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Call Center Workforce Management Software


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inContact Cloud Contact Center logo
 
inContact is a SaaS-based call center software that helps businesses to maximizes the quality of leads and minimizes the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises of many features required to process inbound support requests... Read More
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inContact is a SaaS-based call center software that helps businesses to maximizes the quality of leads and minimizes the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises of many features required to process inbound support requests... Read More
 
Five9 Cloud Contact Center logo
 
Five9 is used by call centers around the world to manage inbound, outbound, blended or multi-channel contact centers.  It offers IVR with speech recognition, multi-channel ACD, predictive dialer and customer relationship management... Read More
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Five9 is used by call centers around the world to manage inbound, outbound, blended or multi-channel contact centers.  It offers IVR with speech recognition, multi-channel ACD, predictive dialer and customer relationship management... Read More
 
ChaseData Call Center logo
 
ChaseData Call Center software offers web-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the software. It’s designed for outbound, inbound, and blended call center teams. Dialing capabilities... Read More
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ChaseData Call Center software offers web-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the software. It’s designed for outbound, inbound, and blended call center teams. Dialing capabilities... Read More
 
Nextiva VoIP logo
 
Nextiva's Business VoIP solutions offer telephony services for small businesses with functionality that eliminates the need for a traditional phone system. The packages include VoIP phone systems, scalable PBX trunks, online faxing... Read More
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Nextiva's Business VoIP solutions offer telephony services for small businesses with functionality that eliminates the need for a traditional phone system. The packages include VoIP phone systems, scalable PBX trunks, online faxing... Read More
 
Cloud Contact Center logo
 
Cloud Contact Center, by Telax Voice Solutions, is a call center management solution designed for SMB companies in various industries. Government agencies, retail, energy, healthcare, insurance, professional services, engineering,... Read More
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Cloud Contact Center, by Telax Voice Solutions, is a call center management solution designed for SMB companies in various industries. Government agencies, retail, energy, healthcare, insurance, professional services, engineering,... Read More

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PureCloud logo
 
PureCloud by Genesys is a call center solution for businesses of any size and in any industry. Among its modules are Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, Computer Telephony Integration, Auto Dialer, a mobile call... Read More
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PureCloud by Genesys is a call center solution for businesses of any size and in any industry. Among its modules are Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, Computer Telephony Integration, Auto Dialer, a mobile call... Read More
 
X5 Cloud Contact Center logo
 
X5 Cloud Contact Center developed by Ytel is used by various SMB call center companies and businesses with dedicated phone support teams. This solution offers an integrated call center suite with features including automated call... Read More
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X5 Cloud Contact Center developed by Ytel is used by various SMB call center companies and businesses with dedicated phone support teams. This solution offers an integrated call center suite with features including automated call... Read More
 
Augutech Predictive Dialer logo
 
Augutech is a cloud-based predictive dialer solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include inbound and outbound calling, automatic dialing, call recording and performance analytics. Augutech Predictive Dialer... Read More
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Augutech is a cloud-based predictive dialer solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include inbound and outbound calling, automatic dialing, call recording and performance analytics. Augutech Predictive Dialer... Read More
 
RingCentral Contact Center logo
 
Coud communications provider RingCentral has recently expanded into the Call Center space with their Contact Center solution. The suite is powered by inContact and offers Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, CTI,... Read More
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Coud communications provider RingCentral has recently expanded into the Call Center space with their Contact Center solution. The suite is powered by inContact and offers Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, CTI,... Read More
 
Sharpen logo
 
Sharpen’s cloud-native platform is a SaaS contact center solution for midsize to large enterprise businesses. As an all-in-one solution, the platform provides businesses the ability to communicate with customers by SMS, MMS, live... Read More
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Sharpen’s cloud-native platform is a SaaS contact center solution for midsize to large enterprise businesses. As an all-in-one solution, the platform provides businesses the ability to communicate with customers by SMS, MMS, live... Read More

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Streams UC logo
 
Streams UC is a cloud-based call center solution created by PanTerra. Users can manage and monitor inbound calls from any device with an internet connection, giving call center employees the ability to telecommute. Call center seats... Read More
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Streams UC is a cloud-based call center solution created by PanTerra. Users can manage and monitor inbound calls from any device with an internet connection, giving call center employees the ability to telecommute. Call center seats... Read More
 
CallShaper logo
 
CallShaper is a cloud-based call center management solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include lead management, real-time reporting, agent monitoring and tablet support. CallShaper enables users to create... Read More
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CallShaper is a cloud-based call center management solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include lead management, real-time reporting, agent monitoring and tablet support. CallShaper enables users to create... Read More
 
Convoso Cloud Contact Center logo
 
Convoso Cloud Contact Center is a robust, integrated call center solution with a predictive dialer and inbound call support.  This cloud-based solution gives small and midsize businesses a full set of tools and is priced based on... Read More
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Convoso Cloud Contact Center is a robust, integrated call center solution with a predictive dialer and inbound call support.  This cloud-based solution gives small and midsize businesses a full set of tools and is priced based on... Read More
 
VanillaSoft Pro logo
 
VanillaSoft is a powerful sales management software designed for inside sales teams. This solution combines important features for CRM, lead management and telemarketing in an easy-to-use, simple solution that can be accessed from... Read More
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VanillaSoft is a powerful sales management software designed for inside sales teams. This solution combines important features for CRM, lead management and telemarketing in an easy-to-use, simple solution that can be accessed from... Read More
 
XenCALL Predictive Dialer CRM logo
 
XenCALL is a cloud-based call center solution for companies of all sizes in a variety of industries. Key features include automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, auto dialing, scheduling, performance analytics and... Read More
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XenCALL is a cloud-based call center solution for companies of all sizes in a variety of industries. Key features include automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, auto dialing, scheduling, performance analytics and... Read More

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Aspect Workforce Management logo
 
Aspect Workforce Management is an employee management solution for midsize to high volume call centers that can be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud.  Aspect Workforce Management enables users to forecast staffing requirements... Read More
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Aspect Workforce Management is an employee management solution for midsize to high volume call centers that can be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud.  Aspect Workforce Management enables users to forecast staffing requirements... Read More
 
Noble Enterprise logo
 
Noble Enterprise is a call center management solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include inbound, outbound and blended contact management, predictive dialing, skills-based call routing, digital recording and... Read More
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Noble Enterprise is a call center management solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include inbound, outbound and blended contact management, predictive dialing, skills-based call routing, digital recording and... Read More
 
Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform logo
 
Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform is a web-based contact center suitable for organizations with 100 or more concurrent and named users. The system is a complete set of customer service capabilities including self-service, omnichannel... Read More
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Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform is a web-based contact center suitable for organizations with 100 or more concurrent and named users. The system is a complete set of customer service capabilities including self-service, omnichannel... Read More
 
Salesforce.com Service Cloud logo
 
Service Cloud from SalesForce is a cloud-based customer service management solution that is designed to initiate customer service activities from anywhere. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform, Service Cloud works to centralize and optimize... Read More
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Service Cloud from SalesForce is a cloud-based customer service management solution that is designed to initiate customer service activities from anywhere. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform, Service Cloud works to centralize and optimize... Read More
 
ContactWorld for Sales by NewVoiceMedia logo
 
ContactWorld for Sales is a Web-based contact center solution for organizations of all sizes and industries. The software provides integration with Salesforce, which enables agents to directly work in the Salesforce user interface.... Read More
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ContactWorld for Sales is a Web-based contact center solution for organizations of all sizes and industries. The software provides integration with Salesforce, which enables agents to directly work in the Salesforce user interface.... Read More

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Buyer's Guide

by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 22, 2017


So, you already have skills-based routing, advanced IVR menus and agent desktops in place at your contact center—what next?

While contact center systems enable inbound, outbound and multichannel interactions, efficiently scheduling agents to handle each channel can be a daunting challenge. Moreover, most contact center supervisors will want additional control over agent performance and the quality of customer interactions.

This is where contact center workforce optimization (WFO) and workforce management (WFM) software come in. Workforce optimization software is generally a separate solution that integrates with modules in your existing call center management software, particularly your automatic call distribution (ACD) system.

WFM is generally part of a WFO solution and enables automated scheduling and forecasting of staffing needs. WFO suites are broader than WFM applications, and also cover quality and performance management.

We’ll take a look at the major components of a WFO solution and explain which types of contact centers can benefit the most from implementing a system. Here’s what we’ll discuss:

What Is Workforce Optimization Software?
Workforce Management Software Features
Quality Management Software Features
Performance Management Software Features
What Are the Benefits of Call Center WFO?
Business Model and Industry-Specific Considerations

What Is Workforce Optimization Software?

Workforce optimization software isn’t a single application, but an integrated suite of applications. Some vendors only sell WFO as a suite, whereas others sell individual modules on a standalone basis.

Standard Modules in Workforce Optimization Suites

 
Quality management, performance management and workforce management software modules

At first glance, you might think that these modules don’t have all that much to do with each other, and you’d be right.

Originally, workforce management systems for employee scheduling were standalone solutions, as were the quality management systems that evolved on top of basic call recording software.

Over the past decade or so, quality management has become an increasingly complex task with the advent of multi-channel contact centers and sophisticated analytics, and the need for greater agent engagement has become more apparent. Performance management software solutions have thus emerged to complement existing quality management systems.

Each of the modules in the above chart includes a complex set of features, so we’ll tackle them one at a time. Based on how your contact center is set up and your pain points with managing your operations, you may need one, two or all three of these modules.

It’s important to note that not all vendors use the same terms for these modules, or group features in the same way.

For instance, some vendors lump KPI dashboards and scorecards in with performance management, while others group these features in with quality management. Some vendors treat interaction analytics as part of a quality management module, whereas others sell separate interaction analytics model.

The major decision you need to make is whether you need an integrated suite or just a few select standalone solutions. If you’re going the standalone route, pay attention to how different vendors group features in modules, so that you can buy as few modules as possible.

If possible, try to find a solution from the same vendor that provides your contact center infrastructure to enable integrated capabilities. Some vendors even offer contact center management suites that include integrated WFM or full-blown WFO.

Workforce Management Software Features

Workforce management modules are primarily designed to do two things:

  1. Enable contact center supervisors to forecast staffing needs
  2. Automate the complex task of scheduling agents

Forecasting is a vital capability: Many contact centers deal with fluctuating call volume based on seasonal demand, product launches and promotional offers, as well as technical issues with products that necessitate intensive customer support etc.

WFM modules can forecast the volume of calls or other interaction types based on historical data collected from sources such as your ACD system and network switches. They can also forecast how many agents you’ll need to have in place to handle this volume. Advanced solutions can even factor agents’ skills and service goals (average wrap time, time to answer etc.) into forecasts.

Most contact center supervisors won’t need an explanation of the benefits of automated scheduling. Simply scheduling agents according to their preferences is already complex enough when using an Excel sheet, but when you factor in the coverage needs of a multichannel contact center, scheduling can quickly become a nightmarishly complex process.

Contact center WFM software completely eliminates the complexity of scheduling by automating it based on rules that take the following factors into account:

  • Agent skills
  • Agent requests
  • Time of day
  • Events (e.g., server maintenance)
  • Channel (voice, email, text, web chat etc.)
  • Department-level needs

Workforce management module in Cisco Unified Contact Center

Monitoring schedule adherence in WFM module of Cisco Unified Contact Center

One way in which WFM solutions boost agent engagement is by allowing agents to enter requests for time off and shift changes via self-service web portals and mobile apps. The system then automatically factors in requests when developing schedules.

Advanced solutions also include the following features:

“What-if” simulations Assist in understanding the impact of potential operational changes, such as sudden spikes in call volume, changes to the ACD queue and/or IVR system, scheduled server maintenance etc.
Self-service portals and mobile apps Allow agents both to view schedules in real time and to request time off and make other schedule changes remotely.
Back-office scheduling Enables automated scheduling of back-office staff as well as agents. Sometimes sold as a separate add-on module.
Intra-day scheduling Allows for task-level scheduling throughout the day to keep agents busy during periods of low call volume. Not all vendors offer this capability.

Quality Management Software Features

The most basic form of quality management used in contact centers will be immediately familiar to most supervisors and managers: call recording.

Contact centers have been recording calls for decades, but there’s a catch: What happens to all these calls after you’ve recorded them? Contact centers still need to decide on:

  • The number of calls supervisors should listen to
  • Some type of mechanism for collecting scores, conveying them to agents and storing them for reporting
  • Supplementary mechanisms for collecting customer opinions in addition to supervisor opinions
  • Ways to evaluate interactions that don’t happen over the phone

The approach taken by many call centers in the past was to select a random sample of calls for analysis. For contact centers that deal with a high volume of interactions, however, the danger arises that a random sample won’t be representative, and in particular that it won’t capture the problem interactions that cost the business the most money.

Thankfully, there are now solutions to all of these issues:

Speech and text analytics. New analytics technologies have made it possible to evaluate 100 percent of a contact center’s recordings instead of taking a random sample. For instance, speech analytics can be used to sift through and categorize recorded calls to spot signs of trouble by using keywords and determining the emotional state of a caller through tone of voice. Similarly, text analytics can be used on emails, SMS text messages, web chat interactions etc.

Solutions with speech and text analytics automatically flag problem interactions for supervisor evaluation via a rules engine that defines what counts as “problematic,” and/or allow supervisors to search recorded calls and interactions for keywords and other signs of trouble.

Desktop analytics. This form of analytics addresses the problem of evaluating interactions that take place within software applications rather than over the phone. Desktop analytics captures how agents use software (e.g., clicks, time spent in applications).

Solutions with advanced desktop analytics allow supervisors to define processes for how agents should use applications, then measure whether agents are adhering. Such solutions allow for extensive quality control over interactions that don’t involve a phone call.

Evaluation form templates and scorecards. Finally, quality management systems support templated forms for scoring calls, and feed call scores into key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards and scorecards for agents and supervisors.

Quality management scorecard in Genesys

Quality management scorecard in Genesys

Performance Management Software Features

Performance management modules go beyond basic quality management with the following features:

  • KPI monitoring (sometimes found in quality management modules)
  • Features for managing agent training via e-learning modules
  • Features for managing agent coaching
  • Gamification

KPI monitoring is vital for both agents and supervisors. Generally, historical data is collected from sources such as the ACD system and the WFM system. It is then analyzed by the solution and fed into dashboards and reports that visualize KPIs.

KPI dashboard in quality management module of Enghouse Interactive

KPI dashboard in quality management module of Enghouse Interactive

KPI dashboards and scorecards for agents give them overviews of their individual performance, while dashboards for supervisors allow insight into broader performance trends. Supervisors can view KPIs and create reports at the following levels:

  • Individual agents
  • Teams
  • Departments
  • Sites

Real-time compliance monitoring. In addition to visualizing KPIs, performance management solutions can automatically notify supervisors when KPIs drop below predefined thresholds. Modules that integrate with WFM systems can also compare agents’ schedules to their activities in real time to ensure adequate coverage and adherence to best practices.

Agent training and coaching. Performance management extends into e-learning territory generally covered by learning management systems (LMSs). When an agent’s KPIs drop, the system can automatically schedule an e-learning module for an agent to address the underlying issue at the most convenient time for the contact center (another use case for WFM integration).

Performance management solutions can also automatically recommend and schedule one-on-one coaching sessions between agents and supervisors, and track the impact of coaching through continuous KPI monitoring.

Gamification. Finally, performance management generally includes gamification capabilities for enhancing agent engagement. Common functionality includes tracking KPIs in terms of points, awarding badges to high performers and leaderboard displays for motivating competitive agents. We’ve touched on how gamification can improve customer service in a guest post we wrote for Freshdesk.

Team-level leaderboard in Avaya IP Office Contact Center

Team-level leaderboard in Avaya IP Office Contact Center

What Are the Benefits of Call Center WFO?

Contact center WFO offers benefits in a number of mission-critical areas. For an illustration, see the chart below:

Benefits of Performance, Quality and Workforce Management

Benefits of Performance, Quality and Workforce Management

Business Model and Industry-Specific Considerations

Contact centers serve a number of functions across a variety of industries, so it’s not surprising that some niche WFM capabilities are specific to certain verticals:

  • In financial services, retail and other industries with complex networks of branch sites, visibility is needed into KPIs for individual employees at each branch. Generally, desktop analytics helps to measure the performance of branch office employees who aren’t simply dedicated to answering calls. Some vendors offer dedicated solutions for branch offices.
  •  
  • Organizations that deal with payment card data must comply with PCI (Payment Card Industry) regulations concerning the storage of this data in call recordings. Advanced systems can detect payment card data in recordings (via time stamps and other techniques) and censor it.
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  • Organizations with large back-office teams will need solutions that extend WFM to these employees.
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  • Multichannel contact centers will need text analytics in addition to speech analytics for quality management.
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  • Organizations with numerous teams and/or departments will need a WFM solution that fully takes account of agent skills, not just coverage requirements for different channels in the ACD queue (voice, email, web chat etc.).
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  • Organizations that rely heavily on outsourcing or remote workers, also known as virtual contact centers, will need a solution with web portals and mobile apps that allow agents working from home to use the WFM system, view KPIs etc.
 

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