WFM Solutions May Be More Beneficial & Attainable Than You Think

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  May 22, 2012

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

Almost two-thirds of North American call center respondents have yet to adopt workforce management software to schedule, monitor and report on agent activity, according to a recent survey by Noble Systems (News - Alert) Corp. That’s not good news for them, as workforce management solutions can help both lower internal costs and increase customer satisfaction.

“The benefit of engaging the right number of skilled people and supporting resources in the right place at the right time cannot be overestimated,” said James K. Noble, president and CEO of Noble Systems, which sells the ShiftTrack WFM solution. That’s because labor typically accounts for at least 70 percent of an average contact center’s operating budget.

Among the workforce management solutions on the market is inContact Workforce Management Software 2.0 powered by Verint (News - Alert). It is a smart call center WFM that helps predict demand, abandon rates and queue times. It also can aid in optimizing a workforce by creating schedules that take into consideration agent skills, preferences and proficiencies.

As with any new investment, cost is probably a key reason why many call centers lack workforce management solutions. Cloud-based solutions can enable companies to adopt workforce management software without a big upfront investment, however.

Enkata recently launched a cloud-based customer experience analytics and workforce optimization solution. It can be used to access and analyze customer and employee transaction data from transaction logs, speech recognition, web usage, and agent desktop activity. The solution also can be used to correlate structured and unstructured data in an effort to uncover failure points and enable customers use that information to improve performance.

“Our unique ability to consolidate, correlate, sequence, analyze, and replay volumes of disparate data in the cloud provides a complete view of the customer journey – why customers made contact, how often, with whom, and to what outcomes?” said David Stamm, CEO of Enkata. “As ecosystems for service delivery include a greater array of participants – home agents, contractors, third parties, as well as a greater number of touch points from retail to chat – it is critical to use big data technologies in the cloud.”

According to David Menninger, vice president and research director at Ventana Research, customer and transaction data are the most common types of big data analyzed by organizations. Back in January, Menninger commented that within 12 months two thirds plan to use the cloud for some of their big data processing.

In yet another cloud-based workforce management development, contact center software outfit Five9 (News - Alert) Inc. recently partnered with NICE Systems to bring to market a cloud-based workforce optimization offering. The solution, hosted by Five9 in the cloud, adds NICE technology to the Five9 contact center. 

Mike Burkland, CEO of Five9, stated, "The market for cloud-based contact center solutions has accelerated dramatically over the last several years. By partnering with NICE, the clear market leader in workforce optimization, we have added a significant market opportunity, delivering the proven benefits of WFO through our cloud-based platform.” 

As discussed in the March issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, Monet Software has been a pioneering force in the area of workforce management for about a decade and offers a cloud solution as well.

“Over the years we have continued to get requests from our customers for a cloud-based call recording solution that is easy to use and affordable,” said Monet CEO Chuck Ciarlo. “Monet has spent nearly 9 years perfecting a best-of-breed WFM solution, and call recording has been in our sights for a while. Now we are able to offer it, along with a robust quality management module. Both are fully integrated into a unified cloud-based workforce optimization solution. We are very excited about this offering, and we think our customers and the market will be as well.”

The solution is called Monet WFO Live. It enables call centers to automate workforce management, call recording, quality assurance and agent analytics.

“Call centers can now quickly and easily optimize all aspects of their workforce with one affordable solution, resulting in better utilization of resources, better cost management and improved service levels,” Ciarlo explained. “Monet WFO Live unifies workforce optimization across multiple processes to better meet customer needs and deliver more effective customer service. Customers can create accurate forecasts, efficient schedules for incoming work volumes, track key metrics in accordance to their business goals, record and monitor calls for quality, training and compliance purpose, all in one integrated cloud-based platform.”

Monet WFO Live consists of a handful of software modules, including Monet WFM, Monet Record, Monet Quality, and Monet Metrics. Monet WFM is a call center workforce management solution that enables organizations to create more accurate forecasts, develop more effective call center schedules, and increase agent adherence. Monet WFM also features Monet Anywhere, a supervisor collaboration solution, and Monet Integrations Service, a solution that enables customers to integrate their ACD systems more easily with all of the above. Monet Record is a call recording solution that records, archives and retrieves customer interactions. Monet Quality monitors customer interactions. And Monet Metrics, a call center and agent performance management solution, was designed to allow organizations to manage key performance indicators, set up real-time alerts, access dashboards and reports for agent analytics, and generally look at agent performance at a more granular level.

“Having spent many years owning and operating call centers, some of the biggest challenges we faced were the inability to accurately forecast call volumes and properly schedule agents to meet the various service levels and other business demands,” said Ciarlo. “Call center software was too expensive, difficult to implement and very complex to use. Only the largest call centers could afford it, most often they spent years implementing it, and never realized the full potential.”

However, he added, customers of Monet find its solution is easy to learn; quick to deploy – usually in less than 30 days; and that they typically realize cost savings and improved productivity within just 60 days.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi