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Workforce Management Software Selection Guide for Call Centers

March 13, 2012

Every call center has different needs depending on size, structure, industry, type of calls and many other factors. In its recent blog post, Monet Software shares some guidelines and key questions you should consider when selecting workforce scheduling software for your call center.

Below are several key factors to evaluate when selecting the right workforce scheduling software for your call center:

Forecasting: The ability to run simulations to calculate a precise forecast for future call volume, agent requirements and average handle time for any time interval of the day, based on historical data from your ACD.

Scheduling: The scheduling engine should incorporate all call types and other activities to generate staffing schedules that optimize a wide range of factors, including agent availability, skills, holidays, breaks and service levels.

Exception Handling: Integrated exception calendar to simplify scheduling of agent exceptions such as time off and training meetings.

Intra-day Management: Graphical display of agents' schedules with drag-and-drop functionality to manage breaks and other exceptions. Real-time updates can be made to assign agents instantly, and display surpluses and shortages for each time period of the day.

Real-time Adherence: Ability to compare planned agent activity to actual activities throughout the day, as well as real-time views of forecasted and actual call volumes, handle times and other performance indicators.

Configuration & Administration: Ability to set up unlimited number of agent groups, each with its own set of service objectives and guidelines. Management of multiple sites and time zones and the ability to set hours of operation by day of week, and service level goals down to 15-minute intervals.

Metrics and Reporting: Ability to report and analyze agent activities including their schedule adherence and key performance indicators. Managers can get actionable insights through tools such as call center dashboards, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and real-time alerts.

In regards to implementation and user adoption, there are important questions Monet suggests you ask when evaluating the implementation of your call center software. As for implementation and setup, you should ask, “How long does it take to implement and configure the solution to your unique needs?’” When you are setting up for the user, be sure to ask, “How much effort is it to set up users in different locations such as remote and home offices?” As for training, the question is, “How much effort does it take to learn and productively use the solution?” Usability brings up the question, ”Is the solution easy to use so that users can leverage the full potential of the software?”

Monet highlights how to evaluate the key cost drivers of the software. For upfront cost, decide how much you have to invest initially for software licenses, hardware and other software. Implementation cost such as the cost of internal staff and consultants to implement the software and train the users must also be evaluated. Finally, ongoing costs can be found by calculating internal cost of operations, as well as the external costs including software maintenance fees, subscription and consultant fees.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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