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What is Skills-Based Routing and How Does It Work?

call center agent doing skill-based routing

Nothing annoys a customer more than being transferred from one call agent to another and repeating their concerns. As a forward-thinking call center, you can avoid this through call routing to the agents with the most appropriate skills – this is the point of skills-based routing. 

This article discusses skills-based routing, how it works and why you need one for your business.

What is Skills-Based Routing?

Skill-Based Routing is a modern phone system feature that automatically routes incoming calls from customers to agents with the most relevant skills to address their concerns. With skill-based routing, customers receive the help they need on their first call. This eliminates the need for multiple transfers, and customers don’t have to deal with agents who aren’t the best fit for them. This results in an overall enhanced customer experience.

How Does Skills-Based Routing Work?

The system picks up customer data during incoming calls and decides which agents can help the customer based on which number the customer called, the caller’s identity, and options the caller selected using the IVR system

The rise in technology has made communication more manageable than ever before, resulting in higher expectations of customers. Therefore, the right system aims to meet customers’ growing needs by ensuring they speak to well-trained agents and get good customer support.

Why Your Business Needs Skill-Based Routing 

Here are some reasons why your business needs skills-based routing:

Improves customer satisfaction

Skills-based routing connects customers to highly skilled agents with the necessary training to resolve their concerns quickly and most efficiently. Matching clients to the agents most qualified to meet their needs increases first-call resolution and improves overall customer satisfaction. 

Reduces agent training

Skills-based routing lets you leverage the skills and training that your agents already have. Identify their relevant skills and build your call routing strategy on them. Agents have more confidence in the areas where they can handle customers more efficiently.

Improves performance management

Skill-based routing improves the performance management of your agents. Letting a specific agent handle queries that align with their assigned skills reduces their average time with callers. This increases agent productivity by allowing agents to draw on their knowledge base to assist more people more efficiently than ever before.

Increases first-call resolution time

First-call resolution or First-contact resolution is a metric used to measure customer inquiries resolved on the first call or contact with an agent. Skill-based routing increases the chances of resolving concerns immediately, which increases customer satisfaction and ultimately drives customer loyalty.

Skill-Based Routing vs. Queue-Based Routing vs. ACD Routing

Queue-based routing occurs when a caller is on hold and hears: “All of our agents are currently busy. Please hold, and the next available agent will be with you.” 

An incoming call is queued up and waiting behind the previous callers. The queue assigned could be for a specific department or their preferred language. Skills-based routing, on the other hand, is intelligent call routing. It evaluates skills, language, and other relevant parameters to quickly route calls to the best agents.

ACD (automatic call distribution) Routing uses automation to distribute incoming calls to the first available agent. It works with interactive voice response (IVR) and uses call distribution rules like time of day, Call traffic, Caller ID to route calls. However, it does not consider the agent’s skills and risk call transfers, or worse, customers wait for a callback.

With a skills-based routing system, the callers might have to wait a bit longer, but there’s a high probability that whoever answers the call will help them in the shortest possible amount of time.

The Bottom Line 

Whether you’re a traditional or cloud contact center, having an intelligent call distribution system improves your customer service significantly and optimizes your agents’ productivity. Now that you’ve seen how it works and the benefits, it’s time to upgrade your phone system and start implementing skills-based routing in your contact center.

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