Finding an enterprise solution that meets your company’s needs is a bit like dating. You might look around a bit, mingle, and even schedule a dinner with someone. Though that person might be well suited for someone else, he or she may not be right for you. It’s not always like a disastrous date that’s immediately obviously unsuitable. Some solutions might seem great at first, but over time, your needs and the product’s strengths start to diverge.
In the last decade, many companies found this to be the case with customer relationship management (CRM). Sure, the promise of the products was great…a profound amount of customer information and intelligence in an easy-to-access place where it could be used by sales and marketing, the contact center and back-office functions. What many companies found, after they splashed out big on CRM, was that the solution they chose didn’t find their needs. The result was low usage levels and a whole lot of wasted time and capital.
Since many companies have been burned on at least one software purchase, they’re savvier today about investigating and choosing a solution. This is particularly critical in the contact center, where enterprise solutions are like baby gazelles on the Serengeti Plain: they need to be up and running fast after they’ve been delivered. When it comes to workforce management, there are a few most critical points to keep in mind when your organization is choosing a solution, according to Chuck Ciarlo, CEO of Monet Software (News - Alert), in a recent blog post.
Ease of use. Investigate and user the interface of the product extensively. Have some of your agents test it out. If it’s not intuitive or easily learned, agents won’t use it to its maximum utility. If managers aren’t grasping it quickly, they won’t be able to take advantage of all a good workforce management solution has to offer.
Can it grow with you? Your company may be small now, but what if it grows in the future? What if you need more seats, more agent teams or more contact center locations? What if you decide to allow some agents to work from home? Can it scale up (and back down again) according to your needs?
Integration. This is one of the major roadblocks that companies buying CRM for the first time stumbled into. In your contact center, you may be running call recording, analytics, speech recognition, quality monitoring or any other number of solutions. You may have an old or inflexible telephony solution. While in a perfect world it’s ideal to use the same vendor for most of your needs (which eliminates integration problems), it’s not always possible, according to Ciarlo.
“If you have other vendor applications that must work with a new WFM solution, make sure the tools are available for integration before purchasing,” he wrote. “The contact center will always be more efficient when all of its technology resources are working together toward the same goal.”
A perfect-fit solution should allow your organization to achieve a 100 percent return on the investment very quickly, thanks to better scheduling and more efficient use of the workforce. For many companies, this means turning to a cloud-based solution.
“WFM in the cloud has substantially reduced the upfront investment necessary in acquiring this vital functionality,” wrote Ciarlo. “But that doesn’t mean ROI is any less important because the investment is smaller.”