Call routing is an essential function in thousands of offices, call centres, and customer support hubs around the UK. Without the ability to manage and redirect incoming calls seamlessly, chaos could ensue for many companies that deal with large volumes of phone traffic. But what does call routing mean, and how does it work?
In this article, we’ll explain what call routing in telecommunications is, outline our definition of call management, and answer a range of commonly asked questions about RingCentral call routing — including how to divert and redirect calls.
What is call auto-routing?
Call routing (or auto-routing) is the process of managing incoming business calls, using software that queues and distributes them for you – also known as an automatic call distribution (ACD) system. When we talk about call management, we are referring to the rules and criteria that dictate how calls are handled.
There are different types of call routing strategies, so your call management parameters will depend on business needs and the approach you feel will work best for your business.
Traditional call routing
Some of the most common traditional call routing strategies include ACD-based, priority-based, and skills-based routing.
With ACD-based routing, calls are sent to the agent who has been free the longest. Or, if callers are in a queue, the customer who’s been on hold the longest is directed to the next available team member. Priority-based call routing allocates calls to different queues depending on the priority of the caller, meaning a customer support centre could have separate queues for ‘regular’ and ‘VIP’ customers, for example.
With a skills-based routing process, the system uses caller ID to work out if any particular skills are needed to deal with an enquiry, then directs callers towards the person or team best suited to help.
Intelligent call routing
Intelligent call routing, or data-directed routing, takes skills-based routing to the next level. The approaches are similar; they’re both designed to match a caller with the most appropriate responder. However, with intelligent call routing the system can leverage different types of caller data, as well as information stored in your CRM software, to determine how to best handle a call.
Although our definition of intelligent routing specifically focuses on calls, this method can be applied to other communications channels and devices, including live chat apps and email.
FAQs: Call routing questions answered
To help you better understand how call routing works, and the various functions you can set up, we’ve pulled together a list of FAQs. Some questions and answers are more general, while others are based specifically on our software.
Q: What are the benefits of intelligent call routing?
A: With the COVID-19 pandemic prompting a sudden upswing in remote working, as well as a sharp increase in customer support call volumes, intelligent, cloud-based call routing has never been more important for many businesses.
A system that streamlines your customer services and lets your team work seamlessly from anywhere will support your business — driving productivity as well as profit margins – during good times and more challenging periods. It also gives your customers more choice, with options like requesting a call back to avoid long phone queues, or using interactive voice systems to find the information they’re after. Intelligent call routing can help you:
- Ensure customers get through to the right agent the first time.
- Minimise agent downtime and prevent long hold times for customers.
- Improve sales and service with real-time reports, monitoring, and customer surveys.
- Give your customers more control of how to engage with your business.
- Offer your employees more flexibility and a better work-life balance.
Q: How can I set up call routing?
A: Instructions for how to set up call routing will vary from system to system. With good call management and routing software, it should be straightforward with clear instructions to guide you through the process.
Call routing options with RingCentral
It’s easy to customise call routing to meet your business needs by setting up your own call management rules with RingCentral Office and Contact Centre. Routing criteria for incoming calls can include:
- The time of the day: Allows you to send calls to numbers or locations where you know someone will be able to answer.
- The caller’s number: Make sure important contacts can always reach the CEO, suppliers get put through to your buying department, etc.
- The number dialled: Helps you keep the clients of your different brands separate.
Tailor your rules so that incoming calls go to voicemail or a specific extension – or you can redirect them to a different phone number altogether. You can also specify business hours for individual staff members or departments, and easily update these when needed. If your company has more than one RingCentral number, you can apply different rules to each one, making it easy to separate your brands and track individual marketing campaigns.
Q: How do I divert and redirect calls, or add call forwarding?
A: With RingCentral, diverting, directing, and forwarding calls are all part of your call routing options. So whether you’re wondering how to redirect phone calls to another phone number, or divert calls to a voicemail service, our system can help with a range of handy options.
It’s easy to set up call forwarding rules in your RingCentral online account, and you can choose from a variety of end-points, including:
- Desktop or mobile app
- Third-party number
- Another user’s phone
As our system is cloud-based, you can update your call handling criteria from anywhere, as long as you have internet access.
Q: Can I redirect calls to multiple phone numbers?
A: Yes, with RingCentral you can forward incoming calls to up to 10 different phone numbers, including international, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and virtual numbers. It’s possible to forward a call to all your chosen numbers at the same time (allowing the first available person in a team to answer), or specify a fixed order.
You can also redirect phone numbers to your RingCentral account, which can be helpful if you’re with another provider and want to transfer existing business numbers to RingCentral when you switch. This is known as number porting, and it isn’t a call routing function.
Have more questions?
For more information about RingCentral call routing, as well as a host of other tools and functions, take a look at our video demos. Alternatively, contact us if you want to discuss your needs and run-through how our software could help your business.
Originally published Mar 09, 2021, updated Jan 16, 2023