8 Call Center Routing Strategies for Your Business
 Back Office

8 Call Center Routing Strategies for Your Business

Sophia Williams
Sophia Williams
November 9, 2022
Last updated on:

November 9, 2022

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Read time: 6 mins

Did you know that 67 percent of customers hang up the call because they’re frustrated with waiting for a call center representative? A successful call center is based on stellar customer service and such negative response hampers their service levels. In fact, 62.7 percent of agents view service level as an important performance metric. Since the call volume has increased exponentially, finding ways to route these calls effectively to ensure the maximum customer service is critical. Efficient call distribution ensures timely responses, wait times and prevents customer frustration. Strategic call routing mechanisms allow businesses to prioritize urgent queries and direct calls to the most qualified agents. Ultimately, it enhances customer satisfaction, optimizes resources, and prevents overload on specific teams. That’s why we’ve listed out successful call center strategies to help your center succeed with customers.

According to a report by Salesforce 83% of customers want to engage with someone immediately when contacting a company.

Effective Strategies for Call Routing for Your Business

Here is the list of successful call center strategies to help you choose the right one based on your business requirements.

1. Direct Routing

Most small businesses cannot afford to build a dedicated customer service team. They just need to direct their customer calls to the right department within the business. So, the direct routing model is perfect for them because it gets the information right from the horse’s mouth. In this model, your customers have separate contact information that connects them to a specific department. A particular number gets them in touch with the sales department or the service team, and so on.

Companies can also establish primary contact and next contact lists to help them navigate to the right person when someone else is preoccupied. 60 percent of call centers view first contact resolution as an important performance indicator. Through direct routing, small businesses can ensure they quickly resolve queries by allowing the customer to approach the person in charge.

Best Ways to Implement Direct Routing:

  • Select the VoIP Provider: Choose a reliable VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider that suits your call center's needs and integrates seamlessly with your existing telephony system.
  • Prepare Network: Prepare and optimize your network infrastructure to support direct routing and configure firewalls, routers, and switches accordingly.
  • Define Routing Rules: Clearly define routing rules based on criteria such as skill sets, language preferences, or specific agent expertise. 
  • Test & Monitor: Thoroughly test the direct routing system in a controlled environment before going live by monitoring performance metrics such as call quality and agent responsiveness.
  • Train and Live: Train agents on the new direct routing system and implement it in a live environment to monitor and address issues and ensure a smooth transition.‍

How to manage customer experience in a call center?

Businesses need to manage customer experience in a call center by prioritizing personalized interactions, implementing efficient call routing, and ensuring prompt issue resolution. To know more, read our blog:‘8 Best Practices of Customer Experience Management’

2. Least Idle Routing

Through an automatic call distributor (or ACD), call centers can use sophisticated routing techniques like the least idle routine. In this routing strategy, calls route to the advisor who’s idle for the longest time. A 2014 study states that clients are willing to wait for a maximum of 13 minutes before they disconnect customer calls angrily. With such methods, call center managers ensure that every agent is occupied and customers don’t wait for a longer time to get resolutions to their queries.

Key Strategies to Implement Least Idle Routing:

  • Define Routing Criteria: Clearly define the criteria for least idle routing by considering factors such as agent availability, skill sets, and workload.
  • Integrate with Workforce Management in Real-time: Integrate least idle routing with workforce management systems to access real-time data on agent availability, breaks, and schedules. 
  • Monitor and Adjust Continuously: Regularly review and adjust the least idle routing algorithms to align with changing call patterns and agent dynamics. 
  • Train Agents & Communicate: Train agents and communicate their benefits to ensure they understand how the system optimizes call distribution and contributes to overall efficiency.
  • Track Performance Metrics: Track performance metrics, including average handling time, first-call resolution, and customer satisfaction, to assess the effectiveness of least idle routing. 
How Does Call Routing Work
Image 1 - How Does Call Routing Work

3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Strategy

Interactive voice response (or IVR) gives customers predetermined options to choose which department they’d like to contact. This way, customers feel they’re given a choice, while businesses know how to manage these calls. Ideally, this strategy makes routing fast and simple because the caller has already identified the type of concern. It reduces the number of calls transfers a caller has to endure and can potentially solve a problem faster.

However, this model relies on the customer’s understanding of business to choose the right team. Many times, they may get confused about which department they need to contact. Often, callers choose incorrectly and this doesn’t solve their problem without transfers. With cross-trained agents or help desk capabilities, you can get a sense of why the customer is calling and redirect accordingly.‍

Best Practices to Implement IVR Strategy:

  • Personalized Customer Engagement: Implement technology that recognizes callers based on their phone numbers, enables personalized greetings, and tailor call routing based on their history.
  • Efficient Call Flow Design: Design an IVR menu that is logically structured, with clear and concise options, and implement dynamic call flows that adapt based on customer responses or needs.
  • Seamless Integration with Call Routing Systems: Ensure seamless integration between the IVR system and call routing infrastructure for real-time data synchronization.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Optimization: Implement robust monitoring tools and analytics to track call completion and menu abandonment rates and optimize IVR strategy based on the performance data.

4. Geographic Call Routing Strategy

In this strategy, customers use toll-free contact information to get in touch with businesses. Since the number is associated with multiple locations, clients from several areas can use the same number. However, through location/zip code analysis, the call gets directed to the nearest service center. Though businesses do need to invest the money for the call customers make, ROI on this service is significant! Introducing a toll-free number specifically for customer queries builds a service-centric mindset that’s great for the company.‍

Best Practices to Implement Geographic Call Routing Strategy:

  • Define Regional Rules: Establish clear rules for routing calls based on geographic location to enhance efficiency and service quality.
  • Consider Time Zones: Incorporate time zone differences into routing decisions to ensure timely and personalized customer interactions.
  • Utilize Geo-Fencing: Implement geo-fencing to create virtual perimeters, directing calls to agents within specific geographic boundaries for targeted support.
  • Integrate Data Sources: Connect routing systems with customer databases and location data for accurate identification and personalized routing solutions.
Best Practices to Implement Geographic Call Routing Strategy
Image 2 - Best Practices to Implement Geographic Call Routing Strategy

5. Cascading Calls Strategy

Through the cascading calls strategy, the manager can prioritize which type of agents receive the clients first, and how these calls can escalate. So, a supervisor may assign issues to the most skilled agents to reduce their resolution time. Small businesses with staff that multitasks can use this strategy to effectively handle customer queries. Through skilled employees, companies can ensure to keep the call resolution high and continue operations normally.

However, this strategy applies well only if the call volume is limited. With a greater call volume, companies risk wasting their skilled labor’s time and capabilities unnecessarily. Moreover, with great call volume, your less specialized agents may receive calls that they can’t handle. So, the call resolution lowers even more.‍

Best Ways to Implement Cascading Call Strategy:

Skill-Based Cascading: Implement skill-based cascading, directing calls to agents based on their expertise or specialization.

Time-Based Cascading: Incorporate time-based cascading to adjust routing paths based on different time slots or shifts.

Integrate with Multichannel Communication: Extend cascading strategy to multichannel communication platforms, including chat or email, to ensure a consistent customer experience. 

Escalate systematically: Implement a step-by-step escalation process involving relevant teams or individuals based on the complexity and severity of the issue.

Use automated alerts: Leverage technology to set up automated alerts triggering the cascade, ensuring timely response and minimizing manual intervention.

6. Smart Routing Technique

In this data-directed routing type, systems identify a caller based on important criteria like phone number, CRM profile, or account number. Then, it directs their call to the right agent that suits the level of service they need. So, if a VIP contacts you, the system routes it to a specialized agent that takes the extra effort to satisfy the customer. Similarly, it puts the new customer in touch with the sales team, so that they know about their product and services. A call from an existing customer will most likely go to the support department. A customer with due payments will be routed to the collections or accounts receivable team, and so on.

This smart solution solves many common pain points that other strategies don't address. It reduces the query resolution time, the transfer count, and the risk of customers picking the wrong option. However, this system may easily backfire if the criteria chosen to categorize customers don’t correspond to their queries. For example, if a returning customer is sent to the support team without realizing he wants to purchase new software, it’ll increase the transfers. Generally, assuming the customer is calling for a particular reason based on the profile can turn out risky.‍

Tips to Implement Smart Routing Technique:

  • Customer History Integration: Utilize data to route calls based on customer history, ensuring personalized service and efficient issue resolution.
  • Real-time Analytics: Implement analytics to dynamically adjust routing based on current call center performance and agent availability, optimizing resource allocation.
  • Multichannel Integration: Extend smart routing across various communication channels, ensuring seamless customer experiences and consistent service levels.
  • Predictive Routing: Utilize predictive algorithms to anticipate customer needs and route calls to agents best suited for specific situations, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Priority Routing: Implement priority rules to handle urgent or high-value customers first, improving customer loyalty and satisfaction while maximizing revenue opportunities.
Call Routine Strategies for Efficient Customer Support
Image 3 - Call Routine Strategies for Efficient Customer Support

7. Best Prospect Routing

In this routing, the system allows the best potential client to get in touch with the most qualified advisor. This way you prioritize the best prospects by helping them skip the queue. However, this approach isn’t worthy because it takes too much effort to maintain advisor skill records. Additionally, in this method, the juice may not be worth the squeeze. Though, if future technology eases workforce management, this routing can be a powerful routing approach.

Segmentation Strategies in Best Prospect Routing

Geographic Segmentation: Efficiently route calls based on the caller's location, ensuring regional expertise and compliance with local regulations for enhanced customer support.

Demographic Segmentation: Tailor routing by demographics such as age, gender, or income, aligning agents with specific customer profiles for personalized interactions and improved satisfaction.

Product or Service Segmentation: Route calls according to the specific product or service inquiry, connecting customers with agents specialized in the relevant offerings for quicker issue resolution.

Language Segmentation: Prioritize language preferences to route calls to agents fluent in the customer's chosen language, fostering clear communication and understanding between customers and support representatives.

Customer Value Segmentation: Categorize customers based on their value to the business, routing high-value customers to specialized agents or VIP services to enhance loyalty and retention.

8. Intelligent Call Routing

This routing strategy utilizes advanced algorithms and real-time data analytics to direct incoming calls to the most suitable agents dynamically. It considers various factors such as caller demographics, historical interactions, agent expertise, and current call center conditions. By utilizing predictive analytics, it anticipates customer needs and ensures a personalized and efficient experience. Moreover, intelligent call routing optimizes resource utilization, prevents bottlenecks, and enhances responsiveness. This innovative approach significantly improves first-contact resolution rates and contributes to heightened customer satisfaction. With its adaptability to changing call volumes and agent availability, intelligent call routing elevates the efficiency and effectiveness of customer service operations.

Strategies for Intelligent Call Routing 

  • Analyze Caller Data: Use AI to assess caller information, preferences, and history for personalized and efficient routing solutions.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): Implement NLP to comprehend caller intent and direct them to the most suitable agents or departments.
  • Machine Learning Models: Develop models to predict call outcomes and agent performance, optimizing routing based on historical data and patterns.
  • Real-time Monitoring: Utilize AI algorithms to monitor ongoing calls, ensuring dynamic adjustments to routing for optimal customer satisfaction.
  • Adaptive Routing Logic: Implement adaptive logic that evolves with changing call patterns and agent availability, ensuring a responsive and agile call routing system.

Conclusion

While satisfied customers can be loyal brand ambassadors, the angry ones can destroy a carefully built brand image. So, ensure you give your clients the royal treatment they deserve! We provide a comprehensive range of call center support outsourcing services that ensures that companies are able to boost their revenues by improving their operational efficiencies. This helps them to focus on core business concerns. Among the services we provide are:

  • After Hours Call Center
  • CATI Services
  • IVR Outsourcing Services
  • Telephone Answering Call Center

Customizing routing strategies to align with specific business needs poses complexities while ensuring scalability to accommodate growth remains a persistent challenge. In such scenarios, delegating the implementation of call routing strategies to third-party service providers ensures the implementation of sophisticated routing algorithms, real-time adaptability, and more. 

At Invensis, our call center services are designed carefully to help you deliver an exceptional customer experience and increase customer satisfaction. We specialize in implementing successful call center strategies, utilizing advanced technology and expertise for seamless customer interactions. Contact us to elevate your call center performance and give your business a strategic edge in delivering exceptional customer service.

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