By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
For the inbound call center, projecting call traffic and scheduling the optimum staff to match those projections is often a challenging, time-consuming, and thankless assignment. Plus, the larger the call center, the more complex it becomes. Fortunately, workforce management software is available to make this task easier, faster, and more efficient. Here are several companies worth considering:
Aspect offers a suite of workforce management solutions that help contact centers reduce labor costs while maintaining or increasing service levels. Aspect eWorkforce Management reduces the complexity of single-skill or multi-skill staffing. This can improve response times, cut expenses, and increase agent and operational efficiency. Several options are also available:
- Empower: Includes eSchedule Planner that automates and streamlines the process of requesting, approving, and entering schedule exceptions. For informing employees of schedule changes, the notification server module sends real-time notifications via email or wireless device.
- Management Perform: Includes the real-time adherence module for monitoring agent activity and comparing it to the schedule. It provides reports for evaluating agent performance.
- Multi-site: Addresses specific needs of multi-site contact centers such as percentage-based multi-site routing and skills-based routing. It provides a single point of control or allows site managers to make decisions based on overall conditions.
- Performance Optimization: A solution for analyzing performance statistics that provides views of contact center performance.
- Iphinity Workforce Management: A workforce management solution for small or medium-sized call centers.
For more information, visit Aspect’s Web call 877-621-3692.
The Blue Pumpkin Workforce Optimization Suite 4.5 is a suite of software and services for managing all operational facets of the contact center workforce. The suite enables call centers to automate and simplify forecasting and scheduling, establish measurable goals, develop long-term staffing plans, deploy resources efficiently, manage and enhance employee performance, evaluate the results, and implement improvements. Available together or separately, each component of the suite infuses performance-oriented capabilities into operational processes. Enhancements within Suite 4.5 include:
- Industry benchmarking: Measures center performance against peers and competitors.
- Decision-making tools: Provides information and prepackaged key performance indicators endorsed by Gartner Measurement.
- Time and attendance management: Automates and simplifies time tracking while facilitating coaching.
- E-learning: Enhances agent proficiency and productivity by “pushing” training courses to each agent.
- Employee-focused enhancements: Provides fully automated, flexible shift bidding, team scheduling, and optimized training scheduling.
- Simplified use: Provides intuitive, role-appropriate user interfaces.
The Blue Pumpkin Workforce Optimization Suite helps drive caller satisfaction and business growth by managing performance in your contact center.
For more information, call 877-257-6756.
Envision Workforce Management optimizes the utilization of the agent workforce. It allows managers to forecast realistic staffing levels based on historical data; create optimized schedules; analyze schedule scenarios; compare tradeoffs between service levels and staffing costs; get comprehensive metrics on forecasted versus actual call volumes, service-level adherence, and staffing levels; factor agent preferences and rules into schedules; schedule coaching sessions; and push schedules to the agent desktop.
Envision Workforce Management offers enhanced communication like scheduled activity reminders, custom messages, and schedule updates delivered straight to the desktop. It integrates with other Envision products, Envision Quality Monitoring and Envision eLearning, to provide the efficient operations and a low cost of ownership.
For more information, call 206-225-0800, ext. 500.
Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories offers a Workforce Management solution designed to provide contact center managers with tools to better manage their agent workforce. The product offers the ability to create accurate staffing plans that take into account not only projected contact volumes and average handle times, but also the various skills and skill levels of their agent population. This is achieved through advanced forecasting, scheduling, and real-time adherence capabilities.
Designed for multi-media, multi-site environments, Genesys Workforce Management provides schedules for multi-skilled agents who may handle interactions of different media types. Agent preferences, skills, proficiency, client segmentation, historical trends (such as email response times), and outbound call lengths are all considered within the forecast, schedule, and adherence components.
Genesys Workforce Management:
- Reduces the complexity in managing contact center resources with an integrated workforce management solution
- Improves efficiency by generating agent schedules that optimize resources while meeting the needs of the agent population
- Accommodates growth and expansion within the contact center
- Reduces staffing costs while improving customer service
- Uses real-time staffing information to improve tactical decision-making
For more information, call 888-436-3797.
TotalView, by IEX Corporation, is designed to improve the scheduling and agent management processes in both single and multi-site environments. The system’s features include skills-based and multimedia scheduling, real-time and historical adherence, intraday and performance management, enterprise reporting and data exchange, vacation and holiday planning as well as short and long-term resource planning. TotalView offers these powerful features with a single-server architecture that enables easy system installation and maintenance.
IEX Corporation, a Tekelec company, is a provider of contact center workforce management and business optimization solutions. Contact centers of all types and sizes, totaling more than 725,000 agents at over 2,600 sites, in 34 countries worldwide, use IEX to help them improve planning, enhance performance, streamline tasks, and integrate data. IEX sells products and services worldwide through direct sales and select distributors.
Left Bank Solutions, Inc. provides the Monet Workforce Management System. It is a forecasting and scheduling package. First, it forecasts agent requirements using service objectives and historical data, considering incoming calls, emails, and other non-call activities. Agent schedules are determined for each 15-minute period of the day, building shrinkage, maximum tolerance, and abandon levels into the forecasts.
Customized shifts and schedules are then created to handle forecasted volumes after considering employee data such as availability, ranking, skill set, and other agent profile information. In doing so, the schedule can contain an unlimited number of splits or agent groups.
There is also an option to manage seasonal fluctuations and holiday call volume. Cost information is provided for all forecasted shifts and agent schedules so users can produce staffing budgets. Reports can be exported to Excel and in .PDF formats; reports and agent schedules can both be sent via email. The Monet Workforce Management System is available in a single server (stand-alone or shared) configuration for ACD integrations.
Pipkins‘ Vantage Point workforce management solution forecasts workload and schedules staff for single or multi-site call centers. It uses a proprietary optimization algorithm, advanced skill-based modeling, and exclusive historical trend analysis that fine-tunes forecasts for special events such as direct mail drops or seasonal promotions. The program integrates with leading ACDs, email response systems, and other multimedia queuing devices for data collection across multiple sites and time zones. It also provides a full complement of default and custom reports with an open system design that allows managers to access call center data using any third party SQL reporting package.
Pipkins Inc., founded in 1984, is a supplier of workforce management software and services to the call center industry. Pipkins’ systems forecast and schedule more than 100,000 agents in over 300 locations across all industries worldwide. Their customers include companies such as Federal Express, Coach, Navy Federal Credit Union, Hallmark, and Scholastic Books. The company is headquartered in St. Louis, MO.
For more information, contact Bob Webb, Vice President of Sales at 800-469-6106.
Professional Resource Management, Inc.’s PC-based Agent Power product helps call center managers find a balance between service level and productivity. Agent Power projects call volume and agents needed by month, week, day, or half-hour increment. It then develops agent work schedules to match projected need with agent availability using agent preferences and skills. Pricing varies; a system for 125 agents is priced at approximately $16,000.
Contact Art Goes at 847-359-3990.
Symon Communications, Inc. provides Community, a Web-browser-basedworkforce management product that enables schedule planning and labor cost control. Community compares service level needs against historical and real-time data to create a schedule that attempts to balance quality and costs. Community can create schedules and forecasts, optimize staffing, and track adherence in real time. Community also collects and analyzes data.
It provides the capabilities of larger systems, but is priced to be affordable for centers as small as 25 seats and is scalable for centers of various sizes. All modules are included so there are no additional costs and all modules and features run on one file server.
Contact Symon at 972-578-8484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee Screening Software
Scheduling agents to process calls assumes that there are trained and qualified reps available to be scheduled. The first step is to hire qualified staff. While almost everyone can use a telephone, not everyone is cut out to work successfully as a call center agent. Hiring the wrong person is a significant drain on the bottom line, on client satisfaction, and on call center morale. Every failed hire wastes money hiring and retraining recruits for the same position, not to mention the lowered productivity and higher absences associated with a poor job fit.
TeleSoft Systems‘ Service Personnel Appraisal System (SPAS) is call center agent pre-employment testing software. It is easy to deploy, cost-effective, and predictive of an individual’s suitability for a call center agent position.
SPAS weeds out job candidates who burn out because they aren’t suited for the work and identifies the people with the skills, motivation, and work ethic to be top agents. Plus it allows managers to select candidates who fit a call center’s employment needs better and stay on the job longer – leading to an agent workgroup that has more experience and is more productive.
SPAS was developed in accordance with Regulations set by the American Psychological Association and has been validated to evaluate job candidates for telephone-based positions, without adverse impact upon minorities. It exceeds all requirements set forth by the US Federal Government’s Uniform Guidelines of Employee Selection Procedures, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
For more information, contact David Filwood at 604-986-4116 or email@example.com.
[From Connection Magazine – November 2004]