As your call center grows and matures, so does your need for custom call routing. But how do you prevent your custom call routing flow from turning into a complicated mess? And what can you do to ensure that the process you design for today’s needs doesn’t constrain you tomorrow?
Call Center Plinko
When you launch your first call center, you may have five seats in a single location, with each agent trained to answer a general range of support questions. When customers call, (hopefully) friendly humans empowered to address the caller’s concerns greet them. And if they can’t fix it, they know where to go. But, as everyone learns, this isn’t easy to scale.
Without custom call routing strategies in place, your inbound call flow may resemble a game of Plinko. Part of the reason this is the most popular pricing game on The Price is Right is that it operates on the principles of physics and chance, as each contestant earns Plinko chips before climbing the steps to the top of the board. From there, they tactically release the chips, hoping they will land in the most valuable $10,000 slot. However, with the pegs on the board, it is nearly impossible to predict where the chips will fall, as they zig and zag their way down.
If you’re overseeing an expanding call center, any resemblance to Plinko should raise red flags, especially if customers are bouncing around from agent to agent, trying to find one who is not only available, but one trained to solve their problems. It needs to be top of mind especially during periods of strong sales growth since operational growth requires ramp-up time and resources that are never available at the flip of a switch. As you expand your services and deploy agents who specialize in serving certain segments of your business, you want to ensure that customers can connect with them as cleanly as possible, without bouncing around a virtual Plinko board. Custom call routing is, therefore, a necessity.
Custom Call Routing Strategies
Imagine you have a call center that serves a healthcare company based in Pittsburgh, which is where they’ve located their agents. As they expand from a regional to a national player, they decide they need to set up a second location in Sacramento.
If a customer from New York calls early in the morning, they don’t want it being routed to the Sacramento center, where the lights won’t even come on for another two hours. This is where custom call routing comes in. They will want time-of-day routing to ensure it automatically routes to Pittsburgh. If on the other hand, that customer calls in the early evening, it would be seamlessly routed to the California location.
This company has a significant number of customers who speak Spanish, so they have agents in each location who can serve them. Using Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, they can eliminate the confusion which occurs when an agent doesn’t speak the customer’s language.
The customer has only pressed 1 button so far, with no transfers, which has reduced the chance for the call to drop. But we still need to connect the caller with the right agent, which is where skills-based routing comes into play. In this case, the system asks whether they want Billing, Contracts, or Technical Support. Segmenting by skill and/or specialty is often not practical when starting out, but as a business grows and matures, you need to design your center around the needs of your customers, using analytics.
The Route to Success
In this example, the customer is actually a comptroller for a small municipality, with a billing question. Out of the 45 agents on staff, there are only two trained to handle government billing issues, with only 1 of those in the location that’s open.
In the old days, a call like this could have bounced all over the call center Plinko board, with agents trying to remember which of their colleagues was an expert in this area. From the customer’s perspective, the process would look like and feel like this video from OK GO. Except that they won’t be happy.
If You Can Dream It, We Can Route It
This custom call routing example is fairly straightforward. But we’ve worked with hundreds of clients, many of whom have asked us to implement intricate call routing flows based on time of day, geographic location, and the skills of their agents. Using real-time conditional call routing, we can help your inbound call center create intelligent fast-lanes for your customers, based on your criteria. Plus, we’re here to help you modify on the fly, whether you’re experiencing a heavy influx of new traffic or dealing with network outages.