Aspect Upgrades Its Call-Center Suite

New version improves employee scheduling and adds self-service features.
Aspect Communications Corp. tomorrow will launch Aspect eWorkforce Management 6.0, which the company says will help call-center managers better supervise call-center employees, create work schedules, predict call volumes, and direct calls to the appropriate representative.

There are four enhancements to the application suite. The scheduling module now lets managers schedule call-center employees according to an employee's preference or according to a call center's requirements. Telvista, formerly CompUSA, is using version 5.0 of Aspect's product suite and says the new scheduling capability will help improve call-center employee retention, while also ensuring that the call center is properly staffed at all times. Senior call-center employees will be able to request specific work hours via the preference-based scheduler. Administrators can then fill in the gaps with junior employees, using the requirements module.

Another new feature is the Employee Self Service application that lets employees use the phone or the Web to call in sick, request vacation time, or inform a manager that they'll be late. Harold Vance, director of Technical and Professional Services for Telvista, expects the new self-service module to be helpful because employees will no longer have to fill out paper forms to request vacations. In the past, those forms were passed to a manager who then signed off on the vacation time and gave the form to the operations desk. The operations desk also had to approve the form. By using the online form, Vance says, employees will spend less time pushing paper and more time handling customer inquiries.

Once a request for a sick day is made, Aspect's new application module will send an E-mail notification to the administrator. While Vance says the features are great for vacation time, he suspects the company will still want an employee to talk to a live person when calling in sick.

Aspect's software has already shown significant return on investment for Telvista, which has been using the software for the last three years. According to Vance, the company saves about $40,000 a month by being able to better predict call-center volume and better schedule call-center representatives.

The software now will let administrators change multiple schedules at one time. Prior to this new version, administrators had to pull up one employee's schedule at a time. In addition, the eWorkforce toolkit helps administrators set up call routing so that the appropriate call-center employee receives a call. For example, while one call-center employee may be going on a break in five minutes, a 15-minute customer-service call in the queue may be routed by the system to an employee who will have a break in about half an hour.

EWorkforce Management 6.0 costs between $100 to $420 per call-center employee.