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How to Select a Call Center Workforce Management Solution, Part 3

 
September 28, 2009



The benefits of using workforce management software to schedule agents in the call center are well-documented. These software solutions, which are increasingly being offered on a hosted or software-as-a-service basis, 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. This is a key advantage over spreadsheets or manual systems.


Using a WFM system, a call center manager can gain new efficiencies through more accurate scheduling of agents. They can improve schedule adherence, reduce shrinkage, boost agent productivity and improve schedule flexibility, which in turn boosts agent satisfaction.

However, in recent years the WFM software market has seen a flood of new entrants, making it difficult to choose a system that’s right for your company’s needs.

Earlier in this three-part series we offered some basic questions you can ask any WFM software vendor in order to determine if the solution it is offering is right for your company. In Part 1 we learned that it’s important to ask the right questions about the system’s forecasting and scheduling capabilities – and in Part 2 we covered the questions that should be asked with regard to the amount of time and resources it will take to implement the solution; as well as the total cost of purchasing, running and maintaining the solution.

Here are three more tips you should consider when shopping around for a new workforce management solution for your call center:

Usability

Usability is an important consideration. Is the solution easy and intuitive for non-IT people to use, making sure that you get the most out of it? Does it focus on your call center needs? Many solutions suffer from “feature overload” and include features that are actually counterproductive, especially for small and medium size call centers. On the other hand, you don’t want a system that doesn’t deliver certain functionality: Does it give you visibility into agent adherence in real-time? Can you produce performance management reports?

Risk

Remember that there’s a risk that whatever WFM system you choose could end up being within the wrong one for your work environment -- and you should evaluate that risk. If, for whatever reason, the solution doesn’t work for you, can you “return it” or “turn it off” with no or limited financial risk?

ROI and Payback

The overall reason for purchasing a WFM system is to reduce operational costs -- so it’s important to clearly understand how long added business or cost savings actually take to recoup the system costs. The sooner the solution begins working for you and the lower the upfront costs, the sooner you realize cost and business operational benefits.

Monet Software is a leading provider of hosted workforce management solutions. The company’s WFM Live offering is a fully Web-based workforce management system delivering advanced features and capabilities, including forecasting for accurate scheduling of agents.

To learn more about the Monet’s WFM solutions, be sure to check out its newly-redesigned Website. Here visitors can access a Workforce Management Success Kit offering additional tips on how to select a workforce management system.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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