When a recession puts a strain on budgets, enterprises turned to automation software solutions designed to enhance productivity and workforce efficiency. Workforce scheduling and workforce management (WFM) solutions are some of the technologies that gained popularity over the past couple of years.
5/28/2013 - In the big picture, the scheduling process of every call center is a part of its quality assurance management initiative, which revolves around making sure that customer service standards are upheld. Only through feedback and survey results can a manager properly rank an agent and give them a score based on a pre-determined list of criteria, which dictates how a schedule is created.
5/22/2013 - Two notable technologies that have recently created headlines in the healthcare segment are appointment scheduling and electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
5/21/2013 - Whether it is a small to midsized businesses or a large enterprise, it is vital that qualified employees are hired and that an efficient schedule is created that reflects each company's unique goals. The idea of scheduling might sound like an irrelevant topic of choice, as most people think this is one of the easiest parts of managing a business - right?
5/17/2013 - To help alleviate the financial burdens of the healthcare industry, Appointment-Plus, a company specializing in workforce scheduling software, explain how scheduling software helps improve efficiency in a medical office.
5/17/2013 - Scheduling and staffing is one of the most expensive resources in the entire call center budget (60 - 80 percent), which means that even a 1 percent increase in productivity will significantly impact the bottom line. With more professionals entering the market of professional photography and related services, competition is on rise. As part of their efforts to manage work schedule and increase productivity, many of them turn to advanced software technologies like scheduling software.
5/16/2013 - Cody's Appliance Repair has announced the integration of new scheduling software that allows customers to book service calls for a variety of repair scenarios including standard repairs, warranty repairs, contract service repairs, and other third-party service needs.
5/13/2013 - Since most call center expenses are related to staffing, it is vital that organizations begin to pay more attention when choosing a workforce management (WFM) solution. Forecasting and scheduling not only help improve accuracy of intra-day trends, but they help monitor agent adherence and other metrics in real-time in order to help centers take immediate action.
5/10/2013 - Online staff scheduling software helps organizations automate one of the most important processes of workforce management - managing shifts and holidays. By doing so, organizations can meet their service levels while controlling agent costs.
5/10/2013 - Online scheduling software is convenient because it allows managers to create and edit schedules online, making shift swaps easier and more efficient, which is why the new ShiftNote Scheduler from ShiftNote is making headway in the industry. This employee scheduling solution allows teams to create and manage schedules online so employees can swap shifts and request time offs without interrupting the shift flow.
5/9/2013 - More small to midsized call centers use spreadsheets to forecast and manage their center's workforce, as most organizations may think it's the best tool for the job. However, Monet Software, a provider of call center solutions, in its whitepaper titled 'The Real Costs of Spreadsheet Based Scheduling' has discovered that this is actually not the case. In fact, using spreadsheets makes it more difficult to manage fewer agents because they need to multi-task, and making skilled-based scheduling is actually more complex. It is also more difficult to correct the schedule once it has been affected by unexpected events.
5/8/2013 - As the call-center industry begins to explode and expand, creating more offices and hiring significant amounts of new agents, one of the most important tasks is scheduling. Without the right amount of agents on call at that certain time of the day when calls spike, the center won't be able to provide its customers with the utmost care and attention.
5/8/2013 - Symmetrics Business Intelligence, a provider of call center scheduling and analysis solutions, has announced its solutions will now be available in the European Union through Avaya DevConnect Select Product Program.
5/6/2013 - ZoomShift, a Milwaukee based provider of employee scheduling software, has released the latest version of its software designed to help small businesses solve the challenges associated with employee scheduling.
5/3/2013 - In today's mobile world where every transaction can be made possible through a mobile device, scheduling software becomes even more important. Appointment-Plus, a provider of scheduling software and related mobile apps, says scheduling software is going to play prominent role in HR recruiting.
5/3/2013 - The growing importance of scheduling software ? is further substantiated by a recent study conducted by Appointment-Plus, a provider of online self-scheduling, automated notifications and payment-processing solutions to fitness trainers. According to Appointment-Plus, scheduling software and related mobile apps are gaining popularity in the fitness industry as they help trainers grow their client base and revenue.
5/2/2013 - Workforce management software is used for a variety of reasons in the contact center. It's critical to schedule building, allowing contact centers to forecast call volume using historical and other data, to predict what kind of coverage they need, setting employee schedules to ensure that all or most calls into the contact center have someone ready to pick them up.
5/2/2013 - Communications technology is not just about improving things on the business end of call centres. Now, more than ever before, the customer has access to instant communication technologies wherever they are, and that access bring with it an expectation of customer service excellence that might make even the most confident marketer second guess themselves. The customer has always been right, and will continue to be, so it is tantamount that businesses allow for customer service accessibility.
5/1/2013 - Call centers are expensive to run, and the single biggest cost is labor. For the average contact center, about 65 percent of costs are directly related to labor. This figure can go even higher when the contact center is over-staffed. While you want to ensure that each time your customer calls, someone is available to take that call, it's important not to overstaff, which is costly and can lead to agent boredom and burnout.
4/30/2013 - Scheduling is an important part of workforce management (WFM) within the call center, although it doesn't seem that most users are aware of the weight that it carries, like reducing costs and significantly improving workflow.
4/30/2013 - NOVAtime Technology, a provider of workforce management and call center schedule software, announced Lep-re-kon Harvest Foods, a local grocery store in Washington, has improved efficiency by upgrading its system to NOVAtime 4000 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Time and Attendance / Workforce Management Solution.
4/26/2013 - Let's face it: few children aspire to be a call center agent when growing up. Yet call centers employ a significant percentage of the U.S. workforce, so it's a reality for millions of people. While it's easy to find call center employment horror stories with a simple Web search, for many Americans, it's a worthwhile way to make a living.
4/23/2013 - In order for call centers to efficiently function on a day to day basis it is vital that they have a systematic scheduling system in place to assure that each agent creates a great customer experience for each customer. Monet Software, a pioneer in scheduling software, has not only created solutions that help organizations solve some of their biggest problems, including meeting service requirements, but has also released an array of helpful tips that can be used in the call center to address these issues.
4/23/2013 - As call centers continue to make headway in the industry, there is one factor that has been an overriding issue for organizations: proper scheduling. Although at first glance this might seem insignificant, efficiently scheduling agents is a critical part of a call center, as 60 - 80 percent of ongoing call center expenses are related to staffing.
4/19/2013 - For call centers to function properly, it's important they have a systematic scheduling system in place to assure that each agent handles a call with a customer giving them the highest level of service experience as possible. For a workforce optimization company like Monet, it's important to create solutions that help organizations solve some of their biggest problems, including meeting service requirements, delivering high quality services and controlling payroll costs. For call centers trying to improve on such topics, Monet offers a few tips.
4/16/2013 - Every call center needs a workforce management (WFM) tool to help manage and track the progress of its agent performance levels. WFM provides businesses the ability to capture and analyze customer interaction across all platforms. Yet aside from its detailed reports, one of the key aspects to such solutions is its visualizations. And as Monet, a provider of WFM solutions points out, visuals are just as important as the words in the reports.
4/8/2013 - "Your call may be monitored for quality assurance." This is one of those phrases that is widely heard when it comes to customer care, but it's not quite fully understood. Call recording is an essential tool for call center management, as it gives managers information on agent performance; how calls are being handled, whether they're being accurately routed, or, if a problem arises, how to use the information for future calls. A call recording system is wonderful for call center management, however, it isn't optimal if it can't provide call scoring as well.
4/8/2013 - What is one thing that can stress a call center manager: manually scheduling for multiple agents covering multiple channels in a busy call center.
4/1/2013 - No matter what industry you work in, if you're a manager, keeping on top of employees' schedules can be a bit of an undertaking, particularly in an environment that does not operate on a normal Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 schedule. For the call center, it's particularly challenging to stay on top of everyone's scheduling needs, ensuring enough staff for busy call times, schedule changes, emergencies and so on.
4/1/2013 - In today's contact center, customers continue to prefer the telephone over all other possible communications media: about 75 percent of the time, when a customer has an issue, he or she picks up the telephone. However, this doesn't mean that contact centers can ignore other media channels, since the other 25 percent of the time, customers are turning to alternatives such as e-mail, mobile apps, social media, self-service and Web-based contact channels.
3/26/2013 - Quality management within the call center is generally listed as a top priority item as organizations compete for market dominance. Quality customer care is often one of the only factors worth negotiation. Without access to quality data, however, achieving that higher level of customer care is a bit more of a challenge.
3/26/2013 - It sounds easy enough - staffing the call center to meet the needs of the organization. The challenge, however, is that needs and volume can change in the blink of an eye. Customer service is always the priority, yet meeting high quality delivery expectations is difficult when the unexpected happens. The key to the truly successful call center is being able to plan for the unexpected.
3/22/2013 - ASC, a provider of call center scheduling and workforce management (WFM) solutions to record, analyze and evaluate multimedia-based communications, has been ranked the third largest vendor of global contact center interaction recording system in an evaluation by an independent marketing and research consulting company Pelorus Group.
3/21/2013 - There are a few headaches when it comes to managing an efficient call center. With so much to keep tabs on, from operational strategies, financial objectives, equipment maintenance and employee schedules, it can be overwhelming serving customers and improving processes. Call center scheduling shouldn't be one of the obstacles when running a smooth operation, but sometimes agent shift swapping can pose as a challenge in keeping things seamless.
3/13/2013 - The color-coded dashboard goes a long way toward simplifying information capture in a variety of environments. In the call center, it can serve as a powerful scheduling and monitoring tool. As much activity that takes place in the typical customer service setting, automating and simplifying the call center scheduling process is critical to ensure optimal performance and efficient operation.
3/12/2013 - The intelligence needed in the call center is greater than the brainpower of its employees. Today's call center must also have intelligent solutions to ensure efficient operation and the delivery on expected performance metrics. The same is true with call center scheduling technology as call center management has a lot to juggle to ensure optimal operation of the center as a whole.
3/5/2013 - Managing the effective call center requires more than just an efficient schedule. Call center leaders have to manage exceptions and minimize the impact any changes have on the level of service provided to the customer base. Planned exceptions are easy to integrate into the schedule, but the unexpected can happen. The success of the center relies on how those exceptions are handled.
3/4/2013 - The call center is the perfect dance of call volume, agent availability and productive interactions - at least that is the goal for every call center manager. The challenge, however, is turning those goals into reality when trying to implement call center scheduling tools. Fortunately, Workforce Management (WFM) Live from Monet Software can help.
2/25/2013 - NOVAtime Technology, a provider of workforce management and call center scheduling solutions, recently showcased its new NOVAtime Live product on Microsoft's Surface tablet at its first User Conference. The new NOVAtime Live on Microsoft's Surface tablet delivers complete mobility and live dashboard update features on Windows 8 platform devices.
2/25/2013 - Did you know that agent out-of-adherence can cost the call center thousands of dollars per month in lost productivity? Did you also know that the best way to reduce out-of-adherence is to properly forecast call volume and schedule according to that forecast? It's a process that can best be described as a complicated dance, but one that doesn't have to trip up the call center manager. Having the right tools in place can help.
2/20/2013 - While many call center organizations use call forecasting software to help them plan their day, week or month, forecasting software isn't magic: it requires a number of human factors to get right. Your forecasting tool can use historical and real-time data to make predictions, but it can't read your mind, it can't foresee your future needs, and it doesn't know what your business plan looks like.
2/19/2013 - For any emergency response agency, the benefits of using scheduling software can be limitless. In fact, after using a desk blotter calendar for 30 long years, The Danville Life Saving Crew, an emergency response service provider, has switched to Aladtec's EMS Manager for more efficient scheduling of its 100-person crew. Aladtec's solution has allowed the agency to save 60 hours every month in associated labor costs.
2/19/2013 - Moving from a manual call center scheduling system to one that is managed online can be a daunting change. You may have a certain way you like to schedule your agents and mixing up the format will require training and a different mindset. If the result is less time spent and an improved operation through efficiency and productivity gains, the switch is well worth the risk.
2/12/2013 - The agent is perfectly suited for the call center job. The agent possesses great customer service skills, can manage multiple communication portals at once, can quickly move the customer through resolution and is familiar with just about every computer technology interface available. The only problem is that the agent's skills are in high demand for coaching others and her availability has changed, creating a scheduling issue for the manager.
2/11/2013 - In the buzz of activity that takes place within the call center, it can be a challenge for managers to forecast anticipated activity, schedule according to agent skills and availability, manage the varying interaction channels and focus on overall performance. In fact, overall performance statistics are the one thing managers often don't know.
2/11/2013 - Advancements in the communication technology have drastically changed the ways call centers operate today, making the tasks more complicated for the managers. From assigning tasks to the agents with appropriate skills to ensuring they are completing them in an efficient manner, a call center manager is always pressed for time. Above all, they have to ensure there are smooth transition between the shifts to ensure maximum labor efficiency and customer satisfaction. So, call center scheduling solutions can significantly simplify the tasks of a manager.
2/6/2013 - Xerox has been named to the Leaders Quadrant by Gartner, in the 2012 Magic Quadrant Customer Management Contact Center Business Process Outsourcing report. Xerox offers business process outsourcing and IT outsourcing services to commercial and government organizations across the world. Some of its services include data processing, healthcare solutions, HR benefits management, finance support, transportation solutions, and customer relationship management services.
2/5/2013 - Call centers can make or break the customer experience. So what can make or break a call center? Workforce management, of course. A good WFM solution can ensure that employees are always working at times convenient to them without the center being understaffed, and ensure that everything is running smoothly.
1/29/2013 - In the call center environment, one of the most valuable assets that contribute to the success of the center is its agents. Individuals trained to handle complex interactions while still delivering first call resolution and customer satisfaction are essential to the call center's overall operation. When these individuals are not engaging with customers, however, they are a drain on profit.
1/28/2013 - While most contact centers monitor their operations to some degree, not all monitoring is created equal. Not too long ago, monitoring was done on only a portion of the call center's operations, and many times, managers had to wait days, weeks or even months to see reports that contained the relevant intelligence.
1/24/2013 - In its annual Call Center Satisfaction Index (CCSI), CFI Group, a customer satisfaction measurement technology and analytics firm, has found that more call centers are transforming into contact centers as they are incorporating Web, e-mail, and social media into customer service strategies.
1/22/2013 - When it comes to reliable and rigid containers, BWAY Holding is the brand that is trusted by a companies that are starting from the manufacturers of consumer goods to the makers of ammunition. With an aim to achieve improved worker efficiency, compliance and cost reduction, BWAY has implemented Staff Management | SMX' workforce optimization solution in some of its plants.
1/16/2013 - Managed unified communications services provider Whaleback Managed Services recently expanded its CrystalBlue Unified Communications Services, with the addition of a new call detail reporting solution called CrystalBlue Call View.
1/14/2013 - Verint Systems is a provider of enterprise intelligence solutions like scheduling and workforce optimization software. The company is well known for its portfolio of Enterprise Intelligence Solutions and Security Intelligence Solutions that help organizations capture and analyze complex and underused information sources to make timely, effective decisions.
1/10/2013 - We've all been there. We've had an issue with a company that we simply cannot seem to resolve. We contact the call center, we send e-mails, we request callbacks, and even if the company picks up our call or answers our e-mail, we get know actual results on our issue. The old-fashioned term for this is "the runaround." While call centers are tasked with solving customers' problems, the companies they represent don't always provide them with the tools they require to offer good customer support.
1/9/2013 - Schedule adherence is one of the key challenges call center managers face every day. Companies that offer call center scheduling solutions must understand that increasing schedule adherence has a huge cost saving and efficiency potential, but customers need the right tools in order to better track all agent activities to get to the next level.
1/2/2013 - If you run or manage a call center, you'll know that data is one of the few things you lack. In fact, you may be finding yourself swamped with data and feeling a bit nervous: like you know you ought to be doing something with all this information, but you're not sure what.
12/27/2012 - Verint Systems, a provider of Actionable Intelligence solutions and value-added services for call center scheduling, has upgraded its Impact 360 Workforce Optimization suite, offering advanced analytical tools along with software unification through alerts and notifications, to meet the growing demands faced by today's enterprises.
12/18/2012 - The most expensive aspect of managing a call center is staffing - ensuring that agents are working efficiently within set schedules is essential to the success of a business. Avoiding reoccurring call center schedule adherence issues and overhead shrinkage is all a matter of scheduling that fits the needs of agents.
12/18/2012 - Running a successful call center is not an easy job. One of the primary challenges is building an efficient call center schedule. There are numerous uncontrollable factors that affect the scheduling of agents, so it takes specific knowledge and measurements to create the most effective schedule. Modern scheduling solutions have helped call center managers build better schedules, but sticking to the schedule is a challenge.
12/12/2012 - The staff scheduling problem is a critical challenge in the call center industry, among countless other industries these days. While staff scheduling has long been an important operations research problem, it has recently become an important component of workforce management software. The need for effective workforce management systems has been driven primarily by the rapid growth of the call center industry in which efficient deployment of human resources is absolutely crucial for success.
12/10/2012 - Call Forecasting Stimulation Makes Workforce Management Efficient During the Holidays Whether you run a call center in a small business or an enterprise, call volume fluctuates at different times of the year, prompting business processes to get complicated. Specifically, during the holidays when call volume grows, you must schedule agents properly in order for your call center to run efficiently. In an era where technology is constantly evolving and improving, why not invest in workforce management (WFM) software to better delegate agent tasks and stay on top of call center processes?
12/6/2012 - The call center is rife with changing workloads and fluctuating staffing needs. When it comes to properly staffing the call center, there are so many variables to consider that aren't exclusive to agent availability and accurately predicting call volume. There's skill sets to keep in mind, what kind of calls you'll receive and when, customer initiatives, response time, call quality and so on. It's enough to overwhelm any manager, which is why there are a few items to think about before scheduling your call center's needs.
12/4/2012 - In the contact center, call volumes are constantly changing. If you try to predict the number of seats needed to keep your customers satisfied while also saving money, the end result will likely be unsuccessful. Because of the changing call volumes and variety of customer inquiries, you must have a workforce management system in place to properly schedule contact center agents.
11/29/2012 - Today, mobility is changing how consumers and professionals find information, communicate, and shop. This in turn is causing businesses to be faced with the challenge of providing a personalized experience across multiple channels to an increasingly mobile customer base.
11/26/2012 - Numbers matter, but usually they are not enough. When scheduling agents to staff a call center, there's more than just the question of how many warm bodies to put in a room. While head count matters, there also are several other considerations that must be taken into account if the ultimate goal is profitability and effectiveness.
11/19/2012 - What's the biggest expense in your call center? If you're like nearly every call center on earth, the top item on your budget is recruiting, hiring and training new agents. Turnover tends to be high in call centers - higher in some industries than other - which makes the constant cycle of hiring a necessary evil.
11/12/2012 - Nobody said running a call center was easy. One of the trickiest tasks in a call center is building a schedule. There are so many unknown and uncontrollable factors, that the process is more of an art than a science. While modern scheduling solutions have gone a long way toward helping build better schedules, this is only half the equation.
11/8/2012 - Workforce management solutions have always been critical for the success of large contact center operating environments. Today, these solutions are also being used to simplify management and scheduling of multinational and multisite agents, including virtual workers in organizations of all sizes
11/7/2012 - Unless your call center consists of one person, you must manage your organizational goals through a workforce of employees. If that workforce is not managed and scheduled properly in order to be productive, the efficiency of goal-achievement suffers and costs go up.
11/1/2012 - Today, contact center technology offers the ability to improve back office functions like workforce management (WFM), sharing customer data, self-service, integrated desktops, and creating visibility. Back office performance management and workforce optimization (WFO) have had a history of being problematic because of difficulty in measuring processes and limited agent performance visibility. But, this has changed due to the recent capability of WFO solutions that can measure activity, schedule staff and even provide performance metrics within the call center.
10/31/2012 - Whenever one reaches a call center, it's common to hear "this call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes." This, of course, is a good thing. Not only does it mean the call center agents will be trying its hardest to do a good job, but it also means you'll have your issues on the record, having something to back you up if you do get a poor agent. Rather than just having "may be monitored," though, the best way to go about that is with call recording.
10/24/2012 - Call center agents that spend most of their time e-mailing, instant messaging and online shopping are hurting your center's scheduling adherence. But, with the right call center scheduling software in place, you can more effectively monitor these agents to make sure they are doing their jobs.
10/22/2012 - Customers today have high expectations when it comes to the call center experience. Yet, under strict cost constraints and tight budgets, it has become increasingly challenging to satisfy the needs of both key decision makers and the consumer. There are several important business metrics that help with the process of call center management. But success does not hinge on numbers alone, rather what people do with that information.
10/17/2012 - Any manager within any customer-facing industry faces a challenge when trying to schedule employees according to the needs of the business. Those responsible for call center scheduling, however, must also pay attention to forecasting for call volume and the productivity of their staff. When a call center employee is doing anything other than the tasks related to his or her job, adherence issues arise.
10/10/2012 - Maintaining a good schedule in the contact center is a two-part strategy. First, of course, there is the building of a high quality schedule that reflects your contact center's business and call/contact traffic. The next part is trickier: adhering to that schedule once it's built. Being out of adherence can cause a number of problems in the contact center, all of them widening out - like a small stone tossed into a pond - in concentric circles to affect the entire call center.
10/9/2012 - The mobile workforce management and scheduling industry is growing with solutions that not only track remote field workers, but also have an evolving focus on managing workflows, enhancing customer engagement, and even creating new revenue opportunities.
10/1/2012 - Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO), a regional, member-owned utility serving more than 150,000 Maryland customers, has deployed Avaya Customer Experience Interaction Management solutions in aims to deliver outstanding customer service over multiple communication channels.
9/26/2012 - Knowlagent, a provider of intraday management solutions for contact centers, announced the selection of its RightTime solution by Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), a global not-for-profit ministry.
9/25/2012 - Once upon a time, a problem many call centers faced was not having enough quality data about their operations. Call center management was more of an art than a science, since experienced managers needed to make a lot of guesses: about call volume, about staffing, about queuing, about average handle times and time callers were on hold.
9/24/2012 - Noble ShiftTrack Workforce Management (WFM) software has been deployed for financial services institution Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Noble Systems provides unified contact center technology solutions. The company is supporting Wealth Management Services for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, which serves customers at its more than 500 company and community-owned customer service outlets at locations across Australia.
9/19/2012 - Easycallnow, a provider of cloud contact center services, gives users complete control over exactly how calls are answered and routed. It makes sure customers can quickly get through to the right people while keeping agents productive and making sure every single call is answered efficiently. With Easycallnow, it is even possible to change how calls are handled by creating scheduled call queues and building a specialized menu system for incoming calls.
9/18/2012 - VoIP has advanced rapidly in the call center environment. One area of the call center that has benefited greatly from VoIP is call recording. With the move to an entirely digital call process, it is easier than ever to record and utilize call center interactions.
9/13/2012 - These days, the contact center world is an environment that is constantly changing as new communication channels are developed rapidly, marketing departments routinely devise brand new services that need support, and internal systems are replaced and upgraded soon after agents learn older systems. Because of the rapid evolution of technology, customers today expect service that is quicker, more customized, more accurate, more comprehensive, and even friendlier.
9/12/2012 - Customer contact, workforce optimization and Microsoft platform solutions provider Aspect Software recently launched a completely customizable mobile app built for supervisors and managers in call centers. The application is called the Aspect Workforce Mobile solution.
9/12/2012 - Customer contact, workforce optimization and Microsoft platform solutions provider Aspect Software recently launched a completely customizable mobile app built for supervisors and managers in call centers. The application is called the Aspect Workforce Mobile solution.
9/5/2012 - This month, Cicero Inc., a provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) and integration technologies, and Pipkins, Inc., a supplier of workforce management and call center scheduling software, are deploying Vantage Point with Cicero's desktop analytics technology to customers.
9/4/2012 - Call center scheduling is tricky for many reasons. For starters, you can only guess how many calls your center is going to receive on any given day, from hour to hour and from minute to minute. Secondly, you can only guess how many agents will call home sick or leave early, not feeling well or for a family emergency. One of the most prominent reasons call center scheduling is so difficult is that call center work isn't simply phone work.
8/30/2012 - "Your call may be recorded for quality assurance" is probably a statement that sounds familiar. Most likely you have heard this if you've ever called a bank, credit card company or insurance company. This is known as call recording, which allows a company to record and archive calls for playback in the future. There are several uses for call recording software designed to help benefit your company.
8/28/2012 - Call center scheduling software keeps your call center running efficiently, keeps your service levels increasing and your customer base and revenues growing. Lately, there have been a lot of analyst reports about the adoption of cloud-based solution in all areas of business, including call center forecasting and scheduling, which can your call center's efficiency to whole other level.
8/21/2012 - The most expensive aspect of managing a call center is staffing; ensuring that agents are working efficiently within their set schedules is essential to the success of a business. Avoiding reoccurring call center schedule adherence issues and overhead shrinkage is all a matter of scheduling that fits the needs of agents and the call center.
8/20/2012 - If you run or manage a call center, it's probable that you spend most of your professional life chasing several goals: keeping costs down, meeting service levels, keeping customer loyalty high and reducing expensive agent turnover. While there's no one magic bullet solution to accomplish all these tasks, a high quality call recording solutions comes close, and can certainly address each goal.
8/13/2012 - Amcom Software's pc/psap 911 call center solution is now listed under the Department of Defense's Unified Capabilities Approved Products List. This solution has received Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certification from the U.S. government and it will ensure secure, reliable communications for both government and civilian organizations.
8/8/2012 - On average, the amount of time that contact center agents wait in between customer calls is two to three minutes. However, when that time is added up throughout the day, research has indicated that call center agents can spend 49 minutes of their day idle, waiting for a call.
8/7/2012 - The staff scheduling problem has remained a critical problem customer contact center industry. But now, real-time schedule adherence can fix this problem by streamlining agent scheduling seamlessly.
8/2/2012 - According to a study from Loudhouse Research, 69 percent of large business respondents believe that call centers are integral to revenue generation. However, with so many options for call center software on the market, managers often have difficulty deciding which products to choose.
8/1/2012 - Today, the call center is an essential part of a business in order for it to run efficiently. Over the years, call center agent duties have evolved from fielding phone calls to handling email and online communications. So, customers now rely on call centers to submit email inquiries, request Web chats, and transmit text messages from cell phones. A call center must be equipped with the right tools to sell products, respond to customer questions, resolve technical-support issues, and handle inquiries in a timely and efficient manner.
7/25/2012 - Today's technology can simplify scheduling call center agents around vacation requests, a universal problem for call centers due to last minute staffing issues that require supervisors to create new intra-day schedules. Call centers risk being temporarily understaffed, which negatively affects customer service. Pipkins Inc., a provider of call center workforce management software, shares strategies to ease the effects of having multiple agents simultaneously request vacation time.
7/23/2012 - An unscheduled 10-minute break during a typical eight-hour call center shift doesn't sound costly, but financial implications grow a lot worse when multiplied by an entire call center team and viewed over time. Just 10 minutes of wasted agent time per day translates into 43.3 hours of lost time per agent per year. For a typical agent earning roughly $20 per hour, that's roughly $866 of lost time. Multiplied by a staff of 300, however, and that number becomes a $259,000 financial loss per year when agents waste 10 minutes per day.
7/18/2012 - More than 3,000 self storage facilities signed up for USstoragesearch.com facilities since its launch in March, 2012.
7/18/2012 - TMC this year celebrates 30 years of covering customer interaction, which means it couldn't be a better time to look at where we've been with customer service and where we're going. We're also rebranding and retooling our customer effort. In this installment of our CUSTOMER coverage, we talk with Chuck Ciarlo, CEO of Monet Software Inc. Ciarlo also is on the advisory board of TMC's new CUSTOMER magazine, which launches in September.
7/10/2012 - Delivering on performance expectations in the unpredictable call center environment can be a challenge, unless the right forecasting and scheduling practices are in place. Callers want their problems addressed quickly and service delivered in a way that demonstrates their value to the organization. With effective call center scheduling practices, these demands are more likely to be met.
7/9/2012 - Smart Link Contact Centers, a business process and contact center outsourcing provider in Saudi Arabia, has received three awards at the Middle East Call Center Awards 2012, recently held in Dubai. Smart link was selected for this top honor for the third consecutive year for its diversity in services, flexibility in adapting and penetrating new markets, consistency in service levels and performance quality.
7/3/2012 - Amcom Software, Inc. has unveiled that WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, N.C., will deploy Amcom Mobile Connect smartphone communications for 1,000 users. The healthcare system has already centralized its contact center communications using Amcom's operator consoles, web-based on-call scheduling, emergency notification, and speech recognition solutions. The addition of smartphone communications will expand the foundation with secure mobile messaging for busy clinicians who need immediate contact.
7/2/2012 - Call recording software is a common inclusion in most contemporary call centers. Like most software programs, the widespread use of the call recording software has been influenced by the apparent advantages of such programs. Through the recording software, call centers capture, screen, store, and manage interactions between customers and customer service representative for purposes of upholding quality service provision, scheduling, and compliance.
6/29/2012 - Call centers tend to be very complex and hard to manage. One of the most important things a call center manager can do is create an agent schedule and have them stick to it. Even if only one or two agents fail to adhere to the schedules, this can have a dramatic impact on service level and customer service. Schedule adherence is one of the main ways call center managers achieve labor efficiencies and improve customer service.
6/25/2012 - Call center scheduling software keeps your call center running efficiently, keeps your service levels increasing, and your customer base and revenues growing. Call center scheduling in the cloud could bring the efficiency of you call center to whole other level.
6/19/2012 - When it comes to saving money in a call center, sometimes a simple change in workforce management solutions can make a huge difference. Using the right workforce management software can help prevent over scheduling and cut down on overtime, often resulting in cost savings as high as 10 percent. One company that is trying to spread the word about these savings opportunities - and spread it far beyond it home country of Sweden - is XLScheduler.
6/18/2012 - Outbound call centers can be grouped into two types depending on the types of calls being made. In each type of outbound call center, the agents are either engaged in campaign management or in collections management.
6/14/2012 - Not a long time ago, when employees in call centers worked from remote locations, integrating them into the regular call queues was virtually impossible, scheduling and monitoring performance was difficult and analyzing data was cumbersome, but now with Easy Office Phone's virtual-call-center solution, everything falls neatly into place.
6/12/2012 - Schedule adherence is one of the key challenges for call centers. Companies that offer call center scheduling solutions must understand that increasing schedule adherence has a huge cost saving and efficiency potential, but customers need the right tools to better track all agent activities to get to the next level.
6/6/2012 - Cassidian Communications has recently introduced the latest release of the company's next generation management information system (MIS), Aurora 2.0 to improve 9-1-1 call center management and scheduling. The solution includes new features and enhancements that improve performance and are designed to create a more efficient call center and improve decision making in single and multi-site 9-1-1 call centers.
6/5/2012 - Call centers must be able to automate and manage complex call center scheduling based on business policies in which physical, virtual and cloud-based resources are allocated to ensure that critical workflows are met. Amcom Software, Inc. has announced that Winter Haven Hospital will implement encrypted smartphone communications for more than 500 clinicians in the call center and in other hospital departments with Amcom Mobile Connect.
5/31/2012 - AlJomaih Automotive Company (AAC), the largest GM dealer in the Middle East, has increased call center scheduling, productivity and customer service as a result of deploying Altitude IP Contact Center Suite to handle the fast-paced growth of its customer service operations across Saudi Arabia. Altitude Software provides unified customer interaction solutions, managing dynamic contact centers independently of platforms.
5/31/2012 - Knowlagent, a provider of call center software that increases agent utilization through automated intraday management and dynamic delivery of coaching, training, communications, and other off-phone, shrinkage activities during idle time, partnered with Datapoint, a specialist in enterprise and call center communications infrastructure and applications.
5/24/2012 - Allianz Global Assistance Canada, a travel insurance and assistance provider, has received top honors at the Global Call Center of the Year Awards this month in Seattle. The company earned the Gold Award for the 2012 Global Call Center of the Year in the small-to medium-sized call center category as well as the Silver Award in the Quality Category.
Call Center Scheduling: Call Center Week to Focus on Reaching Goals through New Customer Interactions
5/23/2012 - Echopass Corporation, a provider of enterprise class cloud-based contact center solutions, will sponsor the 2012 annual Call Center Week conference. This year, Call Center Week will focus on meeting business growth objectives through new social, mobile and traditional customer points of interaction in the call center.
5/16/2012 - These days, global provider of Workforce Optimization (WFO) solutions Monet Software is seeing major trends in the call center industry based on market needs and new emerging technologies. The Internet has become critical for businesses to successfully manage business operations and agents are monitoring social media channels to connect with customers and prospects.
5/16/2012 - When examining the call center, it would be easy to assume that the biggest cost associated with this division of the company may be the expensive phone equipment necessary for each agent, or the ergonomic desks and chairs. Instead, the most costly element within this environment is out-of-adherence to call center scheduling.
5/11/2012 - There may be no corporate function that throws off more data than the corporate call center. Agent performance is measured as every contact is counted, routed, scheduled and scored. Throughout the history of the contact center, much of the analysis of that data has been quantitative in nature like calls received, average hold time, call length, resolution rate.
5/9/2012 - If you are a call center professional interested in learning how to help your call center harness the potential of social media and self service capabilities, you should add "Call Center Management on Fast Forward" to you summer book list.
5/2/2012 - BenchmarkPortal today released its new iBenchmark, an automated benchmarking product that puts patented technology to work for people who manage contact centers, providing benchmarking reports every month without manually inputting a long list of metrics.
5/1/2012 - Steve Bederman, CEO, the Corporation, a gateway company to escort software and technology firms into the US market, blogs on successful business practices. the Corporation has launched the Call Center Corporation to distribute top-rated call center software products in the U.S. Bederman and his team of experts offer a long history of success in call center software including call center scheduling and call center management.
4/26/2012 - Customer Relationship Metrics, L.C. has recently launched Desktop Activity BI, a suite of managed analytics services for call centers and contact centers. Desktop Activity BI analyzes desktop activity and application performance data to provide insight into trends, best practices and needed improvement in the call center. This performance data can guide customers in improving company policies, compliance, scheduling, and application usage.
4/24/2012 - Does your call center run so smoothly that you never have more agents on hand than you need? Do you accurately forecast for anticipated volume so customers are never left waiting in the queue? Are all agents keyed into the importance of schedule adherence so as to keep shrinkage at a minimum? If you can't adamantly answer with a yes to these questions, it may be time for call center scheduling.
4/20/2012 - In the call center culture, workforce management is a common denominator across the board. Call centers need to properly forecast and schedule their call center staff while maintaining service levels and keeping costs in check. The right workforce management software solution can not only help manage the aforementioned, but it's not a solution that has to be a luxury or costly expenditure.
Enhanced Workload Automation Software with Predictive Scheduling Analytics to Improve Call Center Scheduling
4/17/2012 - Call centers must be able to automate and manage complex call center scheduling based on business policies in which physical, virtual and cloud-based resources are allocated to ensure that critical workflows are met.
4/12/2012 - Provider of risk management, compliance, communication and outreach programs Risk Compliance Performance (RCP) Solutions has appointed veteran call center expert Sharon R. Blake as vice president of call center services. Blake will launch the new U.S.-based, bilingual (English and Spanish) Call Center division. The division combines telephony, integrated interactive voice response (IVR) technology and a team of customer service professionals to support client business needs.
4/10/2012 - If you are a company considering the addition of call recording software, you will find a variety of options to choose from. Most call centers tend to have similar needs, but there are challenges that will cause your unique company to choose certain solutions.
4/9/2012 - Monet Software, Inc., a provider of cloud-based Workforce Management, today unveiled the availability of Monet Record and Monet Quality, expanding its offering to a unified Workforce Optimization (WFO) suite. Call centers can now efficiently automate workforce management, call recording and quality management with one affordable solution, resulting in better utilization of resources, better cost management, increased compliance, and improved service levels.
4/3/2012 - DigitalMojo, a marketing services company, and RingRevenue, the provider of in call-based performance marketing solutions are joining together to deliver more calls, more customers, and more revenue for DigitalMojo and their clients.
3/29/2012 - Global provider of customer experience and workforce optimization solutions VPI (Voice Print International, Inc.) recently unveiled its breakthrough VPI VirtualSource, a groundbreaking, hosted, pay-as-you-go contact center solution. VPI VirtualSource leverages conversational, on-demand virtual agents powered by Artificial Intelligence to automate inbound and outbound calls and reduce mundane tasks from human call center agents.
3/26/2012 - According to the webcast, "Utilizing a Six Sigma Approach to Reduce Unwanted Turnover", Volt Workforce Solutions, the staffing business unit of Volt Information Sciences, Inc., will share expertise improving call center recruiting and retention.
3/21/2012 - Produced by The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), the ACCE Conference & Expo, the premier annual global gathering for the contact center community, will hold a 2012 conference program filled with a variety of course selections. The conference will take place at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle May 7-10. The event will bring together call center professionals to discover how to improve their centers' performance by better managing people and resources, improving operations, and selecting the right technology.
3/20/2012 - Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. (ASCI), today announced it is adding a new service to enterprise IT automation through several enhancements to its ActiveBatch Workload Automation and Job Scheduling Software. There will be new core capabilities supporting Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Server as well as an ActiveBatch Extension for Microsoft SharePoin. It is now possible to quickly and easily automate new forms of runbook and IT operations and integrate these procedures into other business and IT operational processes.
3/14/2012 - The varying activities that must take place within the call center require a strategic balance. All channels must be accounted for, agents must be in their seats during scheduled hours and call volume must be forecasted accurately. When all of these elements are in balance, the center has achieved proper call center scheduling.
3/14/2012 - Monet Software has established a list of call center scheduling tips to keep your call center running efficiently, keep service levels increasing, and your customer base and revenues growing. Be sure to follow these scheduling tips to improve the overall operations of your call center.
3/8/2012 - Fairview Health Services has selected Amcom Software solutions to build an approach to critical communications and call center scheduling in an effort to replace an aging call center platform and to expand the scope of its communication functions. Amcom Software gives organizations faster, more accurate communications. Amcom Software's unified communications technologies include solutions for contact centers, emergency management, mobile event notification, and messaging.
3/6/2012 - Telcentris Inc., a leader in cloud communications and VoxOx In Business, today unveiled the commercial availability of its short duration call service, geared toward outbound call centers, resellers, and agents that cater to call center traffic and call center scheduling. Being offered through the company's wholesale division, the short call service is a highly competitive offering in a market that lacks solutions for businesses conducting high volume short duration calls.
2/28/2012 - If you run a small call center, you might think call center schedule adherence isn't all that important; however, if you take a closer look you'll see that schedule adherence can save your company a great deal of time and revenue over the course of a year. Every call center has unique agent activity types, so this flexible approach to agent adherence monitoring gives call centers increased accuracy in managing call center performance. Schedule adherence is not just about whether your agents are showing up for their shifts on time, it's also about whether they are showing up on time for scheduled events such as training and coaching sessions, and then getting back on the phones when they are supposed to.
2/27/2012 - Many smaller call centers still use spreadsheets to manage call center schedules and workforce planning with the idea that spreadsheets are a sufficient tool for fewer call center agents. However, Monet Software recently explained that it is actually more difficult to use spreadsheets to manage fewer agents. Monet Software recently posted a blog explaining why smaller companies need a strategy other than spreadsheets to manage call center schedules. Some of the reasons include: behavior of individual agents have bigger impact on overall call center performance; fewer agents need to multi-task, making skill-based scheduling more complex; and it is more difficult to correct the schedule once it has been upset by unexpected events.
2/21/2012 - Call center scheduling is fragile as agents may arrive late, log in to the wrong work queue, take breaks or lunch at different times, or get called away for an unexpected meeting or conference. The more agents a call center has, the more can go wrong. Therefore, greater return can be reaped from a real-time adherence system. For call center scheduling, advanced agent adherence systems is a great solution.
2/21/2012 - The idea of moving your call center scheduling activities to the cloud may seem like a daunting task, even with the promised benefits on the horizon. If your organization is struggling to make a business case for moving to the cloud, or simply need to weigh the pros and cons, compelling reasons do exist for making the move.
2/15/2012 - Running a call center requires so much more than just making sure all calls are answered in a timely manner. Managers in today's center must monitor and manage adherence to call center scheduling, a task that is nothing short of challenges.
2/9/2012 - While it's common to group all call centers into one category, the reality is that every call center is actually unique. With that unique environment comes the demand for a unique approach to call center scheduling. How do you determine the best approach for your center? Monet Software has a few tips for you to consider.
2/3/2012 - Any mention of the call center and we're quick to think of a row of cubicles, complete with headset-wearing individuals repeating the same speech on each call. While such a scenario may be found in one environment, it isn't always the norm. In fact, today's larger call centers are moving towards more diverse and flexible environments, providing deep integration between multiple communication channels and call center scheduling.
1/18/2012 - Agents working in the call center have an important role to fill - satisfying managers in terms of performance and creating the high quality customer experience. At times, the two goals are at odds, especially when performance metrics require speedy calls and the customer experience is degraded when speed trumps resolution. While call center scheduling aims to minimize this impact, it may require the call center to take it one step further.
1/13/2012 - If you run or manage a call center, you'll know that there are no shortage of challenges, and these challenges would appear to keep multiplying with each year that passes and each new trend comes along. Yet, at the heart of the call center is one overriding rule: provide the best possible customer service to your customers, while spending the least amount of money.
1/10/2012 - For most, the beginning of a New Year is the perfect time to reflect on the accomplishments of the last 12 months and set goals that will define the next 12. This is as true for a call centers as it is for an individual, and as your agents start to filter back in from the holidays it's important to take a look at where you've been and where you want to go. Here are three New Year's resolutions that you can implement in your call center management strategy to increase your effectiveness in 2012.
1/6/2012 - Forecasting - it's one of the most critical and challenging element in call center scheduling. With the use of workforce management tools, call center managers can gather the work history necessary to forecast call volume and agent requirements to match the time frames that must be scheduled in the future.
12/28/2011 - The scheduling requirements within your call center can determine the level of complexity involved in your overall call center management. With the right tools in place, however, you can easily avoid some of the pitfalls that result in over- or under-staffing within the call center, which can lead to even bigger problems.
12/28/2011 - An environment of emotional calls, fluctuating call volumes, varying schedules and time pressure can only describe today's call center. Trying to manage skilled individuals within this type of environment is a challenge without call center scheduling platforms. Putting the right tools in place ensures a smooth operation, and more satisfied customers and employees.
12/22/2011 - The agent that spends most of his time reading emails, taking breaks and navigating online training tools is hurting your schedule adherence and consequently, your bottom line. With the right call center scheduling tools in place, you can better monitor this individual and keep him on the phones.
12/15/2011 - Do you struggle in your role as a call center leader to ensure you have the right number of staff with the right skills available at the right times of the day ? Do your agents show up for work on time and adhere to the schedule for breaks, training and other activities? If you're struggling to keep your staff on track, it may be time to take a closer look at workforce management solutions.
12/15/2011 - Are expenses overwhelming your call center? Have you gotten a handle on staffing to minimize those expenses and drive a wider profit margin? If not, it's probably time to take a closer look at call center scheduling solutions to ease your pain and improve the bottom line.
12/12/2011 - Monet Software has put together another fine blog post on handling fluctuation in call volumes throughout the day -- yes it's still one of the key challenges in managing a call center, as they say.
12/1/2011 - Using a cloud-based solution for call center scheduling has many advantages. Taking that theory a step further and deciding to implement a Monet Software workforce management solution in the cloud for call center scheduling is a win-win situation. Why? The cloud comes ready to use, with no upfront investment and provisioned from a virtualized data center. No matter where the agent is, they can log on and access the system.
11/23/2011 - The dynamics within the call center keep every day more exciting than the last, but you don't want that excitement to stem from poorly planned call center scheduling. When volumes fluctuate throughout the day, you still have to effectively manage the call center. How do you keep scheduling on track while balancing changing challenges?
11/17/2011 - The average call center has a significant list of things to accomplish on any given day. Even with a large and skilled team of agents, the workload can seem overwhelming. With the right call center scheduling in place, however, many of the necessary tasks that must be completed can be scheduled according to availability and call volume, taking the pressure off the agent and his or her supervisor.
11/10/2011 - Call center scheduling for the multi-channel, multi-location environment requires a close examination of various time zones, new communication channels, potential shrinkage and changing agent availability. Without the necessary software tools to automate this process, call center management may have a hard time creating the productive and efficient environment.
11/3/2011 - Scheduling is critical to ensure the smooth operation of the call center - but is it really as easy as set the schedule and agents follow it? How do you ensure it meets your needs and the availability of your agents? How do you design a schedule that keeps customers happy? And, perhaps most importantly, how can you be sure your call center scheduling keeps costs at a minimum?
10/19/2011 - One of the most obvious challenges within the call center space is accurately forecasting for anticipated call volumes. In fact, forecasting is considered to be one of the most critical steps in the workforce management process. If you can perfect this process, call center scheduling is a snap.
10/14/2011 - Is your call center a madhouse of crazed agents who never seem to stay on track with scheduling? Do you find it difficult to schedule every bathroom break, coaching activity and e-mail that will take an agent away from the phones? Have you thought about the potential benefit you could enjoy with the implementation of a call center scheduling solution?
10/7/2011 - The good people at Monet Software recently put up another most helpful blog post, this time concerning employee motivation.
9/30/2011 - If you're like many -- actually, probably most -- small to medium size call centers, you still use spreadsheets to forecast and manage call center schedules and workforce planning. You think hey, this is an okay way to do it, since we have fewer agents. We don't need all that fancy- schmancy software, it's not like we're trying to ride herd on 10,000 agents here.
9/21/2011 - Managing a call center properly can be tough, and the meshing complexities of staff scheduling and technical understanding can quickly overwhelm professionals new to the space. But fear not! Monet Software, a leading workforce management software provider, has outlined some tips that make scheduling a call center workforce a less daunting task.
9/12/2011 - Imagine an environment of ringing telephones, filling e-mail inboxes, sounding social media alerts, scrolling fax machines and agents scrambling to handle all channels according to performance standards. If it sounds like a chaotic environment that could use a little help, you might be right. This scenario hopefully doesn't describe your call center, but if it does, a little help with your call center scheduling may be a good place to start.
9/8/2011 - The channels a contact centers manages have expanded dramatically since the 80's when the telephone was king-adding email, instant messages and SMS along the way. Based on current trends, it's evident that contact centers will be adding another essential channel in the very near future: social media.
8/30/2011 - The management of your call center staff is probably the most critical aspect to a successfully run customer service operation. Managers need to make sure to have enough agents to cover the volume of incoming communications, but when they hire too many they can end up paying agents for idle time. Optimizing schedules to meet the delicate balancing of what's needed for a specific volume requires careful planning on the management end, and it also requires schedule adherence on the agent end.
8/24/2011 - As a call center leader, do you ever feel challenged by the demands put on your team to increase quality of customer service, while also keeping costs in check? This can be a complicated dance when you don't have the right tools in place to achieve your goals.
8/19/2011 - For most people in management, it's been a long time since they were unable to exert any control whatsoever on the course their workday would take. Sure, there are mandatory meetings and deadlines and the usual obligations that must be fulfilled within an organized calendar on a day to day basis, but there is usually not a "boss" to worry about who dictates the course of events on an hourly basis.
8/11/2011 - In the process of developing your approach to call center scheduling, do you take schedule adherence into account? Believe it or not, if your call center is just a few minutes out of adherence from your schedule, it can cost your center considerable dollars you may not have to spend. Fortunately, educating your call center managers and staff about the importance of schedule adherence can improve overall performance and control costs.
8/5/2011 - If you try to run an efficient, profitable call center, you'll know that forecasting demand is the key to a well run call center. If you aren't meeting the demands on your call center without the correct amount of resources - neither under-staffed, which costs you in customer good will and agent burnout, or over-staffed, which costs you in cash - chances are, you'll find yourself called on the carpet sooner or later.
7/27/2011 - The constantly changing environment in the call center puts significant demands on those responsible for scheduling according to anticipated call volumes. These individuals not only have to accurately forecast call volumes for a specified period of time; they must also consider the skills and availability of the agent base.
7/22/2011 - According to a recent post on the Monet Software blog, Workforce management in a call center 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 and to do all that at a predetermined service level and minimized costs."
7/14/2011 - The call center is nothing if not dynamic and managers in this space are challenged to produce an effective environment in which all agents perform as expected. Achieving all points is easier said than done, however, and call center management must often look to robust tools to assist in the process.
7/12/2011 - If you've ever been involved with the management of the call center then you understand that scheduling is a critical concern that directly relates to the effectiveness of your operation. In a 2010 survey by DMG, call center managers rated the most mission critical task that they set out to perform daily. The results found that chief among these concerns were the need to schedule phone and non-phone activity, the need to optimize the mix of full-time/part-time/flex workers, strategy to reduce poor agent adherence and the need to schedule multiple channels at once. This list makes it clear; staffing is at the crux of nearly every issue within the call center.
7/5/2011 - For call centers, the single most expensive element of operation is staffing. Making sure your agents are working as efficiently as possible within the schedules you've set for them is essential to the success of your business.
6/30/2011 - Keating Capital has invested $3 million in the Series F Preferred Stock round of Xtime, a software as a service provider of Web scheduling and CRM solutions for automotive service departments.
6/20/2011 - Home agent call centers have proliferated as hosted software and SaaS platforms have developed compliant and reliable solutions. The result has been a gradual acceptance of the home agent as an alternative to the physical customer service office. With the ability to harness a geographically diffuse and demographically varied workforce businesses can now have agents that are not only better trained but more available than in a brick and mortar option. For BPO's like TeleTech, home agents are the future. TMCnet had an opportunity to talk with customer experience management leader TeleTech at this year's Call Center Week in Las Vegas.
6/17/2011 - In the realm of call center scheduling, is there really any correlation between this software platform and the cloud? There is if you want to make the most of your call center operations and reduce your overall cost of doing business.
6/9/2011 - If it's true, as call center vendor Monet Software officials say, that many companies underestimate the sheer volume of shrinkage, are there any good ways to reduce shrinkage?
6/7/2011 - Determining the right schedule for the call center is a challenge for even the most experienced call center manager. This individual not only has to accurately forecast for future volume, he or she must align that forecast with available individuals with the right skill sets. To say there are a lot of variables to manage is an understatement.
6/2/2011 - What is the most effective way to conduct call center scheduling? If you believe this is a loaded question, you're right. There are a number of different elements that have to be considered before you can effectively put together a call center schedule that will work according to the availability of your agents and your accurate forecast. Of course, the more challenging tasks is getting your agents to adhere to the schedule once it has been created.
6/2/2011 - Scheduling for the call center can be a challenging task. You not only need to know what agents you have available for specific times, you also have to know what volume of calls to expect at any given time of time. This requires that you conduct accurate forecasting before you complete your call center scheduling.
5/25/2011 - Call center scheduling - it is one of those necessary evils that not every call center manager jumps at the chance to perform. Regardless of their view of the activity, however, it still has to happen and it has to be optimized to ensure the best performance for the center. This means understanding the availability of all agents, forecasted volumes for a set amount of time and payroll budgets to support the scheduling efforts.
5/17/2011 - A recent webinar title "Six Simple Strategies for Improving Schedule Adherence in your Call Center" was offered by Monet Software, dealing with the thorny issue of ensuring there is the right number of staff with the right skills in their seats at the right times of the day.
5/16/2011 - Now that call centers everywhere have cut staffing to the bone, due to the current economic conditions, call center managers are under even more pressure to ensure agent time is being used efficiently.
5/11/2011 - No matter what line of work a business is in, managing workforce scheduling needs to be a priority in order to keep productivity, profits and customer satisfaction high. Nowhere is this truer than in the contact center environment. And while schedule management is a high priority for contact centers 365 days a year, summer vacation season, which is fast approaching, can make scheduling even more of an issue than usual.
5/3/2011 - An upcoming Webinar, titled "Six Simple Strategies for Improving Schedule Adherence in your Call Center," will be offered in conjunction with Monet Software on Wednesday, May 11, at 2:00 in the afternoon on the East Coast, and 11 in the morning out on the West Coast.
4/28/2011 - The spreadsheet is a powerful tool, but will it provide everything you need to keep track of activities in your call center? Even if you opt for call center scheduling spreadsheets that are often available for free, do you simply get what you pay for?
4/18/2011 - Ask a call center manager to name their biggest challenge in the workweek and they just might point to call center scheduling. This is a significant reference given the number of different elements the call center manager must juggle to deliver on expected performance levels. This recent Monet Software blog focused on call center scheduling and how learning proven practices can help the call center to deliver greater value overall.
4/13/2011 - Call center scheduling is a challenge to even the most seasoned call center managers. The ability to balance personnel with call volume peaks requires not only a deep understanding of your employees and customers, but an adaptable strategy that can account for inefficiency. Workforce management software designed to predict how many people you'll need on a given day can help, but there can still be unexpected issues with your workforce. So how do you get staff to show up for work on time and stick to their planned break times as well as generally acceptable time on various work tasks?
4/8/2011 - Call center scheduling, it is a task that even the most talented of call center managers could easily despise. The challenges that accompany this important task include forecasting for proper call volumes, anticipating absences, training sessions off-site, coaching session on-site, skill-sets of agents, requested time off and so much more. If the call center is trying to manage and schedule for more than 25 agents, doing so on a spreadsheet could turn into a nightmare.
4/1/2011 - Call center managers have a lot to juggle in their efforts to effectively manage a diverse workforce, address all customer issues, ensure performance according to expectations, and keep all operations within specific budgets. Such challenges often require tools to overcome them and many call centers will turn to Monet Software to find the solutions they need to improve overall performance.
3/23/2011 - Scheduling in the call center space is of the utmost importance in fine tuning how effectively your staff is operating. Shrinkage, poor adherence and unexpected call volume spikes can quickly overtake the best staff if it's unprepared. If a company maintains up- to- date information on call volume and a fluid schedule that can account for these challenges, it will be able to offer the best in customer service amongst multiple channels.
3/15/2011 - Call center scheduling - a significant challenge in an increasingly challenging field. Call center managers on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis have to ensure the call center is adequately staffed to meet the volume needs of the center. This can be a difficult challenge when call volumes can vary, call center agent schedules can change and campaigns may or may not be ready to launch.
3/14/2011 - Call center scheduling - it is perhaps one of the most stressful of all the call center manager's tasks, and yet it is also one of the most important. Once an accurate forecast has been determined, the call center manager then has to select the right candidates for the right shifts according to their availability, skill level and knowledge. It can be a complicated dance to determine the best scheduling arrangement to deliver the most value for the call center.
3/3/2011 - In the process of trying to effectively manage the call center, perhaps one of the most challenging of all the tasks assigned to the manager is that of call center scheduling. Not only does this individual need to properly forecast anticipated volume, he or she must also determine which agents are available for particular shifts, how their skills fill these voids and how best to account for both planned and unplanned absenteeism.
2/24/2011 - Call center scheduling could easily be described as one of the most challenging aspects of running a successful call center. Call center managers have to be sure they not only schedule according to forecasted call volumes, but also according to agent availability and skill set. When time off requests, training and other scheduled events must also be accounted for, call center leaders truly juggle a variety of scheduling pressures to get it right the first time.
2/17/2011 - If you were looking for a good rough 'n' ready side by side comparison of workforce management software compared in its cloud and on-premise, installed varieties, well, this is your lucky day, pilgrim. Monet Software's got one right here, excerpts follow comparing how "the different models would impact the cost, implementation, usage and success of the Workforce Management in your organization."
2/10/2011 - Thank the good folks over at Monet Software for their article summarizing "7 Tips for More Effective Call Center Scheduling." Excerpts here:
2/3/2011 - According to officials of Monet Software, as a small or medium-sized call center "you might think you can get by with scheduling and managing your staff using spreadsheets. Maybe you have avoided workforce management software because of the large upfront investment that is associated with traditional premised based WFM software vendors." Yep, that'd be a good reason to avoid them.
1/28/2011 - How important is call center scheduling in the overall performance of the center itself? In truth, this element is crucial, and yet it is increasingly difficult to achieve accurate forecasts to be able to schedule according to actual need. This latest Monet Software blog examined a recent survey by DMG Consulting and the challenges facing call centers today.
1/19/2011 - Last week we discussed the need for real-time adherence monitoring within a call center schedule process. Proper usage thereof can translate into a better understanding of your needs and customer service. The use of adherence monitoring can also let call centers be more flexible when dealing with staffing gaps, but even more useful to these scenarios is the utilization of a flex workforce whose specific job is to cover the shifts others will be missing.
1/14/2011 - Adherence is the single biggest challenge in call center scheduling. Since staffing makes up the bulk of a call center budget holding your employees accountable for their adherence can go a logway in saving money and increasing productivity. But before call center managers can hold their workforce accountable for adherence they need to be monitoring it.
1/5/2011 - As we've reiterated in this space many times before successful forecasting is absolutely paramount to achieving maximum efficiency in the call center space. Too few people on hand when phones start ringing off the hook means money lost on abandonment, too many people on hand when the phones are slow means lost money from shrinkage.
12/29/2010 - In terms of call center scheduling, determining what to expect on any given day can be make or break for your business. While there are ways to determine fluctuations by season and month, day to day changes in call volume are much more difficult to predict. Making sure that you are appropriately staffed is essential regardless of the expected call volume, and will workforce management software can assist in this regards there are still elements call center managers need to watch to remain as efficient as possible
12/23/2010 - With more electronic media such as e-mail, chat, Twitter and others are used in customer communication in addition to calls, according to officials of Monet Software, "the question of forecasting and scheduling resources for those channels becomes more important."
12/17/2010 - Officials at MonetSoftware offer advice on how you should be scheduling your calls.
12/9/2010 - Accellos, a provider of supply chain execution software solutions, unveiled the latest version of its Accellos One Schedule dock door scheduling system. As stated, the new Accellos One Schedule 2.0 adds support for Microsoft Outlook style functionality including recurring appointments, reservations, "drag and drop" scheduling and adjustments, and user-definable appointment "lifecycle."
12/3/2010 - Holiday scheduling can be tricky and leave centers under- or overstaffed. For centers without an automated solution, last-minute staffing problems require supervisors to manually create, print and distribute new intra-day schedules, and talk to agents individually to solicit overtime hours. This is an inefficient method and causes delays that can leave centers temporarily understaffed and negatively affect daily service levels.
12/2/2010 - In the area of workforce management solutions, there are a full range of options on the market. Many of these options promise to deliver the best quality, but how do you truly extract the optimal performance from your solution? The first step is to understand what you need and then select and implement accordingly.
11/23/2010 - TOA Technologies, the cloud-based provider of predictive mobile workforce management and pro-active customer communication software solutions, released the latest version of its browser-based mobile workforce management solution, ETAdirect 4.0. The company's ETAdirect mobile workforce management solution combines a full suite of integrated field service and appointment tools in one Web-based application. It focuses on delivering a unified and enhanced customer experience via intelligent, automated and predictive customer communications.
11/19/2010 - Flexibility in call center scheduling eases the pressure on management and workforce and allows employ effectiveness to be maximized. In these difficult times making sure your customer services reps are happy will go far in keeping them engaged on the task at hand which will ultimately translate to better support for your customer. Keeping the schedule flexible will allow agents to take time when they need it and will prepare managers for the inevitable absences and late-calls from employees.
11/11/2010 - Call center scheduling and workforce management solutions have come a long way since the days of the excel spreadsheets, and the options available to customers both small and large can be mind boggling. Regardless of what a person needs the reality is if you're not managing your workers effectively then you're losing both time and money in the process.
11/5/2010 - Adherence to a call center schedule is one of the biggest challenges for a call center manager to deal with. One can have the finest call center in the world but if they're unable to get agents to come in on time then it's all for naught. In a recent survey and study by ICMI one of the top challenges mentioned by call center managers was "consistent adherence to schedule". In another study by DMG, over 30 percent of call center managers indicated that agent adherence is a key challenge.
10/22/2010 - Call center scheduling is a lot easier with a powerful suite of workforce management software like that offered by Monet. But even with the utilities it provides there are some basic principles that call center managers should take into consideration when optimizing there staff. EHow offers some great tips to keep a call center in tip top shape
10/21/2010 - Workforce management programs are designed to make scheduling for call centers easier and provide the right amount of skilled agents when needed. A large portion of this comes from the software's ability to accurately forecast the level of staffing that will be needed on any given day. With Monet's innovative cloud based solutions a call centers can maintain the most current version of the program without having to patch or maintain system themselves. This ensures that the forecasting in Monet's WFM suite will always have most recent technology when determining a schedule.
10/15/2010 - Shrinkage is the term used to describe the amount of time a call center agent is not on the phones. Many companies underestimate the sheer volume of shrinkage that there force may be subject to. However, improper call center scheduling and workforce management can leach thousands from a company in a year. In a 30 agent call center 20 minutes of down time per agent equates to 10 hours per day in shrinkage. If the agents are getting $12 per hour plus benefits, equaling $15 per hour, you would be losing $150 per day, $750 a week or $39,000 per year. That's a lot more than most companies can afford in the current economic climate.
10/1/2010 - The South Central Public Health District of Twin Falls, ID has chosen eMediashcedule.com to provide online scheduling technology for its patients. This service will allow them to reserve blocks of time with the doctors they'd like to visit.
10/1/2010 - In a climate of depressing reports of growth, revenue and sales, here is some cautious good news for the New Zealand contact center industry: according to a new study, callcentres.net 2010 New Zealand Contact Centre Industry Benchmarking Report, the country's contact center industry recorded four percent growth in 2010, translating to a rise in contact center seats from 28,730 to 29,000.
9/23/2010 - Monet Software officials recently posted a blogentry noting that in a recent survey and study by ICMI, one of the top challenges mentioned by call center managers was "consistent adherence to schedule." Nobody who's worked as a call center manager is in the least surprised by this, of course.
9/18/2010 - Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River, the medical facility for Patuxent River Naval Air Station in southern Maryland, is now using Microlog Corporation's ServiceFirst Contact Center and Patient Appointment System.
New Agreement between Corporate Call Center and Health Care Benefits Company Creates 250 Call Center Jobs
9/8/2010 - With more senior members enrolling in Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefits and Medicare Advantage Plans, the insurance sector is becoming increasingly complicated and given the situation, a U.S.-based health care benefits company has decided to utilize the expertise of a leading call center for enhancing sales and improving customer support.
9/1/2010 - Forecasting in a call center is as much an art as a science. Many workforce management solutions today let you build largely fool-proof schedules for your call center if your calls are steady and volume fluctuates minimally to moderately.
8/27/2010 - If you were to poll a number of contact center managers about their biggest challenges, chances are good that agent adherence will show up near the top of their lists. It's impossible to overstate how critical adherence is a contact center. A contact center may have the best scheduling solution in the world, but it's not going to do a lot of good if agents are always out of adherence and, as a result, service levels begin to slide. Even worse, it certainly doesn't benefit the contact center if managers are not sure what their adherence is, or if they see service level statistics days or weeks after the fact.
8/20/2010 - Once upon a time, a call center was a pretty inflexible place to work. Schedules were generated weeks - or months - in advance, skills were taken into consideration, and changes were made only if the business absolutely demanded it, usually under emergency circumstances. Agents were sometimes able to swap schedules, but this usually required a great deal of administrative time, on both the agents' and the supervisor's part, to approve.
7/27/2010 - Looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your call center? It all begins with accurate forecasting and scheduling.
7/12/2010 - Shiftboard, Inc. is a well known provider of online and mobile scheduling software. Recently, the company launched a new scheduling solution intended to satisfy the dynamic needs of the call center industry. The vital features of Shiftboard's scheduling software such as self-service scheduling are added in the solution.
6/15/2010 - The ability to accurately forecast call volume is the key to call center operational efficiency. An accurate forecast is essential to arrive at an accurate schedule - one which properly balances agent resources with call volume: Schedule too many agents for any given shift and they'll be sitting around waiting for contacts to come in. Schedule too few and call hold times will increase, impacting customer satisfaction.
6/10/2010 - NICE Systems announces deal to acquire eglue, which supplies decisioning and guidance solutions for $29 million, which will enable integration of eglue's solutions into the NICE SmartCenter suite.
6/3/2010 - Ask any call center manager about the advantages of call center scheduling software - aka workforce management software - and chances are they'll start talking about labor efficiencies and reduced operating costs. That's because most call center managers today are focused on the bottom line - and let's face it, they should be.
5/12/2010 - Want to reduce the amount of time your call center managers spend making and adjusting the call center schedule by up to 25 percent?
4/29/2010 - A recent post on call center scheduling solutions provider Monet Software's new blog includes a list of questions that will be helpful to companies shopping for a workforce management solution for a small to medium sized call center.
4/16/2010 - Seeking to bolster its presence in the US, as well as to facilitate future expansion into Europe, call center scheduling solutions provider Monet Software has opened a new sales office in Philadelphia.
4/8/2010 - A survey of call center professionals conducted by call center scheduling solutions provider Monet Software in December 2009 yielded three key findings and associated best practices:
3/23/2010 - Still using spreadsheets to schedule your call center agents? Looking for new ways to make your call center operations more efficient?
3/19/2010 - Verint Systems Inc. has announced enhancements to its next-generation Impact 360 Workforce Management (WFM) software from Verint Witness Actionable Solutions. The solution now enables the contact center to create more flexible scheduling options, monitor back-office work activities more efficiently, manage backlog and model forecasts to meet service levels and processing deadlines.
3/5/2010 - Let's assume that each call center agent is out of schedule -- shrinkage -- 20 minutes per day. Let's assume you can reduce this by 10 minutes, that results in thousands of dollars saved, based on the assumption that each agent generates revenues.
2/16/2010 - Now that call centers everywhere have cut staffing to the bone, thanks to the recession, call center managers are under even more pressure to ensure agent time is being used efficiently.
2/10/2010 - Still using spreadsheets to schedule your call center agents? Looking to improve schedule adherence, reduce shrinkage, lower operating costs and improve customer service?
2/5/2010 - Most people in the call center industry know about the importance of tracking schedule adherence: Because labor is the single biggest operating cost facing any call center, it is incumbent on call center managers to ensure that agents are showing up for their shifts on time, not taking excessively long breaks and not clocking out early.
1/26/2010 - Looking for ways to reduce your call center operating costs and boost revenues -- without impacting customer service?
1/15/2010 - Schedule adherence is one of the main ways call center managers achieve labor efficiencies and improve customer service. Not only must call center managers ensure that agents aren't showing up late or clocking out early, they also must ensure that each agent is staying on schedule for "intra-shift" activities, such as scheduled breaks and training or coaching sessions.
1/4/2010 - Today's Web-based call center scheduling solutions (aka WFM solutions) offer capabilities that go far beyond what spreadsheets can deliver.
12/7/2009 - Despite the recession, agent attrition is still a big problem in call centers – especially in inbound customer service centers where agents don’t make commissions or receive additional compensation for outstanding performance.
11/20/2009 - Depending on how they are used, today's call center scheduling solutions deliver capabilities that go beyond just the daily scheduling of agents in the call center.
11/11/2009 - To achieve new labor efficiencies, many call center managers are discontinuing their use of spreadsheets as a scheduling tool and instead are adopting hosted workforce management solutions for their advanced forecasting capabilities. Using these Web-based systems, which are quick and inexpensive to deploy, call center managers can forecast, with a high degree of accuracy, how many agents will be needed for any given shift.
11/4/2009 - What's the best way to ensure agent time is being used efficiently? Simple: You compare ACD logon time to time-clock entries.
10/26/2009 - The benefits of using call center scheduling software -- also known as workforce management software -- are well-documented. These software solutions, which are increasingly being offered via the software-as-a-service or "cloud"-based model, offer advanced analytics capabilities which help call center managers forecast, with a high degree of accuracy, how many agents will be needed for any given shift.
10/23/2009 - If you're a small to medium sized business with a call center, there's a fairly good chance you've cut back on your agent staffing in the past year, due to the recession. In the meantime, your call center managers are probably under intense pressure to hold down operating costs, while at the same time maintaining service levels.
10/12/2009 - Call center scheduling software – also referred to as workforce management software – continues to see strong adoption, despite the economic downturn. In fact, as companies look for new efficiencies in labor, many of them are viewing the investment in these systems as a cost savings measure for the long term.
9/30/2009 - Workforce management software is seeing increasing adoption in the call center, as businesses come to recognize the advantages it has over spreadsheets and other manual systems for scheduling agents.
9/23/2009 - Are you hungry for tips on how you can improve your call center scheduling? Call center scheduling solutions provider Monet Software will be presenting a free, informative webinar, "Seven Tips for More Effective Call Center Scheduling," from 10 to 11 a.m., PT (1 to 2 p.m. ET) on Wednesday, October 7, 2009.
9/18/2009 - Call center scheduling software company Monet Software has launched a redesigned Website to help customers learn more about, and sign up for, the company's Web-based solutions.
8/25/2009 - Due to the down economy, companies everywhere, especially those operating in the consumer and B-to-B segments, are cutting staff in their call centers. At the same time call center managers are being asked to maintain, if not even improve, service levels.
8/21/2009 - Thanks to the Internet and the advent of social networking, consumers today are increasingly using multiple channels, including email and Web chat, to communicate with the companies they do business with.
7/16/2009 - You can simplify call center scheduling by replacing your spreadsheets with a hosted workforce management solution. This will free up time for more important tasks such as agent coaching and training.
7/13/2009 - In response to the current economic downturn, companies everywhere are cutting back staffing levels in their call centers. At the same time, call center managers are being asked to ensure that service levels are still met.
6/8/2009 - Want to keep your call center agents happy? Then give them flexibility!
5/8/2009 - Shrinkage is a topic that is getting even more attention in the call center today. As companies are struggling to weather the recession and budgets keep getting tighter, making the most of every dollar is essential.
3/31/2009 - Today's call center scheduling solutions, also known as workforce management solutions, have come a long way in terms of their capabilities, especially compared to the "old days" of spreadsheets.
3/27/2009 - Spreadsheets can be a wonderful thing, designed to make tracking and reconciliation a streamlined process. In the call center, spreadsheets have long helped managers to schedule agents according to forecasted needs. While moving to computerized spreadsheets was a smart move years ago, automated call center scheduling solutions are now making spreadsheets look cumbersome and time consuming by comparison.
3/20/2009 - If you're still using spreadsheets to schedule your call center agents, and you're looking to cut costs, gain efficiencies and improve customer service (and what contact center manager doesn't want to accomplish those things?), then you've got to get on board with call center scheduling software.
3/13/2009 - Are you still using spreadsheets to schedule your contact center agents? Time to start saving money and improving customer service with workforce management software!
3/4/2009 - It is not unusual for a call center manager to think about the multiple ways to save money when scheduling for agents within the call center. After all, he or she must be able to keep within specified payroll budgets while also ensuring the right amount of coverage to meet customer service standards.
2/26/2009 - It is somewhat of an understatement to say that call center managers have a difficult job. Not only do they have the responsibility of ensuring an optimal experience for all customers involved in interactions with the call center, they must also effectively manage a variety of people with different skills, educations, work preferences and availability.
2/18/2009 - Call centers have come a long way since their creation. What was once in place to handle live voice calls to and from customers has now morphed into multi-channel customer interaction centers that handle anywhere from thousands to millions of interactions every year.
2/12/2009 - There is a delicate balance that must be achieved within the call center to ensure that the proper number of agents are scheduled for a given time period. While call center managers must properly forecast for call volumes in both peak and non-peak times, he or she must also take into consideration cost of operation.
2/6/2009 - The number of elements that must be managed efficiently to run a smooth call center can seem daunting if each were to be examined separately. It would be even more overwhelming if each of these processes had to be managed and executed manually. The result would likely be a disorganized mess and unhappy customers.
1/28/2009 - Home agents are increasingly being seen by contact centers as a valuable asset, thanks to their increased flexibility and productivity, however concerns still linger regarding remote management, and security.
1/16/2009 - Although the holidays are behind us once again, the one constant is that they will roll around again. When that time comes, will your call center be ready to handle the influx of call volumes and schedule according to changing needs and vacation requests? As customer service continues to be vital for all companies, falling down on the job during a heavy call time is not an option.
1/9/2009 - As attrition costs are a preventable expenditure within the contact center, it is important to understand why employees leave their position. According to an industry benchmarking study, agents cited promotion within a company as the primary reason for agent turnover – a positive reflection on the industry.
12/12/2008 - Call center scheduling is an important aspect of properly managing a call center. In fact, whether or not agents are properly scheduled will determine the level of service provided to customers, the efficiency of the call center, and the satisfaction of each employee. As employee satisfaction plummets, attrition increases.
12/4/2008 - Call centers throughout the global industry have been experiencing increased pressure as a result of the economic turmoil that appears to be running rampant throughout the world. In an effort to ensure that call centers can continue to deliver the high level of service customers have come to expect, many have turned to call center scheduling solutions.
11/24/2008 - More than once a customer has called into a customer contact center, annoyed that he or she has to answer so many questions in the interactive voice response (IVR) stage of the call. While the consumer may view this as an unnecessary step in the process of reaching a live agent, in reality, this is a critical step for the contact center to ensure the caller is matched with the right agent.
11/19/2008 - A stressful work environment can easily create higher rates in absenteeism, increase work-related illness and drive out of control attrition. Such an environment is not unheard of in the contact center industry, yet it does not have to be the rule. Those contact centers who are using workforce management solutions to manage agent scheduling often find they experience less absenteeism and illness, as well as lower attrition.
11/11/2008 - As the economy continues to put a strain on call centers, organizations are struggling to maintain strong customer service deliverables while also cutting costs. In an effort to ensure that their call centers can remain in place and not succumb to offshoring draws, many of these centers are looking to integrated applications that can improve productivity and reduce costs.
11/5/2008 - Unfortunately for contact centers, they often have the stigma of a liability. Sure, they play a vital role in the interaction between customer and company, but it is a cost that does not have a revenue association. In addition, it also has to be managed effectively and efficiently as possible or risk being outsourced.
10/29/2008 - Traditional call centers that existed to merely answer phones or make outgoing calls have morphed over time to become multi-channel contact centers that offer customers a variety of ways to interact with a company, including self-service options via speech automation, Web sites and more. As these changes occurred, the dynamics within call center scheduling also changed.
10/23/2008 - As the global economy faces a tightening of the belt, companies are seeking ways to reduce their operation costs, while also delivering what customers expect to keep them coming back. Proper call center scheduling can play a key role in critical strategies.
10/16/2008 - Scheduling within the contact center can be a delicate matter. If agents are not scheduled according to accurate forecasts, the center will either experience higher payroll costs due to overstaffing, or poor service delivery as the center will lack the necessary agent numbers to handle the volume of calls.
10/6/2008 - Scheduling within the call center can be a tricky task as each agent has a different skill set, call volumes can change according to campaigns or the economy, and proper forecasting relies on variables that cannot be controlled and therefore can prove to be unpredictable at times.
9/30/2008 - Call centers operate in a dynamic industry. Call volumes can fluctuate greatly, increasing and decreasing demand put on the contact center staff. Managers strive to forecast call volumes in order to ensure they have the right number of staff available for any given shift, but the process can be time consuming and flawed when done manually.
9/17/2008 - It really should not be any surprise to learn that for some individuals working in the contact center industry, their chosen profession can be a detriment to their health. Whether they have a hard time handling the stress of the job or their environment is not designed around ergonomics, the reality is that the job can be tasking for some – even to the point of causing long term problems.
8/18/2008 - In the world of contact centers, one of the most valuable, yet underused solution is that of workforce management. Robust workforce management solutions have proven to be able to streamline operations, maximize employee work time, forecast for peaks and valleys in call volume, enhance productivity and provide a better overall environment.
7/16/2008 - The stories of employees so dedicated to their jobs that they struggle to leave the office, resonate throughout a variety of industries. But, is this actual dedication, or is it a result of extreme anxiety due to fear?
5/19/2008 - Most people would be hard pressed to find an individual consumer who has never had the privilege of interacting with a call center. Stories can be both good and bad, but chances are that most of us have had the pleasure of waiting on hold for the "next available agent."
4/23/2008 - Absenteeism in the contact center can have a significant impact on the center's ability to provide proper customer service, meet KPIs, improve performance and meet team goals for the day, week or month.
4/4/2008 - Call center scheduling plays an important role in today's call center for its ability to effectively manage and plan agent work schedules to maximize productivity while also keep agents happy.
2/19/2008 - Workforce management software is considered by some to be one of the key software applications in the contact center that can help promote efficiency and productivity. The challenge in the market has proven to be complete acceptance throughout the contact center.
2/7/2008 - As anybody who manages a contact center knows, the seemingly impossible task that needs to be accomplished every day is, "Make More With Less." While budgets and headcounts get cut, expectations of better sales, better service, greater customer retention and satisfaction rise.
Workforce Management Solutions Provider Left Bank Solutions Inc. Changes its Name to Monet Software Inc.
1/10/2008 - To better reflect the product brands it offers, Left Bank Solutions Inc. has changed its name to Monet Software Inc. In addition the company has adopted a new corporate identity, including a new logo and a new website that can be found at www.monetsoftware.com.
1/10/2008 - DMG Consulting has published the "2008 Contact Center Workforce Management Market Report," a comprehensive and timely guide to the essential and evolving contact center workforce management market, products and vendors.
11/26/2007 - The Software as a Service (SaaS) trend continues to sweep the call center industry, as companies are discovering the many advantages of going with hosted versus on-premise solutions. With SaaS for the call center, applications such as IVR, ACD, predictive dialing, workforce management and CRM are hosted on a shared platform in a data center and delivered to the agents via a dedicated network or the public Internet. With these increasingly sophisticated turnkey solutions, which have much greater power and flexibility compared to the ASP solutions of the past, a company can rapidly deploy full featured contact center for fraction of the cost of a new, on-premise system.
8/3/2007 - Left Bank Solutions, Inc., a provider of hosted workforce optimization solutions for the contact center, has released three new versions of its workforce management solution, Monet WFM, each tailored for a specific market segment.
2/23/2007 - Take call center scheduling with a call center that operates on a 24x7 schedule, for instance. In such an environment, call center managers need to know what time of day the center will experience the highest call volumes, what type of calls they will be and how to properly schedule the employees that can address specific issues and others that can handle basic calls. If each of these employees were available 24x7, proper forecasting could go a long way in preparing the call center to handle any number of peaks and valleys.
12/11/2006 - Using an automated WFM solution, it is easier to forecast and develop optimal schedules free from over or understaffing, which could hinder performance or increase cost. With real-time labor tracking, levels of work can be monitored; at whatever time the information is needed.
12/8/2006 - Effective workforce management solutions can be a great tool to use to properly forecast and schedule in the multi-channel contact center.
12/1/2006 - Rich, Web-based customer services are continually increasing and displacing the limitations of the voice-only telephone as a first step for customer access to information and self-service applications.
11/21/2006 - Call Center Scheduling can be a challenge in that the manager wants to ensure that the center is staffed to respond to anticipated call volumes, but not overstaffed so that agents are sitting idle. Understaffing can create an even bigger problem as customers are forced to wait longer to speak with a live agent and agents are stressed with a heavier work load while trying to still deliver excellent customer service.
11/17/2006 - Training in the call center can make the difference between an agent’s success and failure. Ultimately, the same is true for the entire center. The challenge for call center managers is finding the right balance of training among the variety of experience, talents and skills for the different agents.
10/30/2006 - Call Centers challenged with optimizing their call centers in both the workforce management and business intelligence areas will now have a bundled solution with an innovative advantage.
10/26/2006 - One of the most important elements in workforce management solutions of today is scheduling. Call center scheduling not only helps meet staffing needs, but also takes the burden of maintaining schedules and workflows away from managers, and allowing them to focus on business areas that matter most for their operation.
10/9/2006 - Proper forecasting and call center scheduling of employees to handle customer issues from multiple communication channels can be complex to the point that it consumes nearly 100 percent of that manager’s time and 100 percent accuracy is literally impossible.To help combat the challenges that these managers face, many contact centers implement workforce management solutions to better manage employees and projected workflows.
10/3/2006 - Call center scheduling can sometimes seem like a guessing game for managers. Deciding what hours to give agents and working around their schedules, holidays and other events can be daunting enough. Introduce the idea of staffing agents based on their skill sets and the need to change staffing levels based call volumes--- and an even more difficult element is created.
9/27/2006 - The latest news, feature articles, white papers and case studies educate call center management about scheduling solutions using the Call Center Scheduling platform.
9/25/2006 - Considering that the contact center selected will be employing individuals to interact with your customers, treating the selection of such services as a mere inconvenience is putting your future revenue, profit and growth potential at risk. Even if contact center solutions are not your prime area of focus, there are things that you can look for in selecting this outsourced service to ensure that your customer interactions are handled as efficiently and professionally as possible.
9/18/2006 - It is in this type of situation where workforce management makes sense, as it is focused on making agents as productive as possible. Put simply, workforce management ensures that there are plenty of agents on hand for peak call periods and that these agents are not sitting idle during lower volume periods through accurate forecasting and optimization call center scheduling.
8/29/2006 - Contact center supervisors know that proper call center scheduling is one of the biggest challenges that they face in creating efficient operations. Peaks and valleys in call volume dictate the level of staff required and when those levels fall short. Under these conditions, agents can become rushed and stressed and customer service levels can suffer, thus impacting the bottom line.
8/9/2006 - The best call center customer care services consists of the perfect mix of an inbound call center with 24x7 access, a proper workforce management that provides appropriate call center scheduling and call center training, effective call center software that affords the appropriate tools for efficiency and a talented and enthusiastic pool of agents.
8/4/2006 - Call Center Scheduling and Staffing are typically the greatest headache in contact center workforce management – too many staff and costs rise; too few and customer service suffers badly – and if service deteriorates too much, callers will defect to the competition. Striking a balance, therefore, is the key to productivity and efficiency.
6/23/2006 - Contact center managers today are constantly paying attention to performance measures in a bid to improve workforce management. Things like service level, abandon rates, contact rates, sales per hour, resolution rates and more are monitored daily. While these measures are important and necessary to report the effectiveness of workforce management in the contact center, agents are not always aware of how their performance affects those metrics.
Call Center Scheduling Case Studies
- NEW-4 Tips to Improve Intraday Management in Your Contact Center
- NEW-The Human Services Agency of San Francisco Improves Scheduling and Transparency with Monet Software
- NEW-Cost and Benefit Comparison: Cloud vs. Premise vs. Hosted
- Bayview Loan Servicing Boosts Efficiency of Staffing/Scheduling with Monet Software
- GECU Increases Productivity and Service Levels with Monet Software