How preferred routing works
For companies aiming to deliver first class customer service, personalisation is a key factor for success.
Sytel’s Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) platform, in addition to traditional inbound practices (e.g. dequeing sessions to the agent who has waited longest), offers preferred routing – the ability to route a session to a preferred agent. This personalisation increases customer satisfaction and adds a level of sophistication to the business process.
All routing options are available for all media channels – voice, chat, SMS, email, etc.
Preferred routing attaches two pieces of data to incoming sessions:
- a tag – to indicate which specific agent should handle the session
- a lifetime – so that if the tagged agent cannot accept the session within the lifetime, another agent from the same team can take the call.
In figure 1, customer Maria makes contact. Using Maria’s originating address, SCC:
- looks through her contact history
- considers the skill sets of the available agents
Agent John is chosen as the most appropriate*. Unfortunately, John is busy right now and cannot handle any more sessions, so the session enters the general agent queue and is picked up by the next available agent.
*Note that the routing decision could also be made by a 3rd party service. For more on this, see our page on Advanced Routing.
How it works
When a contact session is received, before it is sent to an inbound queue, it is assigned with a tag to a specific agent. The session is then sent to the appropriate queue, which contains a mix of tagged and untagged sessions.
When an agent becomes free, SCC will either:
- dequeue the first session tagged for that agent (if present), or
- dequeue the first untagged session from the queue
However, as SCC runs a sophisticated multi-media blending engine, an agent may not be able to accept any sessions tagged for them. Therefore, tags have a lifetime. If, after the specified time has passed, the agent was not able to accept the session, the tag is removed. The session stays in its position in queue and is then dequeued to the next available agent.
Figure 2 shows a workflow and the possible outcomes when SCC receives an incoming contact session, identifies the customer, finds their account manager and tags the session.
SCC identifies the customer by using an IVR flow to perform a data lookup in the customer history database. The response indicates that this session should be sent to the customer’s account manager. The IVR applies a tag to the session, identifying the account manager, with a tag lifetime of 5 minutes.
If the account manager is not able to accept this session within 5 minutes, it is assigned to the next available agent.
SCC offers many possible enhancements to the IVR flow, for example by offering the customer an opportunity to:
- transfer immediately to another agent
- leave a message for their account manager
- notify the account manager by email, enabling them to respond to the customer later
See also ...
Optimised Inbound Routing
Smart rules and ‘best-available’ decisions to drive great customer service
Choosing the best agent for the session
Simple building blocks to allow the development of any kind of routing rules, for any media, for realtime deployment
Highly complex rules and conditions to be applied to session flow for all media channels
Advanced Routing Examples
Five use case examples showing how Pathfinder may be used to optimise the customer experience