Frequently Asked Questions
What is Workforce Management?
Wikipedia defines Workforce management is an institutional process that maximizes performance levels and competency for an organization. The process includes all the activities needed to maintain a productive workforce, such as field service management, human resource management, performance and training management, data collection, recruiting, budgeting, forecasting, scheduling and analytics.
Workforce management provides a common set of performance-based tools and software to support corporate management, front-line supervisors, store managers and workers across manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and retail operations. It is sometimes referred to as HRMS systems, or Workforce asset management, or part of ERP systems.
How are Workforce Management software delivered to Call Centers?
The three methods of delivery for contact center technologies are on-premises solution, hosted or cloud-based computing:
- An on-premises system is one in which hardware and software must be physically installed, deployed and maintained at the business. All equipment is purchased up front. It is traditionally associated with large enterprises with the budget and the space to acquire the capabilities deemed necessary, and the personnel available to configure and modify systems.
- A hosted system relies on an outside service provider. Software is purchased and installed in a data center on either physical or virtual servers that may be owned or leased by the business. Implementation is similar to an on-premises solution, but the cost is typically lower because hardware need not be purchased. However, the business must pay an initial provisioning fee as well as a monthly fee for the rental or usage of the hosting center’s equipment and personnel.
- Cloud computing converts such physical resources as processors and storage into Internet resources. By developing applications in a virtual environment, a company’s computing infrastructure is treated as a utility service, and the company pays only for the time and capacity it needs. Cloud eliminates issues such as computing capacity, physical space, bandwidth and storage.
ProScheduler Product FAQs - Targeting
I changed the service level for one of my account groups but the forecast did not change. Why?
When changing the service level you’ll need to re-calculate the forecast in order for the change to affect the forecast.
I’m missing historic data (call volumes) for a day (on all account groups). I don’t want this day to mess up my forecast for next planning period. What can I do?
Answer: Check your Import Manager to see if the data is there. If so, re-import the day. If it is not there, call your ACD rep to get the data resent to you and then you can re-import. As for the forecast, mark the day as a Waste Day so it will be discarded when forecasting.
I’m missing historic data (call volumes) for last week. Why? And what can I do to correct this?
In the Target module you can press the ProScheduler button (top left corner) and select Import > Import Manager to manually start the import. If the service has stopped, this manual import will normally start the service again. If it doesn’t, we advise you to contact the support team for troubleshooting.
How do I manually import the call volumes? It seems as if the import service is down.
In the Target module you can press the ProScheduler button (top left corner) and select Import > Import Manager to manually start the import. Simply press Start/OK to start the import.
In the forecast I noticed that the average call duration is expected to be 180 seconds but actually our operators are talking less than two minutes (120 seconds) each call. How can the system be so wrong?
1. In the system the AHT (average handling time) includes both talk and wrap-up time. So you actually see the handling time of the call rather than the actual talk time when looking at the forecast. Are the reports you are comparing to also providing the AHT or just the ATT?
2. Look at your Target Settings to determine how far back you are telling the system to look historically for the future forecast. If your AHT has dropped significantly in the last 4 months, but you are indicating Seasonal and 1 or 2 yrs back, then you need to change to just weeks and go back only as far as you saw the change.
My forecast is way off, it’s too high. What can I do?
Answer: Look at your data to see how far back this trend started. For example, If it was recently that you had a loss of a client that caused your volume to significantly drop, then you need to update your Target Settings to go no further back than when this occurred. Additionally, you can always edit your forecast up or down. Once you do that, make sure to rerun just the Target Workhours so that will also be adjusted.
I have made adjustments to the forecast by increasing the NOC but I don’t see any change in the Erlang C column.
In order for the change to take affect you’ll need to re-calculate the “forecast hours”.
We are taking on a new client but we don’t have any historic data to build our forecasts. What do you suggest we do? I must build a forecast for this new client today!
You can create a manual curve either directly in the Target module or by importing an Excel template. Please advise the ProScheduler User Guide for instructions on how to do that.
The forecast I saved in Target is not the one I see in Scheduling. Help!
Do you have “Advanced Targeting” mode on? If so, the forecast you see in Scheduling is the version that was saved last time you were in the Target module. Did you save the “default” forecast or another version? If you do not have different versions of the target forecast you’ll need to advise the support team.
I added a new account group and I did make the account group definitions. I can see there is historic data but when I try to calculate a forecast it turns up empty for my new account group.
Answer: Go into the Target Settings within the Target module and verify that you have associated a service level for the new account group and set up the historical settings. These need to be set for each day of the week and all special events.
ProScheduler Product Specifics - Personnel
Can I use the Seniority field in the Employee Manager to apply seniority planning?
No. This field is used along with customized shift trade functionality and cannot be used for seniority planning. If you do wish to use seniority planning you can contact the support team to discuss this.
Where can I see the warnings saying an employee was late for work?
In the Late Arrival report (Agent Performance report package) or in the Real Time Adherence report you can see that an agent was late. You can also see this in the Overview in TimeManager. As for this type of warning you’ll not see them inside of ProScheduler itself.
I have an operator connected to a cyclic schedule. Yet this operator gets shifts when I optimize. I though a cyclic schedule would remove the agent from the optimization.
Have you checked “update cyclic schedules” in the optimization dialog? Have you checked the start date of the cyclic schedule to which the employee is connected?
My Agent List is showing all weird. All of the sudden I see a lot of columns that I don’t want to see. How can I get rid of those columns? Is it possible to hide them or somehow make them go away?
You can customize your Agent List by checking the columns you wish to see under the Column Selector icon. If you press Apply it applies for this current session, if you press Save it will be saved as your user preference.
Recently I added a new employee but I cannot get the system to schedule her.
Please make sure you have set the skills as well as availability and planning restrictions for the new employee. You’ll find all of these settings in the Personnel module.
For the Back Office work I have made a priority ranking among my agents. But no matter what I do, Penny (priority 7) gets more BO work than Tasha (prio 2). Do I need to change their skills? All other settings and restrictions are the same for these two girls (even their availability).
Actually, the higher priority value you give an employee, the more likely he/she will get shifts of that type. So if you prefer Tasha to work over Penny you should give Tasha a higher priority.
I have an agent that is hired to work 40 hours a week but last week he got scheduled for 43 hours. How can that be?
If you do not check the weekly restrictions option in the optimization dialog the employee will get 40 hours a week as an average during the planning period but it can vary from week to week within the same planning period. If you always want the employee to work 40 hours per week, no more, no less, you need to check “weekly restrictions”.
In the Daily Schedule I found an operator planned for a Wednesday shift but I made this operator Inactive a week ago. Why is the report showing he has a shift this Wednesday?
You probably forgot to remove the Wednesday shit for the agent before making him/her inactive. If you do not want to see the shift you need to set the agent as active, remove the shift and save and then make the agent inactive again.
I accidentally deleted an employee. How can I get him back?
Answer: Unfortunately, there is no way to recover a deleted employee. We recommend that you always just set them to Inactive.
I recently added a new employee and now the system schedules her with a whole set of different breaks than all the other operators. I want her breaks to be the same as everybody else’s breaks.
Are your other agents connected to break patterns? Perhaps the new agent has the default breaks whereas the other agents have break patterns created? Please check the break settings of your new employee in the Employee Manager in the Personnel module.
ProScheduler Product Specific - Scheduling
Today when I open my planning period the planning I see is not the planning I saved when leaving the office last night. What happened to my planning?
Answer: Verify that you are looking at the same version that you were working in yesterday. (e.g. Preliminary, Official etc.) Could someone else have made changes after you left?
Every third weekend I end up understaffed and even though all my agents are available only a few gets scheduled. Why?
It could be that you need to change the settings for “number of weekends in a row” as well as “percent weekends” in order for the employees to really be available to work.
I have all my agents skilled for text messaging and I have made this a BO task and I’ve made a forecast but still I cannot get the system to schedule someone for this task and we’re only talking about 30 minutes of work each morning. I know I have at least 10 agents available at that time.
Answer: If it’s only a 30 minute task you need to make sure all employees that you wish to be scheduled for this task has 30 minutes (or less) set as minimum task length in the Employee Manager (restrictions’ tab).
I have an agent on a cyclic schedule but when this agent is planned she does not seem to contribute to filling the target. I mean, when planning out her shifts we never get closer to the target curve which we do if I add a shift for anybody else. What can be the reason for this?
Answer: Look at her skills to ensure they are correct. Also, make sure that the work for that skill is set to 1 for contributing.
I need a team leader scheduled from 6 am to 11 pm Monday – Friday and I have two full time employees skilled for this task but each week I end up short. Why is that?
Filling the time between 6 am and 11 pm 5 days each week requires 85 hours. If you by full time mean 40 hours you would still be 5 hours short if you have two full time employees. Please make sure your required need matches your number of agent hours available.
I need team meetings scheduled. What’s the difference between using the meeting planner tool (Activity Manager) or set the meetings on cyclic schedules?
The meeting planner tool can/should be used when a planning has already been made. It will suggest the best suitable time for a meeting (if you want it to) based on the shifts already planned. Meetings on cyclic schedules will be planned regardless of how the agents are scheduled.
I see no difference in the planning when looking 100% towards the target or 100% towards the employees’ preferred work hours. Am I doing something wrong?
Have you entered any preferred hours in the availability timetables? If not, it will not make any difference.
What does Optimize all breaks mean?
Answer: It simply means that all breaks (including the ones in cyclic schedules and minimum workforce shifts) can be optimized. If this setting is not checked, the breaks in the set shifts will be planned as they are entered.
How can I make sure I always have a team leader scheduled at all hours all days of the week?
If you have several people being able to work as a team leader the best option is setting it up as minimum workforce. Please advise the user guide on how to do this.
What does Group Free Days mean and what impact does it have on meeting the target?
With this option checked, the system will try to give the employees two consecutive days off. It can of course, affect how well your planning will meet the forecasted need depending on how well the agent availability matches your forecasted need.
I don’t want any breaks to be scheduled during graveyards. How do I do that?
In the Settings module you can enter time intervals when no breaks are allowed. You do that under “Times without breaks”.
What does Pre-Optimize weekends do?
It will first plan the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) shifts before planning the rest of the week. This setting is normally used if it’s more important to fill the weekend shifts first or if there is a shortage of staff available for weekend shifts.
Why does the system keep scheduling my extra employees even though we don’t have the need? We would still meet the target if they were not scheduled.
Have you entered any minimum hours for your extra employees? If so, you should remove these as the system is required so schedule the “minimum hours” for all employees. Also, if you do not want the extra employees to be planned you need to make sure that the option “plan shifts for extra employees” is not checked in the optimization dialog.
One of the days in my planning period is all red. Why?
It’s hard to say. If you’re using account balances it can be that the balance for that day has been reached. It can also be that this day has been tagged as another type of agreement day (normally used for days with open hours that differ from the normal open hours). Please send a screen shot to the support team for further help.
We have a holiday coming up and the business is closed, still, the system keeps scheduling people this day. I tried removing the forecast but some agents still get scheduled. Why?
Answer: If they get scheduled even though you have no forecast it’s probably due to cyclic schedules and/or minimum workforce. The easiest way is to manually remove these shifts but if you wish to prevent the shifts to be planned you’ll need to remove the SP need for the day. You can also set the contact center as closed using “open hours by date” or creating an agreement day type in the Settings module.
The Save button is all greyed out and I’m not able to save the planning I’ve made. What should I do?
You do not have permissions to save the planning if the button is not available. It can be that your user permissions do not allow saving, or you’re not allowed to save the version you’re in (e.g. Official).
When trying to save my planning I get an error message and nothing saves.
What does the error message say? Please send the error message to the support team by clicking the “Send error report to support” link.
ProScheduler Product Specifics - Reporting
When I look at the summary reports I can see hours planned for an agent but when I go to Planning to remove those hours (shifts) the agent isn’t there. Am I blind?
Please make sure that the employee is active. You do that in the Employee Manager in the Personnel module.
When I pull an Employee Schedule report I have operators showing up with blank fields. Why?
Answer: There is an option hide empty rows, meaning you’ll not see employees that are not scheduled that specific day.
I had one of my office girls calling in sick. She always works 9 am to 5 pm but when I went to the weekly schedule report I couldn’t type in “S” as in Sickness. I thought “S” was the correct short command. Should I type in Sick leave instead?
Answer: You cannot enter the “S” as in Sick in the report itself, you have to enter the “S” (or any other type of absence) in the planning itself. Make sure you choose the right version of the planning (normally the Official version).
I’d like to see a graph of the number of calls compared to the call duration. Is this what the Call Traffic Reports are for?
Answer:Yes. But you can also see this in the Target module. Make sure you check the option for “NOC” and “AHT” in the Day Details’ option.
When looking at the Occupancy & Adherence report I have a couple of agents without any data/numbers.
Answer:Make sure their “switch” IDs are entered in. You do that in the Employee Manager in the Personnel module. If you do not get any numbers at all (all agents are blank) you need to make sure that the data is importing properly. If you go to the Target module, can you see the historic data there?
In my Late Arrivals report all I see is a lot of “Z”. Why?
This means that the agent has not shown up for work yet (not logged on to the telephony platform).
My Real Time Adherence report does not update. It doesn’t seem to be working at all.
Answer:Please make sure that the import service is running. You can also check your permissions making sure you are allowed to view this report. If you still cannot get it to work, please contact the support team for further troubleshooting.
ProScheduler Product Specifics - Settings
When working as a dispatcher you only answer every other call. How can I get the planning to reflect that?
Under Task Type (found in the Settings module) you enter 0.5 under “Work” for the Dispatcher task type. But, this requires that all dispatchers are in fact scheduled with a dispatcher task type. If your dispatchers are scheduled with the “operator” task, or any other task, you might want to change the “efficiency” factor for your dispatchers. But this will affect all type of tasks they are performing. Please contact the support team if you’d like to discuss this further.
How long can a planning period be? Can I plan for one year ahead?
A planning period can be anything between one day and 26 weeks long. But when planning for longer periods of time we do recommend you update your forecast on a regular basis.
I have bilingual operators that can handle calls in Spanish. How can I make sure only my bilingual operators get those calls?
Answer: If the bilingual calls are setup as a separate account group within ProScheduler, and only your bilingual operators are skilled (have skill set) to handle those calls no other operator will be scheduled to answer those calls.
How can I tell the system to only schedule lunch breaks and no short breaks?
Answer: If you are using the default breaks you can go to the Settings module > Break settings and remove the times (min and max duration) for short breaks. Don’t forget to save.
If you are using customized break patterns you need to remove the short breaks from the break patterns and save. You find the break patterns in the Settings module > Break settings (alt.).
How can I make sure my lunch breaks are paid breaks?
Go to Settings > Break settings and change the task type of the “long” breaks to the paid break task type and save.
I keep getting prompted for a system password even though I did as you suggested and entered my Windows password under Users. What is my next step?
If you enter your Windows login name instead of the password it should work. If it still doesn’t work you should ask your system administrator for the system password.
A shift shorter than 7 hours cannot have any breaks whereas if you work 7:30 hours you get a 15 minutes break half way into the shift. Can you tell me how to set that up?
You do that under Settings > Break settings (alt.). There you create a break pattern where you say that the minimum shift length is 7:30 and that the min. time before a break is 3:45. You then set the break task type and the min. and max duration of that break e.g. 15 minutes. Once you press Save the break pattern will get an ID. Don’t forget that you’ll need to connect the break pattern to the agents that should have this type of break.
What do the checkboxes Optimizable and Expandable mean? I found these two checkboxes in the Shift Manager.
Optimizable shifts are used for a special type of planning where only predefined shifts are allowed during the optimization. This means that the system is not allowed to create shifts of its own. This type of planning is only used by a handful of customers and you’ll need the help from the ProScheduler product specialists to set it up. Normally this checkbox should not be checked.
Expandable means that the shift can be expanded during the optimization (e.g. operator or other work can be added before or after the shift). This setting can be used if you have a minimum workforce shift of 4 hours and you’d like the system to expand the shift by adding operator work before and/or after the 4 hour shift.
Product Specifics - Time Manager
I added a new Task Type in ProScheduler but it doesn’t show up in TimeManager. Why?
New task types, as well as new employees must be entered in TimeManager. Please contact the support team for help. If you add the task type in Time Manager now you risk having duplicates.
Product Specifics - Other
Last night I got an error message popping up when I was trying to save my planning. The text didn’t make any sense to me so I closed it down. If I ever get an error message like this again, would you like me to send you a screen shot of the message? I guess you’ll understand it more than I do.
When you get the error message there is a link called “Send error report to support”. Please press that link in order to launch an error report to the ProScheduler product specialists. That will give then detailed information on the error. Please also add a short description on what you were doing when the error message appeared.