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Workforce Management

Tips for more effective call center forecasting, scheduling and agent adherence

Featured Whitepapers

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Workforce Management Hints, Tips & Best Practices

Five Tips To Transform Good Agents Into Superstars

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

1. Competition

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

2. Empowerment

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

3. Communication

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

4. Support

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

5. Reward

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


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Schedule Exceptions: How Do You Handle Them?

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Read More About Schedule Exceptions: How Do You Handle Them?

Call Center Security Survey: Is Your Business Safe?

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

Among the survey’s findings:

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

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



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The Agent Call-Back: Risks and Benefits

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

The Customer

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

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

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

The Call Center

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

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


Read More About The Agent Call-Back: Risks and Benefits

Dreamforce is One Week Away!

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

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

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

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

What is my role and experience level?

How big is my company?

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

How do I prefer to learn?

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

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

See you in San Francisco!


Read More About Dreamforce is One Week Away!

Your Guide to Getting Ready for Dreamforce

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

Sign up now for a demo

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

1. Prioritize

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

2. Network

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

3. Use the Dreamforce App. 

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

4. Try to Take in a Keynote Address

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

5. Stay Fresh

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

Read More About Your Guide to Getting Ready for Dreamforce

For Immediate Release: Monet Software To Attend Dreamforce

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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.”


Read More About For Immediate Release: Monet Software To Attend Dreamforce

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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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.


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

Call Center Agents Out, Chatbots In?

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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.


Read More About Call Center Agents Out, Chatbots In?

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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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.


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

Evolve IP + Monet WFM = Unprecedented Call Center Insight

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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. 


Read More About Evolve IP + Monet WFM = Unprecedented Call Center Insight

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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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.


Read More About Workforce Management: Putting the ‘Service’ Back in Service Desks

How Does Workforce Management Support Digital Channels?

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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.


Read More About How Does Workforce Management Support Digital Channels?

Four Traits Possessed By Every Successful Call Center Manager

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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


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

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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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!


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

Three Tips to Improve Your Call Center Script

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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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Join Monet Software at Call Center Week 2017!

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to seeing you at booth #1320!


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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Introducing: The Benefits of Workforce Management

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

1. Better Forecasts 

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

2. Better Schedules

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

3. Tracking Adherence

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

4. Intraday Forecast/Schedule Management 

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

5. Exception Handling

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

Find out more about Monet Software Workforce Management



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When Helpdesks Need Efficiency Help, Where Should They Turn?

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Managing PTO and Call Center Agent Vacations

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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