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Intelligent routing; smarter contact centers

March 17, 2011 • Opinion

Paul Fick, MD of Spescom DataFusion (Image: file photo)

Intelligent routing (IR) is not new to contact centers – the benefits of using this technology are proven. It’s now no longer the exclusive domain of larger companies with sizable budgets and access to high level skills. Today, intelligent routing solutions are modular, easy-to-use and to configure, and are reasonably priced. Furthermore, IR solutions can easily bolt onto an existing platform.

With IR, the redirection capabilities of the automatic call distributor (ACD) are significantly extended, ensuring all incoming contacts reaching a contact center via available channels (voice, e-mail, chat/Web callback or SMS) will be directed to the most suitable agent. The benefits are self-evident: if the customer is quickly identified and the query is properly directed to the agent with the appropriate skills, the query is resolved faster and the customer is happier. The highly skilled agent’s time is properly utilised, the call center is more productive and, importantly, more cost effective.

Because of the considerable value IR solutions offer and their increasing affordability, more small to medium (<50 agents) contact centers can now deploy them. In fact, those that already do so, consider IR solutions a strategic part of their business management toolkit.

Configuration of strategies for each type of incoming contact may depend on the various elements that characterise it – e.g., who is calling, and what type of contact is it (e-mail, chat, SMS, social media, etc). With a powerful visual interface, contact center managers and administrators can perform multiple queries on incoming contacts contained in numerous databases in order to define optimised ‘routes’ per contact.

Intelligent routing relies on two processes: defining the route of an incoming contact through use of a routing design application, and executing  the strategy associated with that contact, a task which is assigned to a routing server. The IR solution ensures that contact-related information is stored in the business database together with customer interaction data - e.g., the information requested from the customer before routing (for example, from an IVR) – so there is sufficient information to base decisions
on.

For distribution, this strategic routing information is synchronised with real-time status awareness of each agent and queue. The result: maximum system performance and improved response times in the decision making process.

By Paul Fick, MD of Spescom DataFusion

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