Are you having difficulty managing inbound calls in your call center? Are you having difficulty choosing the best call routing strategy for your call center?
Customer service and communication have become integral parts of modern business. A modern call center must adopt new strategies to meet the needs and wants of its clients, such as call routing strategies.
Different call centers have different needs and requirements, so choosing the right call routing strategy can be challenging. Hence, the right call routing strategy depends on the needs and requirements of the call center.
So, in this article, we will discuss call routing methods, factors to consider when choosing a routing strategy, implementing different strategies in your call center, case studies, and finally, how to select the best routing method. Let’s start.
What is Call Routing?
Call routing is a simple call management feature or process of directing and transferring inbound phone calls to specific agents, departments, and locations based on the customer’s needs.
Call routing is related to inbound calls, where the calls are held or put in a queue before being directed to another place or person based on predetermined criteria.
Call routing systems are usually referred to as “automatic call distribution” (ACD) based on the way they work to distribute inbound calls automatically.
Types of Call Routing Strategies
There are many call-routing strategies that are available in the market. Although the objectives of all the routing methods are the same, there are some differences in how it works, the needs of the business, and their compatibility with businesses of different sizes and natures.
So, let’s look at some of the most popular types.
1. IVR Routing (Interactive Voice Response)
Interactive voice response, or IVR routing, is one of the oldest and most common call routings. IVR uses automated voice menus to direct customers to a series of options.
Customers can select the department, person, and geographic location in this routing from their keypad input or voice command.
IVR is practical and compatible with call centers with high call volume and the same call objectives.
If IVR is not programmed correctly, it can cause frustration, customer dissatisfaction, and high turnover.
2. Skill-based Routing
Skill-based routing is more complex than ordinary call routing. This routing directs and transfers the customers’ calls to the agents or people with the required skill set.
In this case, the call centers assign agents with different skills and areas of expertise and intelligently transfer the call to them. The areas of expertise include technical support, sales, marketing, and administration.
Based on the predetermined programs and criteria, the call is transferred to the most relevant and competent agent. Skills-based routing has a higher chance of first-call resolution, which leads to customer satisfaction.
Customers can get more relevant, personalized, and better assistance from competent agents.
There is a high chance of overwork for some specific agents, which might hurt the overall performance.
3. Geographic Routing
Geographic routing transfers and directs the call based on the location of the callers. It might also transfer the calls based on the desired destination of the call for the customer.
Geographic routing can have the upper hand against other routings if the business has multiple physical locations, call centers, or operates a business phone system in many places.
Geographic routing offers localized service as the calls are transferred to the nearest agents, ensuring interaction between people who understand the locality, needs, and preferences.
Geographic routing is beneficial for businesses that operate in many physical locations.
Geographic routing does not provide personalized routing options as it does not consider personalized preferences or individual user profiles when routing calls.
4. Round-Robin Routing
Last but not least, round-robin routing is one of the simplest call routings, which evenly distributes the call among the available agents. This ensures equal work, reducing the chances of one worker overworking while another is unutilized or underutilized.
This strategy is exceptional in equal work distribution but might lead to inconsistent service considering the difference in the skillset of different agents.
There is an equal distribution of workload among all the agents.
Customers might not get better feedback as in the case of skill-based routing, as any agent might address the problem (with or without specialization).
Hence, these are the major types of call routing that businesses can implement. However, other strategies like occupied, data-directed, and value-based routing are also quite popular in the market.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Call Routing Strategy
Call routing strategies can alter the outcome of business productivity and customer satisfaction. However, this does not mean you should go into the market and choose any strategy for your business.
You should consider many factors to tailor your call routing approach and effectively address the unique needs of your customers. Here are some of them.
First and foremost, you should determine the call volumes in your call center (number of total inbound calls) for a better routing strategy.
High call volumes require strategies like automatic call distribution (ACD) or interactive voice response (IVR) to efficiently distribute calls among available agents. In comparison, lower call volumes offer more personalized routing options.
If your call center has huge call volumes daily, choosing strategies like IVR routing is preferable for you. However, you might opt for strategies like skill-based routing if there are limited customers and inbound calls.
You might receive various inbound calls at an inbound call center. You might receive the same queries on a daily basis, or there might be different and more technical queries every day.
These call types also play an important role when considering routing methods. Think of it this way; if your company receives numerous inbound calls from different departments like sales and marketing, which have similar queries on a daily basis, then you might opt for an IVR system.
However, if you provide technical support, skill-based routing and data-directed might be best for you.
You can also choose a call-routing strategy based on the skills and expertise of your agents. If you have access to very skilled agents, you can route the calls to the most skilled agent with a record of having more cases of first-call resolution (solving the problems and any issues on the first call).
In other words, if your call center has competent agents available, you can choose skill-based routing. However, if there are a limited number of agents without the expertise and the best skills, you can go for robin-round routing.
Some customers who prefer less interaction might prefer IVR routing, while others might go for direct access to a live agent.
As a call center, you can analyze past interactions, seek feedback, and even conduct surveys to understand customer preferences.
Moreover, consider and analyze each strategy’s drawbacks before incorporating it into your business.
How to Choose the Best Call Routing Strategy for Your Call Center?
Choosing the best call routing strategy can determine the success or failure of your call center. So, here is a detailed step-by-step process for selecting the best call routing strategy for your call center:
1. Understand the Call Center’s Needs
The first and foremost step in selecting a call routing strategy for your call center is understanding your needs and wants. Analyze your call center’s requirements, including call volume, call types, agent skills, and customer preferences.
Moreover, you can identify the common pain points and challenges your mobile phone customer currently faces and determine the objectives you want to achieve through call routing strategies.
2. Research Call Routing Strategies
After determining the needs, study the various call routing strategies like IVR, skill-based, geographic, round-robin, etc. Compare the call routing strategies, and determine the most compatible with your needs and preferences.
3. Review Case Studies and Customer Feedback
You can analyze some of the most relevant case studies and review the customer feedback. Search for the case studies where businesses like yours. You might discover the cases where there were problems and how the call routing solved them. Moreover, learn about customer satisfaction levels and overall outcomes.
4. Try Demos and Trials
After reviewing, select the few providers that provide the call routing options most compatible with your call center. You can request that these providers offer free demos and trails, which help you gain first-hand experience before you invest your valuable resources.
Demos and trials can also help you decide whether the provider is right for you before you break the bank.
5. Analyze Cost and Return on Investment
Different providers offer services at different prices. Analyze the cost, and choose the one that fits your budget. Likewise, compare the price with the return on investment. You can do this by evaluating the potential ROI in the context of better customer satisfaction, enhanced agent productivity, and cost savings.
6. Seek Expert Advice
If you are still unsatisfied with the information you have, you can always seek expert advice. Take some help from consultants specializing in call center operations and call routing strategies.
They can provide some of the best advice to help you navigate the complexities of selecting the best strategy for your needs.
Implementing Call Routing Strategies in Your Call Center
Implementing call routing strategies in your call center demands intensive planning, decision-making, and execution. Proper implementation is crucial for long-term success, productivity, and smooth operations.
Hence, here are some implementation strategies for call routing in your call center.
Firstly, you must evaluate your technology. If the technology you are using is updated, then it’s great. However, if your technology is outdated, you must update it to make it compatible with your call-routing strategy.
Moreover, you can also integrate or upgrade your technology with routing tools like IVR and an advanced Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system.
Make sure that the technology supports your call routing and that the process is smooth and efficient.
You must conduct agent training to ensure smooth operations. Train your agents with the skills required to route and handle the types of assigned calls. Moreover, help them learn more about customer preferences along with their wants and needs.
Furthermore, you can establish an environment and a culture for continuous learning and improvement. This ensures that the agents are always up-to-date with the latest strategies and customer expectations.
Finally, you should also implement proper performance management and monitoring to track and check the effectiveness and efficiency of the call routing.
You must consider many metrics, including the agent productivity level, amount of call handling time, number of first call resolutions, and customer satisfaction. You can measure this with the help of multiple customer contact channels.
Based on these results, you can change the strategies, implement new rules and programs, make necessary adjustments, and optimize agent schedules to maximize efficiency.
Case Study of Call Routing
Good call routing has made a fortune for some businesses while also leading to the downfall of others due to incompetence. We will go through a case study of a business that becomes very successful thanks to the
Here is a case study to show how good call routing can bring success even during times of difficulty. It is about an award-winning travel company, ‘Trailfinders’ which provided one of the best services during the COVID lockdown.
Overview of the Company
Trailfinders is a British travel company that operates in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company had 38 travel and virtual contact centers during the COVID lockdown.
People stranded in foreign and other places had difficulties and an urgency to return home due to the COVID lockdown. So, there were many incoming calls; some were very important, and others could be postponed.
There were also people whose flights were due in the coming two weeks, which could not be possible then.
Trailfinders knew they would have to prioritize the calls to help customers stranded overseas and due to travel imminently. The calls were categorized into two areas based on the expected incoming call volume.
Calls from customers stranded abroad and needing repatriation received the highest attention. Trailfinders recognized their phone numbers from their reservations at the hotel.
When they contacted, the system, it immediately recognized it as a priority call and routed the call to the right agent who could help them book a trip home.
Likewise, customers scheduled to travel within the next two weeks who wanted to reschedule or request a refund received second priority.
Customers didn’t have to wait for a long time or have their calls transferred between teams before their issue was resolved because their calls were once again sent to the appropriate team of agents.
Summing up, call centers can route calls using various strategies to significantly enhance productivity, customer satisfaction, customer experience, and customer loyalty while simultaneously saving costs with the best virtual phone service provider.
You can choose a call-routing strategy based on the needs and compatibility of your call centers. Furthermore, many factors must be considered before opting for a specific plan.
Moreover, you can follow the above-mentioned strategies and tips for selecting the best call-routing strategy for your business.