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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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For Immediate Release: Monet Software To Attend Dreamforce

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The answer is call monitoring. 

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

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

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


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Benefits of the Cloud in a Natural Disaster

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Getting the Most Out of Gamification

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

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

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

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

What do you want to achieve?

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

What will it take to win?

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

Who is going to play? 

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

What will the winners receive?

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

What should I do when the game is over?

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


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Call Center Agents Out, Chatbots In?

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Good news – humans are still good for something.

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

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

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

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

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

1. 85% accuracy

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

2. Integration

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

3. Happy Customers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Monet WFO Live Receives Communication Award

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

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

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

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

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


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Evolve IP + Monet WFM = Unprecedented Call Center Insight

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

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

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

How?

Better Customer Service

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

Lower Costs

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

Employee Motivation

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Equip Agents to Do More

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

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

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

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


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How Does Workforce Management Support Digital Channels?

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

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

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

Information

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

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

Process

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

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


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Call Center Quality Monitoring: How Do You Assess Calls?

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

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

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

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

Speed and Volume

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

Auditing

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

Training

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


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Four Traits Possessed By Every Successful Call Center Manager

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

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

Personable

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

Adaptable

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

Knowledgeable

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

Confidence

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

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


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The Basics: Workforce Optimization Solutions

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

But which WFO system should you choose? 

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

Those features should include:

• Workforce Management

• Call Recording

• Quality Management

• Screen Capture

• Performance Management

• Speech Analytics 

Workforce Management

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

Call Recording

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

Quality Management

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

Screen Capture

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

Performance Management

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

Speech Analytics

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

Find out more about Monet WFM Live

 

 

 


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With Quality Monitoring, One Call = That’s All

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

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

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

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

Call Recording

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

Call Scoring

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

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

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


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Yes, You Can Use (and Afford) Call Center Workforce Management

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Technology never stands still – but what makes it unique is how, in growing ever more sophisticated, it also becomes easier to use.

At least, that’s how it should work.

Looking back on the evolution of workforce management (WFM) for call centers, it wasn’t all that long ago that these solutions were as complicated as they were expensive. Those barriers restricted usage to only the biggest companies, who could afford to not only purchase the necessary software, but also employ an IT department to keep the technology running smoothly.

Those days are over – but every month we meet call center managers who priced WFM years ago, figured it was out of their company’s reach, and never looked back.

It’s true there are still products that require a substantial upfront investment, and integration that necessitates extensive personnel training. But today’s call centers also have other options. Better options.

One of them is Monet WFM Live. It utilizes a cloud-based workforce management model that offers all of the same performance advantages as traditional call center WFM software – more accurate forecasts and schedules (and less time required to create them), intra-day management, and greater insight into the day-to-day (and hour-to-hour, even minute-to-minute) operations of the business.

And because it is delivered in the cloud there is no need to invest in additional hardware and software. Installation and implementation are simpler as well. This is not a scaled-down solution with limited functionality – WFM Live offers all the same features as more expensive systems at a fraction of the cost.

No matter where you are located or how many agents you have on staff, the many benefits derived from WFM are within your reach. Check out a demo of WFM Live now


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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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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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