The Switchboard Operator is extinct, as a job description, anyway.  Machines have been routing our calls for decades, but in recent years, the automation of this process has been refined and significantly improved.

Intelligent Call Routing is a term for routing done by software that attempts to identify the caller and direct them to an appropriate agent. The software can identify the caller based on known information tied to the call, such as the ANI (a technical term for Caller ID), or information that is provided by the caller during the call.

Many voice platforms provide capabilities for Intelligent Call Routing. The channel that the customer uses to contact the customer service center can be through phone, email, or even chat. Either way the goal of the platform is to always route the call to the desired and appropriate agent. The contact center platform performs this intelligent routing using criteria such as agent skills, caller priority, and DTMF entered by the caller.

Take a scenario where a call center wants to have calls routed to specific agents if the caller is of a certain membership level. The IVR could be set up to ask the caller for an account number and then use an API call to the backend customer database to look-up the customer’s membership level and determine which group of agents to send the call to based on the result. This would ensure that each caller is going to go to an agent who is best able to handle the call and provide the best customer service. However, having this functionality is highly dependent on the appropriate assignment of skills to agents.  The business team needs to ensure that the correct agents are assigned to each skill. Without the appropriate assignment of skills the guarantee of routing the call to the most ideal agent is lost.

Giving a caller who has previously called in to your call center a higher priority in the wait queue is another example of the application of Intelligent Call Routing. The router can obtain the caller’s ANI and perform a look-up in the database, CRM, or CDP to see if that caller has called before, has an open ticket, and/or is flagged in the customer database for any special offers. If some such condition exists then the router can increase the priority so that the call will be answered quicker than a call without the increase in priority. This is still dependent on an external factor which is that the call center is staffed well enough so that wait times, even for high priority calls, are minimal. It is again in the hands of business management to ensure that the call center is staffed appropriately throughout the day.

Overall Intelligent Call Routing can be a very helpful tool in improving the customer service and caller experience. However, it is only able to be a great solution if the business team can properly allocate and define their call center resources and manage customer data. If they are effective at this task then the call center and callers will be rewarded with the benefits of the Intelligent Call Routing.

— Matt Simmons is the Software Engineering Manager for Vision Point Systems. Matt has over a decade of experience with Contact Center and IVR technology, including Genesys and Twilio.

A VoiceVision 14-Point Diagnostic Evaluation will inform you as to whether your company is primed to take advantage with Intelligent Call Routing to improve customer experience.