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Stay up to date on the latest contact center optimization trends, best practices and technologies. No doubt you already manage agent schedules based on forecasted demand for your contact center services, matched with your service level commitments. Here is a checklist of check points to help you confirm the health of your contact center workforce management.
We cannot definitively say how many agents we actually need in our center to be properly staffed for our grade of service.
Our most common (if not only) response to improving service level tends to be hiring more agents. We report service level as an average of the week to blur the fact that our center is grossly overstaffed in some periods and understaffed in others. Our agents are complaining because they don’t know their work schedules far enough in advance to make plans.
Our supervisors and managers spend too much time adjusting schedules rather than coaching and evaluating agents.
We are frequently caught off guard by marketing promotions or other developments that impact our schedules. We need to increase training hours for our staff but don’t know what the best times would be for taking agents away from their stations without affecting our service levels. Now that we went through these diagnostics, let’s see how some of the workforce management processes could be improved at your contact center with the use of software.
Considering these benefits that invariably lead to rapid Return on Investment, isn’t it surprising that even today only about 50% of contact centers have invested in an automated, integrated workforce management system?
It is a common misconception for smaller contact center operations to dismiss WFM as a product that is a luxury or is either too expensive or too complicated for an organization of their size when in fact the exact opposite is more likely to be the case. A special thanks to my colleagues Daryl Gonos and Katerina Vetrovec for their helpful contributions to this 20-point guide.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Patrick Botz has been a key figure in the contact center and customer care industry for the past 15 years, serving in a variety of operational, consultant and managerial roles.
Affordable, easy to use call center workforce management software at portage communications we know that call center workforce management software must be effective.
Top call center software products capterra has helped thousands of contact centers find the best call center software.. Applied business technologies provides call recording software, speech analytics solutions, workforce management software, post call surveys for quality control, and. Call center software is a suite of tools that enable contact center managers and agents to effectively serve their customers. Vpi’s workforce management software (community) simplifies the very complicated task of contact center resource forecasting and scheduling. Copyright © 2014 Review Ebooks, All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. In today’s ultra-competitive environment, the centrality of customer satisfaction is a given. Even today, contact centers have become familiar with sophisticated quality management (QM) systems designed to drive customer service but have yet to achieve the right balance of efficiency and service quality. And so, contact centers initially focused on KPIs such as average call handle time (AHT), agent occupancy, agent adherence and efficiency of resources. Integrating QM and WFM SystemsOn the surface, integrating efficiency and service quality may appear to present a conundrum.
So how can contact centers reconcile the two, especially when principles of cost control still tend to predominate and return the focus to efficiency? The best way involves integration of workforce management (WFM) and QM systems used by contact centers to drive both efficiency and service quality. ForecastingIntegration of call volume trends, call classification data and improvement programs avoids unnecessary and repeat calls by enabling increased accuracy within a fluid, changing and more effective contact center environment.
Scheduling Through integration of skill levels based on QM evaluation of agents, the WFM system can be used to schedule more skilled agents for complex call requests.
Quality MeasurementIntegrating agent schedules with the QM system helps supervisors select the best calls for evaluation. Allocating Training Often, QM training is scheduled with little regard for the agent’s other commitments or changing service levels during the course of the day.
ConclusionHandling a customer call at a contact center can cost companies anywhere from $5 to $15. Ultimately, each organization must determine the best way to retain and grow its customer and revenue base while keeping expenses in check. ASC is a global provider of innovative solutions to record, analyze and evaluate multimedia-based communications. All business managers pursue exemplars of quality, efficiency and success that may serve as a model for how to run their company better. Read More About Victory at the Contact Center: Should Managers Run The Business with Military Precision? Customer care is a crucial aspect of performance at the contact center, particularly for those affiliated with insurance companies. Remember when people used to be annoyed when full-service assistance with everyday tasks began to disappear in favor of self-service options? It’s possible that no generation in history has come under more scrutiny – and attack – than Millennials.
If you’re old enough you may remember the television series Lost in Space, in which the Robinson family blasted off earth en route to Alpha Centauri, but went off course and couldn’t find their way home. From the “easier said than done” department is the advice that works for just about every type of contact center – listen to your customers and respond to their needs.
There certainly seem to be a lot of surveys released these days, all focusing on the contact center industry and the impact of technology on the customer experience. The purpose of many of our blogs and articles is to provide information and suggestions on how to improve the quality and efficiency of your contact center.
Sometimes with accurate scheduling it’s not about what you do right, but what you do wrong. You have probably spent many hours studying the question of how you can provide better service to your contact center customers.
There are no shortage of blogs and articles online, including right here at Monet, about the many benefits associated with moving your contact center technology into the cloud. You’ll also get access to dozens of other valuable white papers, research reports, Webcasts and more in the VPI Resource Center. Strict security and auditable data integrity controls to ensure consistency in patient privacy rights protection and compliance with healthcare regulations. Typical results experienced by VPI customers within the first 60 days include 10% reduction in operating costs, 15% increase in quality scores, 3% increase in sales and dollars collected, and a 65% increase in management productivity. VPI Fact Finder, in conjunction with VPI EMPOWER, is a powerful, cost-effective Interaction Analytics tool that captures valuable events and data – such as customer ID, ticket ID, the value of the transaction, products being serviced, disposition codes – and tags it to your recorded interactions. VPI QUALITY software transforms the contact center quality management process with automated, analytics-driven selection of high-value interactions, targeted evaluation that focuses on specific business objectives, integrated coaching, and a wealth of actionable insights.
Reduces the time spent locating calls to evaluate – critical calls are automatically selected, assigned and matched with the most appropriate evaluation form by call type and outcome.
Robust reports provide timely, actionable information with views into business and customer experience issues and opportunities.
Smart Evaluations automatically assign desktop E-learning and coaching assignments, and send alerts based on employee skill gaps and QA scores. Automates the communication of evaluation results to agents and tracking of coaching results. Web based interface provides convenient access to evaluation forms and playback of synchronized call and screen recordings from nearly anywhere. Personalized Web dashboards and scorecards help track the progress of improvement efforts along with other key business initiatives.
Reports deliver vital performance information and highlight where adjustments need to be made on an agent, group, or site basis.
Scorecards empower employees to improve by presenting up-to-the-minute statistics that indicate how they are tracking to their performance goals.
Personalized Desktop Tickers display real-time metrics, consolidated from a variety of contact center systems, to agents, supervisors and managers. VPI Workforce Management software effectively automates all of your workforce management business processes, regardless of the number of customer contact channels, time zones or locations involved. Agent self-scheduling, tracking, shift bids, trades and time-off requests are easy tasks with Web-based portal, personalized for each agent. Scheduling is centralized for inbound, outbound, in-house, outsourced, virtual contact center, and back office staff – incorporating the unique conditions and requirements of each channel.

Robust, interactive reports and personalized, photo-based portals are powerful tools for reviewing schedules, analyzing trends and alerts, and testing recommendations in what-if views. VPI COACHING enables you to automatically deliver electronic learning in the form of personalized feedback, coaching tips and quizzes to boost service quality.
Automate coaching by rules-based triggering from Performance Scorecard or Quality Evaluation results – just-in-time information empowers agents to thrive and excel.
Embedded messaging enables you to send and track timely messages, immediately or via business rules, to the desktops of single or multiple agents, whether triggered by rules or supervisors as needed. Messages can be set up for extended-time display, for multi-message rotation, or to require agent acknowledgement. Speak with a VPI Specialist about your specific needs and get a front row seat to a better tomorrow. Perhaps manually with spreadsheets or an abacus, or with an aging workforce management (WFM) software application? I’m thinking about moving to part-time agents and fewer full-time, but don’t know what the impact would be on service levels.
Absenteeism and schedule deviations can wreak havoc on a smaller center’s service levels and agent morale. As Vice President of Workforce Optimization at VPI, he focuses on the mission-critical aspects of assessing and optimizing quality assurance, business processes and customer experience. Book today!Asia Pacific Region - Contact Center Masterclass Best Practice ConferenceIdeas and best practices from the elite in the region. However, the focus on service quality in contact centers lags behind the rest of the business world because these organizations were developed primarily to serve customers in a cost-effective manner.
Agents were evaluated on speed rather than building their company's relationship with customers, and management lacked a complete picture of their contact center’s performance.
While efficiencyrequires speed, service quality demands more time to understand and meet the customer’s needs. As a result, agents may be penalized for lack of adherence during training, or for failure to improve if they skip the instruction.
Maximizing efficiency can lower the cost, but losing customers due to poor service could cost a company much more. An integrated view of all drivers will prove essential for management to make informed decisions in this area.
ASC’s solutions reveal vital information, enabling companies and organizations to considerably improve their value creation.
Remember that all information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to share any of your personal information. Monet offers exceptional videos that allow you to explore how we can help, at your own pace.
In a virtual situation managers sometimes have the luxury of more flexibility, which creates additional part-time and split-shift opportunities. Usually these are sought out within their respective industry, or elsewhere in the private sector. This is a process that begins before the first call is picked up every day, with the policies, procedures, and technology in place to meet the goals of the center. The series debuted in 1965, but was set in the year 1997, a time when the show’s creators apparently envisioned interstellar space travel but not GPS.That’s the thing about the future – it always catches up and eventually becomes the present.
And all of it is important – some to improve the efficiency of your contact center, and some to help you better understand the needs and preferences of your customers.Let’s take a closer look at that second category today, as this is where many contact centers are seeing an increased focus.
Highly reliable, easily implemented and remarkably effective in virtually any environment, VPI CAPTURE can record your multimedia interactions from a wide range of network configurations, TDM and VoIP telephony environments, and across any number of locations. VPI Fact Finder has the ability to grab events and data either directly from your database or by scraping it from your agent's screens using our unique desktop analytics tool.
It can also be used in business rules to automatically classify and bucket your calls into categories of your choice so you can focus your inspection and quality monitoring efforts on solving critical issues and opportunities, such as measuring and improving first contact resolution and optimizing handle time, and boosting sales and collections.
VPI QUALITY enables agents and supervisors to dramatically improve their effectiveness and job satisfaction – immediately, efficiently and consistently. Drill through reported data to quickly identify the root cause of problems or successes and find opportunities for improvements.
Easily accessible from the dashboard, they deliver a customizable, KPI-centric view of both current and past performance results. Whether you have less than 50 agents or more than 10,000, the system provides the flexibility to manage your contact center at the lowest possible operating cost. The solution is designed to automate your coaching process and empower your agents and their supervisors to be highly effective. It is feasible that these less complex operations can be scheduled effectively using manual methods provided that agent availability is relatively static and agents are not multi-skilled. If a contact center of 30 agents fails to accurately model demand and anticipate overhead factors such as call outs, sick time, meetings and trainings compounds, they will be understaffed. Patrick is an internationally acclaimed speaker and his work has been published in Customer Magazine, Business Management, Contact Professional, Inbound Magazine, 9-1-1 Magazine and APCO Public Safety Communications.
By integrating the two systems, training can automatically be scheduled at appropriate times – giving agents input to improve their skills without negatively impacting WFM service levels. Payg CSE, based in South Africa, provides Customer Service Engineering (CSE) specialists focused on operational engineering aspects of contact centers and business processing operations. Any user who finds material posted by another user objectionable is encouraged to contact us via e-mail. Click below to select from a wide variety of quick, informative and self-paced videos that you can watch right now. But what if we looked outside those traditional channels and selected another inspiration – the military?For the contact center that seems like a less than ideal fit – but is it?
Those that try the system only to lose the connection, or be stuck on hold for long periods of time, may decide it’s not worth the effort. As you set up these other channels, the focus should also be on a user-friendly experience; that includes websites that are easy to navigate and proactive responses and FAQs. So when predictions begin appearing online about what the contact center will look like in 2020, it might be wise to pay attention, especially as 2020 is less than four years away. If we had to summarize the findings in one sentence, we’d say it suggests that workforce management solutions are capable of making significant improvements in a contact center’s efficiency, but many businesses are still hesitant to commit to this improved technology:•Just 29% of respondents have a WFM solution in place•33% report disappointing experiences with off-the-shelf solutions•67% believe the WFM provider did not provide adequate support and trainingThis is disappointing to read for a number of reasons.
Tools such as speech analytics deliver insights that might have been impossible to achieve a decade ago. New contact centers are sometimes established for one individual line of business or new venture, which does not have to fit efficiently into a larger enterprise. VPI’s award winning technologies safely and securely record all voice and data interactions for compliance and liability management, as well as improvement of the quality and efficiency of your contact center operations. With the optional VPI Fact Finder tool, the system can automatically tag data and events to recordings either directly from employee desktop application screens or from customer databases - for enhanced search capabilities and automated classification and analysis centered on key business issues.
VPI Fact Finder can capture data from a wide variety of sources including IP and TDM ACDs, predictive dialers, home grown databases and business applications such as QA, CRM, workforce management, and service ticketing. Additionally, the captured data is made actionable via Web-based dashboards, reports, scorecards, web and desktop tickers, search grids and heat maps. Now you can align your team with corporate objectives, deliver excellent customer service and earn valuable customer loyalty. The solution delivers comprehensive web-based information that is customized for each user in real-time, automatically responding to changing conditions.
E-learning and coaching fits smoothly within the existing workflow, increases retention rates for new information and expedites ramp-up. However, as hours of operation expand, the number of queues and media types (email, chat, fax) increases and agents become multi-skilled across groups, staff planning and scheduling can very quickly become an unproductive guessing game.
Patrick holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BSE in Engineering from Arizona State University. The company ensures that its clients’ customer service infrastructure and operations run as efficiently as possible by providing the required quality of service, at the best possible cost per transaction.
We are authorized by you to remove or modify any data submitted by you to these forums for any reason we feel constitutes a violation of our policies, whether stated, implied or not.This site may contain links to other web sites and files. But there is no question that Millennials approach work and communication differently than those that preceded them, and this is important for contact center managers. Workforce management has been around since the 1980s – this is not a shiny new toy that hasn’t been proven in the real world.
Sometimes you’ll have too many people on the floor – occasionally there may still not be enough. Nearly half of the agents surveyed (47%) still believe that the telephone provides the best opportunity to resolve a customer’s situation.
OmnichannelIt’s a fancy word that simply means providing customers with a choice on how they interact with your company. The solution enables just-in-time delivery of personalized training content, objective feedback and information that agents need to perform at their best. We have no control over the content and can not ensure it will not be offensive or objectionable.

Soldiers rely on their training when faced with a stressful situation, and agents should be able to do the same. These are your current and future employees (Millennials are already almost 35% of the American labor force), as well as your current and future customers. How can you make them happy?
Companies that have already incorporated email, online chat, texting and social media may have agents trained in one of these channels. Don’t be afraid to test new procedures and experiment with script changes or other variables that might improve the customer experience.
By mixing in some part-time agents you can add more flexibility to your scheduling, and initiate split shifts. Web chat finished second with just 26%. But wait – isn’t the telephone outdated in this era of apps and social media? The telephone continues to be a popular option, but email and online chat are preferred by those who don’t wish to speak directly with an agent.
We will, however, remove links to material that we feel is inappropriate as we become aware of them.By pressing the "Agree" button, you agree that you, the user, are 13 years of age or over. The more specific you can get with your objectives, the more likely you will be to accomplish them. Try thinking like they do.AgentsStatistics show that Millennials often leave jobs in three years or less.
Sure you can still make changes to affect future performance, but how much better would it be to deliver real-time guidance to agents, and alert managers when a call is going south? The closer managers are to the area where agents are fielding calls, the better sense they will have of what is working and what is not. Such skills cannot always be expected from customers, who may be furious, confused or introverted.
In the contact center industry where high agent attrition is already an issue, three years might be seen as an improvement.
That means agents will need to be prepared to handle a wider range of product and service issues.
There is a predictive quality to this data, but if it’s compiled correctly you’ll be able to anticipate customer intentions and deliver a more customized response.
An overwhelming 90% of them are certain that there will always need to be a ‘call center’ component in the contact center.
Self-ServiceNo matter how many channels you add, some customers will prefer to settle their business without talking to anyone. You also agree that you will not post any copyrighted material that is not owned by yourself or the owners of these forums. Military personnel are often called upon to communicate with people from other countries and cultures, so they know it’s important to choose their words carefully and be specific in their message to avoid any misunderstanding. Targeted TrainingOnce basic training has been completed, insurance contact center agents should be regularly guided toward and tested on their abilities to meet service goals. Obviously this impacts training – and may manifest in prospective agents going through a more in-depth orientation that includes spending a day or two with different business departments within the company.However, even with all of this additional knowledge and instruction, agents will also need to retain the qualities that companies require of them now – strong communication skills and listening skills, courtesy and empathy, and the ability to make decisions and resolve issues through their own initiative. Perhaps some of these responses were motivated by job security but, as one explained, it’s easier for many customers to ask questions or describe a problem verbally than having to type out a long explanation.Taking the Time to Get it RightAgents are certainly aware of the importance managers place on KPIs like Average Handle Time – but sometimes that leads to a choice between wrapping up a call more quickly and making sure the customer is happy.
The marketing firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their interactions this way. Such predictions have a tendency to over-estimate the consumer reliance on new technology such as mobile apps – remember with eBooks were going to put regular books out of business? The agent who is able to do the same, while maintaining a calm, courteous demeanor, is one that any business would wish to keep. DisciplineWhat does it take for a contact center to meet its customer service goals? With the Performance Analysis component of WFM, managers have access to reports and analysis of all agent activities, including their schedule adherence and key performance indicators. Management, of course, will have to bestow the freedom on these agents to rely on their training and intelligence to act. Follow the PathThink of every customer engagement as a journey with a starting point and an end point, where lots of different things can happen in between.
This makes training more relevant and ensures they feel comfortable with the role and environment.
Students may want to work weekends, and agents with outside obligations during the day may prefer an evening shift.
While nearly 40% of agents surveyed said they tried to complete calls in 5-10 minutes, 32% replied that effective problem solving may take longer, so they’ll take 15 minutes if necessary. Still, this is ultimately a positive trend for contact centers as it reduces workload on agents (and may eventually reduce the number of agents you need). The more you can understand about each customer’s journey, the better you can serve that customer. Some agents walk in the door with that level of dedication, but many will need to acquire it through training, during which this ability can be instilled through instruction, repetition, and an awareness of what constitutes quality.
Set Quarterly GoalsDon’t make a list of goals for the year and wait until December to review them. Analytics from a workforce optimization suite plays a big role, but don’t stop there – you’ll also want to bring agents together in a collaborative way to discuss that actions they took and how well they worked (or didn’t work), and perhaps bring in personnel from other company departments that can provide additional data.
It builds their confidence. Create an External Knowledge BaseIs there a place customers can go to answer the most basic questions about your company before calling? With quarterly targets, you’ll know sooner if your efforts are working, and can make beneficial changes – which is certainly better than going another 6-7 months with a less than optimal system in place. But if that coaching is immediately integrated into performance, it results in better customer service right away. You’ll also find Millennials are often adept at self-evaluation – why do you think they take so many selfies? Next to hiring the right personnel, scheduling plays the key role in maximizing resources and making sure calls are handled in a courteous and efficient manner. However, some expressed concern that customers may neglect to call back at the right time, which can result in more frustration. Do They Care? In this case, that includes cloud contact center solutions that help analyze data, deliver more accurate forecasts and schedules, route calls to the agent best suited to handle them, and provide insight into which practices are working and which need attention. Rifles, grenades and bulletproof vests?
Keep it SimpleThere is data you’ll want to see after the fact, and data that’s important right now. Most callers would prefer speaking to an agent as soon as possible. Ditch the EmoticonsDo you really think an emoji with a tear in its eye is going to make a customer feel better about the order they never received?
Good NewsThe agent hiring and screening process seeks to find people with empathy toward customer issues, and a sincere desire to get problems solved.
Avoid Agent BurnoutAgents are employees but they are people first, with families and outside interests and holiday plans they would like to keep.
Some experts believe that dominant role will gradually shift to webchat, as Millennials and subsequent generations come of age in technology-driven world where the answer to every question can be found on one’s smartphone. When deploying analytics, make it easier for agents and managers to see what they need to see, when they need to see it.
Of course, everyone says the right things in a job interview, but do they really mean them? Flexible scheduling makes it easier for agents to work shifts that are more convenient, and when they have that option they are likely to be more productive and provide better service. The closest comparison to this in a professional contact center environment is the webchat application. Last year the company announced plans to hire 10,000 military veterans, reservists and spouses over the next three years.
As this channel becomes more popular among customers, managers will find no shortage of agents adept as chatting online.Can chat be used for coaching or training as well?
That figures to increase as the contact center plays a more prominent role in delivering actionable business intelligence.
A free lunch here, a spa day there, even an encouraging word or inquiry about their family can make them feel appreciated. Some are still what you’d expect – one agent typing messages in response to customer questions.
And don’t neglect your off-site agents if you have them – telecommuting employees need acknowledgment too.Share Training IdeasA good idea for training and development can come from an agent, a coach, or even from someone outside the contact center.
But the next-generation virtual assistants will be able to respond in sentences that sound more authentic than the overly formal speech programmed by technology. With it, agents can authenticate a caller’s identity instantly, without the repetition of a social security number, account numbers or other personal information.
Shared knowledge about how different aspects of the company work will result in new ideas to create better synergy, and ultimately better service.
This will make it easier for companies to switch back and forth during a customer engagement as needed – the bot can be relied up to answer basic, common questions and offer standard responses to everyday transactions. The next-generation WFM solutions will strive to shorten average handle time by being even more intuitive in anticipating how calls should be routed and how issues can be resolved. Agents will pick up on a “do as I say, not as I do” approach very quickly, and respond accordingly. Never SettleDid you achieve all of your goals this month?

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