There are numerous examples of products that are attractive on the outside but inadequate on the inside. Functionality can be compromised for the sake of appearance and the consumer is left with a product that does not deliver on its promises. Technology is no exception. When consumers opt for visual appeal over functionality, the results can be less than pretty – and sometimes ugly!
What you’re really paying for
When choosing a workforce management (WFM) solution based on factors such as state-of-the-art appearance, vendor promises with no validation, and marketing hype, you run the risk of getting exactly what you paid for – a solution that may lack the functionality to satisfy your needs. Workforce management solutions with a slick, updated, state-of-the-art appearance do not guarantee results you are looking for. Functionality should always take precedence over appearance.
An alarming number of Pipkins’ install base are replacement systems that lack critical functions and flexibility to meet the needs of contact centers; or, their platform is unable to maintain sufficient historical call data to generate accurate forecasts. The most common problems are inaccurate forecasting and an inability to generate requirements at the interval level. Both of these problems are tied to inadequate scheduling algorithms.
Many companies purchase software based on features only and ignore other critical factors such as scalability and flexibility which includes the software’s ability to grow with their company and meet ever-changing needs. If the technology does not match your ability to implement and manage the software, the result is a purchasing mistake and wasted resources. Just as a higher price does not guarantee a better product, an attractive interface does not reveal what is underneath. Always look for bottom line results that will ensure your goals are being met.
Vendors are notorious for making promises about their solutions that may or may not be based on fact. If you are paying for a bundled solution, you run the risk of parts not being what you need or what is promised. Always ask for references and make comparisons based on results. Don’t pay for solutions you may not need for years. Choose vendors such as Pipkins who offer a pay-as-you-grow, not pay-as-you-go, option.
Most importantly, don’t fall for marketing hype that is based on superficial claims. Vendors should provide a basis for their claims. You may be paying double, triple, or more for slick marketing tactics.
When to break out the bucks – and when to hold on to your cash
Choosing the right workforce management solution requires more than depending on what the vendor tells you. Value is never about price point. The truth is, there are quality solutions at every price point. Value should be based on functionality. Below is a guideline for purchasing a workforce management system.
Break out the bucks for:
- A quality workforce management system that has stood the test of time. Only systems such as Pipkins, whose algorithms have been tested over time and proven accurate, will produce forecasts that eliminate scheduling errors such as under – and overstaffing, both of which are costly.
- Workforce management software that uses mathematical algorithms (such as Merlang) for accurate call volume forecasting and scheduling based on data exclusive to each center’s target service levels, fluctuating call volumes, agent skill sets, and “what if” scenario requirements. Systems that use a “simple” weighted moving average only use the past several weeks of historical data, along with time consuming, and often inaccurate simulation models, which cannot provide a statistically valid forecast.
- Software with forecasting algorithms that incorporate busies and abandoned calls. Systems that address busies and abandons in the scheduling mathematics, instead of the forecasting algorithms, will always overstaff your call center.
- A system that maintains detailed data for several years in order to produce an accurate forecast. Most workforce scheduling systems fail to gather information on marketing campaigns, billing cycles or other variables that can affect call volume. For maximum forecast accuracy, choose a workforce management package that will maintain and utilize several years of very detailed data.
Hold on to your cash for:
- Workforce management systems that have no real science or proven results behind them
- vendor promises without merit or basis
- A system that is part of a bundled package and has no expertise in workforce management. In the end, even if a system is cheaper, if it doesn’t work and doesn’t meet your needs, it’s not a value – no matter what the price.
- Systems whose main selling point is based on appearance and sold as “user friendly.”
Picking the winners
Don’t judge a workforce management solution on its package – or price tag – but on results. Investing in the best quality workforce management system offers an advantage that helps ensure you will not encounter some of the same problems you are trying to resolve initially. Purchasing a software system that does not meet your needs or cannot grow with your company is a costly mistake that can be difficult to remedy. Ensure your system can collect enough data to generate an accurate forecast and accommodate all variables that exist with scheduling.
Pipkins, Inc., founded in 1983, is an American company and leading supplier of workforce management software and services to the call center industry, providing sophisticated forecasting and scheduling technology for both the front and back office. Its award-winning Vantage Point is the most accurate forecasting and scheduling tool on the market. Pipkins’ systems forecast and schedule more than 300,000 agents in over 500 locations across all industries worldwide. For more information, visit www.Pipkins.com