Intelligent Call Routing
What It Is
Intelligent Call Routing is the generic term that is often used to describe enhanced call routing capabilities beyond those standard routing features offered on Automatic Call Distributors (ACD). Instead of simply routing the call to the next available agent or to a different resource or destination, Intelligent Call Routing routes the call based on specific instructions that define how the call is to be handled so that the call is routed to the right agent at the right time.
Why It’s Important
A contact center may handle a variety of call types, each requiring a special skill. The traditional method of manually reassigning agents with multiple skills to different call queues at different times of the day in order make best use of their skills is inefficient. Intelligent Call Routing alleviates this problem and enables the contact center system to automatically route calls to the right agents, at the right time regardless of where the agents are located. The use of Intelligent Call Routing can improve customer service by directing calls to the agents who can best answer the questions at the right time. It can also improve the contact center’s cost performance by increasing agent utilization and productivity.
Types of Intelligent Routing
Intelligent Call Routing can support these common types of instructions:
- Rules-Based Routing—Route calls by percent allocation, destination priority, caller or called number, caller phone type (e.g., home phone, pay phone)
- Time-Based Routing—Route calls by time of the day, day of the week, day of year
- Area-Based Routing—Route calls by NPA (Area Code), NPA-NXX (Area and Exchange Codes), Zip Code
- Skills-Based Routing—Route calls by call types and agent skills
- Menu/Database-Driven Routing—Route calls by IVR menu selection, caller–entered data
These instruction types can be combined to form customized routing instructions that will define how calls are to be handled to provide the best customer service and to enable the contact center to operate at optimum efficiency.
How To Implement
There are different approaches for implementing Intelligent Call Routing at your contact center, including:
- as an enhancement or an adjunct to augment the standard ACD call routing function;
- as a network–based call routing service provided by the telecommunications service provider; or
- as a service provided by a third party call routing service provider.
Each of the above approaches has its advantages and disadvantages. Described below are some of the pros and cons of the different implementation approaches. The enhancement or adjunct approach may offer the most functionalities and flexibility for customization. However, it requires higher upfront investment to purchase the enhancement or adjunct package. It also requires in–house expertise or contractor support to integrate the enhancement or adjunct package with the ACD’s routing functionalities.
The network–based approach may require lower upfront capital investment and less in–house expertise to implement and manage than the enhancement or adjunct approach. In addition, it can be seamlessly integrated with telecommunications services to route calls efficiently and economically. The downside of the network–based approach is that changes and new enhancements may require longer lead time to implement and that the range of features supported may be limited and less customizable.
The third party service provider approach is generally associated with virtual contact center implementations where upfront investment and in–house expertise requirement is kept to a minimum. However, implementation options may be limited to only those applications supported by the third party service provider. Before deciding on whether to add Intelligent Call Routing function at your contact center, you should review the overall customer service strategy and the scale and support infrastructure of your contact center operation to see if the benefits justify the additional costs.