The Third Revolution in Call Routing

As one of the basic tenets of customer care, call routing has been around for about as long as the call center, and the contact center, have been around. Basic call routing, where the incoming call gets routed to the first available agent, came into existence along with the first automatic call distributor (ACD) in 1973. This revolutionary method of getting customer calls to customer service representatives meant that customers didn't receive a busy signal when there were no agents available when they called.  Rather, they waited in a call queue until an agent became available and the call was connected. This method of connecting callers with agents didn't change in its essence until the advent of skills-based routing.

Skills-based routing appeared in the industry in the early 1990s, about 20 years after the appearance of basic call routing.  This second revolution in call routing still relied on routing rules being executed by the ACD, but in this case the call was routed to the first available agent with a given set of skills.

Skills-based routing required agents to be grouped according to skills, such as product knowledge or the type of assistance required. Customers qualified the nature of the help they needed by responding to prompts from the IVR that front-ended the call. Once qualified, the skills-based routing software assigns the call to a particular queue that the rules-based ACD manages.  Rather than being routed to the first available agent, the caller is routed to a pool of agents best qualified to address that caller's needs.

The argument against skills-based routing is that callers may have to wait in the queue longer than normal in order to be routed to a particular pool of agents as opposed to just being routed to the first available agent. Supporters of skills-based routing would argue that average call-handling time is greatly reduced thereby offsetting the customer's longer wait time in queue. 

But what if the caller could be intelligently matched with, and routed to, the agent who is best matched personally and professionally to the customer's personality type? What I'm describing here is Predictive Behavioral Routing, and it is leading the third revolution in contact center call routing.

Predictive Behavioral Routing adds another dimension to contact center call routing – the personality match between the customer and the representative who serves them. Predictive Behavioral Routing is not limited to simply matching a customer with an agent who has the knowledge to answer their questions; instead, it uses machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the customer experience by routing the call to the agent with the right personality match to best serve the customer. 

Predictive Behavioral Routing is an integral component of the NICE inContact CXone platform with Predictive Behavioral Routing coming to NICE via the acquisition of Mattersight in August of this year. Powered by NICE Nexidia Analytics, Predictive Behavioral Routing provides businesses with the ability to drive personalization and smart connections in real-time by utilizing data that provides an understanding of a customer's full persona and using that information to personalize routing decisions and, as a result, optimizing the customer experience.

Rather than relying on IVR and rules, Predictive Behavioral Routing relies on AI and analytics to match callers with customer personality models in order to intelligently route calls to the agents best able to serve any individual customer. The role of the agent in Predictive Behavioral Routing is significantly enhanced in that each agent's performance against customer personality, behavioral characteristics and communications preferences is constantly measured and analyzed to ensure an optimal match between the agent and the customer. The net result is an AI-driven routing solution that gets smarter with each interaction, reduces call handle time, increases first call resolution, and provides an efficient and satisfying experience for the customer, among many other benefits.

To learn more about Predictive Behavioral Routing and how it is leading the third revolution in contact center call routing, there is a webinar now available for download that explains in much greater detail exactly what Predictive Behavioral Routing is and how it works. You can find the webinar here.

The third revolution in contact center call routing has begun, and Predictive Behavioral Routing is leading the transformation.  Predictive Behavioral Routing is the future of call routing, and the future is here today.