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How call routing benefits your contact center 

Call routing refers to directing voice calls to a specific queue based on predetermined criteria. In the past, customer service models relied on phone support as the primary means of communication between consumers and businesses. Therefore, directing calls to the appropriate person became known as call routing. Today, customer-agent communications are handled through multiple media. This way, the call centre has evolved into a contact centre. These days, touchpoints like SMS, chat, messaging requests, leads and support tickets are based on pre-set attributes. Those include skills required by an agent, time zone or language, and task priority. 

This blog will explore how intelligent call routing can help and benefit your business.

What is call routing 

In a nutshell, call routing is a call management feature 

Call routing is a call management function for company phone systems that routes each incoming call in a queue. It is routed to a specific person or group of customers based on pre-established rules and criteria. Call routing occurs before someone on receiving end picks up a call. 

Users can determine call routing prompts and factors such as call volume, time of day, caller language preferences, the department requested, and agent availability. 

Because of the way they work to distribute inbound calls, call routing systems are sometimes known as Automatic Call Distributors (ACD). 

Let's look at the example: You want to increase the spending limit on your credit card. What do you do? You probably call the bank or the toll-free phone number on the back of the credit card. The phone system then gives you a couple of  

options. These may include receiving account statements, opening a new account, setting up a travel alert, disputing a charge or requesting a credit limit increase. All you have to do is dial a number or express what you want. Then you get connected to the proper agent with insight into your issue. This cuts through unnecessary conversations about your problem's nature and allows both agent and you to focus directly on resolving inquiries. 

Call routing identifies the caller's needs and helps to smoothly deliver them to the right agent competent to address their problems. 

QUOTE: You can look at call routing as a call management process that automatically queues and distributes incoming calls based on a prefered set of criteria. 

How does call routing work? 

Now that we understand what call routing is, we need to look at the way call routing works. There are many angles you can look at it. Different contact centres will have different methods of routing calls. However, they all follow a similar process. 

How are calls routed in a call centre? 

Phase one: Qualifying 

The initial stage in the routing process in most contact centres is to route the call to an interactive voice response solution or IVR (Interactive Voice Response). IVR allows you to determine the customer issue on a deeper level through a series of predetermined questions and answers. 

Phase two: Call queueing 

After the caller responds to the IVR, they are forwarded to the automatic call distributors (ACD) for queuing. There are many factors the ACD can queue inbound calls based on criteria like agent skills, waiting time or query. Priority will depend on the routing preferences you establish. 

Phase three: Call distribution 

Once you queue the calls, it is time for agents to take care of the customers. As with the previous phase, the call distribution will depend on your set criteria. For example, you can categorize agents based on skills. Customer inquiries are then addressed to agents with all the skills needed to resolve the issue. This minimizes waiting time and enables a superb customer experience. 

Ways to route calls 

As you can see, the methodology behind call routing is similar for most cases. However, not every business is the same. Therefore, the needs of each of them are not going to be the same. 

Here, we will look at some of the ways you can route the calls: 

1. Fixed order 

The rules are simple. Each call is assigned to the first available agent. The call is forwarded to the following agent if they aren't available. 

2. Skill-based routing 

Not all agents are equally equipped for every customer inquiry. This is especially evident if you are a larger business with many departments. Routing calls to agents based on their experience or skills necessary to address their concerns efficiently. 

3. Rotation-based routing 

Here, call assignments are rotated between the agents. Each agent must take a turn before another call gets assigned to the first agent. 

4. Percentage routing 

Allows you to assign a percentage of calls to a given team. For example, you may divide calls between two sales teams, with half going to Team A and the other half going to Team B. 

5. Talk time 

The automatic call distributor (ACD) assigns the call to an agent with the least amount of talking time. This minimizes the idle time of your agents and thus increases productivity. 

6. Time-based routing 

Most contact centres are not available 24/7. With time-based routing, calls are assigned within business hours or other specified times of the day. 

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Call routing is more than just a contact centre asset. The central purpose of contact centres is to resolve customer complaints. An efficient call routing strategy can help boost customer satisfaction by directing them to the correct individual in the firm who can assist them immediately. Call routing is a valuable feature for businesses of all sizes. 

Here, we will look at some benefits call routing can provide your business. 

1. Improves Customer Experience 

More than ever, great customer experience is a driving force for any successful business. Not only does call routing help meet customers' needs quickly but also to have an overall improved experience. Call routing delivers a more personalized and efficient customer experience by anticipating client wants and automating operations where possible. This has a direct influence on a company's bottom line. 

2. Reduced waiting time 

According to a study by MIT, customers who experience long wait times are much less likely to be satisfied with the overall experience. This study also found that customers who had to wait more than 10 minutes for service were less likely to return to the business or suggest it to others.  

Call routing allows agents to quickly address customer inquiries and get straight to the basis of the issue. 

3. Faster resolution 

The faster calls are assigned, the more agents are likely to assist clients and handle issues successfully. Combined with skill-based routing, the likelihood of first-call resolution increases even more. This is because it routes calls to knowledgeable agents about the customer's problem. For example, a customer may press 2 to speak with an employee in Spanish or 3 for billing inquiries. Each of the agents will be more skilled in each of these scenarios. 

4. Higher agent productivity 

The conversation about the importance of superb Customer experience is already established. Howerer, there is the other side of the coin. Employee experience is an essential part of customer experience. Agents in contact centres are often overloaded with unnecessary administration and nervous clients. Automated call routing enables agents to focus on helping customers, resulting in high productivity. With skills-based distribution, your agents will be assigned to challenges that necessitate the use of abilities that they already possess. This will allow them to resolve tickets more quickly and accurately. 

5. Balanced workload 

If left unregulated, some agents will naturally deal with much higher workload levels than others. You can select a call routing strategy that distributes calls evenly among your agents. This balances the workload and keeps your team from becoming overworked. 

  Who benefits from call routing? 

Who is call routing for? Well, it doesn't take long to figure this out. Routing systems are a critical component of business phone systems for any company with various employees, divisions, or locations. Think of organizations like banks, insurance offices, social/government/health institutions, telecommunications centres and many more. 

An intelligent call routing system reduces the number of internal call transfers, which are detrimental to the caller's customer experience and demand for staff. 

First step to effective call center 

To conclude, routing systems are an incredibly useful in improving the customer experience while recusing customer support costs. Well-designed and adequately implemented call routing enables contact centres to handle customer inquiries seamlessly and effortlessly. 

To implement call routing appropriately, you should consider prioritizing each communication channel, caller profile, caller type, and agent skills. This will enable the facilitation of more productive interactions between agents and callers. Making an effort to verify that your system configuration provides the best match of callers to resources is the key to auto-routing calls to the correct queue and increasing first-call resolution ratios, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction rates. 

Now that you understand what routing can do for you, you question how to implement it. A great option to consider is an omnichannel solution, like LIVE, that allows you to not only handle communication across all channels but track customer analytics. This makes for a smoother and more effortless experience for your agents and customers. 

Start a free trial now, and see what smart call routing is about with LIVE. 

Learn more about how the Live product family can help you support and improve your customer experience strategy.

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