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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

Do You Really Need Speech Analytics?

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This is the question now facing hundreds of companies that interact with customers through a contact center. 

Sure, we may be biased because we offer speech analytics. But we’ve also seen the results call centers have achieved once it has been implemented. In a business where data is critical, this is data that delivers more insight into your customers’ wants, needs and preferences than anything on a spreadsheet. 

But isn’t everything moving online now? Some of the more basic customer issues are certainly being settled via email or other channels now. But when people really want answers, or have something they need to tell a company, they still want someone from that company to listen – and they are still going to pick up the phone. 

So do you really need speech analytics?

Only If You Want More Sales

Speech analytics can help identify which sales pitches are generating the best return, and which words or phrases are having the greatest impact on callers. It can also identify which methods are doing more harm than good, and target up-sell strategies and efforts that are generating the desired results. 

Only If You Want Happier Customers

Why are unhappy callers calling? Is it a product failure or a service issue? Was there a billing problem, or did they have trouble getting the information they need to make a buying decision? Speech analytics finds the common threads in thousands of calls. Management can then respond with targeted improvement initiatives based on this intelligence. 

Only If You Want A Better First Call Resolution Rate

With first call resolution (FCR), speech analytics delivers insight into why repeat calls are necessary, by getting to the root of their occurrence. It identifies instances of repeat calls that might not be detected through other means, such as when a customer calls again days or even weeks later on a different matter. When such instances are catalogued, a call center can work on ways to resolve both issues on one call – perhaps even before the caller is aware of the problem. 

Only If You Want More Effective Agents

Call recording and monitoring identifies issues with agents, but speech analytics takes this process one step further, highlighting specific performance components and call content that makes evaluation much more comprehensive. Through such repeated, methodical analysis, managers will know how to adjust scripts and how agents should deliver their content, in ways that will boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

With speech analytics, call centers can improve the quality of customer service and satisfaction, boost customer loyalty and retention, and reduce time spent on repeat calls and issues related to other KPIs, all while also lowering call center costs. 


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Five Tips for Improving Performance Management

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What is performance management? It’s a process of motivating employees through setting goals, measuring progress, providing feedback and coaching for improved performance, and rewarding achievements. 

In a call center this can be achieved through software applications that combine dashboards, analytics, workflow and data integration, all of which make it easier for managers to set specific performance goals and communicate them to agents and other personnel. 

Here are five tips to improve your performance management efforts: 

1. Prioritize

All of the key performance indicators are important, but some will be more critical than others to your customer service effort at this stage. For instance, average handle time might be an issue, but if too many calls are being abandoned because customers are hanging up before an agent greets them, that is the problem that should be addressed first.

2. Delegate

Identifying issues is only half the battle. Brainstorming a solution is the next step, but then you still need someone to implement it. As someone once said, a goal without a plan is just a dream. Put someone in charge of executing the plan. 

3. Set Realistic Goals

Chances are you won’t cut average handle time by 5 minutes per agent – but perhaps a 1-minute cut is possible, and when that time saved is added up over an entire month the savings will still be significant. Don’t focus only on quantitative objectives, where you can strive to hit a specific number that represents improvement. Set qualitative goals as well, such as challenging agents to be more courteous with each customer. 

4. Establish Positive Patterns

With goals and plans in place, identify the hurdles that stand in the way of consistent performance moving forward. Will additional training keep everyone on the right track? Would better forecasting and scheduling software improve the likelihood of success? Is it time to consider workforce management? 

5. Monitor and Repeat

Check your results, but don’t wait for the end of the week or month. Quality monitoring and tracking key call center metrics should be an ongoing process, as it may be possible to make additional changes to further optimize a call center process that is underperforming. Refine the system and then set new goals. 

Performance management is one of the most effective ways to improve contact center service – as long as the metrics are accurate and implemented in a way that bolsters the associated workflow functionality. This is not a one-time fix but an ongoing challenge that should become part of the call center’s everyday management procedures.


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Christmas in July? Start Preparing Now for Busy Holiday Calling Season

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Christmas in July gets bigger every year, as more retailers and companies take time out from another scorching summer to think about Santa and winter wonderlands. 

You might wish to consider a Christmas in July party at your call center. Have everyone wear their favorite reindeer sweater, serve some eggnog and sing a few holiday carols.

But here is one other way to mark the occasion that could pay significant dividends as the actual holiday gets closer – start planning now for the year-end rush. 

For many call centers, November and December are the busiest time of year. So July is a better time to be sure you are prepared to handle the oncoming tidal wave of customer orders, returns and questions. 

Too early? Perhaps. But the days have a way of going by faster than you might think – we can’t believe it’s July already! So why not start on your forecasting, which is easy to do with a workforce management solution. You can review the call patterns from last year’s holiday season, and those before, so you’ll know what to expect in the months ahead. Run simulations based on this data and review the results so they can be as fine-tuned as necessary. 

How is your agent stand-by list? It’s probably been more than six months since it has been updated. Start contacting those agents now to check their availability. Some might have other jobs and will not be available in a few months. And if you don’t have a stand-by list, start putting one together. 

How did the training sessions go on your holiday season hires last year? This is a good time to refine those efforts. If you’re handling this well, there’s a good chance that some of those temp agents are now engaged full-time with your call center. 

We don’t want to rush the season either – but some stores will be putting up their Christmas tree displays in less than two months. If they can get ready early, you can as well. 


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Going to Salesforce Basecamp in San Diego? So is Monet Software!

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If you want to know about what’s new with Salesforce and help desk software, we know where you’ll be on July 18 – because we’ll be there as well. 

The Salesforce Basecamp for Service event will be held on that day at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. If you’re planning to be there, please stop by and spend some time with us. 

Salesforce Basecamp is the place service desk professionals go if they want to deliver a faster and more personalized service experience. If that is one of your goals, we invite you to take a closer look at Monet WFM, Workforce Management for Service Cloud™.

Why? Because better service experiences begin with better scheduling processes and a more optimized internal organization. When Monet WFM for Service Cloud™ is integrated to the Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ case management system, help desks can create accurate forecasts and schedules, which boost customer satisfaction, customer experience and service levels.

Salesforce Basecamp also offers informative customer panels and presentations with thought leaders in the industry. The San Diego event features author Kerry Bodine, who is helping businesses understand the financial benefits of great customer experiences — and how their organizations must change in order to deliver them.

If you haven’t made plans to attend, it’s not too late. Just head over to the Salesforce website to register. We hope to see you there!


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Three Tips to Improve Your Call Center Script

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The script an agent uses to interact with customers plays a pivotal role in every engagement.

It should serve as a base from which to build a conversation that results in resolving any situation. But if a script is getting in the way of efficiency, by taking too long to move the discussion forward, it will have a negative effect on performance no matter how qualified the agent.

Perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at your script. If so, here are three tips that will help you make positive changes.

1. Read it Out Loud

Sometimes you can write a line that sounds great on paper, but when it is read aloud it may sound clichéd or confusing. By “rehearsing” the dialogue, you’ll be better able to imagine how it will sound when read by agents and heard by customers. You’ll also be able to identify and remove any long sentences that might be difficult to deliver, and experiment with different greetings and closings to find the one that sounds best.

2. Build In Enough Flexibility

Conversations can be guided but they cannot (or should not) be forced. Flexibility and guiding prompts should be built into a script so agents can react to different situations and provide the most appropriate responses. When a customer is trying to express their confusion or frustration and continue to receive only pre-written expressions of empathy, it will just add to their irritation. This is an even more common issue in webchat; customers know every time copy appear on the screen that expresses a genuine response, as opposed to lines that were written months or years ago.

3. Listen To Your Agents

Agent input is essential to developing a better script. These are the folks on the front lines of customer interaction, and after only a couple of weeks on the job they will know which responses work and which do not. Along the way they may come up with better ways to express the same idea.


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Gazing Into Our Workforce Management Crystal Ball

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How will today’s workforce management (WFM) solutions change in the years to come?

At Monet Software we are dedicated to staying at the forefront of future developments. Of course, predictions for the future don’t always pan out – but here are five changes we expect to happen – most likely sooner rather than later.

1. Greater Functionality

Today’s WFM solutions, like Monet WFM Live, deliver data in real-time that allow managers to make adjustments to schedules and staffing, so customer service is not affected. Tomorrow’s WFM may react to forecast and scheduling discrepancies automatically, and make the necessary changes without manager assistance.

2. More Centralization

Monet offers WFM solutions for both front office and back office environments. But one day back-office integration will be fully incorporated into the system, so one solution will deliver an even broader view of how every department is meeting the needs of the customer.

3. More Omnichannel Flexibility

Customers are already taking advantage of emails and webchats, resorting to the telephone only when other channels cannot resolve their situation. Such transitions are tougher to predict, resulting in variables that can impact scheduling. But WFM will catch up quickly, easing those transitions so one agent can handle multiple channels.

4. Better Agent Training

It’s likely that WFM will play a greater role in training, by accurately identifying each agent’s top skills, and offering more assistance to agents that require more attention. 

5. More Mobile Devices

Call centers are still primarily comprised of agents at desktop computers, interacting with customers from workstations. But more people now use smartphones and other mobile devices for communication, and it’s hard to see how this won’t become more prevalent at the call center. The technology will remain cloud-based – it will just encompass a wider range of devices, including those supplied by agents.


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The Super Six

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The Top 6 Metrics That Improve Call Center Service

Every call center strives toward the same operating efficiency and customer service goals. However, each one is also unique, and faces its own specific operating challenges. 

The establishment of key performance indicators (KPIs) is the first step toward consistent performance. KPIs, which are optimally monitored and measured by a workforce management solution, provide the data that fuels analytics, testing, development, efficiency, and productivity. 

All of these measures are important. Here are the six that are absolutely essential.

1. First-Call Resolution

First-call resolution is the most highly correlated metric to customer satisfaction. A CFI Group study surveyed customers whose issues were not resolved in one call; it found that 43% said they would take their business elsewhere. An automated workforce management (WFM) solution is one way to improve first call resolution and encourage customer loyalty. With WFM it’s easier to implement a skills-based schedule so calls are answered by agents with the talent and experience to resolve them. It also allows managers and agents to use recorded calls to learn from mistakes and train new agents in proven company procedures. 

2. Schedule Adherence

Schedule adherence is still one of the biggest challenges for call centers. With workforce management, a call center can monitor and record the schedule adherence status of all agents in real-time. The system tracks data on every status related to this issue, from lunches to daily breaks to when agents log out. If a problem is discovered it can thus be handled quickly. In addition to a good solution, you also need to put solid processes in place, more about this in our whitepaper Five Strategies to Improve Schedule Adherence.

3. Forecasting

Forecasting is all about having the right number of agents with the right combination of skill sets in place every shift, every day. When that happens, call centers eliminate wasteful situations that result from overstaffing, and customer service issues that result from understaffing. Workforce management automatically collects, reviews and processes the data that delivers accurate forecasts, both in the short term and long-term.

4. Average Handle Time

Yes, WFM helps here as well through call routing. But this is an issue that also requires a fresh look at your script, and whether cuts can be made that won’t sacrifice service. Training refreshers for agents can also make a difference – and be sure to ask for their suggestions during these sessions. They might be able to help.

5. Employee Engagement

Workforce Management can play a prominent role in improving employee engagement, particularly as it pertains to schedule flexibility. Skill-based scheduling allows managers to better match agents with the types of calls they are most comfortable and experienced in handling.  This boosts both employee confidence and customer service. Flexible schedules are also more easily managed with WFM, so agents can balance obligations in their personal lives with work responsibilities. 

6. Abandoned Call Rate

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. Accurate forecasts and schedules delivered by WFM can help ensure that enough agents are always available to pick up calls in less than 60 seconds.


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4 Reasons You Need Speech Analytics In Your Call Center

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No long introductions here because we know you’re busy. Here are the four reasons your call center should be looking into speech analytics.

1. It Delivers Data

Every call that comes in is a valuable source of data. Call centers have long understood this and try to mine the elements from each conversation deemed most relevant to company performance and customer service. Speech analytics allows this analysis to go deeper than ever before. Managers will gain more insight into the effectiveness of agent scripts, by the reactions customers provide with their words and the emotional nuances that sometimes suggest more than what they’re actually saying. 

2. It Saves Money

Technology upgrade investments don’t get any smarter than this one. By at least one estimate, call center speech analytics achieves ROI in as little as three months. After that, it just keeps delivering data that offers insight into new product creation, product promotion and positive branding, while also boosting customer loyalty. 

3. It Improves Customer Service

More information available to your agents means a stronger likelihood of first call resolution and a satisfied customer. When callers don’t have to call back, that lowers the volume for everyone, which at peak times can cause a significant improvement in how quickly other calls can be taken and resolved. 

4. It Boosts Profits

Cross selling and upselling are opportunities too often missed in the course of a call center shift. Perhaps your agents have a standard offer that closes specific kinds of calls, but what type of response does it receive? With speech analytics, those rates can be reviewed, and customer responses can be analyzed to achieve greater results. Perhaps some upsells work better with older customers, or with males. Others are perfect for first-time buyers. Now you can customize upsells and cross-sells based on each customer’s response. 

At Monet, our speech analytics and desktop analytics are incorporated into our WFO Live solution to help maximize agent productivity and performance. For basic call centers or contact centers that offer omnichannel interactions between agents and customers, this powerful alliance of WFO and analytics can better meet your customer needs, help you to better utilize your resources, and improve service levels.


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Join Monet Software at Call Center Week 2017!

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What’s your lucky number? If you’re going to be in Las Vegas next month for Call Center Week, may we suggest 1320? That’s the booth where you’ll find us in the Mirage Resort, June 26-30.

Make sure you stop by. We look forward to this annual get-together and the chance to meet and talk shop with fellow call center industry professionals. Discussing your challenges inspires us to work even harder to find new answers. 

At this year’s event we’ll be focusing how Monet’s award-winning workforce management solution seamlessly integrates with Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ to deliver:

  • Improved case and chat management
  • Better forecasts
  • Real-time workforce visibility
  • Greater customer satisfaction

For businesses with helpdesks, this is a real breakthrough. And members of the Monet team will also be there to talk quality monitoring, performance management, speech analytics, and how our award-winning solutions have helped so many companies deliver more efficiency to their call centers. 

If you’ve never been to Call Center Week before, make sure you budget enough time to see as much as possible. This year’s itinerary includes workshops with such titles as “Create a Culture of Engagement,” “Empower Your Team to Deliver Personalized Service Across Channels” and “Differentiating Customer Experience in the Age of the Mobile Consumer.”

In addition, CCW 2017 features master classes on “Hiring for Retention: Building Blocks for Staffing your Contact Center for the Next Generation,” as well as sessions on networking and digital transformation. 

You’ll also have a chance to tour the Zappos headquarters, and find out how their unique customer service philosophy has inspired consistently strong sales. 

We look forward to seeing you at booth #1320!


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Call Center Service: Crunching the Numbers vs. Caring for Customers Workforce Management is the Key

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There is a delicate balancing act taking place almost every day at almost every call center. 

On one side of the scale there are KPIs that measure how long a customer waits to reach an agent, how long the call takes, and how often the issue described is resolved without the need for further calls. On the other side is the quest to provide caring, quality customer service, which is not so easily measured on a graph or a pie chart.

Did we say it was a delicate balancing act? Sometimes it’s more like a tug of war. 

But with workforce management it doesn’t have to be. 

If you have well-trained agents in place who know how to speak to customers with different concerns and personalities, you’re halfway home. It is their job to make callers feel valued, to calm angry emotions and to represent the company in a positive way, so that caller will stay a customer even if they had a problem. 

That takes time – more time, perhaps, than the number crunchers among your management team would care to allocate. Workforce management, especially when combined with speech analytics, allows agents to quickly access customer records so they don’t have to ask for information that might be helpful. It may also prevent having to transfer to the call to other representatives, always a frustrating experience for the caller.

The right technology can also spot trends among customers faster and easier, which moves the call forward to the successful resolution stage. 

If you are still using spreadsheets and are considering a workforce management system, we encourage you to read one of the following whitepapers:



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Introducing: The Benefits of Workforce Management

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When call centers add Monet WFM Live Workforce Management to Evolve IP’s award-winning contact center solution, the result is a more efficient call center operation. 

If you haven’t yet experienced the difference automated workforce management can make, here are just five of the ways it will boost the productivity of your agents and your business. 

1. Better Forecasts 

Workforce management automatically processes all relevant data to deliver more accurate short-term and long-term forecasting projections. And when forecasts are more accurate, it means fewer instances of overstaffing or understaffing. You’ll always have the right number of agents for every shift. 

2. Better Schedules

There are a multitude of agent non-call activities that must be considered when creating a schedule. Monet WFM Live makes these non-call activities part of the forecasting and scheduling process. This is especially important since customer engagement today is based on many different channels such as phone, email, webchat and social media. 

3. Tracking Adherence

Schedule adherence is still one of the biggest challenges for call centers. With workforce management, a call center can monitor and record the adherence status of all agents in real-time. The system tracks data on every status related to this issue, from lunches to daily breaks to when agents log out. If a problem is discovered it can thus be handled quickly. 

4. Intraday Forecast/Schedule Management 

Intraday management is always a challenge. Workforce management monitors intraday workload information (planning, controls, deployment strategies) that will produce pre-emptive rather than reactive actions for managers, which can then be communicated to agents. 

5. Exception Handling

Workforce management manages and processes exceptions in a way that communicates all necessary information to all parties concerned, accepts or rejects each exception instance based on company criteria, and makes certain everyone is on the same page so there is no confusion on the part of the agent or management.

Find out more about Monet Software Workforce Management



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When Helpdesks Need Efficiency Help, Where Should They Turn?

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The cases never stop coming at a busy helpdesk, posing a challenge for even the most dedicated teams.

Part of meeting that challenge is staying ahead of the technology curve. Solutions are available that can boost agent visibility while also providing consistent customer service. Is your helpdesk taking advantage of them?

One may already be familiar to you: Salesforce™ Service Cloud™. But you may not be aware that Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ can be integrated with Monet’s award-winning workforce management solution, WFM Live. 

When that happens, you’ll instantly achieve greater visibility into the day-to-day operations of the service desk, resulting in: 

  • Improved case and chat management
  • Better forecasts
  • Real-time insight that corrects service issues quickly
  • Greater customer satisfaction

The best part? With one solution you’ll have the confidence of knowing you are on the cutting edge of business software. And once you’re there, you’ll stay there. Any new updates, versions or changes are automatically installed at no additional cost. 

Find out more about integrating Monet Workforce Management and Salesforce™ Service Cloud™


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Did You Know: Monet Workforce Management Integrates With Salesforce™ Service Cloud™

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Helpdesks know that the best customer service happens when the right number of agents are doing the right job at the right time. 

But without workforce management (WFM), it can be difficult for managers to maintain service levels given their limited visibility into what agents are doing, and how they are doing it. 

Thousands of companies have already discovered how Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ delivers faster service at a lower cost, while streamlining communication between customers, employees and partners. But for all of its outstanding features, it can’t deliver the WFM that eliminates guesswork and time-consuming processes. 

The Solution: combining Monet’s award-winning workforce management solution with Salesforce™ Service Cloud™. 

Seamless integration between the two efficiency solutions is easily achieved with no required hardware. Data passes to Monet Live, WFM for Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ through a widget atop a console via a streaming API. 

Now, with data that clearly shows what is working what is not, new methods can be implemented (such as matching employee skills to specific tasks) to optimize agent productivity. 

If you’re a Salesforce™ Service Cloud™ customer, isn’t it time you find out what you’ve been missing?

Learn more about integrating Monet WFM Live with Salesforce™ Service Cloud™


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Managing PTO and Call Center Agent Vacations

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The warmer weather outside means summer is coming – and what is it that comes with summer?

In the call center business, the answer is summer vacations. If paid time-off (PTO) requests from agents haven’t already started to escalate, it’s probably going to happen any day now. And while your agents look forward to those welcome respites from customer complaints, their days off can cause headaches for call center managers. 

If it’s your job to coordinate schedules and agents on different shifts with different skills, PTO is just another variable in a process that is already difficult – at least, at those call centers without a workforce management (WFM) solution. 

WFM streamlines PTO processes, and take some of the pressure off both managers and agents. 

Monet WFM Live can be used to plan and track PTO accruals. The system automatically enters all necessary information into the contact center’s schedule and staffing roster. It is also possible to integrate the WFM system into the company’s human resources system to track and manage all related data.

Once the system is in place and procedures are established, Monet WFM Live can also allow agents to schedule their own PTO. That results in happier agents, which is not only great for their peace of mind, it could keep them on the job longer. 

Given the rising costs of hiring and training new agents, any action that boosts agent satisfaction should not be ignored. 

If time-off planning is too time-consuming at your call center, call us to find out how you can start handling PTO more efficiently.


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Call Center Workforce Management: One Solution, Five Problems Solved

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The best thing about adding workforce management (WFM) to a call center is not how efficiently it solves one workplace issue – it’s how it solves several challenges simultaneously.

We’ve selected five of the most common call center problems that WFM can help resolve – but there is plenty more where that came from.

1. Forecasts

Forecasting is all about having the right number of agents with the right combination of skill sets in place every shift, every day. When that happens, call centers eliminate wasteful situations that result from overstaffing, and customer service issues that result from understaffing. Workforce management automatically collects, reviews and processes the data that delivers accurate forecasts, both in the short term and long-term.

2. Schedules

Scheduling should take both calls and non-call activities into consideration. Some scheduling methods fall short here, but a WFM solution considers all of the variables throughout the forecasting and scheduling process.

3. Adherence

Creating schedules is one thing – making sure agents adhere to those schedules is something else entirely. Usually you can figure out what happened after the shift is over, but what good does that information do when it’s too late to act on it? With workforce management, a call center can monitor and record the schedule adherence status of all agents in real-time – that includes log in time, log out time, lunches and breaks. If a problem is discovered it can be handled quickly.

4. Intraday Forecast/Schedule Management

Intraday management is always a challenge due to particularly complex resource considerations. An integrated WFM solution should be able to monitor intraday workload information (planning, controls, deployment strategies) that will produce pre-emptive rather than reactive actions for managers.

5. Exception Handling

Workforce management will manage and process exceptions in a way that communicates all necessary information to all parties concerned. It accepts or rejects each exception instance based on company criteria, and makes certain everyone is on the same page so there is no confusion on the part of the agent or management.


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Transform your COST center to a Call Center

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It’s expensive running a COST Center. But it’s possible to convert your business back into a quality call center by cutting costs that don’t impact customer service.

How? Here are a few tips: 

Ditch the Spreadsheets

When spreadsheets are replaced by a workforce management solution, a cost savings will immediately result from improved schedule adherence and optimization of daily agent rituals like breaks and lunches. Savings? As much as 10-20%. 

Speech Analytics

Speech analytics delivers better marketing intelligence in other areas at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. It also recognizes trends in what customers are asking about – that could influence new product development or changes to existing products and ultimately boost sales. 

Switch to the Cloud

No upfront investment for hardware and software is required for workforce management or workforce optimization in the cloud. Instead, call centers pay a monthly subscription fee that, in many cases, will also cover training, support, maintenance and upgrades. Operating costs are lower as well, as there is no need for backups or hardware replacement.

Monet has created a more detailed explanation of how to save money through workforce management in the cloud. The numbers don’t lie – here you’ll find a formula that will let you calculate the specific cost savings that can be achieved when WFM makes schedules more efficient, automates the forecasting and scheduling process, and reduces shrinkage. 

Click here to read How to Calculate WFM Savings – it may be the first step toward converting your COST Center back to an efficient call center.


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Transform your COST center to a Call Center

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It’s expensive running a COST Center. But it’s possible to convert your business back into a quality call center by cutting costs that don’t impact customer service.

How? Here are a few tips: 

Ditch the Spreadsheets

When spreadsheets are replaced by a workforce management solution, a cost savings will immediately result from improved schedule adherence and optimization of daily agent rituals like breaks and lunches. Savings? As much as 10-20%. 

Speech Analytics

Speech analytics delivers better marketing intelligence in other areas at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. It also recognizes trends in what customers are asking about – that could influence new product development or changes to existing products and ultimately boost sales. 

Switch to the Cloud

No upfront investment for hardware and software is required for workforce management or workforce optimization in the cloud. Instead, call centers pay a monthly subscription fee that, in many cases, will also cover training, support, maintenance and upgrades. Operating costs are lower as well, as there is no need for backups or hardware replacement.

Monet has created a more detailed explanation of how to save money through workforce management in the cloud. The numbers don’t lie – here you’ll find a formula that will let you calculate the specific cost savings that can be achieved when WFM makes schedules more efficient, automates the forecasting and scheduling process, and reduces shrinkage. 

Click here to read How to Calculate WFM Savings – it may be the first step toward converting your COST Center back to an efficient call center.


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Too Busy To Improve? Why WFM Should Be Your Top Priority

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There is an anecdote in Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that would apply to many call center managers.

It’s about two lumberjacks working side by side, both trying to cut down massive trees with dull saws. Finally, one of them decides to stop and get his saw sharpened, and returns an hour later to finish the job. Now that he has discovered how much easier the work has become, he encourages his coworker to follow his example. But the other lumberjack replies that his job is taking so long that he doesn’t have time to stop and sharpen his saw.

The takeaways here are obvious: It’s always better when work can be completed faster, and those who never change their work regimen will never see improved results.

This is, sadly, a common occurrence at busy call centers, where managers spend so much time calculating daily forecasts and schedules, dealing with staffing issues and trying to track agent adherence that there are not enough hours in the day to explore how these inefficient systems can be upgraded.

The WFM Difference

Sooner or later, however, most managers realize at last that changes are necessary. And when they do they can look to workforce management to sharpen their collective call center saw, so all of their work can be completed faster and with more accuracy. 

In the area of management discipline, WFM addresses:

  • Intraday Reviews, Adherence and Exception Management 
  • Forecasting and Scheduling Best Practices 
  • Quality management and Performance Management Coaching, Training and Role Playing

In the area of process design and improvement, WFM helps with:

  • Call Handling Analysis 
  • Benchmark Analysis
  • Activity Summaries and Details 
  • Work Standards 
  • Quality Form Review and Feedback
  • Evaluation of Coaching Techniques and Calibration
  • Staff Flexibility 

That’s a lot of change from just one solution. And when WFM is delivered in the cloud, it can be implemented without a large upfront cost. That makes efficiency more cost-effective as well. 

Tired of sawing with a dull saw? Find out more about Monet WFM Live


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Lower Call Center Labor Costs with Workforce Management

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This year more than 20 states will be required by law to raise their minimum wage. From Florida to Alaska, Massachusetts to Arizona, call centers that hire entry-level agents at a minimum wage will have to pay anywhere from ten cents to two dollars more per hour, every day. 

While agents will certainly be delighted with the raise, call center managers will need to budget for these payroll hikes. 

One way to do so is with a switch to workforce management software. 

Several Monet WFM clients have been able to reduce the number of agents required per shift, without sacrificing customer service. The achievement of more accurate forecasting and scheduling allowed one insurance call center to go from 119 agents to 87 agents. A financial services call center reduced agent headcount fro 550 to 510, while also reducing costly overtime by 25%. That equates to an annual savings of more than $350,000.

Yes, workforce management does require an additional investment. But with WFM Live, Workforce Management in the Cloud, there is no need to buy servers or other IT equipment, or IT resources required to set up and operate the system. There is also no large upfront cost for the software – call centers pay an affordable per user license. 

And in addition to cost savings, WFM delivers more accurate skill-based scheduling, the ability to track adherence in real time, and improve agent productivity. 

So if minimum wage is not as minimum as it used to be in your state, workforce management provides a way to reduce escalating labor costs – and improve service at the same time. 

Find out more about Monet WFM Live


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Love Excel? Then you’re going to really Love WFM!

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Many small and midsized contact centers still rely on Excel for daily forecasting and scheduling instead of workforce management software. 

The question is why? Do they really just love spreadsheets that much? Or have they grown so accustomed to this system that they no longer realize there is a better way?

Excel was a time-saver – once. Today, it’s an imperfect system that is likely costing your call center money. How?

Two of the key drivers for cost savings are schedule adherence and optimization of daily agent rituals like breaks and lunches. Excel spreadsheets are extremely limited in the impact they can have on these crucial challenges. 

Schedule Adherence

With spreadsheets only limited spot-checking is possible. Without real-time adherence, shrinking will increase, and shifts are more likely to be over-staffed or under-staffed. When that happens resources are wasted and service levels are missed. But where Excel falls 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.

Optimizing Downtime

The scheduling of lunches and breaks, and how well agents adhere to these schedules, can have a tremendous impact on ROI. At most call 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 More Agents You Have, the More You Save

While Excel is more commonly found in smaller call centers, we’ve also discovered that many of those with 100 agents or more are also using spreadsheets. Here, the inefficiencies of the system are multiplied, resulting in much lower customer service and higher costs. 

When an increase as low as 1% in productivity can significantly impact the call center budget, it is imperative to identify areas where efficiency can be improved. 

One of these areas is flexibility – the limitations of Excel 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. 

Still love Excel? Perhaps it’s time to look for a new relationship.


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Maximizing Casework Efficiency With WFM for Service Cloud

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Call centers receive calls and emails. Helpdesks receive cases. The difference is often one of complexity. Some calls can be handled quickly, but most cases require more time and effort to be resolved. 

Knowing this makes the challenge of efficiency even more important. Thankfully there is a solution, and in its basic functionality it’s the same as the one now being employed at thousands of call centers – workforce management.

Think of what is required for casework efficiency:

  • Adequate staffing
  • Accurate forecasts
  • Providing a customized experience for every customer
  • Schedule adherence
  • Intra-Day management
  • Tracking workload 

It sounds like a lot to have to get right. But all of these challenges can be effectively managed with Monet’s WFM for Service Cloud. It represents a significant step for helpdesks wishing to increase customer satisfaction, customer experience and service levels. 

This is cutting-edge technology that has not always been available to the helpdesk market, where agent adherence visibility and casework tracking has been more dependent on educated guesswork than hard numbers. 

Monet’s WFM for Service Cloud is the result of years of researching into the easiest and most reliable technology solutions that would allow a helpdesk to build accurate forecasts and optimal schedules in real time. 

Using knowledge picked up over more than 15 years of serving the helpdesk market, we’ve found a solution that maximizes casework efficiency by delivering more insight into how cases are managed, and the time investment required to address them. 

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The Name Game - Should Call Center Agents Participate?

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“Hello, Mr. Smith – how can I help you?”

“Certainly, Mr. Smith, let me take care of that.”

“Before we go, Mr. Smith, is there anything else I can help you with today?”

It’s a decision every call center has to make when creating the script and communication guidelines for agents to use: how much emphasis should be placed on addressing the customer by name?

One of the goals of a call center is to make every customer feel valued. But how can this be achieved on a telephone call with a stranger? The circumstances make it more difficult to establish a rapport than with a face-to-face discussion.

Using the customer’s name is one strategy for creating a friendlier, personal response within a limited timeframe. But if it’s overdone, it can have the opposite effect of seeming artificial and over-scripted.

The best approach may be to advise agents to speak with a customer as they would speak with a friend, referring to them by name as often as they would in that situation.

Once that has been decided another question waits – should agents refer to customers as Mr. or Ms., or address them by their first name?

Traditionally in any business communication using a title denotes respect and professionalism – but we live in a more informal world now.

The most important variable in this scenario is the customer. Some will react more favorably to an agent who says, “Sure, Sandra, let’s get this done.” This is where speech analytics comes into play. By analyzing word usage, tone of voice and previous calls from that same customer, agents can adjust their approach accordingly, and engage with each customer in the manner most likely to deliver a positive result.


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The Ascent of Analytics at Call Centers

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For decades, “analytics” at a call center consisted of reviewing recorded calls to assess outcome and agent performance. But the ascent of speech analytics solutions has taken that process to another level.

The recordings are still the same – the difference is how much information each one can reveal.  

For example, what words do callers use to describe their issue? What is the tone of their voice when they explain why they are calling? By analyzing vocabulary and emotion, a speech analytics solution can improve the routing of calls to agents best suited to handle them, and provide additional insight into how products and marketing campaigns are being received.

This affects agent training as well, as once certain repeated speech patterns and word choices are identified, agents can be prepared in advance for them, and be ready to respond in a way that improves the odds of a successful outcome.

There is also a predictive quality to speech analytics that can detect where a conversation is going before it gets there. By combining data mined from previous calls from the same customer, specific word choices and tone of voice, it may be possible to mitigate an angry tirade before it starts – or detect an attempt at a fraudulent transaction before any damage is done.

And while analytics has traditionally focused on calls, the same strategy can be used for social media (now the first choice for millennials), as well as self-service and digital channels. You may not be able to sense mood from a customer’s voice this way, but contact patterns and word choice can be analyzed to determine the most appropriate next step. 

Today, however, more than half of call centers lack any social media capabilities, much less the analytics that make these channels important sources of customer data. 

Is it time for your call center to discover the benefits of analytics?


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The Three “Musts” of a Call Center Customer Relationship

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Customer expectations have changed over the past decade. Business moves faster now, which is great, but it has also become more impersonal, which presents another set of potential challenges.

Call centers dedicated to improving customer service and customer retention understand that it all starts with creating a relationship. Here are three things that must happen for that to be successful.

1. You Must Make the Process Easy

Let’s face it – no one looks forward to calling a call center. Customers dread the recorded prompts and the minutes spent on hold, and having to provide their phone number or order number more than once. It is vital for call centers to make the process of speaking with an agent as efficient as possible, while also providing other options such as email and chat and social media.

2. You Must Strive to Create a Connection

Whatever means a customer uses to contact a business or a call center, there is an opportunity to make that customer feel valued. Whether that’s an expression of appreciation for their business at the end of a call, or a personalized response to a social media post, the objective is to build a relationship with that customer so they are more likely to return. Automated responses have their uses but won’t get you there alone.

3. You Must Collect Data From Every Customer Engagement

Through call recording, speech analytics and performance management, a contact center can learn a lot about a company’s customers – what they like, what they don’t like, what they want from the company that they’re not getting and what they hope will never change. 

Much of this analysis will be after-the-fact, which certainly still makes it valuable. What you learn today can pay dividends tomorrow. But sometimes a contact center can go one better – with real time analytics, it can identify a moment within an ongoing customer engagement in which action can be taken immediately to bring about a positive result. 

Such moment-driven data is already being generated by workforce optimization and speech analytics. Agents must then be trained to recognize these moments and proceed accordingly. 


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Four Call Center Customer Support "Musts"

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Look at any survey about customer service and you’ll find that billions of dollars are lost each year when it is not handled efficiently.

Service is at the core of every call center function, and toward that end managers invest time and capital into a wide array of technology and employee training efforts.

There are many steps that can be taken to boost service. But some of them are really no longer options given the state of the industry and customer expectations. Here are four ‘musts’ that should be part of any call center operation.

1. You must allow customers to switch channels

According to the Harvard Business Review, more than half of all call center customers will at some point attempt to get something done online, but will have to switch to a phone call to make it happen. That transition should not only be possible, but also be actionable in a way that all information provided online is transferred to the agent so it does not have to be repeated.

2. You must provide self-service options

Not every customer issue requires a phone call. Self-service customer portals are not only convenient; they will also reduce call volume.

3. You must answer calls promptly

Everyone is less patient now because we’re accustomed to the instant responses technology provides online. Call centers cannot always provide that same instant response, but that won’t prevent customers from expecting it. Keep people on hold too long and they won’t be customers anymore. The forecasting and scheduling tools in a workforce management solution make this goal much easier to accomplish.

4. You must be able to handle service requests via mobile app

A Salesforce survey predicts that the number of inbound customer service requests via mobile app will increase by 38% over the next year. If your company does not provide this capability, there’s a good chance your competition does.


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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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