In case you missed it, we recently held webinar titled, Benchmark Your Contact Center Routing: How Do You Score Against Today’s Best Practices?, hosted by our Genesys Business Consulting practice. In the webinar, we drilled down on four best practices for contact center routing to clarify how they’re effectively implemented and how that in turn can dramatically impact your business. Click here to watch the on-demand webinar if you have yet to see it!
Whether you attended the webinar or plan to in the future, here are the highlights in a five-minute read…
Route for Multichannel
The impact of the web, mobile and social can’t be underestimated when it comes to customer service and managing the overall customer experience. With SMS, email, web, mobile apps, web chat and social media, it’s no longer a voice-centric world. In short, the move to digital channels presents a huge challenge for customer service organizations to keep up – and presents complexity into your routing strategies.
During our webinar, we surveyed attendees and found that almost all contact centers support inbound voice (98%) and email (92%), closely followed by outbound voice at 76%. Roughly half support web chat (57%) and social channels like Facebook and Twitter (52%), trailed by SMS (22%) and video (10%).
In today’s multi-channel environment, it’s critical to route interactions across the channels that your customers prefer, while providing context to agents in the form of attached data, including customer history, previous interactions and buying behavior. This typically requires breaking down existing system and channel silos to provide agents with a complete view of interactions to deliver a consistent customer experience.
Route to Agents, Not to Queues
In queue-based routing, agents typically log into queues to process interactions, and reporting is also centered around queues. Queue-based routing often silos and isolates these queues, making it much harder to service, manage and report on interactions in any channel, let alone across all channels. It’s also hard to blend or load balance agents across queues (and channels).
Further insight from the webinar found that there is still lots of ‘disconnectivity’ within organizations when it comes to managing multiple channels of interaction, including:
- More than two-thirds of attendees surveyed said they need to manually re-skill agents to move them from one queue to another, with 12% doing it weekly and 20% quarterly.
- More than half have to set up new queues to create new contact center reports.
- In more than 40% of contact centers, agents need to log off one channel and log in to another, which makes it difficult to report on agent productivity.
In contrast, agent-based routing has many advantages – see above. Agents log into a universal queue where interactions are routed to agents based on skills, availability, SLAs and other business rules to cost effectively deliver the best experience for each customer. The routing can be flexibly configured to leverage additional context such as opportunity value, customer segmentation, and customer profile and history. All work items across channels, including back office interactions, now go through a single universal queue so work is automatically load balanced across agents and you can report on any KPIs available.
Route with Customer Segmentation
When your customers contact you, it’s a golden opportunity to use what you know about them to optimize how you treat them. Strategic application of customer segmentation in your routing can significantly reduce churn and increase revenue by connecting customers with the optimal resource for their value and needs – see below.
While you need to manage or mitigate low value / high cost customers by deflecting them to self-service (or all the way to your competitors), consider proactively engaging high value / low cost customers that represent the greatest upsell opportunity. When one of these high value customers reaches out to your company, it’s an opportunity to identify them and connect them with the best resource to service them and grow the relationship.
Agents need to be skilled to handle different types of customers, and they need the context, awareness and training to handle each conversation appropriately. Ideally, agents also need different success metrics depending on which type of customers they are helping, so they are rewarded rather than penalized for strengthening relationships with high value customers.
Route for the Customer Journey
Your agents need context (omnichannel interaction history, profiles, KPIs, sentiment, customer needs, company goals, etc) so they can deliver great service to your customers. Customers naturally think in terms of getting something done with respect to your company, and this is what we’re referring to as the customer journey. For example, a customer may be purchasing a new product, updating their account, or seeking to get a problem resolved. A successful routing strategy should be framed in context of these customer journeys and how you want to draw customers through the lifecycle effectively.
Some are now enabling their IVRs to optimize the choices presented or to directly connect customers to the optimal resource and sidestep the default IVR menu. Routing per the customer journey can enable your agents with context, streamline your IVR presentation, and delight customers with context to enable low effort transactions.
Make Sure You Know the Latest on Contact Center Routing
Contact centers have evolved a great deal over the past twenty years from voice-only call centers to multichannel contact centers. Most everyone, however, is still working to rationalize their evolving contact center infrastructure and integrate interactions across channels – and routing plays an extremely important role.