Not all workforce management software is created equally. Some are just better than others. While a majority may claim to all have the same features, the real question is how the features are executed. However, this is often difficult to ascertain until after the system is installed.
By then, it may be too late. To guarantee you get the best workforce management software system on the market and avoid any costly mistakes, there are nine great questions to ask before making a final purchase decision.
Does the system provide a single, optimised schedule for workforce management?
While most workforce management systems create the basic schedule, analysts are still required to spend a lot of time and effort editing the schedule, accommodating for lunches, breaks, training sessions, meetings, and vacations.
Aside from taking up a lot of time, there is also the risk of input error. In the end, this is just an inefficient process and adversely affects service levels as it fails to consider variables such as this during the optimisation process. Take time out to research systems known for automatically incorporating these items when creating the schedule.
Can the workforce package system collect the necessary amount of data to provide forecasts that are accurate?
Most workforce management systems store only up to 16 weeks of inbound call date to create forecasts. In fact, most systems do not gather necessary information on billing cycles, marketing campaigns, or other specific variables that shape call volume.
It is impossible to predict call volume in the future if you do not include this information. (Compare it to balancing a cheque book without all your transaction details…impossible!) Find a software system package able to maintain a few years of past detailed date to ensure total forecast accuracy.
Does this workforce system identify any special events while forecasting the call volumes?
Workloads in call centres often fluctuate in regards to special events like discounted offers and new catalog drops. To guarantee proper staffing during these times, you need a system that is able to electronically calculate the anticipate call volume based on past statistics.
Television advertisements and direct mail campaigns can cause an increase in call volume and correlating the forecasting capability to this will be the concerning profit and loss.
How much time does it take for the management system to generate schedules and forecasts?
There are workforce management software systems that necessitate between eight and ten hours to be able to forecast call volumes, create schedules for the call centre, and determine the staffing requirements. However, there are systems that can do this job in mere minutes.
It really depends on the software’s architecture and how long the particular call centre is running. To figure out the system’s performance, request the vendor to offer a simulation that is based on 12 months of forecast data from your business. Then time its performance.
Can you automate any tasks that need to be performed on a repeated basis by using your management tool?
Creating and disseminating agent schedules, activity reports, and call volume forecasts has the ability to consume anywhere between 50 and 60 percent of an administrator’s precious time. This work can be done in just half of this time if recurring functions, such as there, are preconfigured to be executed in one click, prescheduled to automatically run, or linked in sequences that are self-executing.
The last feature, for instance, makes it quite possible to create a forecast, export the forecast to necessary recipients, email it, and then print copies without ever having to stop for user input.
Is the system controlled by process management able to adjust for any daily surprises, such as unscheduled meetings and absences?
Sometimes unexpected meetings, absences, and call volumes require an adjustment in the schedule. Having the right intra-day optimisation features in hand can make schedule adjustments much more streamlined.
Ask if the HR software system being evaluated has the capability to recalculate the needs for daily staffing, as well as modify work assignments, lunches, and breaks as needed. It should also automatically notify agents via popup messages and/or email to diminish the need for printing and distributing brand new schedules.
Does the system have an integrated vacation planner that can acclimate to your own needs?
This is twofold – the vacation planning module needs to be integrated with the software system to guarantee accurate calculations of vacation slots, and it needs to be customised to support the call centre’s staffing structures and policies. Is the system able to handle a work week that goes from Wednesday to Tuesday? Can you give vacation slots according to shift type, skill set, or contact centre?
Are abandoned calls and busies considered by your management package when calculating requirements?
If the workforce management system you selected does not understand abandoned calls and busies, your call centre will always be overstaffed. An overstaffed call centre can have a detrimental effect on your entire budget, as staffing often represents between 70 and 80 percent of operational costs.
You cannot recover that kind of revenue. The software you select needs to have an algorithm that calculates abandoned calls and busies so this does not happen.
How scalable (if at all) is the evaluated workforce management software?
It can be a huge administrative headache, not to mention an added expense, to have to continually upgrade your system as your call centre grows. It is best to select a scalable workforce management software system that accommodates growth without the need to install new software every time.