I'm curious to know if there is a users group for the Cisco WFM solution (rebranded Calabrio). We're a small contact center that is currently using the Cisco WFM package and we've identified some significant limitations with utilizing it. We're working with Cisco and Calabrio to resolve some of the technical issues (such as the inability to schedule agents 24/7. Prior to the patch when it hit midnight it stopped scheduling the agents) but there are some "usability" issues that I'd like to see how others have managed it or worked around.
An example is trying to track how many people have already requested time off on a day (such as December 24th) and determining how many we can allow for this day based on the predictions. Currently the best I can tell is we'd have to go through each Agents Exceptions, jot down a marker for "Yep, they asked off and are currently approved", and then tally it up. Since the data is already in the database it would be simple for Calabrio to generate reports for management.
I'm currently writing some in house web apps that do exactly these kinds of things. If there is something that I'm missing with the tool then I'd certainly be open to being educated. If this is wrong forum for WFM then if someone could kindly point me in the right direction I'd appreciate. I'm just hoping to get a dialogue going with some of the users of the Cisco WFM product and see if there are some tricks to using it that we can share.
I know we are having some issues using this product. It is good at some things and not so good at others. As for your question about how many people are off during a certain day you would probably need to look at your schedule and see which agents are scheduled off. If they have all used the same Exception type you can look in the Exception tyoe and list all agents with that Exception. You will still have to count them though unless you can pull the list into Excel and sort by date.
I'm learning this system too and it does have a few bugs (still).
We're going the route of breaking into the database and just pulling the information from it directly. We've currently got a laundry list of issues that we've brought to both Cisco and Calabrio's attention and they are working through them but what really concerns me is that, from the lips of one of Calabrio's own product team members, is that this product goes out to Calabrio's customers directly first for about 6 months and then it gets released to Cisco's customers. They admitted to us that the QA is substandard at best and are "actively trying to improve this".
I sent Calabrio's Product Manager, Gerry Johnson, an email today asking about some of these issues and the response was expected but disheartening. We can put a feature request in for consideration for future product.
What have you seen that it does well? One of the few things that I've seen this product do is that the model it uses for call predictions at moderate or above contact volumes is pretty decent. It does not handle low contact volume well at all. We have a 24/7 operation and those occasional calls that happen at 1 am it doesn't like very much. The math behind what Calabrio's tool reports is correct but it seems there could be a better way to handle lower call volumes based on some other metrics. We just pretty much ignore what it tells us between certain hours.
Do you use this product for adherence? If so I'd be curious to see how it works. From what I can tell it doesn't mesh very well with Cisco's equipment. We don't use the recommended breaks/lunches out of the WFM presently but in the future we might. What it looks like to me is that Calabrio's numbers don't match Cisco's for Agent State and it doesn't give you the option to do ANY customization to try and match things up. We use Not Ready Codes for breaks and lunches. Our system tells us that Agents are still in adherence when they are in Not Ready because they are still logged in. Is it possible we might have something configured wrong?
What sort of bugs have you experienced? Are you using just the Workforce Management or are you also using the Workforce Optimization package? Do you schedule people that work shifts past midnight? We needed this and WFM didn't do it. I pitched a fit to our Cisco Rep about it and she jumped all over Calabrio about that and some of our other issues. If you are having major issues with bugs that make WFM more of a chore to work with then you should do the same. We bought WFM to save us time and money but we're actually putting more time and money into making it do what we need it to do.
If you have any tips or tricks or need someone to bounce things off just shoot me an email. I haven't found a Calabrio "support" group yet but I'm not adverse to starting an informal one. I see potential with what the product does well and with the Cisco Contact Center. I'm just wanting it to do a little more Workforce Management for my team.
I think it depends on whether you want to assign a fixed schedule to someone or of if you want the schedule to vary on a daily basis. Most of our agents work the same scheduled start time every day. We do have two agents who work a rotating shift. One week they work 3x 12hrs and the next week its 4x 12hrs. We set that up as fixed shifts and rotate them with Agent 1 working 3x 12s first and Agent 2 working 4x 12s at that time. The next week they flip around.
I'll also check with the person who is in charge of the actual scheduling and ask them to look at your question. If they have any suggestions I'll have them post them for you.
1. Adherence, as we would like to see it, is not presently working. The way that UCCX works is you have a State Code (1-7, defined by Cisco) and a Reason Code (You define this in Admin). You can have Reason Codes for Not Ready (State Code 2), Work (State code 5 or 6 I think) and Logged Out (State Code 7). The only thing that Calabrio presently does is read the State Code and even then it does a poor job of it in my opinion. Calabrio stated to me that it's designed this way because of the multitude of ACD systems they want to be integrated into. My answer to them is that if they are OEM'ing the product through Cisco then I'd expect a higher level of integration that what we've seen so far. I've been assured that they are going to address this in a future release.
2. For shifts that split over midnight (7pm to 7am say) you need to have a patch installed from Calabrio. We made them fix it with a patch since we were not going to wait for the next release cycle. My Cisco Account Rep was pretty surprised the product didn't have the capability to do this. Open a TAC with Cisco, explain that your WFM does not schedule agents past midnight correctly and they'll bump it to Calabrio. Once you have this installed you don't have to worry about split shifts for that one.
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