contact centerLast week, Charlie Godfrey and I hosted a webinar on the need to move beyond queue-based routing. Clearly we hit a nerve, as it resulted in several thousand registrants around the globe. As a contact center operations practitioner, Charlie shared perspectives on the challenges he regularly encounters with queue-based customer routing. We then focused on how adopting a data-driven (versus a queue-based) approach to contact center routing, reporting and operations can lead to much better business outcomes.

In a real-time survey, our attendees confirmed they face the following challenges with queue-based routing:

  • 56% – Excessive effort needed to match agents to workload
  • 48% – Proliferation of queues and channels for routing and reporting is hard to manage
  • 39% – Inability to blend agents across channels and sites hurts utilization
  • 37% – Need to involve IT department with queue changes
  • 35% – Can’t effectively manage customer SLAs across touchpoints

We also heard from 10% of the respondents, who chose none of the above. Those folks, we suspect, are current Genesys customers who have already adopted customer experience routing.

We strive for audience engagement during our webinars, and we were delighted with the dozens of questions asked by attendees. Below are some of the highlights:

Question: Do you combine agents that are handling voice calls and other channels, like chats, or are they separated?

Answer: Yes, they can certainly be blended. The major constraint is in determining how comfortable your agents are in shifting from one medium to another. As the core skills for written language are different from spoken language, only some agents can handle both well. One common scenario is for web chats to escalate to voice for complex issues requiring further assistance. Of course, for this to work well, you must have the proper training and a plan for change management set up to help agents blend interactions across channels.

Another effective alternative is to rotate agents through voice, back office support, and other digital interactions in batches to promote cross-training and experience. There are many effective ways to handle blending channels based on your business needs. It’s often a matter of how comfortable your organization is with workers switching contexts.

Question: What criteria do you suggest for effectively matching customers with the best available resources?

Answer: Matching customers to the best available resource naturally depends on the business goals you’re targeting (e.g., efficiency, revenue, customer experience, etc.). The most common option is to match customer intent against the agent skills and proficiency levels needed to service it. Other matching criteria can include opportunity value, cost of service delivery, previous contact history, past interaction outcomes for the agent, as well as any other attributes that drive affinity (age, region, language fluency, etc.).

Question: How do you justify the business case for service improvement if you are a government service and the customer has no choice but to work with you?

Answer: A lot of commercial enterprises would be envious of that position. As a public agency, however, you don’t want disgruntled constituents voicing problems on social media. To justify service improvements in an environment where there are no alternatives, the focus needs to be on operational efficiency. You’ll need to make the case that there is a more efficient way to handle interactions. Knowing the intent, you can guide constituents towards self-service and knowledge management to improve both cost-effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

Question: If you are routing calls to the best agent, is there a risk that the system directs too many calls to the highest rated agents?

Answer: This question comes up frequently. The concern is whether the system penalizes the top performers for being too good by sending them all the work. Sending the highest value sales calls to the highest performing agents may be what you want, as that maximizes revenue and benefits the agents as well, but this scenario can be readily managed. To avoid overloading your best agents, you can look at the occupancy rate and use quotas to effectively balance the agent workload. This is typically a business decision, as the routing can be configured to adhere to any union or other workforce requirements when delivering work to agents.

Question: What do you do when resources are unavailable, or the balance of available resources are under-qualified?

Answer: There are various strategies you can take to handle this, such as allowing the customer to wait on hold a few minutes until a qualified resource is available (which is often best for first contact resolution and customer satisfaction), offering a callback, offering to send calls to voicemail, suggesting switching to a less busy channel, offering self-service, or any combination of above.

Question: Can Genesys routing be used for bank branch routing as well?

Answer: Absolutely, routing is fully virtualized across all locations, from the contact center to front office, to branch sites. This is a popular approach in banking, for example, where we see service representatives supplement their contact center staff as needed to handle varying call volume. This also works in the other direction, with a personalized routing strategy where interactions are first routed to the customer’s personal banker in the branch. If they are unavailable, routing is expanded to other representatives in the branch, and then to resources in nearby branches before rolling up to the contact center.

As always, we love the questions and feedback from our webinar attendees, so please keep it coming!  Send any additional questions via Twitter tagging @Genesys, or you leave a comment here on the Genesys Blog!

If you missed the webinar, check out the on-demand replay here to see first-hand the benefits of moving beyond queue-based routing in your contact center. Or register for upcoming webinar on contact center best practices. See the complete calendar here.

Chris Horne

Chris Horne

Chris Horne has been in the software industry for more than 20 years, building and marketing products for enterprise content management, business process automation, cloud management and enterprise customer engagement. Serving in various roles within startup ventures such as RightScale...