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How to Select a Call Center Workforce Management Solution, Part 2

September 23, 2009

Due to the down economy, call center managers are under intense pressure to hold down operating costs, while at the same time maintaining service levels. In fact, delivering good customer service is even more paramount in this economy, since businesses are desperate to retain what precious few customers they have left.

At the same time, call center operating costs must be reduced. Since labor is the single biggest cost facing any call center, businesses are seeking solutions that can help them more accurately schedule the proper number of agents, based on call volume. This way, they avoid the waste associated with over-scheduling and having agents sit around idly, waiting for contacts to come in.

As a result, many businesses are migrating from manual scheduling systems, such as spreadsheets, to workforce management software. With the advanced analytics capabilities of today’s WFM systems, call center managers can forecast, with a high degree of accuracy, how many agents will be needed for any given shift.
As discussed in Part 1 of this series, WFM vendors are increasingly delivering their software over the Internet, by way of the software-as-a-service model. This offers many advantages but perhaps most importantly it delivers fast return on investment, as there is no need to purchase 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.

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.

So how does one go about selecting a WFM solution? Here are two more tips to help you navigate the sea of solutions.

Time for Implementation

It’s important to consider the amount of time and resources it will take to implement the solution. Questions to ask include: How long does it take to implement the solution from start to finish? When can you actually begin to get benefits from the solution? Can I use the solution over the web without equipment purchase or do I need to buy and install hardware and software? How many people do I need (vendor and own company) to implement the solution?

Total Cost of Ownership

It’s also important to consider the total cost of purchasing, running and maintaining the solution. What are the total upfront costs for software, hardware, integration and implementation? What are the ongoing monthly or annual costs such as subscription, maintenance, support, upgrade fees? Many solutions have hidden costs that vendors don’t mention, but occur within your company, such as: your IT people installing and operating the server; your people helping to implement the solution; integration costs; and yearly upgrade costs.

Monet Software’s WFM Live 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 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.

Next week we’ll look at a few 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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