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What is Intelligent Call Routing?

a call center agent learning intelligent call routing technology

Artificial intelligence is evolving but has not yet reached the level of humans in dealing with natural languages. Hence, automated customer service still struggles. Nonetheless, as a contact center, an intelligent way to manage call traffic while maintaining effective customer service is through call routing.

Intelligent call routing is smart and can match callers to the agents best suited to solve their queries. This article will comprehensively discuss what intelligent call routing is, how it works, its pros and cons, and how it improves customer experience.

What is Intelligent Call Routing?

Intelligent Call Routing (ICR) is a call center technology that puts incoming calls into a queue and then routes each to the appropriate agent. Based on preset logic and rules, the system determines routing priorities.

The modern ICR system lets the caller select options from menus that relate to the purpose of the call and uses the information to automatically route the call to the most appropriate, available agent. The system routes the call to the next best agent if they are unavailable. ICR is fundamental for contact centers managing large call volumes.

How Does Intelligent Call Routing Work?

Intelligent Call Routing uses these data types to determine where to send each call for the best possible outcome:

  • Caller Input: The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system enables callers to input the essential information for proper routing. The caller can speak their answer to the  ICR system’s questions or press buttons for desired menu selections. This data collection helps to achieve accurate routing. 
  • Current Caller Data: ICR software has the Automatic Number Identification (ANI) feature, which automatically identifies the phone number from which the call is originated. Another feature, Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS), determines where the caller should be directed.
  • Historic Caller Data: ICR systems can search and pull details from the database after identifying a caller. These details can include the customer’s purchase history, account status, customer support history, contracts, and any other data that can help determine the caller’s intent.

After the ICR system collects the necessary data, it matches the data to the criteria and rules the business has preset for sending calls to specific agents. 

Functions Intelligent Call Routing systems perform:

  • Collect current and historical caller-specific data. 
  • Route the call to the most appropriate agent 
  • Direct the caller to the nearest company locations if the problem requires visiting an actual physical office.
  • Connect a caller with the same agent they previously spoke with, to deliver consistent support service.
  • Provide contact center agents with relevant information to have the best possible customer and employee experience.
  • Show data analytics to enable system users to understand customer behavior and make informed business decisions.
  • Integrate with other information systems and databases to manage call volume across the company’s inbound call center.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Intelligent Call Routing 

As with any approach to business solutions, it’s crucial to know the benefits and shortcomings to arrive at the best decision. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using Intelligent Call Routing:


Below are the benefits of Intelligent Call Routing

  • Best customer experience: A contact center with ICR ensures the caller gets the best agent to solve their problems, which positively impacts the customer experience. 
  • Low wasted payroll time: ICR systems reduce the high frequency of cases where callers have to repeat themselves before finally being connected to the most appropriate agents. This also significantly saves the caller valuable time. 
  • Reduced customer service costs: Customer service costs are reduced with an auto-attendant to manage call routing in high-volume call centers.
  • Better insights into customers’ needs: The data collected from ICR can open up insights into customers’ needs and interests. This informs how to add value to products and services to serve customers better and deepen their relationship with the brand. 
  • Employee satisfaction: The details provided by ICR, such as the caller’s customer service records, account activity, payment history, and other helpful information help the agent have a fulfilling call with the client. This promotes employee satisfaction in their role and the company.


Below are the downsides of Intelligent Call Routing

  • Missing and incomplete data: Migrating to an ICR system without first cleaning up data can result in data quality problems. It is challenging to navigate an ICR system with missing customer IDs and incomplete account information. This can hurt work efficiency.
  • Difficult integration: ICR platform integrations can be tedious and challenging to perform. You need expert IT professionals to help with smooth integration when transitioning to an ICR system.
  • Masking management deficiencies: Over-reliance on ICR can mask weaknesses in management, training, service culture, and other critical business areas. After successfully transitioning to ICR systems, ensure not to lose sight of these areas for comprehensive, successful call management.

How to Improve Customer Experience with Intelligent Routing 

Make sure your data is accurate

Your call duration, customer satisfaction, agent ID, and agent skillset data need to be as clean and accurate as possible. If you have data quality issues, your intelligent call routing system becomes ineffective, and this negatively affects the customer experience. 

Measure KPIs impact 

There can be several ongoing initiatives in large call centers that it is hard to attribute a change to–or measure the impact of–an Intelligent Call Routing system. However, a reliable way to measure its KPIs is to randomly switch off the ICR system at intervals and observe the data spikes. 

Knowing the impact will help you tweak and make changes in your service delivery to serve customers better.

Identify and overcome integration issues 

As mentioned earlier, integrations can be tedious. Identify and resolve integration issues with your provider early in the implementation process. This way, you ensure your business communication and customer experience are not frustrated in the future.

Do not lose focus on other initiatives

Intelligent Call Routing is only one part of contact center management, do not lose focus on other factors. While ICR improves call management, ensure your agents do not have hidden training deficiencies. Improve every agent’s performance and other critical business areas. 

Bottom Line 

Intelligent Call Routing systems can improve the customer experience and employee productivity while simultaneously reducing customer service costs. Before and after implementing ICR in your cloud contact center, monitor call performance metrics to see the extent of business impact. 

A well-configured and properly implemented artificially intelligent call routing system handles your call routing requirement dynamically and seamlessly and brings inevitable benefits to the business over time.

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