The definition of a call routing system – also known as an automatic call distributor or ACD – describes a tool that can route calls to individual agents or queues based on preestablished criteria such as the time of day that a caller dials a business. While call routing engines began as hardware solutions, they have evolved over time. Now, many routing engines are part of a computer telephony integration system (CTI). A CTI-based routing engine enables users to quickly adjust routing rules, and the best cloud-based routing engines enable routing rules to be adjusted without any IT assistance. There are many levels of sophistication to routing engines. The most powerful ACDs can integrate with a call tracking solution in order to automatically route calls based on specific advertising channels and even from specific Google keywords.
There are several benefits of call routing. Routing can optimize human resources costs by utilizing each agent as efficiently as possible. Routing can help ensure that calls are always routed to an available agent rather than being lost or sent to voicemail. This can eliminate revenue losses that come from lost calls. Routing based on expertise can also help maximize conversion rates by ensuring that inbound callers have far better overall customer experiences. Finally, call routing gives businesses the ability to ensure that customers speak to a live agent 24 hours a day 365 days a year. In some industries, selling or offering service around the clock can lead to massive revenue growth that would not have been possible without using a call routing system.
There are several specific types of call routing that companies use to connect inbound callers with the right sales reps.
Time-based routing routes callers to reps based on the time of day that they call. Time-based routing is often used to help companies provide service 24-hours a day. For example, companies with offices nationwide, might route callers to an office on the east coast during hours that west coast offices aren’t open. Conversely, calls during hours after the east coast office is closed could be routed to a west coast office. During hours that neither office is open, calls could be routed to a 24-hour call center. This helps companies assure the maximum level of service available at a given time.
Some companies employ what’s known as skills-based routing in order to route callers to the most qualified sales agent available. There are several factors that can be used to determine which rep is most qualified. Product knowledge is one factor that can be used to determine skills-based routing. Companies that offer multiple offerings might have product specialists who are more skilled at selling particular offerings. With a skills-based routing system, a company could automatically route calls to the right product specialist. Companies sometimes use call tracking solutions to determine buyer intent. If a customer, for example, clicked on a Google ad for a particular product prior to calling, a skills-based routing system could send a caller to a specialist in that particular product. Companies also sometimes use skills-based routing to send important calls to the sales rep that has the highest close rate. This can help ensure that top closers are not being underutilized.
Round Robin Routing
A frequent problem that many companies face is that calls are not evenly distributed among sales reps. Often certain reps get inundated with calls, while other reps are being underutilized. Round robin algorithms work to give each rep an equal share of incoming leads. Round robin routing algorithms are often a function of automatic call distributors. This can be used to ensure a fair and equitable sales environment.