Why Contact Center Solutions Need Intelligent Call Routing

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Intelligent call routing—also known as skill-based routing—is the process of automatically directing incoming calls to an appropriate agent. However, it isn’t called “intelligent” for nothing.

The process of seamlessly assigning callers to the right person, based on the context of the conversation, is one of the smartest ways businesses can leverage a contact center solution to increase customer satisfaction. It creates an important distinction for a business: sending customers to the most suitable agent, instead of the next available one.

There’s a tremendous window of opportunity for business owners to gain a competitive edge by delivering more efficient and immediate resolution through intelligent call routing. According to a survey by Predictive Analytics Today, more than 70 percent of users are not satisfied with the call center experience they typically receive. In addition, an American Express survey found that 78 percent of consumers have “bailed on a transaction,” or not made an intended purchase, because of a poor service experience.”

As part of a sophisticated contact center solution, intelligent call routing identifies and prioritizes incoming phone numbers according to rules and hierarchies set by the business. Routing can also be accomplished by an IVR system that allows callers to choose the appropriate departments that match their questions. The ability to direct calls to specialized teams or agents can reduce wait time, circumventing the dreaded cycle of transfers from operator to operator. Efficient routing is beneficial not only for the caller, but for the organization as well, since it optimizes efficiency in an office or call center setting.

Some terrific examples of how intelligent routing has been successfully deployed for end-customers:


  • In a law office, attorneys used skill-based routing and IVR to automatically direct clients to the correct personnel for an update on their cases. None of these clients were subjected to a screening by a receptionist, or passed along to a string of assistants. They were able to start their customer engagement journey with a point person who had the expertise to update them and answer their questions.

  • Another law firm ran a television ad calling for participants in a class action suit. Respondents were automatically routed via a dedicated extension to the team that managed that action. When responses to the ad skyrocketed, the firm was quickly able to expand the team and route callers to additional dedicated extensions — gaining a great amount of business in the process, all without impacting the firm’s existing projects, since all regular extensions remained unchanged.

  • A not-for-profit organization serving underprivileged residents across multiple counties created a system that identified callers by area code, directing each resident to the correct county office. An IVR system went on to identify whether the caller needed healthcare, housing, or transportation services.

  • A regional HVAC company serviced customers in an area incorporating three neighboring states. Based on the caller’s area code, incoming calls were routed to technicians who serviced that respective state, allowing the business to project a more localized and responsive persona to customers, regardless of which state the caller was located in.

Data marketplace thought leader Alex Fly summed up the strategy behind call routing in an article on Medium.com, where he outlined best practices for data-driven call centers. “Call routing optimizes human resource costs and helps get the right customer to the right representative,” Fly wrote. His article advocates for contact center solutions that “can determine the best available service group for a given customer by taking into account not only the reason for the call but also the lifetime value and call complexity.”

Intelligent, indeed. As a savvy organization — or as a shrewd provider of these technologies — skill-based routing should be high on the list of capabilities necessary for an effective cloud-based contact center solution. If you'd like to learn more about how cloud communications and contact center solutions can address your customers' pain points, download our Essential Guide to Cloud Communications. It provides in-depth answers to the major considerations to think through to truly take advantage of the opportunities offered by UCaaS and CCaaS.

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