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Tips for More Effective Call Center Workforce Management

This blog provides practical information on all aspects of workforce management for contact centers, including quality monitoring, call recording, performance management and analytics

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Call Center Workforce Management Blog

When Customer Complaints are a Good Thing

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No call center likes to hear complaints. But the sentiments of unhappy customers provide valuable data into a company’s products and services. 

Obviously, if a call center receives too many negative calls, it’s a sign that changes are needed. But if a call center receives almost no complaints, that’s not necessarily an indication that everything is wonderful. 

According to Lee Resource, for every customer complaint, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent. And a Financial Training Services study found that 96% of unhappy customers will not share their frustration with a company – they’ll just take their business elsewhere. 

And while some customers may not give negative feedback to a company, they will write negative reviews on Facebook, and on other online review sites. 

Why do they stay quiet? At some companies, the process of filing a complaint is too complicated (perhaps by design?) to be worth the effort. 

Some people just don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves that way. Others believe complaining doesn’t really accomplish anything. And some worry that if they identify an employee who did not provide good service, it might result in that employee being out of work. They might be upset, but they don’t want to be responsible for someone else getting fired. 

The bottom line: call centers may be missing out on negative feedback that could result in positive changes and better service. That is why it is important to make it as easy as possible for customers to share feedback and complaints – and to be proactive and solicit their opinions, good or bad. This can be achieved anonymously online, through surveys sent via email, or on social media. 

Don’t be afraid to ask how a customer would rate the service he or she received, why they chose that rating, and whether they would be open to being contacted for more information. When a customer feels their opinion really matters to a company, they are more likely to remain a customer. 


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Five Tips To Transform Good Agents Into Superstars

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Your agents are on the front line of customer service, product promotion and brand awareness. Their job performance resonates throughout the entire company, impacting marketing, sales and client research. So it’s imperative to do everything possible to find and train agents who can surpass “good” and achieve superstar status.

Here are five tips that can help them along that path.

1. Competition

As long as it doesn’t turn nasty, healthy competition between agents for some type of reward can result in better service. Some call centers will even pit a team of agents against their managers, to see who fares better. The chance to outshine the boss can be a powerful motivator.

2. Empowerment

Show faith in your agents by allowing them to make some decisions for customers without having to check with a manager first. This will increase their sense of responsibility, and shorten many calls as well – a boost to average handle time.

3. Communication

Listen to your agents. Schedule informal meetings where they are free to express opinions on any aspect of their job. For those that may be uncomfortable sharing their views in an open forum, provide a good old-fashioned suggestion box when ideas can be offered anonymously. An agent who sees his or her ideas implemented is one that will feel more like a valued member of the company.

4. Support

Agents often perform better if they feel appreciated. That means providing flexible shift schedules so those attending school or dealing with outside responsibilities. Those that wish to advance into managerial positions should be encouraged, and perhaps even trained, for that eventuality.

5. Reward

It’s basic, but it still works: provide incentive and bonuses to agents that exceed expectations, and don’t be surprise if service improves.


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Schedule Exceptions: How Do You Handle Them?

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The shift begins like any other at your friendly neighborhood call center. And then – something goes wrong.

Usually it’s an unexpected absence – an agent calls in sick at the last minute. Now the scheduling you’ve done for that shift isn’t going to work – if it has been completed on a spreadsheet. 

But with the right workforce management (WFM) software, not only is the crisis averted, it never becomes a crisis at all. 

By using the “Exceptions” feature in WFM, the remaining roster of call center agents for that shift automatically adjusts to compensate for the one agent that will be missing. 

Of course, there are many other types of exceptions as well. Agents may need to miss part of their shift because of a training session or other work-related event. An agent may show up late for his shift, or return from lunch ten minutes after he should have started. If you’re lucky you may also have agents who work overtime to complete a project, rather than letting it sit until the next day. 

The Monet WFM Live Exceptions feature covers all of these scenarios, automatically recording the times work stops and starts, and making changes as needed to avoid a drop in customer service. 

And while this is happening, the software is also measuring productivity, and making sure the records accurately reflect how many agents were taking calls at any specific moment of any specific day. By getting those numbers right, it’s much easier to create forecasts and schedules that match caller demand and other call center needs. 

For instance – perhaps you have discovered that customers waited an average of 60 seconds longer for an agent between 1pm and 1:30 on Monday. A spreadsheet might just show 20 agents working that half-hour. But WFM data will show that two agents didn’t start their shift until 1:10, since the lunch service was slow at Olive Garden that afternoon. Now you know that only 18 agents were at their desks, which likely accounted for the delays. 

With a few clicks, a workforce management system delivers information about employee status and availability, and the schedule exceptions that are critical for accurate future planning. 


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Call Center Security Survey: Is Your Business Safe?

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A new survey of call center agents provides some intriguing data on a very important topic – the security of customer information. 

A company that provides data security solutions conducted the survey, which suggests they have a stake in exposing risky practices in customer interaction, data collection and fraud prevention. But that doesn’t mean these problems do not exist.  

Among the survey’s findings:

  • More than 70% of call center agents who collect credit card and debit card information read that information aloud during the call
  • As much as 30% of call center agents reported that they are able to access a customer’s financial information, even when they are not on the phone with that customer
  • While just 7% of agents said they were asked by someone else in the company to access a customer’s payment card number, at a large call center that still adds up to thousands of customers. And of those agents that were approached, more than 40% did not report the situation to management. Just one breach can do major damage, as several companies have already discovered

When is the last time you reviewed the security procedures and protocols in place at your call center? 



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The KPI Checklist, Part Two

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While every call center is different, it’s a safe bet that they share many common goals related to customer service. Managers rely on data, categorized into key performance indicators (KPIs) to address these service issues. 

Which are most important? The short answer is all of them. But different call centers excel at different things. So instead of selecting a top 5 or top 10 in this blog, we are going to provide a more wide-ranging selection of KPIs, to help managers pinpoint specific challenges at their call centers. 

Call Resolution

All calls do not have a happy ending. Call resolution measures the percentage in which the customer was able to achieve his or her objective (placing an order, getting a refund, having a question answered, etc.). The goal should always be First Call Resolution, measured alongside Repeat Calls to determine which types of issues are proving most difficult to handle – and/or which agents may need additional training to fix a problem. 

On-Hold Time

This one is pretty obvious – how long customers wait until greeted by an agent. By collecting data managers will be able to determine the average duration that would be considered acceptable waiting time. Keep in mind, however, that according to the advertising analytics company Marchex, 62% of callers will abandon a call if they’re not speaking to an agent after one minute. 

Call Arrival Rate

How many calls come in every day? Every week? These numbers will identify seasonal and business trends that will improve the accuracy of agent forecasting and scheduling. 

Transfer Rate

Few situations are more frustrating for a customer than explaining an issue to one agent, and then being transferred to a supervisor or other agency personnel, and having to do so a second time. While this may still qualify as a first-call resolution if questions are ultimately answered and the problem is solved, it should still be kept to a minimum whenever possible.

Blocked Calls

Blocked calls never even make it to a call center agent, because of insufficient network capabilities. Obviously, the only possible result becomes a frustrated customer. Are some blocked calls inevitable at peak times? Or can these calls be taken with better scheduling, expanded trunks or other corrective measures? 



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The KPI Checklist, Part One

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While every call center is different, it’s a safe bet that they share many common goals related to customer service. Managers rely on data, categorized into key performance indicators (KPIs) to address these service issues. 

Which are most important? The short answer is all of them. But different call centers excel at different things. So instead of selecting a top 5 or top 10 in this blog, we are going to provide a more wide-ranging selection of KPIs, to help managers pinpoint specific challenges at their call centers. 

Average Handle Time

This is the average duration of one transaction. To get a handle on handle time, workforce management makes it easier for managers to determine if they have enough agents available to efficiently serve call volume. Then, employ skills-based routing: An agent that is adept at settling customer disputes will be able to handle these types of calls more quickly than someone without those skills. Also, as certain customer inquiries are bound to come up repeatedly, train your agents to anticipate these questions and answer them before they can be asked.

Call Abandonment

This is the number of callers that hang up or end an online chat before first contact with an agent. The cause is almost always a long wait time. This KPI is closely tied to Active Waiting Calls, a reference to how many customers are ‘on hold.’ More accurate forecasts and schedules can help agents get to those callers faster, and reduce call abandonment. 

Peak Hour Traffic

When is your call center busiest? Identifying the peak times and hours of traffic will play a key role in agent scheduling. 

After Call Work Time

When a customer engagement ends, there is still work for the agent to do before taking the next call. This metric provides a time measurement for those practices, allowing managers to set reasonable limits. 

Sales per Agent

For call centers that primarily exist to take customer orders, this is a significant and surprisingly oft-overlooked metric. Why do some agents, reading from the same script as everyone else, close more sales? Managers should identify these top performers, and find out how they’re succeeding. Those techniques can then be disseminated to other agents who may be missing upsell opportunities. 

Customer Satisfaction

That’s what it’s all about. Call recording will provide some idea of how customers would assess their call center engagement, but quality monitoring can also play an important role in determining quality of service. Monet’s Quality Management tool helps managers to monitor customer interactions and consistently deliver great service and improve customer satisfaction with integrated quality scorecards, dashboards and reports.

We will take a closer look at more KPIs in our next blog.


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The Agent Call-Back: Risks and Benefits

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During peak hours, or when forecasts and schedules prove inaccurate (an occurrence that can be reduced with workforce management), many call centers have introduced a call-back feature. This is a system in which callers are told that an agent will contact them at some future time based on their place in the queue. 

Is this an effective solution to long hold times? Let’s take a closer look from the perspective of both the call center and the customer.

The Customer

On the plus side, call-backs eliminate the annoying practice of sitting on hold for several minutes, listening to repetitive music and pre-recorded messages about how that customer’s call is important to the company, and how a representative will be with them shortly. 

The longer customers are forced to wait, the more likely some of them are to hang up, and take their business elsewhere. With call-back, that customer can go back to watching TV or doing some work at the computer, until being contacted by an agent. 

However, some customers might view the call-back as a rebuff: “Why are they taking other people’s calls and not mine?” Everyone is more impatient these days, and for some the offer to call a customer back just represents another unwelcome delay. 

The Call Center

For the call center, a call-back option provides a way to level out spikes in call volume that can increase the abandoned call rate. And when callers finally get to speak to someone after a long wait on hold, many will devote the first few moments of the conversation to complaining about the poor service, which also increases average handle time. 

However, the call-back still carries the inherent risk of losing that customer. As long as someone is on hold, they are still in contact with the company, and likely to follow through on whatever business inspired the call. When that connection is broken, there is no guarantee the customer will be around to answer the phone when the agent calls back. 


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Perfecting Your Performance Management

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Performance Management is something of a catch-all term that incorporates a wide range of management aspects, from planning to developing agent skills, to evaluating performance based on metrics and making adjustments accordingly. Most call centers engage in some form of performance management – unfortunately, many still rely solely on an annual review to determine how well they are doing.

The success of call center performance management requires an ongoing effort and regularly scheduled meetings throughout the year. 

Yes, we know it can be a challenge to find the time when there are so many other responsibilities that need to be handled. But automated workforce management (WFM) can make a significant difference in collecting and analyzing employee data, so effective agent management can be achieved in less time. 

Once you have that program in place with the help of WFM, here are some tips to make it more effective. 

Set Specific Goals

“We want to improve customer service and experience.” “We want to improve our training.” Great  – now how are you going to do it? The more specific you can get with your objectives, the more likely you will be to accomplish them. When you set more precise goals (“We want to lower our average handle time”), WFM will provide the data that can be used to make it happen. 

Provide Specific Feedback

Successful performance management relies on clear communication between managers and agents. This is particularly important when it comes to assessing performance and offering guidance for improvement. With the Performance Analysis component of WFM, managers have access to reports, statistics and analysis of all agent activities, including their schedule adherence and key performance indicators (KPIs). That will help to further target training sessions.  

Avoid Agent Burnout

Agents that are tired, bored, distracted or no longer engaged in their work are an issue faced at every call center. Replacement of such agents should be a last-ditch option, to avoid the cost of hiring and training someone new. Instead, try to accommodate agents with these issues as much as possible. 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. With WFM, shift-bidding and shift-swapping (with a manager’s approval) are streamlined, while holidays and other special events can be factored more efficiently into overall scheduling. 



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Dreamforce is One Week Away!

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It’s hard to believe that this year’s Dreamforce event is right around the corner. At Monet, we are looking forward to our week in San Francisco, and to meeting clients and networking with Salesforce experts from around the world.

If you’re planning to attend, there is still time to sign up for a free demo of Monet Workforce Management for Service Cloud. If you have a helpdesk, you owe it to yourself to discover how this innovative solution represents a significant step toward optimizing your internal organization and scheduling processes, while dramatically increasing customer satisfaction, customer experience, and service levels.

Sign up now for a demo of Monet Workforce Management for Salesforce Service Cloud at Dreamforce

Of course, one of the biggest challenges will be deciding what to do from a selection that includes more than 2,700 sessions, guest speakers like Michelle Obama and Ashton Kutcher, and the chance to network with more than 350 companies.

When you’re planning your strategy, these questions from the Dreamforce website may help:

What is my role and experience level?

How big is my company?

Which products and features do I want to learn about most?

How do I prefer to learn?

Depending on your answers to these questions, we hope that part of your itinerary is a visit to the Monet booth (#1300). That’s where you can learn more about Workforce Management for Service Cloud. We think it’s unlike any other product on the market, and once you’ve seen it in action, we’re sure you’ll agree.

Sign up now for a demo of Monet Workforce Management for Salesforce Service Cloud at Dreamforce

See you in San Francisco!


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Your Guide to Getting Ready for Dreamforce

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Thinking about Dreamforce? So are tens of thousands of other people who will be heading to San Francisco this November to take part in the festivities. 

Monet Software will be there, showing off our Workforce Management for Salesforce Service Cloud solution. If you have a helpdesk that could benefit from more precise forecasting, scheduling and real-time adherence, you are invited to stop by our booth. 

Sign up now for a demo

If this is your first visit to Dreamforce, or you were overwhelmed by the size and scope of the event last year, here are five tips to help you prepare for what will undoubtedly be a busy and exciting week in November. 

1. Prioritize

With more than 2,700 sessions scheduled, you won’t be able to experience even 10% of the events at Dreamforce. So carefully review the itinerary in advance and select 7-10 sessions that best pertain to your business goals. Since these sessions are spread out among multiple venues throughout the city, calculate your travel time as well. 

2. Network

Everywhere you look at Dreamforce you’ll find Salesforce experts and people like you looking for innovative ways to improve their companies. More than 350 businesses will be there, and you’ll be able to learn something from many of them. When you make the rounds, keep your eyes and ears open – you never know when you’ll make a valuable connection. And make sure Monet is on your list of stops!

3. Use the Dreamforce App. 

For advance preparation, it’s hard to beat the Dreamforce app. It’s a way to start networking before your plane lands in San Francisco and to get more information about sessions and presenters so you’ll know if they’re worth your time.

4. Try to Take in a Keynote Address

The speaker lineup this year is impressive as always. You may not pick up any tips specifically related to your company, but why miss an opportunity to spend some time with a former First Lady of the United States (Michelle Obama) or a former cast member of That 70s Show (not Mila Kunis, sadly – but Ashton Kutcher should be fun too). 

5. Stay Fresh

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking. So wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and don’t lug your laptop all over the exhibitor areas.

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For Immediate Release: Monet Software To Attend Dreamforce

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Monet will be offering demos of its Workforce Management for Salesforce Service Cloud, which represents a significant step for helpdesks wishing to optimize their internal organization and scheduling processes, while dramatically increasing customer satisfaction, customer experience, and service levels.

Dreamforce will take place November 6-9 at multiple venues throughout San Francisco, including the Moscone Center, the Marriott Marquis, Hilton Union Square, the Park Central and the Westin St. Francis. 

“We are excited to be a part of such a prestigious annual event, and look forward to interacting with Salesforce experts and showing them the benefits of our innovative workforce management solution,” said Monet CEO Chuck Ciarlo.

For the uninitiated, Dreamforce is a “family reunion” of sorts for the Salesforce community, and one of the largest software conferences in the world. Industry pioneers and thought leaders from around the world gather once a year to attend sessions on topics ranging from finding and driving more leads, to boosting productivity, to reporting tips and tricks. At this year’s event, more than 2,700 sessions are already scheduled. 

In addition, there is also an impressive lineup of guest speakers, including former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo, Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff, and actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher. 

“While this much-anticipated event is still a few weeks away, we wish to invite all of our Monet customers to join us in San Francisco,” Ciarlo said. “There is no other time and place where customers can find more ideas for transforming their business. We believe our Workforce Management for Salesforce Service Cloud will fit right into this exciting customer-focused environment.”


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Call Monitoring Collects Critical Data About Your Agents – and Your Customers

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As the value of data continues to rise, more and more companies are recognizing the importance of their call centers, and are increasing their investments in technology and infrastructure so these call centers can continue to learn more about their customers. 

At the same time, it has become obvious that as much as we rely on technology to collect and analyze data, it’s still the agent that is on the front line of customer communication, and plays a critical role in that data gathering process. Great technology without great agents is not an effective recipe for success – and neither are great agents without great technology. 

How can you make sure your workforce management solution is getting the job done, while also making sure your agents are delivering the type of service your customers expect?

The answer is call monitoring. 

The primary function of call monitoring software is to capture and store every (or selected) call center transaction, and to provide insights based on the information compiled in these calls (on such topics as length of call and outcome of customer engagement). Data should be organized and stored in a manner that makes it easy for management to retrieve and review individual calls based on specific criteria, including phone number, agent, date and time of day.

There are several features call centers should expect from a call center recording system, including on-demand recording, selective recording, filtering and auto-delete. Affordability, ease of set-up and training, and security should also be factors in product selection. Some means of call recording is also now essential to demonstrate adherence to industry regulations and policies.

With call monitoring you will always be able to track agent performance, and use that knowledge to improve productivity through coaching and training opportunities.


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Benefits of the Cloud in a Natural Disaster

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The devastating images coming out of Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma have already moved Houston and Hurricane Harvey off the front page. The recovery process is still just beginning in both places, but there has also been a ripple effect to these natural disasters that will impact businesses and customers that are thousands of miles away.

These are the times when uploading data to a cloud is critical, and another reason why so many call centers are switching to the cloud for benefits such as workforce management, workforce optimization and analytics.

The cloud has always offered numerous advantages, among them flexibility, accessibility through any computer or device, cost savings, simplification of IT infrastructure and seamless integration with existing systems. But when a natural disaster strikes, and workplaces and equipment are damaged or destroyed, the cloud makes certain that no data is lost.

The data uploaded to a cloud resides in one or more data centers that are also protected by multiple security perimeters, including electronic surveillance, 24/7 security staff and multi-factor access to keep physical intruders away. Data is stored in multiple geographic regions to avoid compromise from a fire, flood or hurricane at one facility.

Network architecture is also protected with firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Systems and applications are frequently tested to confirm adherence to industry-standard security requirements. Cloud providers also verify their security controls through third-party certifications such as ISO 27001 or ISO 27002, standards recognized globally as the most comprehensive framework for establishing security best practices.

We wish the best to all those dealing with the aftermath of Harvey and Irma. And we hope that many of the companies you rely on for payment processing have their call centers and other operations in the cloud – as that will be one less part of your life you’ll have to rebuild from scratch.


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Call Center Agents- Sleeping on the Job is a Good Thing?

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It’s yet another sign of how the world has changed. For years, getting caught sleeping on the job would lead to immediate dismissal. Now, some call centers are actually encouraging agent catnaps.

What has changed? Start with the fact that this is no longer a 9 to 5 world. When the internet evolved into what it is now, the traditional business day became a product of the past, and customers think nothing of contacting some companies at midnight to ask a question or place an order.

Another change – people are more stressed now, and that includes both customers and agents. Life moves faster, business moves faster, and when something doesn’t happen as quickly as we like, we tend to get frustrated. Agents are on the front lines of that frustration. 

Together these factors result in a demanding workplace, and agents that are more subject to fatigue and stress. And that’s why some call centers recommend that agents use their breaks to decompress with a quick nap.

It might be 15 minutes, or perhaps a half-hour or more, but the effects can be positive. When an agent is more relaxed he or she will also be more mentally sharp and more engaged in the conversation.

If you’d like to try this at your call center, you may need to set up a space separate from the usual break room that would make it easier to sleep on the job. Dimmed lights, comfortable couches, and a location far enough away from the noise of the main work area would be a good place to start.


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Getting the Most Out of Gamification

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To some it’s an effective way to create a positive workplace; to others it’s pandering to Millennials who don’t know the difference between work time and playtime.

We’re talking about gamification, the practice of redesigning everyday routines and tasks to be more game-like and interactive, resulting in experiences that are more engaging, more fun, and (hopefully) more productive.

Can this work to motivate employees in the contact center? Possibly – as long as there are not any negative consequences to the activities devised.

If you’re considering adding gamification to your call center, here are some questions to ask first. Once you have decided on the answers, you’ll have a better chance of success.

What do you want to achieve?

Is the objective to make work more fun, or do you want to use the games to improve agent skills? The more specific the objective, the more likely you’ll attain it. 

What will it take to win?

Games have winners, or they’re not much fun. What talents will agents have to display to emerge victorious? Hopefully, they’ll be the same talents necessary to be a better agent – initiative, creativity, attention to detail, etc. 

Who is going to play? 

Create activities that will appeal to the types of agents you have now. 

What will the winners receive?

Sure, a little recognition among one’s peers is always nice, but additional incentives will result in more enthusiastic participation. A gift card for a nice restaurant might work, or first choice of shifts for the next two weeks, or good old-fashioned cash. Try these and other ideas – it won’t take long to figure out which rewards are most well-received. 

What should I do when the game is over?

Don’t just review the results to see how agents performed. Gauge the responses and level of participation. Find out which agents showed the attributes needed to win and which did not, and adjust your coaching and training efforts accordingly. And get feedback from everyone involved to make sure the call center is on the right track.


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Call Center Agents Out, Chatbots In?

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Good news – humans are still good for something.

One of the more provocative call center discussions going around these days is whether chatbots will one day take the place of real agents. You would think companies would be in favor of this since chatbots don’t collect a salary, call in sick or request vacation days. 

This debate has been made possible by advancement in chatbot technology. When they first arrived, they were only capable of providing basic answers to basic questions, like an online chat version of an FAQ page. That would suffice for callers asking about a return policy, but these bots weren’t much for conversation. 

Fortunately, the next generation could hold up its end of a longer discussion, and there are now even more advanced models based on adaptive unsupervised learning. 

We’re getting into the artificial intelligence neighborhood now, and proponents believe these top of the line bots can provide a customer experience that is comparable to that of an experienced agent. This movement has been accelerated by Facebook’s announcement that it would allow businesses to use them for online customer care. 

But before you start the mass layoffs, you may want to reconsider what role you want chatbots to play in your business. As an add-on to customer service, they can be a tremendous benefit. As a replacement for real people? Probably not, and here are three reasons why. 

1. 85% accuracy

Would you keep an agent that only provided customers with accurate, helpful information 85% of the time? Then forget about chatbots – that’s the batting average even for the best of them, and that is too high a risk of customer loss. 

2. Integration

Chatbots don’t always meld seamlessly into current call center technology. Most businesses would likely prefer to hold on to their customer support software and all the data it delivers than switch over to a system that will still require agents to work alongside the bots. 

3. Happy Customers

That’s still the goal, isn’t it? And customers are more sophisticated these days. Most can discern the difference between live online chat that is actually live, and the too-formal, marketing-speak responses provided by chatbots. And when they really want answers, they want a person on the other end of the phone to provide them. Chatbots just won’t do.


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Changing Software Providers? Don’t Move Away From Monet!

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Switching ACD software/programs at a call center is not an uncommon practice. In fact, as more options become available many companies are considering a change, and weighing that against any potential loss of productivity during implementation and integration, as well as impact on agents and other team members. 

But if your business is considering a switch, there is a very good chance that the benefits you derive from Monet solutions can be incorporated into your next system. 

If like most Monet customers you’ve been able to drastically reduce the time you devote to forecasting and scheduling, and are now able to be pro-active when adherence issues arise, why would you ever want to leave those advantages behind? 

If your new software comes from any of these providers, good news! You can take Monet with you: 

• 3CLogic • 8x8 • Aastra • Acucall • Altigen • Asterisk • Asternic

• Avaya Aura Contact Center (rebranded Nortel Symposium ACD) • Avaya CMS

• Avaya CMS Real-time Wallboard • Avaya IP Office • Avaya IQ • Bright Pattern

• CallFinity • CCPro (ACD from West IP, formerly Magnetic North) • Cisco UCCE 

• Cisco UCCX • Collab • ConnectFirst • Contivio • CosmoCom • Digium • EasyRun

• Evolve IP • Five9 • Fonality • Generic & Generic Enhanced (supports Monet's Generic data formats) • Genesys/EchoPass • Genesys/Premier (formerly Angel.com)

• Genesys/PureCloud (rebranded Interactive Intelligence PureCloud) • inContact

• IndoSoft • Interactive Intelligence (CIC 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, CIC 2016, CIC 2017)

• Inter-Tel • M5 Networks • Mitel 5000 • Mitel MiContact Center (rebranded PairieFyre ACD) • NEC • Newbridge• NewVoiceMedia • Oracle Contact Center Anywhere (CCA)

• Oracle Contact On Demand (CoD) • Serenova (formerly LiveOps) • Siemens HiPath 

• Siemens OSCC • ShoreTel (Connect Cloud & Connect Premise) • Swyx • Syntellect

• Talkdesk • Taske • Teleknowledge • TFB • TouchStar • Transera • USAN • Vocalcom

• Vuesion • WFM for Service Cloud (Salesforce) • Xima • Zeacom

Don’t see your provider listed? There is still a good chance you can continue to enjoy all of the features Monet has to offer.


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Evolve IP + Monet WFM = Unprecedented Call Center Insight

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What separates great call centers from those that just manage to get the job done? 

The answer may be insight. The more data call center managers have to review, the easier it is to create procedures that achieve better results. You can’t fix – or improve – what you can’t see. 

When Monet Live Workforce Management is added to Evolve IP’s award winning contact center solution, the result is the kind of insight that boosts efficiency, lowers costs, and improves customer service. 

How?

Better Customer Service

WFM generates accurate call volume forecasting from historical data and ACD integration. It also creates flexible schedules that incorporate foreseen and unforeseen variables, agent exceptions, intra-day changes to both forecasting and scheduling, and performance management reports. When forecasting and scheduling are done right, customer service improves. Another WFM benefit is call routing, so agents with specific skills are available to take the calls they are most qualified to receive. 

Lower Costs

By creating optimized employee schedules, WFM improves productivity while reducing call center costs triggered by over-staffing or under-staffing. And in addition to forecasting and scheduling, WFM also creates data on call answer times, first call resolutions, transfer rates and other key metrics that are the key to consistent productivity. 

Employee Motivation

With WFM, staff satisfaction will increase, as the system eliminates the uncertainty of manual scheduling, allowing agents to manage their own schedules and set their own schedule preferences as a reward for outstanding performance. When agents are more engaged in their jobs, improved efficiency is the result. 

Integrating these benefits into Evolve IP’s unified desktop management solution, which also expands insight while maintaining security and control of company data, delivers unparalleled support that just might inspire unparalleled productivity. 


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Monet WFO Live Receives Communication Award

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Just a few months after receiving an award as one of the industry’s most innovative call center solutions, we’re pleased to announce that Monet WFO Live has been named a Communications Solutions Product of the Year by TMC, the publisher of Cloud Computing magazine.

“Congratulations to Monet Software for being honored with this award,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “Monet WFO Live is truly an innovative product and is amongst the best solutions brought to market that facilitates business-transforming voice, data and video communications. I look forward to continued excellence from Monet in 2018 and beyond.”

Those who have tried Monet WFO Live already know how it earned this reputation for excellence. It delivers a unified workforce optimization suite that transforms call center management from a reactive to a pro-active approach. Customers can create accurate forecasts, efficient schedules, record and monitor calls for quality, training and compliance purpose, and track cross-functional performance metrics, all with one integrated cloud-based platform.

It’s not surprising that a company that focuses on cloud computing would recognize the benefits of WFO Live. As with all of our cloud solutions WFO Live is more flexible and more scalable, there are no large upfront costs, customers pay only for what they need, and software upgrades are installed automatically as soon as they come available. 

Cloud solutions are also more reliable than hardware-based technology because of their built-in fail-safes and redundancies. When all of your equipment is in one place and something goes wrong, you are out of luck. With the decentralized nature of the cloud, even a power outage won’t shut you down.


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Workforce Management: Putting the ‘Service’ Back in Service Desks

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Helpdesks, like call centers, are undergoing a significant change in response to the array of communication channels now available to the public. 

Typically, the reasons for contacting a service desk are more complex than for a call center, which explains why in this era of self-serve online options, the helpdesk telephone is still the most oft-used channel. 

Will this change as other channels become more sophisticated? That’s open for debate. What we know for sure is that service desk customers have become used to faster responses and easy interactions when they use online channels for everything from ordering a book on amazon to booking a hotel reservation. When they contact a helpdesk, they expect that same level of service. 

Workforce management can help service desks meet these expectations. In fact, Monet’s Workforce Management for Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ was specifically designed for more efficient case management and faster case resolution, through more accurate forecasts and schedules.

Equip Agents to Do More

At many helpdesks, agents log customer requests and schedule them for the next available specialist to either contact the customer or visit that customer’s location. Sometimes, that results in service delays and angry customers. 

While agents will never (or should never) be trained technicians, there are likely some common issues that can be resolved if agents can access real time information while speaking with a customer. WFM can deliver that information, and reviews of recorded calls can help service desk agents recognize these issues and be better prepared with answers. 

Faster, better service – and fewer service calls? WFM makes it possible. 

And because it’s cloud-based and delivered as a service, helpdesks using Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ can access secure web-based applications at a competitive cost with no large upfront investment.


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How Does Workforce Management Support Digital Channels?

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In the beginning, there was the telephone. Customers used it to speak to companies about questions or complaints or to place an order. To better serve those customers, call centers installed workforce management (WFM) software to track service levels and agent performance. 

And then everything changed. Customers now have multiple options for communication – web, chat, email, and social media. Does workforce management still have a role to play in an era when non-voice channels may eventually surpass phone calls?

The answer is yes. Because whether there is one channel or five, customer service will continue to be determined by two criteria: information and process. Workforce management plays a key role in both of these functions, and can help call centers move the customer forward regardless of how they choose to communicate. 

Information

The data gathered by a WFM solution encompasses everything from historic call volume, which can impact forecasts and schedules, and KPI measurements that let you know how efficiently agents are responding to each customer contact. As call centers become contact centers, WFM can provide information on the frequency with which customers call a company after trying email or webchat, which can help measure the effectiveness of these other channels. It can also let managers know how often agents are able to ‘close the deal’ with these channel-surfing customers. 

Also, since call volume is likely to drop as more customers pursue self-service options and other channels, WFM can help call centers properly re-allocate available resources so service levels can be maintained, possibly with fewer scheduled agents. 

Process

Whatever processes are in place at a call center, they rely on agents having the right tools to do their jobs. WFM provides agents with the information they need, when they need it, to deliver service that results in satisfied customers. 

In addition, the call recording component of WFM offers a means to review agent performance, and is a valuable tool in agent training.


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Call Center Quality Monitoring: How Do You Assess Calls?

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Quality monitoring starts with call monitoring. You can’t assess how well your call center is doing without knowing how agents are relating to your customers.

To gather this information call centers opt for one of two methods. Either they utilize call recording software, or they evaluate performance by sitting next to the agent as he or she handles a call. Of course, with the latter method they are more likely to encounter agents on their best behavior, without knowing for certain that calls would be handled the same way if the manager were out to lunch.

However, that is not the only drawback of in-person monitoring. An automated solution is more efficient, more effective, and offers additional dividends beyond the measurement and improvement of agent performance.

If you haven’t switched yet, here are three reasons why you probably should.

Speed and Volume

Which method sounds like it will deliver more comprehensive results: monitoring one call center agent for a shift, or setting up call recording for the entire call center, and accessing every customer encounter from every agent? Plus, if you wish to review a specific call from yesterday or two weeks ago, a recording is preferable to relying on your notes or your memory.

Auditing

While customer encounters that result in legal action are rare, if one emerges you’ll be grateful to have a recording of that call. Without that record, liability protection becomes much more difficult. While a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of a business transaction is still possible, a recording eliminates nearly all disputes that arise from the contents of a verbal exchange.

Training

Both forms of monitoring are helpful in training. But recorded calls offer the additional benefit of moving agents toward self-assessment and self-improvement. In most call centers, an agent won’t be hired without demonstrating the basic job skills required to deal with customers. That means they should be qualified to judge their job performance. By listening back to customer encounters, these agents may discover that they have drifted away from best practices.


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Four Traits Possessed By Every Successful Call Center Manager

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What do you look for when it’s time to hire a call center manager? Experience is great but that doesn’t automatically the applicant was effective at their previous position. Promoting from within can be advantageous, as you’ll get someone who already knows the ropes at your company – but not every agent is management material. 

Wherever you look for your next manager, try to find someone with these four qualities.

Personable

Cracking the whip is not a helpful approach with agents who are already feeling stress through handling angry callers all day. The best managers are friendly, stay calm in times of stress, and can relate to the challenges of agents whether they ever answered a phone or not. Everyone wants to feel that their boss has their best interests at heart. 

Adaptable

When plans change, an effective manager is prepared to call an audible, and make the right adjustments to schedules and personnel. 

Knowledgeable

When agents or other company personnel have questions about software, scripts, schedules, shift changes or any other call center issue, managers should have the answers. They need to know (or learn quickly at a new company) how everything works. 

Confidence

Managers that possess the previous three qualities will almost always have confidence as well. That’s a trait that comes naturally with feeling comfortable in one’s position and eager to help others make the most of their day. Managers that project confidence create a healthy, positive environment throughout the entire call center. 

Now here’s one more question – when you find a manager with all of these traits, how do you make sure they don’t leave? One idea is to make sure they know they are appreciated. Monet’s Power User of the Month program is one way to achieve this – find out more here


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The Basics: Workforce Optimization Solutions

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Adding a workforce optimization solution to a call center environment can seem like a daunting task – so many options, so much to learn and adjust to. But with the right system, the transition will not take long and the ROI benefits will quickly be realized through improved efficiency, and possibly reductions in labor costs.

But which WFO system should you choose? 

Obviously we are partial to WFO Live, our award-winning software product. But as you peruse the market keep in mind that you are not buying just one solution – WFO should deliver a suite of automated services all designed to help your call center achieve its business goals and compliance requirements.

Those features should include:

• Workforce Management

• Call Recording

• Quality Management

• Screen Capture

• Performance Management

• Speech Analytics 

Workforce Management

Forecasting, scheduling, intra-day management and exception planning are all part of workforce management. Make sure the software allows for real-time adherence, so adjustments can be made quickly before they can impact service levels. 

Call Recording

A call recording solution is invaluable in agent training, coaching and troubleshooting and establishing best practices. It also helps to resolve transaction disputes and determine regulatory compliance. You’ll want to invest in a solution that archives and retrieves calls quickly for review.

Quality Management

The quality management process incorporates dashboards, scorecards, agent analytics, customized reports and key performance indicators, to improve service levels, optimize utilization of resources and enhance cost management.

Screen Capture

Screen capture adds video to the voice recording of an agent’s interactions, providing a visual record of how agents employ the technology at their disposal. This aids in agent training, and can help call center staff improve their performance in such key areas as first-call resolution.

Performance Management

By analyzing the scorecards and reports produced by workforce optimization software, call centers can become more proactive in their quest for improving customer service, rather than reacting to events that have already occurred.

Speech Analytics

Simply put, speech analytics takes call recording to the next level by digging deeper into the content of each call, identifying patterns and key words and phrases that can help to further refine customer service efforts and agent training opportunities. 

Find out more about Monet WFM Live

 

 

 


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With Quality Monitoring, One Call = That’s All

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We’ve written several blogs about the importance of first-call resolution (FCR). If there were a Mount Rushmore of KPIs, this one would make the cut, because a customer that has to call back a second time to get an issue resolved may not be a customer much longer.

What’s the solution to better FCR? We believe it is quality monitoring.

Once you’ve established the FCR level for your call center (obviously this will vary depending on the product or service utilized by your customers), set a goal for, say, improving that number by 5%.

Then, let the two-step quality monitoring process of call recording and call scoring take it from there 

Call Recording

Review recordings of successful calls where issues were resolved, and those that were not. The latter category will likely be divided into two sub-categories: calls where an FCR result was unlikely from the start, and those where it could have been achieved if not for one particular variable.

Call Scoring

Score calls based on agent performance in bringing the call to a successful conclusion. This will provide the raw data that illustrates each agent’s approach to achieving FCR, and where additional training can help to correct mistakes.

This approach does not mean that agents are always culpable when FCR suffers. They may be working from a script that doesn’t adequately address certain situations. There may be a company policy that requires calls be transferred, which can cause delays and customer frustration.

Whatever the cause, quality management will reveal it. Make changes as needed, give those changes time to work, and then reassess. An improved first-call resolution rate is just one of many benefits derived from this effort.


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A More Efficient Call Center in One Minute?

These are just some of the real-world benefits experienced after implementing Monet WFM software.

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