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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

Three Steps to More Effective Quality Management

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If your contact center is already recording calls and monitoring calls, then you are two-thirds of the way toward an effective quality management program. Aligning these efforts toward specific performance goals will keep service from sagging.

The objective is to measure agent performance, and initiate changes in training or procedures as needed to boost customer service. Sounds easy, but some contact centers still struggle with their quality management strategies. Following these three steps should help your program achieve the desired results.

Step One: Ditch the ‘Random’ Approach

Random sampling sounds good – you assume you are getting a representative cross-section of customer calls when you create a list for review. But while it is certainly important to provide great service to every caller, there are some calls that are more important than others – these would include high-value customers, and/or those related to a specific promotion or upsell opportunity. So why not make it a point to score those for quality management? Desktop analytics software (available from Monet) can make it much easier to classify calls and find those that meet any pre-determined criteria. 

Step Two: Close the Loop

Quality management does not work as a standalone program. It should be part of a customer service cycle that ends with satisfied customers, and begins when agents are hired and trained. Think of quality as a proactive process that fuels every contact center action, and necessitates regular updates based on customer feedback. 

Step Three: Refresh Your Training Procedures 

Training is a vital component in agent performance, so regular training sessions should be a necessity, and should not be approached as an afterthought, or something to squeeze into brief respites of low call volume. Also, make sure training is supplemented with ongoing coaching that provides positive reinforcement and support. Even if you believe what you are doing now is working, there is always room for improvement. 

With Monet Quality Management it is possible to record not only the call itself but also score the call quality, capture the activity that took place on the agent's screen, and score 100% of these interactions, giving an accurate and comprehensive view of agent, team, and overall contact center performance. Only then, by connecting the dots, can you deliver great customer experiences.

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Finding the Perfect Greeting

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What goes into the perfect contact center agent greeting?

After five minutes on hold, the agent could say anything and the customer would be grateful. But your business is better than that. You use workforce management to create accurate forecasts and schedules, so there are always enough agents on the floor to answer calls promptly. But now the real work begins.

What is the first words or sentence in your script? One recent survey suggests that “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” is preferable to “Welcome to ABC Industries…”  And that makes sense, as it is more polite.

Some call centers prefer to open with “Thank you for calling ABC Industries…” which also sounds polite. However, at contact centers where a high percentage of calls come from people who are confused about a product or angry about a purchase, thanking them for making a call they didn’t want to make sets the wrong tone.

There are companies that prefer to be more formal: “ABC Industries, this is Bob, who am I speaking with?” But today’s customers, particularly millennials, would likely prefer a greeting that is more casual: “Hello, this is Bob with ABC Industries. How can I help you?”

And in keeping with formal vs. informal, “How can I help you” is slightly higher on the informality scale than “How may I help you.”

Is it important for the caller to know the agent’s name? The survey we referenced earlier suggests that they should – in fact, more than 90% of those who responded believe that helps to establish a one-on-one connection.

So let’s put that all together. A perfect greeting just might be: “Good morning, this is ABC Industries. My name is Bob. How can I help you?”

Agree? Disagree? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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Accomplish Your Contact Center Goals with Roadmapping

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Business goals are like destinations. The best way to achieve them is to determine the path forward that will be most effective. If you were driving toward an actual destination, you’d use a road map.

For a contact center goal, you can do the same thing.

Roadmapping is a process that refers to the actions that must be taken, the steps that execute those actions, and the resources needed to achieve those steps. It’s a plan that turns a vision into reality.

For instance – your goal is to increase first-call resolution. The road map here will have that as the final destination. How do you get there?

Start by gathering a team of those whose work is integral to that objective: agents, managers, coaches, trainers, and customers if you can – if not, conduct a customer survey that asks what went wrong with that first call. In this research phase you are gathering facts and opinions from those involved.

Now the strategic planning can begin. Take a fresh look at components, such as your script. Review your forecasting and scheduling procedures. Are there times when an insufficient number of agents are working, which may prompt those that are extra-busy to wrap up calls faster to cut down on wait times?

At the end of this phase, you should have a series of steps that should lead to more first call resolutions. The final step is creating that road map, and making sure everyone in the organization is using that map and heading in the same direction toward the same goal.

Try making road mapping part of your performance management efforts. Monet Metrics can help with this as well. It helps you to easily track, analyze and manage agent, group and center performance to optimize your call center performance. With Monet, you can create a culture of accountability and self-motivation.

Find out more about Monet Metrics for Performance Management

See a demo of Monet Metrics in action

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The Importance Of the Human Touch

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A positive result is always the goal at a contact center – an order placed, a question answered. But these days those outcomes can be achieved entirely through technology. Orders can be completed online; questions – that’s why there is an FAQ page on your company website.

But when customers call into a contact center, they are giving you an opportunity to deliver more than a positive result. By using workforce management to accurately forecast and schedule agents based on anticipated call volume, and by training your agents the right way, you can deliver a positive impression of your company that cannot be replicated by technology alone.

Placing an order online is efficient, but it doesn’t generate positive emotions. Speaking with a friendly agent who refers to the customer by name and makes them feel appreciated will go much further in building a strong relationship and encouraging loyalty.

Unfortunately, there’s a flip side to this. A poorly trained agent can have the opposite effect, and drive that customer away.

So make sure your agents are trained in human interactions, including customer service and conflict-management techniques and emotional intelligence. A well-trained agent who listens to customers and provides acceptable solutions can transform your brand image. 

Agent Training

Training should begin with learning the contact center script and understanding contact center procedures – but it shouldn’t stop there. Agents should also be encouraged to show patience, understanding, and empathy. Role-play scenarios can test how well they respond to different situations. 

Workforce Management Software

Of course, all of the burden for customer service should not fall on the agent’s shoulders. The contact center must provide the tools necessary for an agent to do his or her job, as well as provide forecasting and scheduling that assures the presence of enough agents to efficiently handle incoming calls. 

That used to be handled with spreadsheets but can now be covered with a workforce management (WFM) solution. With the advanced functionality and the more accurate forecasting and scheduling made possible by WFM, as well as the data it delivers on agent performance, schedule adherence and KPIs, contact center managers can always be assured the contact center’s resources are being utilized in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. 

Get the facts about Monet WFM 

Take a free online demo of our WFM solution

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The Contact Center in 2025

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Predictions are tricky things.

Everyone likes to peer into the future and guess what life and work will be like in five or ten years, but often after that time passes we look back on those prognostications and shake our heads at how wrong we were. 

Two years ago, we gave our predictions for what you’d find in the 2020 contact center. We saw more agents being used in multiple roles – handling not just calls but chat and email as well. We saw a need for better agent training, as customers could access basic product and service information themselves, and would only call with a more complex issue.

But even as the role of technology increased, we believed agents would 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.

For contact center managers, we predicted a transfer out of a primarily operational role in favor of a more “big picture” outlook on the organization. Rather than monitoring KPIs, managers will be meeting with executive teams from other divisions on how departments can successfully work together to deliver a more efficient end-to-end customer experience. 

Finally, we saw workforce management playing a more prominent role in tomorrow’s contact centers, as the drive to optimize resources will always be key to running a successful business. In the contact center that means accurate forecasting, as well as analytics, skills-based routing and capturing important customer data. 

Actually, looking back now I think we were right on the money.

Recently, we came across an article written by an industry executive that dared to guess what the contact center would look like in 2025. Not surprisingly, there was a belief expressed that artificial intelligence would play a more prominent role in how companies and customers communicate. But like every other kind of technology, it can be more efficient than humans but will never replace them.

Thus, in 2025, as will likely be the case in 2035, 2045 and beyond, a company’s responsibility to its customers is to deliver satisfaction, and part of that involves delivering a personalized experience. And for that, you’ll still need people. This feature originally appeared in our monthly newsletter. Click here to start receiving this newsletter in your email box.

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The Case For Desktop Analytics

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While Monet is pleased to offer both speech analytics and desktop analytics solutions, we tend to focus more on speech analytics because we’re hearing more customer interest in this capability, and its adoption into forward-thinking contact centers has become mainstream over the past few years.

However, downplaying desktop analytics (DA) does a disservice to an application that is just as valuable.

Perhaps it’s time to also consider adding DA to your business. What benefits could you derive from being able to capture and analyze all agent desktop activity? What process issues and bottlenecks might be avoided with more scrutiny into the systems you have in place now?

We’re not sure why DA hasn’t caught on yet with most businesses. Perhaps it’s still not understood as well as it should be. Or maybe the functionality of speech analytics is more easily explained than what a desktop analytics implementation provides.

So, let’s make the case for adding DA to your contact center: it will provide you with insights into your systems and activities that will help identify costly issues that have a negative impact on customer experience. It can monitor and identify compliance issues that could put your organization at risk.

Where speech analytics is primarily customer-focused, desktop analytics (DA) delivers insight on your agents and your processes. It captures and analyzes all agent desktop activities in real time, and it improves process automation and workflow. 

What makes (DA) unique is not just the capability of turning a spotlight on system, operational, or staff-related issues; it is the system’s ability to provide guidance and improve process automation, so these problems can be solved without scheduling meetings and taking time away from the day-to-day challenges of running a contact center. 

Desktop analytics is available as a standalone product, but our DA solution is one that works within and enhances our WFO suite. It is yet another tool available to managers trying to figure out why some processes have slowed and where issues need to be fixed. 

Are you Ready for Desktop Analytics? 

If you want more transparency into how your contact center functions, what agents are doing at their desks, whether your business is in compliance with government or industry guidelines on information gathering, and where your procedures are falling short of expectations, desktop analytics may have the answers. 

Schedule a live demo with a Monet Account Manager

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Declare Your Independence From Spreadsheets

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This is the month we celebrate Independence Day, and across the country, companies are crafting special offers with some sort of historic or patriotic theme.

So why should we be any different?

We think it’s time your contact center declared its independence from spreadsheets.

Ask yourself, as America’s early colonists asked about King George: how are we benefitting from this arrangement? How has it made our lives better? Are there things we can’t do now that we could do if we tried something different?

Take schedule adherence as an example. With spreadsheets, only limited spot-checking is possible. Without real-time adherence, shifts are more likely to be over-staffed or under-staffed. When that happens, resources are wasted and service levels are missed.

But where spreadsheets fall short, workforce management delivers real time adherence and monitoring. Result? Consistent, accurate service levels, and shrinkage cut by as much as 15 minutes per agent day. 

Down with Downtime

The scheduling of lunches and breaks, and how well agents adhere to their schedules can have a tremendous impact on ROI. At most contact centers, shrinkage rates can be greatly reduced with an effective WFM solution, depending on the size of the business. And when shrinkage rates fall, productivity and profits increase.  

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence states that all of us are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Contact center managers are happiest when their business is operating efficiently. When an increase as low as 1% in productivity can significantly impact the budget, it is imperative to identify areas where efficiency can be improved. 

One of these areas is flexibility – the limitations of spreadsheets result in fixed schedules that can produce higher shrinkage and overstaffing. But with WFM, it is easier to manage start times, end times and breaks with an ease of flexibility that dramatically improves service levels.  

Managers can also consult more detailed and accurate call histories with WFM, resulting in better forecasts.  

Scheduling? Also much faster. Some managers can save as much as 25% of the time once devoted to filling in spreadsheets – time that can now be used for additional agent training or to attend to other matters. 

Ready to declare your independence from spreadsheets? Find out more about Monet WFM

Experience a free online demo of Monet WFM

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Four “Must Have” Qualities in a Quality Management System

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“Quality,” that elusive attribute for which a contact center strives, is always a challenge to achieve consistently.
But maintaining quality is critical in every aspect of a company’s operation, and especially in the contact center where thousands of people have their first experience with how that company treats its customers. A positive impression can lead to a long and profitable relationship; a bad one can end it before it has a chance to start.

Do you have a quality management (QM) program? If so, when was the last time you reviewed its success (or lack thereof)? Whether you are starting a new QM effort, or giving the old one a makeover, here are four attributes that must be handled correctly.

Call Scoring

This is perhaps the most critical aspect of quality management, so it is best decided with the participation of as many employees as possible. Divide each call into sections – greeting, closing, speed, issue resolution, courtesy, empathy, etc. – and then score each segment. This could be done with a letter grade like in school, or on a 1-10 scale. Then, compare results. Don’t be surprised if assessments vary – you are still early in the process and this is how you will determine what qualifies as a great call, a good one, and one that was not well-handled. The more participants become acclimated to the QM system, the closer the scores should get. 


If training consists of the same procedures every week or month, agents will tune it out. Have trainers use varied methods to maintain a higher level of engagement. And as much as you trust your coaches and trainers to maximize agent performance, their work must be regularly monitored as well. 

Customer Involvement

Serving your customers better is the reason to introduce QM – so it makes sense to include their feedback instead of just assuming what they want from your business. Review customer satisfaction scores against QM results, and address any gaps or discrepancies. Update customer surveys frequently. 


Without the right software, a quality management program is going to struggle. Monitoring of customer interactions should be simple for agents, and the intelligence gathered through the system should be easy to analyze for managers. Also, consider future growth – the software you select should be able to grow with your company, and meet your needs not only today but tomorrow.

Find out more about Monet’s Quality Management Solution

Or, take our QM system out for a test-drive in this free online demo

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Why Flexible Shift Scheduling is Now Essential

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Ask a contact center manager what his (or her) agents want most from their jobs, and you might get answers like “more money” or “not having to be yelled at by angry callers.”

But a recent poll found that 43% of agents would actually choose the ability to control their shifts over an increase in salary.

That should be greeted favorably at contact centers. It doesn’t cost you any more to utilize flexible shift schedules, and doing so may not only help you keep your best agents, it will also help you to save money by utilizing agents on more part-time shifts, so they can work when they are needed.

And it’s not just good news for the budget. Based on feedback we’ve received from many of our clients, it seems those that opt for flexible shifts are seeing positive results, including fewer incidents of overstaffing and understaffing and increased service levels.

When shifts are created based on forecasted caller demand, there is less likelihood of agents having too many calls to handle, or having nothing to do while getting paid. Service levels go up because shifts are staffed and timed to meet customer demand. And when agents have some say in which shifts they are assigned, they find it easier to balance work, school and home life obligations, and are likely to stay longer with a job that fits their lifestyle. 

Ready to make the switch? Here’s how to get started. 

First, use the WFM data you’ve collected to determine what type of shifts best fit the call patterns at your contact center. 

The variations here are infinite – perhaps you’ll need 8 hours on peak days and 7 hours the rest of the week, or four 6-hour shifts and three 4-hour shifts. The idea is always to schedule more hours at peak times and fewer on slower shifts or days.

As you make the transition, keep your agents informed, and invite their input into which schedules they would find easier to work. Offer incentives to fill out the tougher shifts.

And make the change gradually so everyone has time to adjust. New hires, of course, will acclimate more quickly. Once you have the flexible shifts in place, you may wish to tweak the schedule from time to time if your call volume varies by season, or based upon other variables.  

If you do switch from a fixed to a flexible schedule, let us know how it works out!

Workforce management delivers the data that makes flexible shifts possible – find out more.

See Monet’s WFM solution in action with this online demo

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Three Ways to Motivate Your Agents (Besides Money)

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The old adage “you get what you pay for” may be true, but there are times when it is simply not possible to reward your best agents with the raises they may deserve.

Thankfully, there are other methods that can be just as successful, and keep those superstar agents from seeking other employment. Try these three ideas and let us know if they work!

1. Encouragement in Coaching

Too often, training sessions focus only on what an agent did wrong. After too many of those, the agent will either quit or tune out the feedback.

Agents that only get things wrong won’t be with you long anyway, so it’s safe to assume that the rest are doing a generally good job – there are just some areas where improvement is possible. Make training about what went well – praise the areas where each excels. And when some correction is needed, help them to understand why the change is necessary, so it doesn’t sound like criticism for the sake of criticism. 

2. Meet Your Customers

“Customer service is our top priority” is a nice slogan, but by itself it won’t motivate an agent to a better performance. However, such messages are more effective when delivered not from the manager, but from the customers themselves.

Share any customer data you have with agents, from surveys to interviews to recorded calls. Or take it one step further and set up one-on-one conversations between agents and your best customers. Let them meet the people that rely on them for a quality experience. If they can picture a real customer in their minds as they take every call, it will motivate them to bring their ‘A’ game every time.

3. Friendly Competitions

Divide the agents from each shift into two groups – boys against the girls, newcomers against the veterans, fans of opposing sports teams – and have them compete for better performance on specific customer service goals.

And here is one extra tip: Monet Metrics, which delivers the means to analyze agent performance, and personalized scorecards that motivate agents to self-manage their performance.

Find out more about Monet Metrics

What agent motivation techniques have worked at your contact center? Share them on our Facebook page

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Service Levels: Why They Suffer, and What You Can Do About It

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Service level is just one element that contributes to a customer’s positive call center experience – but it’s an important one. 

People are more impatient these days, and calls that are not answered promptly will turn into missed calls much more quickly than they would ten or even five years ago.

If your business is like most contact centers, you calculate service level by the percentage of calls answered within a pre-determined time period – for example, answering 80% of calls in 20 seconds or less. When you miss your goal, it is likely a result of one of these challenges:

Longer Calls

When new agents take longer than they should, or product issues requiring longer explanations, the number of calls-per-hour handled by agents drops, creating a domino effect that impacts when new calls are answered.

Faulty Forecast

If call volume or call patterns are different than what was anticipated, it will affect service level.

Incomplete Schedule

If scheduling does not take into account all activities, including non-call activities, meetings, etc. it can result in not having enough agents on the floor in a shift to maintain optimal service level.

Adherence Issues

When agents fall out of adherence, service level is certain to suffer.

What can you do to improve the situation? The answer is Workforce Management (WFM).

With WFM, call center forecasts will be much more accurate than spreadsheets. By utilizing call history data and running scenarios based on previous volumes and arrival patterns, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect, and can plan accordingly.

Better forecasts mean better schedules, and with WFM it’s easier to build flexibility into scheduling so start times, end times, break times and training sessions won’t hurt service level expectations.

Finally, WFM allows contact center managers to track adherence throughout the day, while monitoring service level alongside other key metrics. By accessing this information in real time, managers can make adjustments and rapidly put things back on track, resulting in more consistent service levels, hour after hour, day after day.

Do you have any tips on improving service levels? Share them on our Facebook page

Find out more about the benefits of Monet WFM

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Volunteer Projects Support Call Center Unity

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If you work with people you like, going to work every day is a little easier. And if you work for a company that seems to not only care about its employees but about the community as well, it can make you feel a little better about your job.

One way to achieve both of these goals at your contact center is by supporting volunteer projects.

Encouraging agents and other employees to participate in community projects is not just good for morale – it’s the right thing to do. It allows agents to help organizations that are important to them and it can generate some positive media coverage for your company as well.

There are two ways to go about this: one is to give each agent a few days of paid leave every year to pursue projects that will have a positive effect on morale and on the community. 

The advantage to this is that every agent will be able to make a difference for a cause they already care about. You should also encourage networking, as its possible agents will discover common causes, such as animal rescue, or cancer research, and work together for their benefit.

Another option is to have all of your agents, or all of the agents from a certain shift, choose a common cause that they can all help together. Perhaps that would mean giving up a few hours on a weekend to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, or organizing a fundraiser for a local nonprofit organization.

These are all good things to do in and of themselves. But you may be surprised at how much they will also help you achieve the quality and service goals you’ve set for your contact center.

According to a Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT survey, 61% of millennials said a volunteer program would be a factor “when choosing between two potential jobs with the same location, responsibilities, pay and benefits.”

Once on the job, employees also feel better about their corporations — and themselves — when they’re presented with the opportunity to volunteer. Deloitte found that over 50% of millennial employees that volunteer are very loyal toward their company, proud to work there, satisfied with their employer, and likely to recommend their company to a friend. their work culture as “very positive,” as compared to those who don’t volunteer.

Do you have any recommendations for nonprofit or other organizations that need volunteer help? Share them on our Facebook page

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Five Things Customers Demand From Your Call Center – Do You Provide Them?

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By the time your average customer has punched in the ten-digit phone number for your contact center, he or she has already established expectations for what is about to happen. Customers know what to anticipate from an efficient and successful engagement, and that is what they want you to deliver.

This is what is on their minds. Is your contact center up to the task?

1. Someone Says Hello Within Three Rings

If a real person answers the phone, you may hear an audible sign of relief from the customer expecting a trying-too-hard-to-be-friendly recorded greeting, followed by a series of menu options that may or may not eventually get them to where they want to be.

2. Manners

Yes, they seem to be disappearing a little more each day, but most of your customers will still be delighted to hear a courteous greeting, an appreciation for their business, “please” and “thank you” when it’s appropriate, and conversation that doesn’t sound like it is being read off of a page.

3. Less Talk – More Listening

Many of your contact center customers are calling with a question. And they will quickly grow frustrated if they’re not allowed to ask that question because the agent keeps asking them questions first. Obviously an agent will have to collect some information, but every effort should be made to keep it to a minimum. And if a call has to be transferred, make sure the information collected is transferred with it, so the customer doesn’t have to say it again.

4. Knowledgeable Staff

When the customer finally gets to ask his or her question, they will expect an answer. As most will relate to the company’s products, services and policies, agent training should prepare call center personnel for responding to these queries. Occasionally, when a more unexpected question is asked, an agent should have access to communication with other agents or a manager who can deliver an answer quickly. Putting the customer on hold to obtain this is not a great option, but if an answer is forthcoming the customer will understand.

5. A Successful Resolution

Ultimately, the most important result to strive for with each customer call is a successful outcome – an order placed, a question answered, or a problem solved. Well-trained agents and quality call center technology, working together, improve the likelihood of a successful resolution.

A Quality Management solution can help your contact center deliver great service and improve customer satisfaction. Find out how

Call recording is an integral part of quality management. Check out this free online demo of Monet’s call recording solution.

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Introducing: Monet’s New Workforce Optimization Suite

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Something great just got even better.

Monet Software is proud to announce the release of our next generation Workforce Optimization (WFO) suite. We designed it to empower contact centers and help desks to improve customer experience and agent productivity, identify performance gaps, reduce costs, and deliver outstanding and efficient customer service.

New features? It’s loaded.

Call Recording and Quality Management with Screen Capture

Monet’s cloud-based Call Recording and Quality Management with Screen Capture integrates seamlessly into a cloud or on-premise contact center infrastructure to help deliver exceptional customer service. Businesses have access to a robust call search design, descriptive call, video and interaction tagging, desktop screen and call audio live monitoring, dynamic conditional evaluations, powerful group and personal inboxes driven by intelligent business rules, and descriptive reporting.

And of course, this solution integrates with our Workforce Management, Performance Management, and Speech Analytics solutions, enabling businesses to transform each customer interaction into actionable data, and to align each conversation with their business goals.

Long-Term Forecasting

Create long-range forecast calculations using historical volume and arrival patterns, which generate accurate staffing requirements. Planners can customize flexible ranges of months as unique long-term forecasts, each with their own overhead cost values, allowing “what if” scenarios for long-term capacity planning and cost projections. Special closed dates like holidays are recognized in FTE requirements, and anomalous data can be excluded so that long-term planning with Monet is both easy and precise.

UI Modernization

Our classic user-friendly UI has gotten a makeover! Our modern responsive UI makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and screen sizes and increases the efficiency of performing day-to-day workforce optimization tasks by maximizing the available workspaces.

Optimized Deferred Work Scheduling

Improve the scheduling of deferred work tasks like email and cases. Using historical data from an ACD or CRM to drive the deferred work scheduling, Monet can find the optimal time of day to ensure deferred work tasks are handled while also meeting service level targets of immediate response tasks like calls and chat. 

What could your contact center achieve with these capabilities?  

Questions? Contact a Monet team member today

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Cut Agent Training Time in Half

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Training is the critical step that prepares new agents before they are ready to serve your customers. Obviously it’s important to get it right, but it’s also true that the time devoted to training is time when that agent is being paid, but not yet doing the job for which he or she was hired.

How much time are we talking about? As much as one month at some contact centers, and sometimes even longer.

While companies may be hesitant to cut training time, it is possible to do so responsibly – here are some ideas for how to make it happen.

Homework Content

Prepare materials that the agent-in-training can take home to study. Not just the script, but also a list of best practices and frequently asked questions. You can also create an audio file of successful customer engagements, so new hires can hear exactly what is expected of them.

Peer-to-Peer Training

Some contact centers have found that agents respond faster to training when it comes from another agent, rather than a manager or call center executive. There is less pressure in a peer-to-peer situation, and the new agent may feel more comfortable asking questions about the job and about why certain procedures are in place.

Get to That First Call Faster

It has to happen sometime – but do some agents really need four or more weeks of training and instruction before taking their first customer call?

It’s a big sink-or-swim moment, and should be closely monitored by a trainer who can jump in and take over if there’s an issue. But if the rest of your training regimen is sound, it’s worth trying to accelerate the pace to this training stage. It also gives you an actual call that can now be reviewed and scored using the quality management techniques already in place at your contact center.

Before providing this feedback, however, ask the new agent to assess his or her own performance – how did they handle the greeting? Was there a selling opportunity missed? How would that customer rate that service experience? Self-coaching should be an important part of the agent’s job, so it’s helpful to get a head start here as well.

Do you have any coaching techniques that have worked at your call center? Share them on our Facebook page

Would your new agents benefit from a better quality management solution? Here’s what Monet has to offer

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Maintaining Optimal Service at the End of Each Shift

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If one of your contact center shifts ends at 5pm, have you ever noticed what happens starting around 4:30?

Often, average handle time drops – which sounds good until you realize that it’s happening not because agents are being more efficient, but because they have one foot out the door already and are rushing through their last few calls.

That’s a problem. The customer that calls at 4:50pm deserves the same amount of time and attention as the one who called near the beginning of the shift.

Here are some suggestions to help make that happen.

A “Last Man (or Woman) Standing” Contest

Offer a small incentive to the last agent still on the phone when the shift ends. If there’s a healthy competition between agents, you may find more of them sticking around longer not just for the prize, but also for bragging rights.

Encourage a Culture of Professionalism

This starts in training. Be clear on an agent’s responsibilities, and how the job should be approached. Praise good performance regularly throughout each shift, and reinforce the values of the company and the importance of each customer at every training session. If the groundwork has been laid correctly, agents won’t need as much outside encouragement to maintain their professionalism through the end of every shift.

Select More Late-Shift Calls for Quality Management Scores

Let your agents know that future training sessions and quality management assessments will utilize a higher percentage of calls taken from the last half-hour of their shifts. When agents know they will be judged on their performance and on the outcomes of these calls, they will give them the attention they deserve.

Close the Phone Lines Early

Some contact centers have elected to close phone lines a half-hour before the shift ends, allowing agents to use that time to wrap up and post-call work, or perhaps even switch over to online chat, a less stressful means of customer communication.

Do you have any other ideas for stopping advisors from rushing through calls at the end of the day? Share them on our Facebook page

Would your new agents benefit from a better quality management solution? Here’s what Monet has to offer

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Four Factors Found In Every Successful Contact Center

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Take a closer look at successful people and successful companies, and you’ll often find they share the same positive traits.

At the contact center, success is measured by how well customers are treated. What are some of the factors you’ll find in common at the best of these businesses? These four come to mind.

  1. Accessibility
    For decades, call centers only had to worry about one communication channel. But today, customers may prefer to reach out through other means – emails, social media, web chat. The contact center should facilitate these connections.
  2. Consistency
    The same approach to customer service, and the same answers to customer questions, should be delivered consistently from agent to agent, and from service channel to service channel. Learning that lesson starts in training and is reinforced throughout your quality management efforts.
  3. Communication
    In this case, it’s a reference not to communication between agents and customers, but between agents and managers. Everybody likes to feel appreciated. When agents excel at their work they deserve to be recognized and rewarded. And when agents have questions or suggestions, they should not be reluctant to share them.
  4. Understanding
    The job of an agent is not to listen to a customer until he or she hears a key word (order, return, complaint) that triggers a pre-scripted response. It is to actively listen to what is being said, and respond within the framework of call center policy, but in a way that acknowledges each customer individually by giving him or her the respect of the agent’s full attention. And, when necessary, offering support or empathy that goes beyond the words in the script or the service provided. Is this being emphasized enough at your business?

Would your new agents benefit from a better quality management solution? Here’s what Monet has to offer

Watch a demo of our call recording and monitoring solution in action

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Coca-Cola – Another Contact Center In the Cloud

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If you wanted to call Coca Cola in the United States, your call would be routed to one of five contact centers, employing more than 1,600 agents.

But recently, the company decided it was time to revamp this important part of its business. Doing so was viewed as a key component in the overall company goal of refranchising its North American market share.

The first challenge was to better integrate its communications configuration across the entire contact center suite, which company executives described as difficult to update and expensive to maintain.

To solve the problem, Coca-Cola did what many enterprise entities have done in recent years – it moved to the cloud.

The objective was to be more flexible and scalable, and to better employ capabilities such as workforce management, quality management and call recording. Since the migration, Coca-Cola has achieved these benefits, while reducing its contact center operating expenditures by 50%.

Still Considering a Move to the Cloud?

Cloud computing is not only ready for the enterprise, it is now the preferable option over traditional on-premise software.

Monet has created a whitepaper that analyzes this topic, at a time when more companies of all sizes and types are exploring their technology options. 

Use of cloud applications is increasing rapidly every year, which is not surprising given the array of benefits intrinsic to this service:

  • Scalability – Cloud service providers allow clients to increase or decrease existing resources as needed to accommodate changing needs on demand. 
  • Flexibility – Cloud applications are available from any computer or any device—any time, anywhere. That allows enterprise personnel to be more flexible in and out of the workplace. 
  • Cost – With a cloud system, larger companies can take advantage of scaled maintenance in a specialized data center, while investing the money saved in capital expense into other aspects of the business. 
  • Ease of Use – Since the cloud provider manages all updates and upgrades, there are no patches for customers to download or install. 
  • Security – The cloud offers a much higher grade of security than most internal IT departments. 

Monet is always available to help address the concerns of companies considering a cloud solution, and to identify the many ways in which the cloud can benefit your enterprise. 

Read the whitepaper

Check out our eBook on how to get your boss on board with the switch to workforce management in the cloud

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Building An Emotive Customer Experience

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Contact center trends come and go, but the renewed emphasis on “emotive customer experience” is one that should be here to stay.

Why? Because its focus is one that has been part of the contact center culture since the beginning – forging a genuine connection between the company and the customer.

But in recent years, as technology continues to encroach on personalized service, companies have sacrificed those connections for the efficiency and convenience of other forms of communication.

Make no mistake ­­– customers want those other options as well. They’re busy too. But when they can’t solve the problem, or when it is more important to speak with someone who will understand the challenge and know what to do next, a path to one-on-one communication, with minimal hoops to jump through to get there, is once again considered crucial for delivering a peak customer experience.

Establishing an Emotional Connection

What does that mean, exactly? We know it’s important because of the results of a recent Harvard Business Review study, showing that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable on a lifetime basis as highly satisfied customers, because they are more likely to repurchase goods and services and recommend the business to others.

No matter how well-designed the company website or mobile app may be, no matter how quickly the company responds to social media posts, and no matter how courteous an online chat responds to inquiries, none of these are sufficient for establishing an emotional connection. It requires a person-to-person interaction.

Ironically, the same technology that puts distance between customers and agents can also be used to establish that emotive customer experience:

  • Speech analytics helps agents identify frustration points and act appropriately.
  • Call recording allows managers to automatically review hundreds or thousands of calls for things to make sure the desired quality of human interaction exists, and that agents are spending sufficient time listening to every caller.
  • At help desks and service desks, Salesforce provides agents with access to important information about each caller, including which products they own, open cases, caller status (VIP) and sentiment, allowing them to personalize the interaction, and leave them with a positive emotional experience.

Monet can deliver these tools to help you in your quest to be there for your customers on their terms.

Find out more about our speech analytics solution

Find out about Monet Record, our call recording solution

Find out how our Workforce Management for Salesforce can assist help desks with increasing customer satisfaction

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Slow Summer? That’s Opportunity Knocking

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Ah, summer. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and according to one song the time is right for dancing in the streets.

Well, that’s one way to spend the season.

But if your contact center is one where call levels typically drop from June to August, why not resist that urge to work on your tan and instead work on getting ready for the time when call volume is going to rise?

This is the time to reassess business practices, experiment with new procedures, and brainstorm ways to improve customer service, so you’ll be ready when business picks up. 

Need help getting started? That’s why we’re here. Ask yourself these questions:

1. How is Our Stand-By List?

Have you checked in with any of your temp agents since they said goodbye at the Christmas party last year? Do you know how many will likely still be available for this year’s holiday rush? If you’ve lost a few to other positions, take this time to start interviewing potential replacements.

2. How is Training?

Agent training should be an ongoing activity, but when things are busy these sessions tend to get squeezed into shorter windows, and may not be as effective. If the phones are quiet right now, this is an opportunity to take a closer look at the data you have on each agent (assuming you have a workforce optimization solution) and provide customized training on specific areas of concern. 

3. How’s the Family?

No, not yours. But that’s a question you can ask your agents during the summer slowdown. Get to know them better. Find out what they like about their job and what is causing them problems. By taking an interest you may build relationships in ways that keep agents around longer. Their feedback may also contain good ideas that can be implemented throughout the contact center. 

And if you start now on these efforts, you should still have some time left over to get outside and enjoy that summer sunshine. 

If you don’t have a workforce optimization solution to help you with training and so many other everyday activities, check out a demo of Monet WFO here.

What is Unified Workforce Optimization? This blog has the answer.

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Managing Wait Times to Reduce Customer Frustration

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There are two types of people in the world: those who hate waiting, and those who really hate waiting.

Patience used to be a virtue; now it’s an endangered species. And that’s important when you run a contact center, as one of your most important objectives has to be the reduction of wait times.

You might think one minute on hold before an agent picks up is no big deal; but get out a stopwatch and let it tick off one minute while you sit and do nothing – which is what your customers are likely doing as they wait for an agent to respond.

So the challenge is reducing average speed of answer. One way to do that is to shorten all of your calls so agents can handle more calls each day. Here are a few ideas on how to make that happen.

  • Skills-Based Routing: Agents that specialize in certain types of calls will almost always be able to handle them more quickly. 
  • Automated Processes: Switching from spreadsheets to workforce management reduces average handle time.
  • No Cold Transfers: If a call must be transferred, always make sure the customer’s relevant data is transferred as well, so the same questions won’t have to be asked a second time.
  • Reward Top Performers: Give an agent a special prize for reaching maximum number of calls per shift - as long as they're achieving this goal in a way that also provides courteous and attentive service.

Monet WFO is an affordable and easy to use cloud-based workforce optimization software solution that will boost your contact center’s efficiency in myriad ways, including the time it takes for agents to greet callers.

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Call Recording Challenges: How to Avoid Them

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There are many different call recording software solutions available. While their essential purpose remains the same, there are variations in functionality, implementation and cost that should be reviewed by contact center management so that an informed purchasing decision can be made.

The objective is to add all the advantages that call recording provides, without introducing new challenges. Like these:

1. Finding Specific Calls

The data stored on call monitoring software won’t be as useful if it takes forever to find it. If a manager needs to locate a specific call or series of calls, and the effort proves frustrating and time-consuming, the system is useless. The system should carry out the call retrieval function based on any number of “tags” that can be affixed to a specific call. Typically, the response to a command such as “Find Alan Martin’s most recent call” should be done in seconds.

2. Protecting Customer Information

At a time when there are too many news stories about security breaches, and customer data falling into the hands of hackers, it has never been more essential to utilize a call recording solution that is safe. It should assist in the prevention of information theft, and restrict information access to specific individuals or groups. Make sure data collected is secure, encrypted if necessary and protected from hackers and other threats.

3. It Should Integrate Into Your Current Technology

Conversion to new call recording software will inevitably involve some business disruption, but it should be minimal. Find out how long it takes for initial set-up of the system, as well as how long it will take to train contact center staff on its proper usage. Another important element is the integration to other workforce systems. It is always beneficial to have call recording working with workforce management, as you’ll find in Monet’s Workforce Optimization solution. 

4. It Shouldn’t Cost Too Much

Is there an initial upfront equipment/hardware investment and software license fee? Are there any costs that may be necessary for call center staff training, as well as internal operation costs and any future maintenance and subscription fees? Are there any other costs for implementation and integration with other systems? By investigating cloud solutions, even smaller call centers with limited budgets and resources can afford a system with the same benefits and advantages traditionally enjoyed by companies with much larger IT budgets. 

Find out more about the benefits of Monet’s call recording solution here

Call recording can build a valuable knowledge base for your contact center. This blog explains how

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5 Golden Rules for Service Desks

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Most of us learn the golden rule in elementary school: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

That’s pretty good advice for a help desk as well – when you treat customers the way you would like to be treated, you stand a much better chance of keeping that customer’s business.

Of course, knowing what to do and figuring out the best way to do it are often two separate challenges. So here are five more “golden rules” for service desks that, if followed, will result in efficient case resolutions and happier customers.

1. Listening is As Important as Talking

Agents have a field-tested script that usually delivers results. But help desk customers also want to be heard. Many of them will be angry or upset, and they don’t appreciate taking time out from their day to listen to your menu options. While a favorable case resolution is always the primary goal, it’s also important for help desk agents to allow callers to vent, and to express empathy and an apology when warranted (and not just one read from a page).

2. Complaints are As Valuable as Compliments

Agents may not enjoy listening to them, but a complaint often contains important advice that could lead to positive changes in company policy.

3. Anticipate Needs Before They’re Expressed

If this is your tenth call about the same service issue, you can save time and deliver better service by having the solution ready.

4. Don’t Value Procedures More Than People

All help desks have procedures regarding how tickets are submitted and how issues are handled. Such rules are important, but they should never stand in the way of delivering the best service possible. It’s easier to change a rule than lose a customer.

5. Give Your Agents the Tools They Need to Succeed

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.

Monet Workforce Management for Salesforce 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 for Salesforce makes it possible. 

Find out more about Monet Workforce Management for Salesforce

Download our free whitepaper: Workforce Management: A Beginner’s Guide for Help Desks and Service Desks

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5 Lines That Should Be in Every Call Center Script (WFM)

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You can’t make a great movie without a good script, and you can’t run a great contact center without one either.

The script your agents use should establish a helpful tone and encourage conversation that results in a positive outcome. 

Is it time you took a fresh look at your script? If so, and rewrites are needed, here are five lines that will almost certainly make it better.

“I understand”

It’s simple, it’s straightforward and it communicates the empathy an agent should feel when a customer calls with a complaint. These callers want to know that the person at the other end of the line gets that they’re not happy.

“Let’s take care of that for you.”

Note the use of “Let’s" (let us) – that puts the caller and the agent on the same side of the issue, rather than the agent coming across only as a representative of the company that disappointed the caller. It’s a subtle change but it does make a difference. 

“Do you mind waiting for a moment while I get that answer for you?”

Putting customers on hold is never a welcome action from their perspective, so when it becomes necessary it’s best to do it as a request and not with a “please hold,” that doesn’t give that caller any other option. Yes, asking the question could lead to some customers saying no and hanging up, but by the time they’ve gotten this far most will hang around to get the resolution they desire.

“My name is…”

When an agent introduces him- or herself by name, it reinforces the fact that the customer is talking to an actual person and not a recorded voice.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

While shorter calls are better for KPIs, this question can lead to an upsell or an additional sale. That’s always worth an extra few minutes.

What lines have proven most valuable in your contact center script? Share them on our Facebook page.

Want to make the most of every customer interaction? Speech analytics can help. Sign up here for a live personalized demo of how it works.

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5 More Benefits of Speech Analytics

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In several previous blogs we’ve listed some of the ways in which speech analytics could improve customer service at your contact center. We’ll link a couple of those at the end of this piece in case you missed them. 

But before you take a look, here are some additional benefits of contact center analytics. Isn’t it time you started taking advantage of them?

1. Anticipating (and Eliminating) Follow-Up Calls

How many times have you purchased something that worked fine, but there was still some confusion over one of its functions, or how to complete some task, that necessitated a follow-up call with the manufacturer? Speech analytics will track patterns where such questions come up frequently, so it’s possible for agents to provide information about this issue at the time of purchase. That reduces call volume while helping customers avoid the frustration of having to contact you again. 

2. Keeping Up With Competitors

“You know, Cheapo Electronics has the same product you’re offering for $20 less.” Speech analytics captures these comments, so they can be passed on to marketing and sales teams. Thus, if you’re losing business to a competitor, you can react with your own discount and keep those customers. 

3. Cutting Through the Clutter

There’s a problem somewhere – a disconnect in how your agents are handling calls that is having a negative effect on customer service – but it is difficult to pinpoint the specific issue with so many variables. A speech analytics solution is able to sift through thousands of calls based on a wide range of parameters, from call duration and repeat calls to the use of specific words in conversations. With this data, it may be easier to find the reason for the disconnect ¬– and get rid of it.

4. Finding Stress in Speech Patterns

Many of us tend to talk faster when we’re upset. And while you might think angry people usually talk louder, there are some that express their frustration in low, even tones, as if they’re trying to keep a lid on their emotions. Speech analytics can help managers interpret the amount of stress in customer voices, so that information is delivered to agents who can then respond accordingly. 

5. Reducing Reliance on Surveys

Today, your customers are inundated with unwanted phone calls and emails asking them to “participate in a short survey.” This will inevitably lead to more people ignoring these requests, which is not good for your marketing analysis efforts. But speech analytics can pick up the slack, by delivering that insight into customer attitudes without agents having to ask for it.

Looking for more reasons to add speech analytics to your contact center? Check out these blogs:

Speech Analytics: Without It, Here’s What You’re Missing

The Ascent of Analytics at Call Centers

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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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