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Timely reception and high-quality processing of incoming calls are essential components of phone systems for call centers and successful businesses. After all, if prospective customers cannot contact the company on the first try, chances are they’ll turn to competitors.
To avoid losing customers, business owners must make two important decisions regarding their ACD phone system – decide what criteria they will use to route incoming calls and choose the right call routing software for their business model.
The automatic distribution of incoming calls allows businesses to respond quickly to many simultaneous requests, even when managing a large number of calls.
On the one hand, there’s nothing complicated about it, and businesses could simply transfer qualified lead calls to the next available agent.
But choosing the best ACD software is a complex task that entails understanding which solution is appropriate for your business type, geographic location, personnel, and so on.
This article will look closely at the evolution of call routing services, the most popular routing types, strategies, and ways to choose the best call center phone system.
The Evolution of Call Routing
Common automatic call distribution systems have included call routing technologies since their emergence in the 1980s. At that time, the process was very time-consuming: customers had to wait hours to be connected with an agent at a company.
However, it was an innovative solution at the time, as previously, a switchboard operator looked up appropriate extension lines and connected the customer to whichever extension was available. All done manually.
Things have changed tremendously since then. Automatic call distribution systems have improved significantly, allowing for complex phone call routing techniques, creating thorough contact center reports, and using technologies to validate, prioritize, and block callers.
But it’s worth mentioning that automatic call distribution systems are not the only ones that route calls. Many contact centers now use bots to acquire consumer data from around the organization, predict needs, and route appropriately.
5 Efficient Call Routing Strategies
There’s no denying that every business must establish a strategic call routing plan at a call center. With a strategic call routing system in place, the companies will be prepared to handle any elevation in call volume without sacrificing their call center effectiveness or customer satisfaction rate.
Let’s take a closer look at the five most effective call routing strategies.
There is a great benefit to being transferred directly to someone who speaks your native or preferred language.
Pros of Location-based Routing
Language limitations no longer serve as excuses for poor call resolution or low customer satisfaction with location-based routing. Calls can be tailored by routing the caller to an agent with shared local expertise.
Furthermore, cloud-based phone systems, or VoIPs, make it simple to route calls while considering the customer’s location and the agent’s language knowledge. In other words, it distinguishes where the call originated from and where the most appropriate agent might be.
Cons of Location-based Routing
Although location-based routing boosts tailored service and communication quality, it’s typically expensive. That is the reason why call centers frequently outsource their agents.
If you’re having printer problems, for instance, and the next available agent is an installation expert, you may be better off waiting an extra minute to talk to someone better equipped to help you.
Pros of Skills-based Routing
Skills-based call center routing is the most efficient use of time for all employees and callers. The company will use the agent’s skill set the most effectively by placing each agent on calls depending on their capabilities. Waiting times often decrease as more agents are taking and handling calls at the same time.
Callers with complex questions are paired with the most knowledgeable employees, while those with straightforward queries are connected with less knowledgeable agents.
Ultimately, skills-based routing delivers the best possible call resolution rate and, consequently, the highest levels of customer satisfaction because it is so effective.
Cons of Skills-based Routing
Running a big call center involves skills-based routing and appropriate call center management software.
However, it may have the reverse impact in a smaller call center. It prevents agents of low levels of specialization from acquiring new proficiency. As a result, customer service suffers when agent talents aren’t used effectively or aren’t appropriately monitored.
Value-based routing, also known as smart routing, places callers in call queues according to their perceived or actual value.
To determine a customer’s value, brands evaluate various consumer factors. These include actions completed on prior visits and demographics like age and income. In this case, calls are routed either proactively or interactively based on these variables.
- Proactive routing occurs when a customer’s call is sent based on known characteristics.
- Interactive routing is used to lessen consumer annoyance and lower call abandonment when the IVR interrupts a call flow and provides the caller with options.
Pros of Value-based Routing
Value-based routing assists brands in securing income streams by enhancing customer retention, whether proactive or reactive. Value-based routing will link the caller with the customer retention team based on their contract status, as they are best suited to support and foster customer loyalty.
Cons of Value-based Routing
Customers’ calls may mistakenly be directed to the incorrect team if brands only use proactive routing methodologies. Contact centers should combine value-based routing with solutions that can enhance customer interactions to prevent these issues.
IVR Call Center Routing Software
IVR (or interactive voice response) routing allows callers to select the department they want to connect to from a prepared list.Phonexa offers IVR and Automatic Call Distributor as part of Call Logic — its call tracking, distribution, and intelligence platform — empowering brands to make data-backed predictions, boost call capacity, and create customizable journeys with voice logic.
Phonexa’s ACD can generate a caller’s response and forward it to the company representative on the other end of the ACD telephone system.
Here’s how it works: the IVR system collects customer data, and an ACD uses this data to sort and distribute incoming calls. As a result, brands improve customer and agent correspondence while streamlining the entire process.
Pros of IVR Software
As the caller handles most of the work, call center routing should be quick and straightforward. As a result of effective IVR use, the number of transfers made once a caller and agent are connected should be reduced.
Cons of IVR Software
The customer may choose the wrong direction or department so that the call resolution time may last longer.
Least Occupied Call Center Routing
Incoming calls can be automatically transferred to the agent who has handled the fewest calls during the day with the help of the least occupied routing.
Pros of Least Occupied Call Center Routing
Routing incoming calls to the agent who has handled the fewest calls in a given day is an effective method of ensuring that all agents take a similar quantity of calls. It keeps the amount of work expected of agents balanced.
Cons of Least Occupied Call Center Routing
No matter how specialized an agent is, least-occupied routing does not make the most of their time. There is a possibility that less specialized agents who could have handled calls with simple questions more effectively will get calls with more complex inquiries.
The Best 3 Call Routing Software Types
Since most callers get tired of browsing complicated menus and overcoming obstacles to contacting customer support, it’s essential to streamline the process. But before choosing software, the most critical step is to consider your company’s needs.
Let’s look at the top three call routing software types you can use.
1. ACD-based Call Routing
Calls are queued in your basic ACD-based call routing system until the next agent becomes available. The result? Frequently, very long wait times.
Source: Call Centre Helper
2. Skills-based Call Routing
This type of routing uses data to move the call through the system appropriately, generally based on the skills required to take the call. It could imply connecting a Spanish-speaking agent with the following caller, who is considered Spanish-speaking according to the caller’s location.
Source: Call Centre Helper
3. Priority-based Call Routing
This funneling system creates queues based on an organization’s criteria in its customer database. Consider airlines that prioritize boarding for first-class passengers.
Source: Call Centre Helper
How To Choose the Best Call Routing Software?
Choosing the right service is as critical as indicating your company’s first point of contact with clients. Anything on your list that causes friction and reduces efficiency should be prioritized.
When choosing a new call routing software provider, keep the following features in mind:
- Easy setup: Quickly adjusting call routing criteria based on real-time demands might significantly reduce consumer wait times.
- CRM integration: This feature can give you a complete picture of your customers and agent funnels, assist in meeting KPIs, and detect difficulties. Asking clients to complete a survey at the end of the call is no longer sufficient.
- Conversational AI: No one wants to be ignored, and customers may now actively communicate with AI chatbots that sound authentically human, thanks to machine learning. This method can also address numerous problems without needing a call center agent, reducing your overall operating costs.
Why Your Business Needs Call Routing Software
Call management software benefits small, growing, or enterprise-level businesses, significantly enhancing large-scale customer service and sales teams’ organization, efficiency, and productivity levels.
Virtual call management software enables teams to work online and remotely without hardware, but it also has numerous benefits for office-based operations. Call management software is beneficial whether you are a small business or a large corporation.
Companies of all sizes can save money (fewer employees, more efficient processes) while improving customer interactions and expanding their reach by investing in call management software.
Implementing the right call management software offers the following benefits:
- No missed calls: With compelling call routing, you can rest assured that even dropped calls are covered, resulting in enhanced customer service.
- Detailed analytics: Agents can examine their interactions with customers, and management can identify areas for improvement.
- Enhanced customer service: Customizing your company’s call routing plans allows qualified agents to answer customer inquiries while reducing administrative and operational staff workload.
- Reduced expenses: Call management software improves efficiency while reducing the call center operating expenses.
Did you miss our article on the importance of using call tracking numbers to capture critical customer data? Check it out here to learn how to attribute your call traffic to direct sources.
What Can an Automatic Call Software Do?
Selecting the best call center phone system is a challenging and great responsibility. First and foremost, every brand needs a solution to help marketing and sales teams work faster and smarter, saving them time and hassle.
Here’s how phone call routing software can contribute to achieving the mission:
- Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS): Companies need a way to identify which phone number the caller dialed. DNIS conducts this.
- Graphical User Interface (GUI): Every call routing software has a different interface. Since that (and the integration options) is frequently the deciding factor, brands must ensure that the interface quality matches the functionality.
- Brand voice and personalized greetings: Most companies want to customize their brand voice and personalize greeting messages. With the right call routing software in place, your company will have an opportunity to modify its IVR script and represent the brand professionally easily.
- Call queuing: It’s crucial to have an opportunity to file callers into a waiting queue to be transferred to a live agent. The appropriate system will enable brands to distribute calls based on several factors, including wait time, the purpose of the call, call status, etc.
What Features Should an Effective Call Routing Software Include?
When selecting the best call management software for your company, search for top features that meet your specific requirements. Below, we’ll summarize the required functionality for various business functions and teams.
Basic Features Of Call Routing Software
- Working hours: Create personalized schedules to confirm when each phone number is open to take calls.
- Voicemail: When you’re away, record, upload, or create a personalized message to greet callers.
- Call management: Customize distribution and call rules to route them to the appropriate agents every time.
- Interactive voice response: Set up an intelligent multi-level IVR that automatically transfers calls to the right agent.
- Extensions: Assign each team member a personalized extension number that their colleagues may easily dial.
- Numbers from the blocklist: Remove spam calls and bots so you can concentrate on the calls that matter to your company.
Call Management Application Features for Call Centers
- Changes in real-time: You can change your system settings and add numbers or users in a matter of minutes
- Queuing: Allow inbound callers to wait in the queue until one of your agents is available to speak with them.
- Call groups: Calls can be routed to teams based on location, language, skill, or other characteristics.
- Simultaneous calls: Place your current conversation on hold while you begin a separate call with a third party.
- Call capacity: You can simultaneously handle as many calls as you want on the same phone.
- Callbacks: Allow callers to opt out of a waiting line and receive your outgoing response later.
- Time-based routing: Set team and individual working hours to ensure that calls are routed only to available agents.
- Recorded calls: Call recordings should be reviewed to help confirm details, monitor quality, and lead training sessions.
- Recording features: Protect the sensitive information of your callers by suspending call recording as needed.
How To Successfully Route Calls
Successful call routing in contact centers typically entails three stages: call qualification, call queues, and call distribution. Let’s examine all of them in more detail.
Source: Fit Small Business
Stage 1. Call Qualification
The first step in call routing is for your company to route incoming callers to an interactive voice response (IVR) system. It presents a series of pre-programmed questions and menus to help determine the reason for the call and obtain information. The caller presses a button on the phone to interact with its options menu, whose input can be used by customer service representatives in the future.
Stage 2. Call Queue
The IVR system automatically routes callers to call queues based on caller input (ACD). Queues can be general, where all agents can answer calls, or agents where calls are queued to a specific group of agents based on parameters you set (team, department, priority, etc.) You can also make it unique.
Stage 3. Call Distribution
When an incoming call is queued, an automatic call distributor software allocates the call based on predefined routing rules. It’s crucial to deliver agent skills, availability, call queue length, caller language preference, and case severity to suitable agents.
There’s no denying that call routing is more than just directing an incoming phone call to an available agent. It’s a vital part of the call flow, customer journey, and overall marketing strategy.
A call routing system may be the optimal option for any company in the customer-facing industry or the customer service center looking to optimize the process of handling calls.
Schedule a consultation to learn how Phonexa’s Call Logic can help you streamline your call management process and elevate the customer experience.