The best receptionists were able to find a good job in the office to work on the phone and distribute calls throughout the office – back in the time between 1980 and 2000. Now, in the midst of the third decade of the 21st century, manual picking and distribution of incoming calls are considered absolutely outdated and ineffective for a number of reasons, including:
- Lowering customer satisfaction from manual distribution and putting on hold
- Cost-ineffective personnel management
- Possibility of mistake when defining the destined employee of a company to whom a call is being routed.
For these reasons, live handlers of calls today are considered a chic that only fits top management of a company to underscore their important corporate status and high social position. They were largely replaced by a call routing service.
What is the call routing and how does it work?
A call routing is a technology, which is embedded into a call system of a company. When an incoming call arrives, it is automatically picked and put into the queue. Then, it is prioritized based on a batch of pre-set attributes and parameters, which are partially pre-defined and partially depend on the manual input of a caller. As a result, the call is automatically redirected to an individual operator or their group, as well as to a particular employee within a company who has more dedicated knowledge and skills when necessary.
This approach utilizes the VoIP and IVR systems as a part of the logic of call routing and is built on server-based or cloud-based call center software, which a particular company utilizes to handle phone calls.
What are possible rules for setting up the automated call distribution system?
To better define whom to transfer the call to, a set of logic is utilized. Queuing and routing relies on such parameters:
- Time of the day and time zone (to direct to one of the operating departments or operators or to leave a message about a non-operating time)
- Data of a caller from the CRM. Existing (found) callers are automatically defined and prioritized based on their segment, profitability, language, time zone, history, and the possible presence of unresolved questions during previous calls. Unfound callers (presumably, not clients or clients phoning from another number, making it impossible to identify them) are queued regularly, on par with others
- Language preferences
- Skillset of available support agents
- Inputs that a caller made on the IVR through vocal or button input.
As a rule, all incoming calls in solid companies are handled in the linkage with the CRM, which automatically defines a client and retrieves the data, such as segment and others, which might raise or lower the caller in the general queue. The retrieved data from CRM and IVR choices shall play together in the definition of a queue number and connecting to the right operator. A well-defined network of priorities and rules might have hundreds of outcomes (in big organizations).
Also, it is possible to establish maximum and minimum times of replies based on the batch of rules. For instance, low-importance clients with little or negative total revenue for a company might be prioritized to have a minimum answer time of 20 seconds, with 15 minutes on hold at most. While urgent calls, for instance, the need to block account access because of breach of security might be prioritized to be answered within 1-5 seconds at all times, the same as calls of VIPs.
Advantages of ACD automatic call distributor
Using the automatic call distribution approach, it is possible to improve the speed of answers to clients, as well as to improve the routes based on various internal logic.
Thus, it is possible to establish the following types of routing:
- Plain sequence: a call is picked after the previous one is ended
- Ring groups: a phone of a group of people in the same position and/or in the same room is ringing
- Time-based and geo-based: for internationally working companies, time-specific and geo-specific calls might have working hours limitations
- Skill-based (segment-based): if your customers are segmented and each segment has a dedicated phone operator or their group with a certain set of skills, you should distribute the calls among those segments
- Call extensions: a ringing person may dial a specific extension to the general number of a company to get to a certain employee.
As a result of establishing such a process, you will largely increase customer satisfaction while simultaneously lowering the hold time and completely eliminating manual routing (or making it as little as possible). That’s not to speak you save on the HR cost of administrative workers who direct all calls within the company.
Conclusion on automatic call distribution systems
Automated systems for call distribution have become a widespread practice in all types of companies, from 5 employees to 500,000 employees. They’ve been successfully working on the global market for over 20 years, significantly improving through their life term. Today, those systems are tightly connected to CRM and other software of companies – even those pieces, which allow self-service through chatbots and online helpers in omnichannel.