Despite the availability of multiple channels to reach an organization, calling still remains the favorite owing to accessibility and speed.
Businesses, on the other hand, are doing everything to meet the high expectations of modern-day customers trying to call their organization.
One such measure is adopting call routing. In this post, let’s find out everything about call routing, including its definition, benefits, strategies, and techniques.
What is call routing?
It is the process of pushing voice calls into a queue on the basis of predefined criteria. A call routing system is popularly known as ACD (Automatic Call Distributor).
The goal of a call routing system is straightforward – To ensure that your customers can always reach the right employee every time without the need to dial a separate phone number. It usually works in conjunction with auto-attendants.
How does call routing work?
It works via the popular IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. The entire routing process revolves around the data provided by the customer dialing your business phone number.
There are three stages in call routing:
- Input Stage: This is the first stage when customers use their phone’s dial pad to select one among the many call menu options. Alternatively, they can use their voice to respond to pre-recorded questions.
- Queuing Stage: In this stage, the call routing system uses the input provided in the previous stage to push the caller to the right queue.
- Distribution Stage: This is the final stage where calls placed in different queues are routed to the corresponding team based on pre-determined calling rules and customer data stored in the CRM tool.
Let’s understand this better with the help of a call routing example.
Let’s assume you are an existing customer of a travel portal. You had already made a hotel reservation in their portal and now want to cancel it. You call the toll-free number that you found on their website.
Their phone system offers you multiple options: Make a new flight booking, make a new hotel booking, cancel an existing flight booking, cancel an existing hotel booking, reschedule flight booking, reschedule hotel booking, and check refund status. All you have to do is press the corresponding number on your phone or convey your option verbally. This is the input stage.
The company’s phone system gauges that you are an existing customer from your mobile number stored in their CRM and places you in the calling queue. This is the queueing stage.
The phone system finally redirects you to the team who handles hotel cancellations instead of general customer care. As you can see, the call routing feature has automatically redirected you to a qualified person who can resolve your query instantly. This is the distribution stage.
Further Reading: Cloud Telephony: A Beginner’s Guide
Best practices of call routing
Here are 4 best practices you can follow while setting up call routing in your organization –
#1 Make sure the routing strategy revolves around the customers
This is a given. For starters, the entire business phone system has been set up only for addressing the queries of your customers. So it makes total sense to keep them at the mantelpiece while devising the call routing strategy. By call routing strategy, we are mainly talking about the different menu options that you need to adopt for your IVR.
Start by conducting thorough research about your customer expectations. Study their demographics, their common concerns, or the reasons why they contact you. For example, if only a handful of customers in a month call you for flight rescheduling, you can just combine it with the flight cancellation option.
#2 Track how the routing system is performing on a regular basis
Unless you track the efficacy and efficiency of a system, you will never make improvements to it. And when you make necessary improvements, customer satisfaction level increases, and your sales multiply. Start by tracking key metrics like Abandonment Rate and Average Handle Time to check how efficient your call routing system is. If these values are below average, then it’s time to alter the call routing strategy and distribution method.
#3 Offer only a limited set of menu options
Too many cooks spoil the broth. This adage is applicable to call routing systems too! After all, the last thing you want to do is confuse your customers with too many options and increase their waiting time, only to reach the wrong contact center team. Keep only a handful of necessary call menu options. This will drastically improve your call abandonment rates.
#4 Integrate your call routing system with your CRM solution
We are living in the era of customer personalization. If you do not tailor your services based on customer needs, you will be overtaken by your competitors. This applies to your call routing system too. Customers expect a certain level of personalization when they dial your organization. They expect that your agents know about their past interactions, purchase history, and service history to avoid repeating the same information again and again. This is possible if your system is integrated with your CRM solution. Your agents will instantly know everything about the customer once their calls are routed to them.
5 Benefits of call routing
Here are some of the top benefits you can enjoy by employing a call routing system –
#1 Reduced wait time for your customers
Here is a harsh reality – Nobody likes to wait, especially over phones. Customers of today are short of time. They want immediate service and instant resolution. It helps achieve this by drastically reducing the wait time. Right from routing the call to the right agent to agents having all the necessary information, call routing prioritizes customer experience at every stage.
#2 Offers multi-language support
It is a necessity if your business has customers speaking multiple languages. Call routing systems empower you to tailor the routing rules in such a way that it encompasses multiple IVR language options. This way, your customers can contact and speak with a live agent in their own language right away, without the need to speak to someone else in a language you don’t speak.
#3 Improves employee satisfaction
Here’s some good news – not all benefits of a call routing system are directed towards customers. It drastically improves the satisfaction of your employees/agents by creating a more balanced workload. Most call routing systems let you set rules in such a way that every agent receives a similar number of calls, leading to fewer periods of idleness and better utilization of all the employees. Most importantly, your employees will not be overburdened.
#4 Reduced number of callbacks
As you already know by now, a call routing system operates by routing a call to the agent who is best suited to handle a particular customer’s query. As a result of this, the customer gets all the necessary details about their query in a single call. This means they do not have to call back multiple times or talk to multiple persons to receive a solution. The best part – the cost per interaction also decreases since less time is needed to resolve a particular query.
#5 Offers modern solutions
Most modern call routing service or software is powered by artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies that help you completely redefine call management operations. For instance, it can let you create customized greetings, personalized menus, and a myriad of self-service options. Some smart call routing systems even assess customer sentiment and route them to the appropriate agent with a similar personality.
Further Reading: What is Cloud Telephony and how it works
8 Major Call Routing Strategies
Here are the top strategies that you can employ for your organization –
#1 Direct Routing Strategy
This is probably the simplest of all call routing strategies. Organizations employing this strategy have a simple goal – to connect the customer with the right department. For instance, if a person with a sales query calls, they will be redirected to the sales team. If the sales team is busy, the caller has to wait till someone from the team is free to attend the call.
#2 Least Idle Strategy
In this, the call can be directed to the agent who has been for a call the longest. For instance, Agent A hasn’t attended a call for 15 minutes while Agent B hasn’t attended a call for 25 minutes. Clearly, the next call will be directed to Agent B. This way, you can ensure that every agent is utilized thoroughly throughout the day.
#3 Skill-Based Routing Strategy
The skill-based routing strategy revolves around improving customer experience. In this, a customer’s call is transferred to the agent who has the highest skill to solve that query. If you are adopting this strategy, you must ensure that multi-skilled agents also have strong individual skills so that they will be utilized thoroughly.
#4 Geographic Routing Strategy
In geographic routing, a caller is directed to the call center/store/office that’s closest to their current location. This location is typically captured through the user’s input. For example, a user is trying to contact the nearest store in their city. The IVR system asks the user to enter their zip code. Based on the response, it can redirect them to the closest store.
#5 Time-Based Routing Strategy
In the time-based routing strategy, the call routing system will transfer the customer’s call to the agent based on the time and day of the call. For example, if the caller calls during a time when the business is closed in that time zone, the system will route the call to another available agent in another time zone.
#6 Data-Based Routing Strategy
This is an intelligent call routing strategy where the system uses the available data and intelligence to route the calls accordingly. For example, if a broadband customer has a query related to the service but hasn’t paid the bill for the previous month. They will be redirected to the collections department first upon calling the business phone number.
#7 Value-Based Routing Strategy
This is almost similar to the previous strategy. The only difference is that the focus is on the value of the customer. To set up this strategy, your call routing system has to be integrated with a CRM. The CRM, in turn, will bring revenue-based insights to personalize your routing system. For example, if an existing customer with a higher credit limit calls a credit card company, he/she will be routed to the premium credit card team that’s priced higher.
#8 Self-Service Routing Strategy
This strategy focuses on those customers seeking information without the aid of a live agent. The callers can use the IVR menu to collect the necessary information by talking to an automated attendant. For example, a customer looking to find the store address can interact with the IVR, which gives an option to learn the address without talking to a live agent.
What are the different ways to call routing?
Here are the types of call routing or different ways to route calls –
#1 Round Robin Call Routing
In this, calls are routed equally across your agents. For example, if there are 10 agents in your organization, the first agent receives the first call. Once they accept the call, the second call goes to the second agent. And so on.
#2 Uniform Call Routing
In this, the calls are routed based on the availability of the agents. This is similar to the least idle strategy, where the agents who have been available the longest will be routed to the next call. Once they attend a call, they will be sent back to the end of the line.
#3 Weighted Call Routing
In this, calls are routed based on the weights of the agents. The weights have to be assigned manually to each agent in your organization. For example, imagine your organization has 3 agents – Agent A with 50 points, Agent B with 20 points, and Agent C with 30 points. Out of 100 incoming calls, 50 calls will be routed to Agent A, 20 calls will be routed to Agent B, and 30 calls will be routed to Agent C.
#4 Simultaneous Call Routing
Another simple call routing technique. In this technique, whenever a customer calls, all the assigned agents’ phones will ring at the same time. Whoever is available can answer the call first. This technique can be adopted by those organizations that value speed over anything else.
Editor’s Choice: FreJun Dialer App
And that’s everything you need to know about call routing. Make sure that the business phone system you adopt has powerful automated call routing features for you to enjoy all the benefits highlighted in the post.
If you are on the lookout for a next-gen cloud telephony system, your search ends with FreJun. FreJun comes with advanced features like call logging, auto-dialer, call scheduling, and plug-n-play integrations, to name a few. To experience the power of FreJun, sign up for a free trial now.