- Today’s customers reach out to contact centers through a variety of channels
- Omnichannel routing automatically matches customer queries with the right agent, based on skills and availability
- Omnichannel routing improves the customer experience and boosts agent productivity for a more efficient, effective contact center
Gone are the days when customers would only contact you via telephone. Today, they’re reaching out to you via SMS, chat, email, and even video. Your contact center needs to be able to handle that traffic effectively so the customer gets to the right agent.
What is contact center omnichannel routing?
Contact center omnichannel routing directs contact center queries across a range of service channels.
Today’s businesses offer their customers a multitude of platforms through which to connect. Customers send emails, make phone calls, film video, and fire off chats with ease. They expect their concerns and questions to be handled quickly and effectively across all these channels.
Omnichannel routing sends those customer queries to the right agent, ensuring that no one gets lost in the shuffle. It goes beyond just routing phone calls to agents – contact center omnichannel routing encompasses channels like email, text messages, social media, and live chat.
Market-leading contact center software incorporates omnichannel routing to save time, money, and frustration so that customer queries are handled by the right person.
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How does omnichannel routing work?
Omnichannel routing is, at its heart, intelligent routing. It uses machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to recognize message intent.
When a message comes in, an automatic contact distributor finds the best agent available to handle the query. We’ll illustrate with an example.
Ethan recently bought a smart fridge. This morning, he saw an error code on the display. He sends a chat message to the manufacturer. The manufacturer’s contact center uses intelligent routing for all incoming messages, regardless of the channel.
Machine learning helps the intelligent routing solution interpret Ethan’s question. It recognizes the error code, and sends the message to Jake, an agent who has experience dealing with these issues. All of this happens within moments, so Ethan doesn’t realize that his query is being routed to the right agent.
Jake receives Ethan’s query seconds after he sends it. He’s familiar with this error code, and he quickly responds to Ethan’s message. With Jake’s help, Ethan fixes the issue.
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What are the benefits of contact center omnichannel routing?
Omnichannel routing has the following benefits:
- Improved agent productivity
- Shorter wait times
- Lower abandon rates
- Reduced average handle times
- Higher customer satisfaction
Better agent productivity
Omnichannel routing increases agent productivity by matching customer interactions with agents who have the right skills, knowledge, and experience.
Instead of waiting for interactions, or fielding questions that are simple and don’t enable agents to drive value for the organization, agents receive questions that draw on their knowledge and skills. They’re kept busy handling questions that demonstrate ROI on agent training.
Shorter wait times
Twelve percent of Americans say their top frustration with customer service is a lack of speed.
Intelligent routing automates the process of matching agents with queries. It’s seamless – customers won’t even know they’re being transferred to the right person.
Lower abandon rates
When customers spend too long waiting for an agent to assist them, they hang up. That’s known as abandonment. Your abandonment rate measures how many customers abandon the interaction before an agent answers them.
Omnichannel routing lowers your abandonment rate because it shortens wait times. Customers connect with the right agent faster.
Reduced average handle time
“Average handle time” refers to the average amount of time that an agent spends handling a customer interaction. Omnichannel routing lowers average handle time.
Here’s why: omnichannel routing sends the interaction to the right agent – the agent with the right skills, experience, and knowledge to deal with the issue. That means the agent spends less time trying to figure out what’s wrong.
The average handle time metric can be an important indicator about the health of your contact center. Average handle times that are longer than industry average might be a symptom of poor agent training. Omnichannel routing decreases that risk, because it ensures the interaction goes to the right agent every time.
Higher customer satisfaction
Research from CITE revealed that 41% of customers stopped using a service or product after they were bounced from agent to agent during a call center interaction.
With intelligent routing, there’s no bouncing. The customer’s query goes to the right agent every time, regardless of the channel. That leads to more satisfied customers – they’re getting what they need, the first time they contact you. Moreover, they feel confident that each interaction with your contact center will give them what they need.
Omnichannel routing in RingCentral’s contact center software
RingCentral builds in omnichannel routing to its contact center software. That saves companies time, effort, and money.
RingCentral’s holistic, cloud-hosted contact center solution streamlines customer support by automating intelligent routing, no matter what channel customers use. Moreover, the robust platform allows you to:
- Integrate business tools such as CRMs, so agents have access to crucial data
- Merge customer profiles across platforms, making it easier for agents to understand the customer and their issues
- Optimize agent schedules, so agents with the right skill sets are available to handle customer queries
- Analyze agent performance and engagement to maximize agent effectiveness
- Handle customer interactions through a wide range of channels
With RingCentral’s contact center software, companies offer agents and customers alike a better experience: one in which agents make use of their skills, and customers get the help they need quickly.
Originally published Jun 29, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022