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7 Innovative Ways to Improve Inbound Call Routing

Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 10:15
Improve Inbound Call Center Routing

Call routing is a contact center essential. A well designed routing system helps to deliver a superior customer experience and fast resolution to their query; but done poorly, call routing can lead to poor service, immeasurable frustration and, ultimately, customer churn.

Why do many businesses fail when it comes to call routing? Often it’s due to legacy call center systems that can’t live up to today’s standards. And many businesses are simply unaware of the capabilities modern call center technology affords and the ease with which they can be deployed.  

Here are seven innovative ways to leverage technology and improve call routing within your contact center.

1. Optimize Skills-based Agent Routing

In today’s modern contact center, simply defining an agent’s skills based on ACD queues or types of calls in hopes of matching customers to the best agent is no longer enough. The modern contact center must take into account agent skill levels in order to more effectively match customers and agents.

Using language fluency as an example, the picture below demonstrates how agents can be prioritized, taking into account the level of the language(s) spoken instead of viewing all agents as equal. It’s also possible to match high value customers to agents with the highest skill levels for their particular issue. Some of West’s clients prefer a simplistic priority system offering basic (P3), immediate (P2) or advanced (P1) skill levels, while other clients opt for a more sophisticated priority system with up to 100 different levels. There are many ways of utilizing skills-based routing within different types of businesses. 

2. Monitor Call Queue Performance

While configuring your skills-based routing tool for optimum performance is important, you also need to monitor queues to identify bottlenecks or skill shortages. After identifying a skill shortage or bottleneck, you might opt for agent training – in their current skills to increase efficiency and/or to teaching new skills.

Contact centers certainly can and should strive for "super agents" – those highly skilled product experts who have the ability to deal with complex situations; however, it’s advisable not to overload newer agents with too many different skills in order to ensure they can walk before they run, as they say.

3. Use Advanced Self-Service Options

Advanced self-service is an effective way to put to use the skill levels discussed previously. A customer can input details, such as an account number, and the contact center software can then perform an intelligent data look up within the CRM system to quickly identify customers. The customer can then be routed much more effectively and agents would already have customer data at hand before beginning the call. High value customers could even be flagged and placed in a VIP queue or routed to specialist agents.

4. Cross-sell and Upsell in the Queue

No one wants to wait on hold, but sometimes it’s just inevitable. Take advantage of the queue by offering targeted and relevant marketing messages to customers while they wait. Using intelligent data look ups once again, the on hold messaging could include new products or products the customer has inquired about in the past. In fact, data shows more than 50% of callers complete a purchase during the second opportunity.

5. Route Subsequent Calls to the Same Agent

As most of us know firsthand, repeating an issue to multiple agents can be exasperating. Data look-ups can be used to route a repeat caller to the last agent that the customer spoke to (provided they are available). Customers and agents are able to build a rapport, removing the frustrations of being passed around and having to repeat themselves. If that agent isn’t available, another agent can see who is assisting with the inquiry and what the status is.

6. Create a Call Option within Your App

This approach allows customers to make a call within an app and functions in much the same way as advanced self-service, using customer data to look account details. It’s a common tactic for mobile banking apps that require a passcode to access. Using this process, businesses can streamline inbound calls with no need for customers to complete a security check while allowing for a faster and more efficient process for the customer.

7. Give Customers the Call Back Option

Finally, make sure to offer customers the option of receiving a call back when the queue reaches a designated capacity. Call backs are a great way of allowing customers to get on with their day instead of waiting on hold.

A good contact center system will not just offer a ‘virtual placeholder’ with a call back from the next available agent; it will also allow customers to choose a timeslot that is most convenient for them. They could even choose to input an alternative return phone number, delivering even greater flexibility and choice for the customer.

Inbound call routing done correctly can improve the customer experience by getting callers to the best agent as quickly as possible, prioritizing your best customers, and minimizing additional wait times. Beyond those benefits, intelligent call routing can also boost the bottom line through more streamlined calls, efficient time management, and a subsequent uptick in sales.

What are you waiting for? Reach out to learn more about how you can better your business using modern contact center technology.

Talk to a Call Routing Expert