A contact center is an area where the phone never stops ringing and the pings keep on coming endlessly. Have you ever thought how taxing a situation that can be? The agents have to often sit in a single place for hours answering the queries of their customers. There is no scope for relaxation. Even when they are done with one caller, there are several others waiting in the queue for their turn. Queues are not a privileged option for any customer support services. If they make people wait in queues it is only by compulsion. The thing is no process owner is sure how much staff is needed for a typical customer support process. There are days when there are hundreds of calls while on others there are thousands. So, the process owners are under the dilemma. This dilemma causes the queues. There is always insufficient staff for the processes no matter how well calculated the allotments might have been. This is where queuing and routing are such important functions for contact centers. The difference between queuing and routing if seen elaborately would be queuing is a state where the callers are waiting to get connected to the contact center. But modern call centers often have an automated system or a manual attendant who listens to the needs and then sends the call to the right department, this state is called routing. Routing is not a thing to be taken lightly, especially if you are offering the contact center solutions. So, we thought of discussing the best practices in call routing under the customer support settings.
Multi Channel Routing Plan: The customer center world is no longer confined to the realm of voice calls. The mobile devices and Internet has made the customers more option hungry. The customers get in touch with brands using the SMS, apps, web chat, social media or email. So, it is essential that the call centers have a digital multi channel plan ready for their routing. Though voice calls are still ahead in the mode of communication but it is getting heavy competition from the emails and chat touch points. When a customer gets in touch with the brand using a mode of communication make sure that he/she is responded through the same channel and not asked to shift. This is why having a centralized data center is essential. The agents should find customer history, list of previous interactions and their buying behavior within a few clicks. This will help the agent deliver a consistent customer experience.
Routing to Free Agents and not Queues: Most of the call centers still follow the age old practice of routing calls from the queues. It has to be remembered that the times have changed and the mindset of customers too. In a typical process the agent logs into a queue and starts processing the interactions. The reporting and work load of the agents revolves around the queue. But it is always tough maintaining the long queues and routing them one after the other. Having a long queue means there is always a lot of stress on the agent and it does not allow the agent to deliver the best service. Moving from one queue to the other is a skill and most agents do not posses it, so there is training needed for the same. Logging into queues also causes a lot of hassles while creating the agent reports. In contrast to this if a call center follows routing after the agent logs in, the process is much smooth. This will lead to flexible routing, utilization of opportunities, customer segmentation and customer data understanding.
Route with Customer Segmentation in Mind: There are some agents who would be knowledgeable about a certain process and then there are agents who are more knowledgeable in handling a particular group of customers. Whom to route the call to in such a situation? Well, the vote should be in favor of the person who understands the customer segment better. Routing to such an agent can significantly reduce the hassles and help increase the revenues. You may manage the low value and high cost customers by letting them use the self service option, but not for the high value and low cost customers who represent the greatest upsell opportunity.
Routing Based on Customer Actions: Routing the calls to the first agent empty is not always the best option. The calls or chats (with the customer history) can be routed to the person best equipped to handle the action customer wants to perform. If the customer wants to buy there should be an agent who is great at assisting. If the customer wants to compare products, there should be an agent who is good at it. When the calls are routed based on the actions of the customer, they tend to be very successful in the end goal. They keep the customers happy.
Follow Latest Routing Practices: Customers are always on the move and understanding their needs is a duty of any contact center. So, in the coming days the contact centers should allow the customer a luxury to move between channels. They may have started the conversation on web chat but want to shift to voice call; such a facility should be provided to the agents. This is why the infrastructure should be centralized with data availability across channels.
By following these routing practices the customer support centers can appease their customers and increase the revenues for their clients too.