Celia Cerdeira at Talkdesk explains how call centre routing is a crucial technology for successfully personalizing customer service and improving performance by assigning the best agent to handle a specific customer issue.
What Is Call Centre Routing?
Call centre routing is a call management system that automatically places and distributes inbound calls to a specific agent, or ring group, based on predefined rules and criteria. Call routing happens before agents pick up the call.
Call routing systems are also sometimes referred to as ACDs (automatic call distributor) because they automatically answer, queue, and distribute calls to agents in addition to playing relevant announcements.
Call routing is triggered by user prompts and call attributes, such as the language of the caller, agent availability, company department, call volume, and more.
Call centre routing reduces call waiting times and ensures a seamless customer experience by resolving issues quickly and successfully. Moreover, call routing optimizes call delivery processes, also improving agent empowerment, productivity, and efficiency.
Call Centre Routing: A Real Example
You’ve just received a huge bill from your internet provider. A bit furious, you grab the phone and dial the provider’s number.
The phone system gives you several options:
- Customer service
- Technical support
- Account statements
- Get new service
- Billing questions
All you have to do is press the respective number or say it out loud.
The provider’s phone system knows that you are a customer and forwards the call to the team that handles billing, instead of technical support, for example.
This is possible because call routing recognized your number, identified you as their customer, and seamlessly delivered the call to the most appropriate agent to solve the issue at hand.
How Does Call Routing Work?
The method used for call routing depends on the policies of each contact centre, but they’re all very similar in the approach. The call routing system automatically takes calls through a routing engine until they are delivered to an agent.
The routing process goes through the following phases:
- Qualifying phase. In most call centres, the first phase of the routing process is to send calls to an IVR (interactive voice response) tool to determine who is the caller and the reason for calling, usually through a series of automated questions.
- Call queuing phase. Depending on the answers of the caller to the automated IVR questions, the call is forwarded to the appropriate queue. ACDs forward calls based on several factors, such as skills, department, priority, or any other policies the contact centre has in place.
- Call distribution phase. After the routing system places the calls in the queue, the next phase is to deliver the calls to the most appropriate agents. Similarly to the call queueing phase, the call distribution follows the policies of the contact centre. For example, route the call to the agent that has been idle for the longest time.
Call Centre Routing Strategies
Call routing can occur in several ways as call centre routing rules vary according to business needs. The most common type of call routing strategy is based on location and time.
For example, if a company has call centres on the East and West coasts, evening callers on the East Coast will be routed to the West Coast call centre because they’re still in the working hours window. This feature can also be used to route calls to offshore call centres.
Below are the most common call routing strategies.
- Direct call routing. In direct call routing there is a number (entry point) for each campaign at the contact centre. For example, the campaign has a number for sales, another number for customer service, and so on. If customers dial a number and get the busy signal, they need to keep dialling until they reach an available agent. The call is handled by the first agent that is free to talk to the customer.
- Automated call routing. In automated call routing, the phone number is the same for all campaigns. An automated agent, usually an IVR, gathers information from the customer and transfers the customer to the respective campaign. For example, a customer dials a number and the call goes through “press 1 for customer service, 2 for sales, etc. The customer is connected to the agent that first becomes available to handle the call.
- Skills-based call routing. In skills-based call routing several campaigns share the same phone number, but the call routing strategy takes into account the required skills. Calls are delivered according to the defined call centre routing rules, such as priorities, agent skills, and others. Routing scripts do call routing according to specific requirements or business needs. Skills-based routing highly improves the customer experience as it matches the customer with the agent that has the highest skills to solve that specific query.
- Intelligent call routing. Intelligent routing routes calls according to defined rules such as priorities, agent skills, geography, and others. For example, the system routes the call to the agent that has the required skills and that has been idle for the longest time. Routing scripts can access information about the call, the customer, and the size of the queue before making the call routing decision. Intelligent call routing enables companies to segment and prioritize calls according to business needs and service levels, maximizing the overall productivity of the contact centre.
Benefits of Call Routing
Call routing is one of the most important contact centre features. In fact, it’s crucial to companies of all sizes and industries. From small and medium businesses to large organizations with thousands of customers, they can all benefit from effective call routing.
The right call routing strategy helps to boost customer satisfaction (CSAT) by matching the customer to the most skilled agent, improving agent and customer relationships.
Some of the most important benefits are:
- Increased productivity. Automated call routing allows agents to focus on what matters: your customers, thus improving customer experience.
- Reduced waiting times. Automatically delivers calls to agents as soon as they are available.
- Increased resolution rates. The faster calls are delivered, the faster agents can solve customer issues.
- Improved performance. Using skills-based call routing, agents will only handle issues for which they have the knowledge, solving queries much faster.
- Improved customer experience. Due to increased first call resolution (FCR) rates by routing the call to the most skilled agent.
- Reduced call abandonment rate. Placing callers in the right queue and gathering important information motivates customers to keep waiting.
From direct call routing, automated call routing, skills-based, or intelligent routing, we are far from the manual operators days.
Call routing is one of the most important features at the contact centre to improve customer experience and inbound customer service. Call routing gives the contact centre flexibility and control to decide how to make those improvements.
The right call routing technology empowers non-technical roles in the contact centre, such as supervisors or managers, to quickly make changes to the routing strategy using graphical interfaces, to meet the dynamic changes of the customer service campaigns.This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Talkdesk – View the Original Article
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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.