Call Routing Technology, also known as an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), allows for customer calls to be automatically routed to individual agents (or queues) inside the contact center according to specific criteria. Although many people may assume that calls arriving in the contact center are answered in the order they arrive, the reality is that there can be several reasons why you want to distribute them and not just have a simple queue. For example, these reasons include:
Time-based routing routes callers to agents based on the time of day. Time-based routing is often used to help companies provide service 24 hours a day. For example, companies with offices nationwide might route callers to an office on the east coast during hours that west coast offices aren’t open. Conversely, calls during hours after the east coast office is closed could be routed to a west coast office. During hours that neither office is open, calls could be routed to a different 24-hour call center.
Some companies employ what’s known as skills-based routing in order to route callers to the most qualified sales agent available. There are several factors that can be used to determine which rep is most qualified. Product knowledge is one factor that can be used to determine skills-based routing. Companies that offer multiple offerings might have product specialists who are more skilled at selling particular offerings. With a skills-based routing system, a company could automatically route calls to the right product specialist. Companies sometimes use call-tracking solutions to determine buyer intent. If a customer, for example, clicked on a Google ad for a particular product prior to calling, a skills-based routing system could send a caller to a specialist in that particular product. Companies also sometimes use skills-based routing to send important calls to the sales rep that has the highest close rate. This can help ensure that top closers are not being underutilized.
Round Robin Routing
A frequent problem that many companies face is that calls are not evenly distributed among sales reps. Often certain reps get inundated with calls, while other reps are being underutilized. Round robin algorithms work to give each rep an equal share of incoming leads. Round robin routing algorithms are often a function of automatic call distributors. This can be used to ensure a fair and equitable sales environment.
Additional criteria can also be used; for example, if your omnichannel systems can identify the customer from the number being used and they have been flagged for priority service then this call can be fast-tracked. This may be because the customer has an outstanding issue on another channel, therefore you might be expecting them to continue the same discussion on the phone—switching from a social conversation to phone. Additionally, it might be that the system identifies this customer as highly influential and therefore prioritizes their call.
Whichever routing system you plan to use, it will be more efficient than lining up calls to be handled simply in the order they arrive. If you have any questions about ACD, please feel free to leave a comment here or get in touch with me directly via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Alan Clark licensed under Creative Commons.