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How to Select a Call Center Workforce Management Solution, Part 1

September 18, 2009

Workforce management software continues to see strong adoption in the contact center, despite the economic downturn. Years ago this software was only found in the call centers of large enterprises. But now that this software available by way of the software-as-a-service model, the cost has come down, and as a result many small to medium-sized businesses are now discovering the advantages today’s workforce management software has over spreadsheets and manual systems.
Workforce management software can be deployed on-premises but increasingly vendors are delivering the software over the Internet. This offers many advantages but perhaps most importantly it delivers fast return on investment, as there is no need to purchase expensive new hardware, software licenses or network upgrades. All you need to start using today’s Web-based workforce management systems are the computers and a high-speed connection.

In recent years the workforce management software market has seen a flood of new entrants, making it difficult to choose a system that’s right for your company’s needs. So how does one go about selecting a WFM solution? In this multi-part series, we’ll offer some tips to help you navigate the sea of solutions.

Forecasting and Scheduling Capabilities

Workforce management is all about efficient use of your call center workforce to meet or exceed service levels and reduction of costs tied to inefficient use of human resources. It’s done primarily through accurate forecasting and optimization of agent schedules i.e. having enough agents for peak periods and avoiding agents sitting idle by scheduling accordingly. Therefore it is important to select a system that has advanced analytics capabilities and is able to generate accurate forecasts to arrive at more efficient scheduling of agents. To that end, ask if the solution you are investigating offers the following capabilities:
--Does it accurately forecast call volumes by supporting the use of historical data and real-time ACD integration?
--Can you create schedules based on “what-if” scenarios, different shift patterns, skill levels and other criteria?
--Can you easily include agent exceptions (e.g. training, time-off) into the schedule?
--Can you make intra-day changes to forecast and schedule based on changing call volumes “on the fly” during the work day?

Monet Software’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 company’s workforce management 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.

Next week we’ll take a look at some more 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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