What Is Skills-Based Call Routing?

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How do you determine which call in your contact centre reaches which agent?

Part of delivering an excellent customer experience is ensuring that everyone who interacts with your contact centre gets the unique and customised experience they need. Skills-based routing is an accurate and efficient way to do that.

As a component of automatic call distributor systems, skills-based routing tools (SBRs) filter direct incoming enquiries to contact centre agents with the most suitable set of skills. By closely matching incoming calls to the agents best prepared to address certain issues, callers experience shorter waiting times, faster resolution of issues and a reduced average handling time.

Additionally, because you’re training each agent for their specific skills, less training is needed. Let’s take a look at the benefits of skills-based routing.

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How Does Skills-Based Routing Work?

In an SBR landscape, agents can be assigned to crucial clients, targeting resources where they can provide the most return for their contact centre. In an SBR system, callers are assigned to agents based on various crucial criteria, including which number was used to initiate the call, choices made in the IVR system, and more.

Automating the process of agent allocation means that contact centre managers don’t have to manually assign agents with specific skills to different queues every day. Skills-based routing also improves employee satisfaction, because it allows agents to answer calls that are relevant to their specific area of expertise. Some of the major benefits include:

  • Reducing average call handle times: Callers are assigned to agents based on specific criteria, such as the number they called from, or the choices they made via an IVR. This helps to get the right customer to the right agent faster.
  • Increased productivity with minimal training: Companies can identify, evaluate and score agent skills and weaknesses to create specific call assignment rules. Training programmes can also be simplified and shortened to focus on agents’ specific skills.
  • Protect valuable customer relationships: Organisations can ensure business growth by assigning the most skilled agents to valuable clients, enhancing return.

Making the Most of Skills-Based Routing

Of course, like any contact centre strategy, skills-based routing works best when it’s implemented with the correct plan. It makes sense, for instance, to integrate your CRM with your IP system to collect more in-depth customer information. This will help you to intuitively route customers to the correct agents. Other ways to enhance your skills-based routing strategy include:

  • Balancing call distribution: Make sure you balance out who takes the calls in your team, so no one group is overworked.
  • Regularly monitor your routing rules: Pay attention to how effective your routing strategies are so you can update them on a regular basis.
  • Identify training opportunities: Keep up-to-date with training opportunities for your contact centre agents.

Supervisor tools that allow you to keep track of the outcomes of routed calls can also be a positive step forward for many businesses.

Adding Skills-Based Routing to the Contact Centre

Skills-based routing is one of the most valuable ways for businesses to improve the way they interact with and serve their customers. However, implementing this technology requires a strong strategy to ensure you meet with optimal contact centre service requirements. From the employee side, roles, responsibilities and expectations must be made clear in order for employees to be empowered to use their talents and hit their targets. From a customer experience perspective, the user journey must be seamless, with no customer ‘falling through the cracks’ or becoming lost in an underdeveloped system.

As businesses invest in resources to maintain their competitive edge and deliver seamless omnichannel customer experiences at scale, unifying tools and improving workflows are critical factors in staying relevant. Having a powerful contact centre system in place is crucial to achieving effective consolidation and using business intelligence to deliver the best service possible. Cloud-based contact centres are the only option, providing that vital ability to manage costs and grow the business efficiently while delivering outstanding customer experience.

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Originally published May 21, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023

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