Intelligent Routing 101: The Basics
Your guide to Intelligent Call Routing
It wasn’t so long ago that customers used to call a company and speak directly to a human being. However, as contact centres started to deal with larger volumes of customers and calls, businesses needed a better way to ensure that those calls reached the right agents. Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) systems quickly became the status quo.
Now that we’re living in a world transformed by artificial intelligence, we’re finding even better ways to manage and route the calls that appear in a contact centre each day. Organisations of all sizes are exploring intelligent routing options to decrease their average handling times, improve first contact resolution and enhance agent utilisation.
The Evolving Era of Call Routing
Call routing in a contact centre determines which advisor handles each incoming call. There are many ways of doing this, some more intelligent than others. For instance, the most common strategy for an IVR is to use ACD-based routing, where an ACD system directs the call that has waited the longest to the adviser that has been available for the longest time. If an agent isn’t available, the call is placed in a queue and picked up by the next available adviser.
Although ACD routing is simple and straightforward, it’s not very effective at boosting customer engagement and ensuring first-time resolution. Rather than getting the customer to the agent best suited to handle their query, this system just routes a call to the first person available. As such, companies have created programmable solutions like priority-based and skills-based routing to enhance the ACD system.
For instance, a bank’s contact centre might use priority-based routing to push customers with the biggest accounts to the front of the queue. On the other hand, when an ACD recognises a customer’s call ID, it can route the conversation to the agent with the best skills to handle the issue that has already been recorded for that client.
Embracing Intelligent Call Routing
Intelligent call routing is all about ensuring that customers are matched to the best people to handle their call. Companies can either use programs and in-built measurement metrics to boost the intelligence of their routing, or they can explore artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence in call routing allows a bot with a rich data-centric background to analyse where a call needs to go based on advanced factors like the customer’s history with the company, the sentiment that the customer expresses in the conversation and more. Artificial Intelligence offers a far more in-depth routing experience thanks to things like natural language processing, native language understanding, and predictive analysis.
For instance, AI in contact centre routing may mean that your IVR recognises a customer’s voice by analysing thousands of different factors in their tone. Once the AI recognises the voice, it can use it as a biometric fingerprint to open a file of CRM data about the customer. The AI could see which products the customers have, which issues they’ve had in the past, and which agents they’ve interacted with before. The system may even be able to route the customer to the same employee they’ve worked with in the past.
The Benefits of Intelligent Routing
Good call routing systems matches the context of the customer and their intent in a call with the proficiency and skills of agents. You can even use the same routing strategies that you rely on with audio calls to route instant messages, emails, video conversations, and other forms of communication too.
With intelligent routing, every customer benefits from a more memorable and personalised level of engagement. What’s more, your first contact resolution numbers increase, improving your reputation as a service brand. The creative process also makes life easier for agents, as they deal with the issues that are best suited to their skills, rather than having to waste time sending customers to different advisers. Some intelligent routing systems can even pull up contextual information for an agent before they answer the call.
Intelligent routing streamlines your entire contact centre, by ensuring that customers are connected to the agents that are best-suited to meet their needs. This saves crucial time in your company and boosts your chances of ending up with more satisfied customers, happier employees, and a better business reputation. What’s more, when you can resolve issues faster, you can sort through more calls each day, ensuring that you don’t miss out on any crucial conversation.
For a streamlined and efficient contact centre environment, intelligent routing could be one of the most valuable tools of the current era. All you need to decide is how smart you want your system to be.