3 ways to capitalise on intelligent call routing in the contact centre – Steve Murray, Line of business director at IPI explains
Every customer has had the frustration of being kept waiting on the line or left on hold when they are trying to connect with brands and businesses via a contact centre. This frustration grows when a customer is eventually connected to an agent, only to have been sent to the wrong department, and then back on hold where the cycle starts again. Since customers know the reason for their call, being routed to the wrong place can be aggravating, meaning when they are finally connected to an agent, the agent is the one that receives the brunt of a customer’s frustration.
On top of this, customer habits have also changed. With more people than ever reaching out to their favourite brands at a time of their choosing (and on any device), customer expectations have grown. Indeed, HubSpot found that 90% of consumers expect an immediate response to a customer support issue, with 60% defining ‘immediate’ as under ten minutes. With the contact centres being the first port of call for many customers and the last resort for others, it’s vital to ensure these customer expectations are met.
This is where an intelligent call routing strategy comes in, enabling contact centres to more efficiently handle incoming queries and streamline the customer journey.
What is intelligent call routing?
At its simplest level, call routing is the way in which inbound customer calls are routed through the contact centre switchboard to the correct department to help them with their query.
The likes of IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology, in which customer can choose an option from a recorded message either by choosing a number on their phone or by speaking out loud, has formed the basis of traditional call routing strategies, and is a staple in most contact centres today.
But there is much more that can be done to make it ‘intelligent’ and more capable of handling the demands of today’s customers. From the use of speech analytics, voice bots, intent capture and CRM integration, intelligent call routing has become an essential tool for contact centres for reducing costs and Average Handle Time (AHT) as well as increasing availability of service for customers. Indeed, some automated telephone answering services can reduce traditional switchboard costs by up to 95% and make customer service options available 24/7.
Here are three ways to make the most of intelligent call routing:
1. CRM integration
Salesforce found that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, while Deloitte found that one in five consumers would pay 20% more for personalised services and products.
To create this enhanced, more personal CX, start by integrating your CRM systems into your call routing strategy. When creating your contact routing rules, use the information held on your CRM databases. This will allow you to, for example, ensure that a customer is greeted by name by an agent, or that the agent already has their customer history ready to go. The same technique can also be used to prioritise high-value customers. By being able to identify them from the out-set via information from the CRM, these customers can be automatically connected to the right agent or put to the front of the queue during busy periods.
In addition, in times of unexpected high-demand, call routing can be used to share an informative message with customers, explaining the cause, impact and likely resolution time of the particular issue, then offer an alternative channel (website, social media) for further updates. To make this more personal by only displaying the message to affected customers, use Caller Line Identification to recognise the caller’s phone number and associate it with a unique customer record. Another option is to ask customers to opt in for SMS updates and push notifications.
2. Voice bots
By integrating voice bots into your call routing strategy, customers can automatically complete tasks whilst they wait on the phone.
Using speech recognition technology to automatically complete simple, routine tasks, such as change of address, or notify customers on delivery times, voice bots can effectively deflect calls away the contact centre. As a result, customers have had their query resolved in an efficient manner, without ever needed to speak to an agent. This is particularly useful during high-demand or seasonal peak activity. But don’t forget though to let customers request live assistance at any point during the automated interaction, as this offers multiple resolution options and quells their impatience.
The use of voice bots also lifts some burden from the agents enabling them to handle more queries during the day, and also allowing them to focus on more involved, complex or higher-value interactions. This enables agents to put their training into practice, which is good for the customer who will have their query resolved effectively and efficiently, but also improves the employee experience as agents get to flex their skills.
3. Intent capture
Intent capture technology enables contact centres to find out why customers are getting in touch by utilising the likes of artificial intelligence and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to capture the reason for a customer’s call, in real time. Then, customers can either be routed through to the best skilled team for the query, or even be routed through to an automated, voice bot option where they can self-serve. This helps streamline the customer journey, resolving queries in a more efficient manner.
In addition, intent capture provides rich insights to help shape customer service and future CX. Indeed, by reviewing and analysing the data captured at the start of the customer’s journey, organisations can start to detect patterns in the reasons for calling, and work to resolve issues if there as frequent occurrence of a particular problem. Analytics are key here, and with the right tools, such as speech analytics or sentiment analysis, the insight into customer behaviours and trends can be invaluable.
Intelligent call routing – the key to a streamlined customer experience
For contact centres, not only does intelligent call routing help increase efficiency, reduce customer frustrations and lower AHT, but it also offers customers a streamlined experience and more efficient customer journey. The additional capabilities that intelligent call routing technology can now perform and handle makes it an indispensable component of any modern-day contact centre, especially useful to satisfy the expectations of today’s fast-paced customers.
is IPI’s latest addition to the IPI Cloud which launched in 2019. In 2020, IPI bolstered its offering further with the launch of IPI Cloud AI – a SaaS-based portfolio of IPI’s own self-service applications teamed with AI capability from the world’s leading vendors. The launch of IPI Cloud PCI cements IPI’s continued commitment to accelerating customers’ move to the cloud.
Steve Murray is Line of business director at IPI
IPI is the UK’s leading digital contact centre specialist, focused on creating intelligent and innovative contact centre solutions that deliver exceptional customer experiences.
IPI understands that technology is only part of the solution to addressing business challenges within the contact centre. Its experts know the intricacies of people, technology, processes and customer demands and understand the realities of running a contact centre, as well as the practicalities of making advanced software deliver to its full potential.
By looking at the challenges and business drivers in the contact centre, both today and in the future, IPI ensures its clients realise the full benefits of their contact centre technology by using it as an enabler to achieve measurable results and maximise investment value. Fully focused on business outcomes, IPI offers a comprehensive blend of contact centre operational experience, combined with deep technology expertise. This enables its experts to align the most appropriate technology for its clients’ needs, and ensure people are equipped in the short and long term to deliver exceptional experiences.
Founded in 2001, IPI supports more than five million customer interactions and 65,000 agents every day. Headquartered in Reading, UK, IPI also has offices in London and Manchester, as well as in the Philippines.
For additional information on IPI view their Company Profile