July 3, 2017

The Implementation of Workforce Management Software: A Process to Take Seriously To Ensure Optimal Results!

In this edition:

Organizations are facing growing challenges when it comes to offering an outstanding customer experience, especially with a management style that leans towards omnichannel management.

In June 2016, we published an article stating that, given today’s complex reality, Excel files are no longer appropriate tools for planning manpower and schedules or following up on the daily activities of the Customer Contact Centre (CCC).

Whether the 2.0 or 3.0 version is being used, the CCC as we know it today complicates needs and pushes the user to rely on automated solutions to properly fulfill operational requirements and the promise of an exceptional customer experience.

Making the decision to purchase software carries its share of concerns. Choosing the right tool that will respond to user needs and be smoothly implemented in the work environment in accordance with standard practices is not a simple task. How many projects were launched with the promise of impressive returns on investment that failed to materialize? Observations resulting from such situations often underline a key factor organizations should take into account at the time of purchase: the purchase is not an end in itself.

The raison d’être of workforce management software is to automate key organizational functions. Keep in mind that the purpose of technology is to respond to a need, not to create one.

The goal of this article is to reiterate the key steps to successfully implement workforce management software. But first, here is some advice on the buying process!

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The buying process for workforce management software is an investment that aims to optimize the meeting of organizational needs and operational requirements while reaching objectives. In this context, many key steps are necessary for a project to be successful at all levels.

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How to orchestrate this project:

For this type of project, the key is to align decisions with operational requirements, while taking the time to clearly identify what the requirements are. The most frequent pitfall to avoid is building a project resulting from technology without considering the actual needs of the organization (since they are not defined).

Clearly identify the needs to fulfill!

Agents are the most important resource in the customer contact centre. It is extremely important to keep this in mind in order to reach the expected organizational performance and revenue. The positive outcome of the project relies on the part played by operational stakeholders and on optimal planning, which takes into account the various needs (organizational and personal).

The optimal implementation process consists of accurately defining the current and desired situations, and of identifying and documenting discrepancies. This process makes it possible to see the big picture and avoid many issues that may arise during the implementation. It will also allow for a smooth transition within your teams.

At this stage, operational stakeholders should clearly identify the needs and explain their subsequent impact. Well documented needs and a sufficient knowledge of the changes associated with the implementation will result in sound change management, a reduction of said impacts and the creation of favourable project conditions.

One of the best practices to ensure a successful project is to follow each step of the implementation process with a test group.

Moreover, never underestimate change management:

  • Involve operational teams in every step of the process;
  • Demonstrate the impacts;
  • Explain decisions.

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The action plan must be detailed. The implementation of such software will change the way the customer contact centre operates and have a significant impact on the agents’ working conditions. In other words, the development, analysis and test phases are critical to the project’s success.

Make sure that the pilot project is well organized, the impacts have been analyzed and the adjustments are planned prior to full deployment. Following the process step-by-step is the key to success! Do not underestimate the time needed for the implementation, including the test phase, the impact analysis and the arrangement of necessary adjustments prior to full deployment.

Share the information with all teams:

Clearly define the project and communicate it internally (at all levels and to all teams involved) and externally (i.e. to suppliers).

The IT department is available for support. It will not be using the software on a daily basis, therefore it must be ensured that the roles and objectives of all teams involved are well defined and that the operational units are leading the project.

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The final step in the project consists of the post-mortem analysis, the purpose of which is to highlight follow-up elements for the optimal use of the software. At this point, an assessment may be carried out to estimate the extent to which practices have been established and how tools are used.

In this way, the implementation team will be able to ensure the development of both the software and the teams. No matter the part to be played in the process, make sure to assist the operational units through to the production and post-mortem follow-up phases.

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In summary, a workforce management software implementation project has the best chance of success when all winning conditions are carefully brought together. The workforce management experts at SSA Solutions can be counted on for all project assistance. Do not hesitate to contact us, we will gladly help pave the way to success!

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Editorial

The goal of this article is to reiterate the key steps to successfully implement workforce management software. But first, here is some advice on the buying process!

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