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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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Workforce Optimization: The Solution to Overstaffing and Understaffing

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Remember the days when 10-20% of the calls a business receives would be questions about what time the doors closed, or how long that holiday sale would last? 

Today, such basic inquiries are answered through the company website. Customers only call now with more substantive issues – why is this product I purchased not working? Who can I ask about whether this product can function if attached to this component? My credit card statement shows a purchase that suggests my account was compromised – I need some information…etc. 

And when they call, they want those answers now.

Keeping these customers satisfied requires well-trained agents, and a forecasting and scheduling solution that makes sure your contact center always has enough personnel available to efficiently handle the incoming inquiries. 

Workforce Optimization Gets You There

A workforce optimization (WFO) solution is primarily designed to help call center managers put the right number of agents with the right combination of skills in the right place at the right time. That solves two of the biggest problems call centers face: overstaffing and understaffing.

Overstaffing

Is it better to err on the side of overstaffing? Probably – at least you know the calls will get picked up quickly. But companies don’t like to pay agents to idle in their cubicles, or chat with their equally un-engaged neighbors. 

With WFO, you’ll eliminate these situations with forecasts that will let you know what to expect on Wednesday afternoon or Friday morning or the day after a holiday. You’ll have the staffing information necessary to assign shifts to agents available to handle them. 

The numbers won’t lie, though if you’re still using spreadsheets they’ll probably deliver inaccurate results because they can’t take all of the variables into consideration. 

Understaffing

This is trouble for obvious reasons. Customers that wait too long on hold may not be customers anymore – especially those calling to report a negative experience. It also places a greater burden on your agents; too many days of staring at a computer screen of 12 calls in the queue can impact call center performance, and may send those agents away to seek less stressful employment. 

But when forecasting and scheduling is based on analytics delivered by a WFO solution, agents are busy but not too busy, customers get the help they need and companies aren’t signing paychecks for an idle workforce. 

Monet WFO is an affordable and easy to use cloud-based workforce optimization software solution that includes workforce management, quality monitoring, analytics and performance management. Call centers will start improving service levels and reducing center costs without the upfront expenses and IT requirements of traditional workforce software.

What’s better than workforce optimization? Workforce optimization in the cloud! Find out more

Watch a demo of Monet Workforce Optimization in action


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The Pros and Cons of Hiring College Students as Call Center Agents

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With summer fast approaching, many college students will re-enter the workforce. Contact centers, especially those that struggle with attrition year round, will suddenly have more applicants. Should they be eager to embrace the college crowd? Here are some of the pros and cons.

Pro: Availability

You don’t need a college degree to be a call center agent, making the position ideal for students –  especially those studying business that would gain experience dealing with customer service issues and challenges.

Con: How long will they stay?

No call center wants to train a student to become a reliable agent, and then have him or her quit to return to school for the fall semester. Call centers using a workforce optimization solution will be better suited to accommodate flexible schedules, and might be able to keep those students if they can work shifts around their class schedules.

Pro: Part-time preferred

Some call centers have shifts that are best filled with part-time staff. Many college students are only seeking part-time employment, as they have other interests and may be taking a summer school course or two. They’ll also be content with the compensation, as they don’t have to find a job that must support a family. 

Con: Lack of professional experience

Contact center agents represent your company to your customers – and they might be responsible for a positive or negative first impression. You may prefer someone with more experience and maturity in that role. 

Pro: They get technology

College students have grown up with computers, so they will acclimate more quickly to whatever software you are running that provides client data and other important information. 

Con: Unwelcome networking

You might bring in a student who takes the job just to gain access to those who might hire him in an executive position after graduation. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but all that networking might draw his focus away from the actual job at hand. Call center agents are not interns who are only there for on-the-job training – they perform a vital function that requires their full attention. 

Have you hired college students at your contact center? How did it work out? Let us know on our Facebook page

A workforce optimization solution like Monet WFO can make it easier for all of your new agents to deliver outstanding service. Find out more

Watch a demo of Monet Workforce Optimization in action


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Seven Tags to Use in Call Recording

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A call recording system should do more than maintain a record of all incoming customer calls – it should make it easy for you to retrieve specific calls and types of calls for quality management and training purposes.

This is achieved through tagging, which acts as a ‘bookmark’ to identify calls that may be useful for these and other reasons. Every contact center assigns different tags to sets of calls. Here are some of the most common. 

1. Issues with a specific product or service

If too many customers are having the same problem, this is important information that should be passed on to those responsible for its creation and execution. The recordings will let them know exactly what is wrong. 

2. Questions that can’t be answered

It is the agent’s job to answer customer inquiries, but it’s not uncommon for questions to arise for which the agent is unable to respond. These should be tagged and reviewed later, so answers can be put forth. 

3. Angry customers

There is a difference between dissatisfied customers and those who start yelling as soon as the agent says “How may I help you?” Tag these calls so agents will have some advance warning if that customer calls again. These are also contacts that can be routed to an agent that specializes in handling bad-tempered individuals. 

4. Compliments

Why not put together a feel-good file that includes praise for the company, its products, and (hopefully!) even the call center? Agents like to occasionally be reminded that they are doing a good job.

5. Threats

Any call that contains threatening language against the company or any of its personnel must be tagged, and perhaps even passed on to law enforcement. In these dangerous times there is no such thing as being too careful. 

6. Suggestions

Sometimes the best ideas come from outside the company. Tag these calls for both quantitative (how many suggestions did we get?) and qualitative (what did customers suggest?) analysis later. 

7. New customers

The objective with new customers is to turn them into frequent customers. Tag first-time callers/buyers so it is easier to track their progress. 

With Monet Record, an agent or supervisors can tag content as it happens and label it accordingly. Management may then (or later) assign access restrictions to that tag. Reviewing tags should then be as simple as visiting the recording detail page and clicking on the appropriate view link for the desired tag. 

Find out more about Monet Record

Watch a demo of Monet Quality Management in action


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Three Call Routing Strategies That Work

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Many contact centers now use WFO or speech analytics to route customer calls to the agent best suited to deal with each caller’s issue. It’s a strategy that ensures calls will be handled faster, and customers will be happier. 

Often calls are simply routed based on the length of wait time for customers in the queue; sometimes a company’s best customers receive greater priority. But the most common strategy is a skill-based system, connecting angry customers with agents who can calm them down, buyers with agents who know how to upsell, and calls with technical questions to agents with product expertise.

However, there are other options available that may also pay dividends. Here are three suggestions:

The Door Closers

The contact center may be the first to discover that a customer is “halfway out the door” already. But if you have an agent that specializes in addressing these customers’ concerns and keeping them in the fold, it can make a huge difference in customer retention. With a WFO system such calls can be routed more quickly as well, so these customers will get the attention they need.

Top Priority

In businesses where one account can equal thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, such prospects should receive preferential attention throughout the engagement. When calls from a specific company name or company rep come in, they should be identified immediately and routed to someone familiar with their needs.  

What Happened to Mary?

For a contact center customer there is nothing more frustrating than connecting with an agent, answering all their account questions and providing all the requested information, explaining the reason for the call, and then being put on hold or having to call back, and being transferred to someone else who asks all the same questions again. With WFO it’s easy to route these calls back to the first agent who handled them. 

What’s better than workforce optimization? Workforce optimization in the cloud! Find out more

Watch a demo of Monet Workforce Optimization in action


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Contact Center Digital Transformation: It Starts With Moving to the Cloud

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The phrase “digital transformation” has been trending throughout corporate America for that past decade, and the contact center is no exception.

What is it exactly? You’ll find a lot of definitions online, but let’s keep it simple. We all know what transformation means – not just a change, but also a change for the better. Unsightly caterpillars transform into beautiful butterflies. 

And ‘digital’? It refers to technology that brings people and practices together in a more efficient manner. 

For the contact center, this means new business models that improve the customer experience, often by empowering the workforce that interacts with those customers. 

A workforce optimization solution is helpful here, as it delivers such advantages as:

  • Workforce management for more accurate forecasts, schedules and adherence
  • Quality monitoring that includes call recording and screen capture
  • Performance management for tracking of KPIs and real-time alerts
  • Speech analytics and desktop analytics

But the first step in an effective digital transformation is the movement of all of these services into the cloud. 

Why? Because technology evolves a lot faster than it used to, and it’s imperative for contact centers to keep up. New versions and new upgrades are no longer events that happen every year or every other year. With the cloud, updates happen automatically (and at no extra charge), so technology is always up to date without the repeated development and testing of new features from each vendor. 

Cloud systems are also scalable, so it’s impossible to outgrow your technology solution as your business expands. 

If you want to be part of the digital transformation revolution, there is no better place to start than by exploring cloud technology solutions, such as Monet Workforce Optimization. 

What’s better than workforce optimization? Workforce optimization in the cloud! Find out more

Watch a demo of Monet Workforce Optimization in action


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Don’t Be Afraid of Change at the Contact Center

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“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” 

― Winston S. Churchill


It’s easy to fall into ruts, whether it’s Friday night dinner at the same restaurant, or contact center guidelines for how agents should handle specific customer situations. 

There is something to be said for “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But what if the processes you have in place now could be made even better? 

You’ll never know until you try. Here’s how to start. 

Identify a Need

Chances are you’re doing better on some KPIs than others. Select one where you suspect the number could be better. Or, let your customers make this decision for you by reviewing whatever feedback you’ve received. 

Let’s use Average Handle Time (AHT) as an example. How can this get better? Include managers, coaches, trainers, and agents in this brainstorming session. Collect all suggestions and discuss the potential of each one. Just don’t try two or three at the same time, because then you won’t know which one did the trick. 

Take It For a Test Drive

Perhaps the solution that has the most support at your contact center is eliminating cold transfers. So make the changes necessary so that when a call is transferred, that customer’s relevant data is transferred as well, so the same questions won’t have to be asked a second time. Try it for 30 days.

Review the Results

Once the 30-day period is over, find out if the change had the desired impact. Has average handle time been reduced? Great! If not, try the next most promising suggestion, or refine the information transfer process and repeat the experiment. 

Keep trying and you’ll see positive results. 

A workforce management solution delivers the metrics you’ll need to begin planning positive changes at your contact center. First time considering WFM? This blog will let you know what questions to ask as you being exploring the options available. 

Or, check out a free online demo of Monet’s WFM solution


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Solving the Biggest Service Desk Challenges

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Many service desks, or help desks, lack the technology and insight to meet their escalating business requirements. As a result, they are not immune to such challenges as:

  • Growing ticket volume – it’s easier to manage with better activity tracking, which improves response time. Without that capability, an ever-increasing volume of tickets will damage customer service. 
  • Ticket management – how are tickets routed? How are they updated? Without a workforce management solution in place, it is difficult (if not impossible) to route each incoming ticket to the staff member best suited to resolve the issue. 
  • Lack of metrics insight – many help desks still lack sufficient visibility into how requests are fulfilled, how quickly resolution is achieved, and how well agents perform their duties? 

The answer to all of these challenges is workforce management. 

Thousands of companies have already discovered how Salesforce 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. 

Seamless integration between the two efficiency solutions is easily achieved with no required hardware. Data passes to Monet WFM for Salesforce 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 customer, isn’t it time you find out what you’ve been missing?

Find out more about WFM for Salesforce here

Or schedule a free online demo to see WFM for Salesforce in action


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Quick and Easy Contact Center Quality Monitoring

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We all know the importance of quality management. But we also know there are only so many hours in the day, and that a quality monitoring program can sometimes take too many of them.

If you find you’re up against time constraints, however, do not abandon quality monitoring entirely. Instead, streamline your efforts by streamlining the checklist you use for monitoring calls and agent performance. 

How many questions are on your current form? Some have as many as 25 – and they’re probably all important. But for those seeking a faster and more efficient approach, this is the place to start. 

Limit your form to seven questions. If they are the right questions (speed of answer, effectiveness of script, clarity of agent communication) they should be sufficient to pinpoint issues and suggest corrections. 

A shorter form may deliver bigger dividends for the agent as well. Facing a checklist of 25 potential hurdles may seem daunting. But with just seven areas to focus on, agents are more likely to understand what they need to do, memorize best practices techniques, and understand what is most important. 

Finally, since any quality monitoring effort must include customer feedback, keeping your inquiries to a minimum will increase the likelihood of more responses. Did you ever start taking an online “How did we do?” survey and give up halfway through because there were too many questions? By requesting responses to just 5-7 questions, you stand a better chance of getting the data you need. 

Also Helpful: The Right Call Monitoring Software

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

Want more great ideas about quality monitoring? Download our free whitepaper Seven Strategies for Effective Quality Assurance in Your Call Center. 

You can find out more about Monet’s Quality Monitoring solution here


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Tips to Boost Speed and Accuracy in After-Call Work

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What do your agents do after a call or chat session ends? The answer may include updating a customer’s file with new information, or adding details to a new order, or perhaps even sending an email to someone else at the company to follow up on that customer’s case. 

All of this, which is sometimes referred to as after-call work (ACW) may be necessary but it takes time – time that could be spent with the next customer. Rushing through these post-call steps, however, can result in errors that will prove costly later on.

It’s a delicate balance (but what isn’t in this business?). Here are some ideas for maximizing the impact of ACW in the shortest amount of time. 

Copy/Paste

A lot of ACW is comprised of the same procedures. Instead of having agents enter the same text in a dozen different files every day – prepare a block of text that can be copied and pasted in a few seconds. 

Abbreviate

Can agents type ‘cu’ instead of ‘customer’? Or ‘6’ instead of ‘Product 67850?’ Any type of shorthand, as long as it will be understood by anyone in the company who sees it, will save time.  

Coaching/Training

As with every aspect of contact center work, training delivers more positive results. Perhaps start with a greater focus on ACW with new agents, so they develop efficient habits from the outset. Then, make ACW reviews part of the scoring process you employ as part of your performance management strategy.

Time Management

The time between calls that is devoted to ACW can sometimes be extended by agents to include a quick chat with a fellow agent, or a check of one’s Facebook page or a visit to the break room. Try to keep such instances to a minimum. 

By incorporating after-call work into performance management, you can encourage both accountability and self-motivation, and bring the time numbers down to where they should be. 

Find out more about Monet’s Performance Management solution here

Or watch Monet Performance Management in action in this online demo


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Four Steps to Better Contact Center Performance in 2018

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Are there any new ideas under the sun? Sure - but that doesn’t mean it’s always wise to abandon proven strategies. 

As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2018, here are four suggestions that can help you deliver a better customer experience. Some we’ve presented before – they would have worked ten years ago and they’ll still work now. But it’s beneficial to explore new innovations as well.

Classic: Workforce Management

As long as KPIs are important for measuring performance, workforce management will play an equally critical role in helping you evaluate where you are now, and create a strategy for improving those numbers through better forecasting and scheduling (among other benefits).

Cutting Edge: Speech Analytics

Sure it’s been around awhile, but if you implement a speech analytics solution in 2018 you will still be ahead of the technology curve. Why wait any longer to boost your critical business intelligence gathering capabilities? Speech analytics delivers real-time, automated alerts triggered by voice data, which could mean the difference between keeping and losing a customer. 

Classic: Agent Coaching and Training

You’re almost certainly doing this already. But if it’s not generating the desired results, try doubling down on your efforts, even if that means daily coaching sessions. Or, alternate between days with outside training efforts, and requiring each agent to self-coach by reviewing recorded calls and scoring them based on pre-determined factors. And if you do adopt speech analytics, be sure to incorporate that into your training as well. 

Cutting Edge: Millennial Hiring

This means more than just hiring agents in the millennial age group – it’s a strategy to recruit and retain the best this generation has to offer. This is achieved by recognizing how millennials view work – it’s no longer joining a company and staying there until retirement. This is a fluid workforce that changes jobs with unprecedented frequency. And with contact centers already dealing with higher attrition than most industries, that is not a welcome trait. Your best defense is to start at the hiring stage with behavioral testing and skill assessments. This will help you separate those looking for six months of paychecks from those with a more stable hiring profile. 

Find out more about Monet WFM

Find out more about Speech Analytics from Monet


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Survey Says – Time for Speech Analytics

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It seems like every time another survey is conducted on speech analytics, the results confirm what we already knew. 

There was a recent study by a speech analytics provider that found 47% of users are now able to identify customer issues and resolve them quickly. More than half reported that speech analytics improved the effectiveness of their workforce optimization efforts. 

We could have told you that. In fact, we have been telling you that since we introduced our own speech analytics solution a couple of years ago. 

At a time when customer experience has become a greater differentiating factor in what separates one company from another, both WFO and analytics play a vital role in expanding your customer base and maintaining customer loyalty. 

With workforce optimization, contact centers can automate such important functions as workforce management, call recording, quality management, screen capture, performance management and tracking key metrics. Analytics is more customer-centric, providing centers with insight into customer types and the nature of each inquiry, so calls can be routed to the agent best suited to deal with them. 

As both tools work toward the same goal, doesn’t it make sense to acquire them in a way that assures they will efficiently work together? 

At Monet, our speech analytics and desktop analytics are incorporated into our WFO 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.

Find out more about Speech Analytics and Desktop Analytics solutions from Monet

Or, schedule a live demo with a Monet Account Manager


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Tips for Hiring Effective Remote Agents

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America is statistically at full employment at the moment, which is good news for the economy but bad news for contact centers looking to hire more agents. If more people are working, less people are looking for work.

One way to expand the potential talent pool is to consider agents who work from home. Technology – including the workforce management solution from Monet – makes it simple to acclimate to this arrangement. 

You might expect applicants seeking a telecommuting position would already have the skill set a remote worker needs ¬– but that is not always the case. Some just want to be able to watch General Hospital while they’re still on the clock. 

Here are three tips to help you find qualified work-from-home agents. 

1. Previous Experience 

Has the applicant held other work-from-home positions? If previous employers were happy with their professionalism, it bodes well for your business. 

2. An Entrepreneurial Spirit

Ask applicants about their ultimate career goals ¬– do they hope to one day start their own businesses and work for themselves? These are the born self-starters who don’t need a manager hovering over them to put in a good day’s work. 

3. A Good Team Member

Independence is important for telecommuting employees – but these agents are still part of your contact center team, and should be able to attend meetings on-site when necessary, participate in all coaching and training programs, and communicate with other agents to answer questions or solve problems. 

A workforce management solution makes it easier to accommodate work-from-home agents. 

Find out more about Monet WFM

Or, watch a free online demo to see our WFM solution in action



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Turning Angry Customers Into Loyal Customers

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At what point do you give up on a customer?

The right answer, of course, is “never.” 

Of course mistakes will happen, and products that should work won’t, and service calls will arrive late. Customers on the receiving end of such problems have a right to be upset. But a contact center agent has a chance to pull that relationship back from the brink with the right approach. 

The Walt Disney Company, one of the most successful in the world, is not immune to angry patrons, even if they’re wearing personally embroidered mouse ears. They try to keep those customers through a method called HEARD:

H – Hear

E – Empathize

A – Apologize

R – Resolve

D – Diagnose

Here’s how it works:

Hear

The first step toward bringing an angry customer back to the fold is listening, not talking. Contact centers want to keep average handle time low, but sometimes you need to allow those few extra minutes for a customer to vent before beginning the relationship rebuilding process.

Empathize

This means validating the customer’s feelings – “I understand why you’re angry.” Create an emotional connection with the customer. It’s a trait that should be more highly prized at contact centers. 

Apologize

Many businesses start here, and sometimes that’s all a customer really wants. But when it’s time to get to the “I’m sorry,” it should be said in a way that sounds authentic, and not read off a script – “ABC Industries apologizes for your inconvenience. Your business is very important to us….etc.” Have your agents say it like they mean it. 

Resolve

What can the agent do to correct the problem? Here, contact centers that allow agents more autonomy have an advantage, as these agents can take it on themselves to offer appropriate compensation without having to consult managers or put the angry customer on hold (which will not improve his or her mood).

Diagnose

Whatever the outcome of each call like this, use it as a learning experience for both the agent and the company. How can similar issues be avoided? What worked and what didn’t in making that customer feel valued?

Does your contact center have any techniques that have worked to turn customers’ frowns upside down? Share them on our Facebook page

Read more tips on how to spoil your customers in our Quality Management blog


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Maximize Accountability Through Performance Management

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A recent Harvard Business Review study found that 46% of high-level managers were rated poorly when it comes to accountability. 

How is that defined? As holding people accountable for their job performance, especially when they are not performing up to the company’s standard. 

In the contact center it’s easy to just blame accountability issues on agents not doing their jobs. But sometimes it is the manager that has not created an environment that encourages outstanding performance and accountability. Are the goals of the contact center clearly defined? Does every agent understand them? Are there compensation/bonus policies in place that encourage improvement? Are some managers uncomfortable about confronting agents that are slipping, because they’d rather avoid conflict? 

And most importantly – are these managers setting a good example themselves?

Performance Management Is Key

One way to maximize accountability is with a consistent performance management program. 

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. If executed correctly, there will be far less instances of any employee falling short of accountability standards. 

The place to start is with a unified/integrated workforce optimization system. Performance management encompasses a number of moving parts, and it’s necessary to have one system that connects all aspects of scheduling, skills, quality, metrics and compliance. Both qualitative and quantitative information should be incorporated to emerge with a comprehensive assessment of how your contact center is working. 

Once this data is accessible, the next step is to clearly define what metrics drive performance. These will vary by the type of business, and perhaps by its size or the product or service involved. But managers know when they are delivering customer service up to expectations, and the metrics that measure their efforts. 

Use these metrics to set and communicate goals – is the average handle time too long? Are customers waiting too long for an agent? Are product upsells below expectations? Once that to-do list is in place, make sure all personnel are on board and working toward the same standard. 

Now, the excitement begins. Invest in a contact center management system that makes tracking metrics easy through one dashboard, and allows for the ability to react to key metrics and make the kinds of changes (scheduling, call recording, shrinkage) that will impact performance immediately.

Which one will do it? We’re glad you asked. 

Find out more about Monet’s performance management solution

Or watch a demo to see our workforce optimization solution in action


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Who Makes the Final Call at Your Call Center?

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Last year, the Harvard Business Review interviewed 7,500 customer service representatives from more than 30 countries around the world. It found there were three types of business cultures in this sector: 

Adherence

In these companies, everything is done “by the book”. Rules are established for how to handle situations, and no exceptions permitted. 

Personal Judgment 

Here, employees are allowed (and encouraged) to make decisions based on their best judgment and personal experience.

Group Judgment 

In this environment, employees seek guidance from other employees on the best way to handle situations, and use that feedback to impact their choices. 

You’ll find these cultures in contact centers as well. And adherence seems to be the one that is most prevalent. Personal judgment offers employees more autonomy, but can result in some agents delivering great service, and others falling short. 

It’s the network judgment model, according to the Harvard study, that delivers the most effective culture in terms of its positive impact on team performance and customer happiness. It empowers team members to make decisions, while informing those decisions with the experience and wisdom of their colleagues. 

With this arrangement, the answer to the question posed in the title of this blog is – everybody. 

If you are considering the adoption of a group judgment (also called network judgment) culture, here are some ideas to get started. 

  • More group activities: Bring agents, managers, coaches and trainers together to discuss how best to improve customer service
  • Agents training agents: Encourage experienced agents to work with new hires
  • Job switching: Let agents serve as managers for a day, and vice-versa. Let them see what the company looks like from another perspective
  • Hire team players: When interviewing prospective agents, look for those with a history of working well with others. Those that only have telecommuting experience, for instance, may have more difficulty with this transition. 
  • Encourage feedback: Whether it’s a Google community, regular meetings or a good old-fashioned suggestion box, make sure there are plenty of avenues available for sharing ideas. 
  • Performance Management: The right performance management solution can make it easier to set performance goals, and solicit the best ideas for achieving them. 

Monet Metrics helps you to easily track, analyze and manage agent, group and center performance to optimize your call center performance. With Monet you can create a culture of accountability and self-motivation.

Find out more about Monet Metrics

Or see Monet Metrics in action in this online demo


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

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Important data and critical insights are contained in every phone call fielded by your contact center. Are you making the most of them?

You are, if you have a speech analytics solution. 

If you have not added speech analytics to your business yet, there are messages being sent by your customers that agents may not recognize. And when those messages are overlooked, those customers may not remain customers for long. 

Without speech analytics, here’s what you are missing:

Greater Customer Insight

The more agents know about your customers the better they’ll be able to serve them. Speech analytics picks up on verbal cues and word choice and topic patterns that can help agents be more proactive in each situation. 

Script Development

Speech analytics can tell you more about how callers are reacting to scripted agent content, so you can change what’s not working before it creates an issue. 

More Upsell Opportunities

Will your agents pick up on responses that identify certain customers as good candidates for additional purchases? They will with the help provided by speech analytics.

Lower Customer Churn

This one is easy ¬– when customers are happy with the service they receive, they stay customers. Speech analytics may deliver the pivotal element in the overall customer experience. 

Studies show that a 10% increase in customer retention levels equates to a 30% increase in company value. Any opportunity to add or keep customers that is not acknowledged is one that, in effect, ignores potential sales and profits. With speech analytics, contact centers are assured of gathering all of the valuable data contained in every incoming call.

Find out more about the Monet speech analytics solution

Or see our speech analytics solution in action with an online demo


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Why Contact Centers Should Adopt a Flexible Shift Model ¬– And How to Do It

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As every contact center manager knows, there is stuff you can control and stuff you can’t. 

You cannot control the number of calls received every day – though a workforce management solution can deliver accurate forecasts to remove much of the guesswork.

But you can control agent start times and end times. It’s up to the manager to decide whether these should be fixed, or if it is preferable to adopt a more flexible shift model. 

Based on feedback we’ve received from many of our clients, it seems those that opt for flexible shifts are seeing positive results, including:

  • Fewer incidents of overstaffing and understaffing
  • Increased service levels
  • Lower agent attrition

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

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

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

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

As you make the transition, keep your agents informed, and invite their input into which schedules they would find easier to work. Offer incentives to fill out the tougher shifts. And make the change gradually so everyone has time to adjust. New hires, of course, will acclimate more quickly. 

Once you have the flexible shifts in place, you may wish to tweak the schedule from time to time if your call volume varies by season, or based upon other variables. 

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

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

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


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Workforce Optimization: A 21st Century Idea

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While we all eagerly await the arrival of our flying cars and tourist excursions into outer space, it’s nice to know that some 21st century triumphs have indeed become part of our everyday lives. One of them is workforce optimization (WFO).

Wait, we hear you say – WFO is a concept that has been around for decades. 

It’s true that the idea of WFO – creating a more successful outcome by focusing on how a company’s workforce can achieve optimal productivity – is not new. But truly shifting a company’s focus to embrace this philosophy, backed by the WFO tools that make it easier to achieve, is a more recent phenomenon. That’s why some have described it as the next frontier in the evolution of business. 

Technology vs. People

Given how rapidly technology has evolved, at the contact center and elsewhere, companies have tended to amass greater technological processes and resources, without devoting the same attention to helping its human resources also reach their full potential. 

But that is changing now, perhaps as a result of the Millennial outlook that work is important, but people are more important, and a job should be just one aspect of a full and enriching life. Today’s workforce wants a job that will not only give them a paycheck, but also make them feel valued, and a part of the future of the company. 

Workforce optimization is the key to providing that employee engagement at the contact center. It empowers agents to make more decisions. It makes it easier to adopt a flexible shift schedule so agents can balance home and work demands. It tracks performance so top agents are rewarded for their achievement. 

Making this transition is easier than ever with the right WFO platform. Monet Live is an affordable and easy to use cloud-based workforce optimization software solution that includes workforce management, quality monitoring, analytics and performance management. Call centers will start improving service levels and reducing center costs without the upfront expenses and IT requirements of traditional workforce software.

Take a free online demo of Monet’s workforce optimization solution

Find out how one Monet customer, Catalina Express, made life easier for its customers by reducing their wait times and boosting speed of answer by 25%


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Cloud Excellence Award

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We are very pleased to announce that Monet WFO, Workforce Optimization in the Cloud, has received the 2017 Cloud Computing Excellence Award from TMC. 

“Monet Software was the very first to offer a true multi-tenant cloud WFM solution. Today, we are the industry’s cloud leader, and we continue to enhance our suite with new technologies such as Monet WFM for Salesforce”, said Chuck Ciarlo, Monet CEO. “This award is the acknowledgment that Monet WFO makes a real difference for contact centers and help desks to deliver a better customer service experience while reducing operational costs."

While we have received many awards for our contact center solutions, this one is particularly gratifying, given the ever increasing importance of cloud computing at contact centers. 

Cloud computing arrived not a moment too soon, as the demands on data centers had already grown to near capacity with no sign of slowing down. In the pre-cloud era, adding something as basic as call recording required the installation of an onsite PBX system with a VoIP packet that recorded calls onto a separate onsite platform. With the cloud? Installation can be achieved with the click of a button. 

Cloud computing will continue to gain a larger percentage of the contact center industry because it offers benefits for businesses of every size and type. Large contact centers enjoy a tremendous cost savings and a lower upfront equipment investment. Smaller call centers can achieve the same technological sophistication of bigger companies on a smaller budget. And call centers with agents working from home or in multiple centers can tie everyone in to the same workforce management system regardless of location. 

For these reasons and more, it seems likely that the popularity of cloud-based systems will continue to grow. Is it time you considered making the switch?

Monet WFO, Workforce Optimization in the Cloud is a complete suite for contact centers and help desks to automate workforce management, quality management and performance analytics. 

Read our whitepaper comparing costs and benefits of cloud, premise and hosted solutions

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Conquering the Challenge of Helpdesk Service Level Staffing

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Of all the factors involved in operating a successful, cost-efficient helpdesk, staffing may be the most significant. More than half of every dollar spent in helpdesk costs is related to labor. That makes staffing decisions pivotal to the operation of the business.

While different helpdesks have different priorities and different functions, the challenge of staffing remains relatively consistent. Regardless of size or specialty, the cases never stop coming.

One way to meet that challenge is by 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. 

When that happens, you’ll instantly achieve greater visibility into the day-to-day operations of your helpdesk, resulting in more efficient staffing, as well as: 

  • 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. 

Ready to achieve better staffing results than ever before? 

Read how one company used Monet WFM to improve the accuracy of staffing projections

More accurate staffing starts with accurate forecasts – here’s how Monet WFM can help

Find out more about Monet WFM for Salesforce by scheduling a demo 



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Helpdesks Should Never Be Too Busy to Help

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Oliver Pritchett, a columnist with The Telegraph, asked an interesting question in a recent piece: “Why are helpdesks always ‘exceptionally busy’? The whole world, he writes, “Seems to be on hold at the end of a phone.” 

Pritchett then goes on to imagine what is actually happening at these helpdesks, while he languishes on the phone listening to messages about how it’s an exceptionally busy time. Among the scenarios – everyone gathered around one desk to listen to one angry caller scream, and an empty office, because all of the agents are attending a course on how to be nice to customers. 

By the way, he notes, when customers call we are “probably pretty busy ourselves,” and have better things to do then spend that much time on hold. 

Obviously that’s not the way helpdesks are supposed to work. 

There could be many reasons why the helpdesk Pritchett called was too busy to efficiently handle his inquiry, but the most likely culprit is understaffing. The cases brought to helpdesks by customers often take time to resolve, so it’s important to have enough agents on every shift so there is always someone available to take the next incoming call. 

Adequate staffing is determined by accurate scheduling, and accurate scheduling relies on accurate forecasts. 

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

Monet’s WFM for Salesforce is the result of years of research 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. It’s the best way to avoid those “exceptionally busy times.” 

Find out more about WFM for Salesforce here

Or schedule a free online demo to see WFM for Salesforce in action



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How to Shorten Every Customer Call By One Minute

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What can you do in one minute? 

Cook Minute Rice? Play Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” on the piano?

At the contact center very few calls will be completed in less than one minute. But add the number of the calls received during one shift, and consider how much time reducing the length of each call by a minute could save. What could be done with all that extra time? 

It’s an achievable goal – here are some ideas on how to get there. 

1. Shorten Your Greeting

Does your script ask agents to start with something like “Hello, this is Bobby from ABC Industries. It is my pleasure to assist you today. How can I be of service?” Why not cut that down to “This is Bobby from ABC, how may I help you?” It’s just as courteous, and you’ve already trimmed a few seconds from handle time before the customer says anything. 

2. Agent Incentives

Offer a small reward to agents who improve their average call handle times. Just make certain that any increase in speed is not detrimental to customer service or bringing each call to a successful outcome. 

3. Information Access

Keep customer profiles up to date, and make sure agents have immediate access to caller information (especially anything already verified through IVR) and answers to questions, on well-organized displays. 

4. Call Recording

By recording and monitoring agent interactions with callers, it is much easier to identify areas where calls can be shortened. 

5. No Cell Phones

If an agent has access to his cell phone or social media during a shift, he or she will inevitably be distracted, and it may result in customers having to repeat themselves, which is both frustrating and time wasting. 

6. Skills-Based Call Routing

Use scheduling to create tiers of employees for specific types of calls based on skills. Try to make sure calls are routed by subject to agents with the skill set to handle them most efficiently. Leave the easier calls for new agents and those with less training on complex issues. 

A workforce optimization solution can also help shorten calls, by making it easier to monitor customer interactions through call recording. Find out more

Watch a demo of Monet Workforce Optimization in action



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Agent Training On a Tight Schedule

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Even with the accurate forecasts and schedules delivered by workforce management, contact center shifts are busy things. When they get a little too busy one of the first activities to be dropped is agent training.

But training is important, so there should be ways to work it in whenever possible, even on the busiest days.

Here are five tips for agent training on a tight schedule. If you have more ideas, let us know on our Facebook page

1. Training Days

Instead of scheduling sessions during a busy day, set a full training day aside for each agent. This is easier to do with the flexible scheduling provided by workforce management. It’s also a nice break away from the phones for the agent, and an opportunity to review performance and morale in-depth, rather than squeezing a lot of instruction into the 30-minute break of a typical workday.

 2. Self-Training

Give agents access to call recordings of their previous customer engagements, and ask them to review three former calls per day, and report on where they think they did a good job, and what they could have done better. The few minutes devoted to this each day can pay significant dividends.

3. Instant Training

Offering feedback on calls as they happen through real-time dashboards can be effective, because you’re discussing performance as it happens, rather than assessing how calls from last month were handled. And here you’re not taking time out for training – you’re training while the agent is doing his or her job.

4. Deputize Your Best Agents

When trainers or managers are unavailable, allow your best agents to take on training responsibilities. Sometimes agents are more responsive to advice coming from a peer than a superior. And the agents you recruit for training will appreciate the trust shown in their skills.

5. Skipping Lunch

It’s not the best option and it certainly won’t be the most popular, but there may be times when scheduled breaks and lunches may have to be sacrificed for necessary training. When that happens, a restaurant gift card may help compensate for one missed meal.

Find out more about how workforce management makes scheduling of shifts and breaks more efficient

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


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ACD + WFM: Is An “All in One” Solution Always Better?

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Many contact centers with automatic call distributors (ACDs) choose to adopt the workforce management solution offered by that same provider. While there is some initial convenience in this arrangement, there are also limitations that can impact customer service. 

The alternative? Best of Breed Workforce Management that delivers better data and more accurate forecasts and schedules. 

Why are more contact centers switching to a Best of Breed solution like Monet WFM?

Quality

Telephony is the ACD vendor’s core competency. That company may provide WFM, but there is no guarantee that its solution is comparable to those offered by WFM specialists. 

With Monet WFM, contact centers are assured of accurate call volume forecasts generated 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. Another Monet WFM benefit is call routing, so agents with specific skills are available to take the calls they are most qualified to receive. 

Compatibility

Your all-in-one solution will work with the ACD system for which it was designed. But what if your needs change and a new system is required? If you change one, you’ll have to change both. 

With Monet WFM, you can choose the ACD system that is best for your business, and keep the WFM solution that is already improving productivity while reducing your call center costs triggered by over-staffing or under-staffing. Our system is compatible with more than 65 cloud and premise ACDs. 

Omni-channel Support

A company that specializes in telephony may provide WFM that was sufficient when contact centers were merely call centers. Today, customers utilize both voice and digital channels, and such telephone-based options cannot deliver the resources contact centers need. Monet’s Best of Breed WFM is designed for omni-channel contact centers, so customers can easily transition from one channel to another within the same engagement. 

Find out more about why IT will love WFM in this infographic

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Getting IT Onboard with Workforce Management

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The time-saving and cost-saving benefits of a workforce management solution will always deliver efficient changes to every aspect of a contact center – and that includes the IT department. 

Here you’ll find the four “S’s” of WFM for IT (how’s that for alphabet soup?). Now you’ll be ready to address any questions or concerns from your IT experts on whether a workforce management solution will have a positive impact on the company – and how it can make their lives easier as well. 

Simplified IT Structure

Every time software is updated or new versions are introduced, someone has to call IT. But with an outsourced SaaS option, all of those calls will disappear. New versions and upgrades are installed automatically.

Scalability

Say goodbye to concerns over bandwidth getting tight. Growth spurts, downsizing and seasonal peaks are no longer an IT concern or a capital expenditure issue. Costs are tied to usage, and stay with operations where they belong. 

Security

Protecting technology from hacks, DDOS attacks and phishing scams is one of IT’s greatest ongoing challenge. Monet WFM removes one potential security weak point. Our advanced network, application security model and protocols protect data integrity, while not adding to the security headaches of your IT team.

Support

What is it with these contact center agents and their questions? Fear not – with Monet WFM, IT is removed from having to support users and infrastructure. Our strong customer support handles helpdesk questions, IT issues and application specific issues. That doesn’t just save time and trouble, it lowers IT department overhead. New pocket protectors for everyone! 

“Sure, it might help once it’s up and running,” your IT gurus might respond, “but implementation is bound to be a headache.” 

If anyone says that, just tell him that implementation for Monet WFM is completed in just four steps (two of which won’t involve IT at all!). 



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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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