Ask The Expert Featured Article

April 29, 2013

Deriving Value from Skills-Based Routing: A Guide to Implementing Skills-Based Routing Effectively


Justifying a technology investment in a contact center comes down to understanding the solution’s applicability and how it can benefit agents, customers, and the business as a whole. Skills-based routing can lend to better business performance by improving agent performance and the customer experience, particularly when routing plans are implemented wisely and maximized by best practices.

In planning for skills-based routing, the first step is to determine the types of skills that contact center agents possess or must acquire. Depending on the organization, the industry it serves, and its processes and requirements for customer care, agent skills fall into four principal classifications.

·Proprietary skills, which require training specific to products or services such as billing, scheduling, reservations, or parts. These are the most common skills among agents.

·Technical/industry skills reflect an agent’s expertise and often require special training, such technical troubleshooting (Tech Support or Help Desk), language proficiency, or professional licensing (insurance, financial brokerage services, etc.). While these skills are highly specialized, they are not always unique to the organization.

·Behavioral skills include skills important for relationship management, such as an agent’s demeanor that’s direct and to the point in contrast to one that is patient and nurturing. Typically, behavioral skills are not applied outside a relationship-based model.

·Passive skills are assigned by the organization and are transparent to the agent and customer. These skills usually pertain to geographic alignment or team assignment.

After concluding which skills are relevant to the business, the next step is to determine if those skills can be taught or if agents possessing the skill should be hired. Scale is also a key consideration, although there is no prescribed size a contact center must be to take advantage of skills-based routing. (Note that, in a small contact center, skills-based routing can segment a smaller operation and inhibit the nimbleness of agent resources.)

In the same manner as assessing agent skills, evaluate existing contact center, customer care, and business operations thoroughly. Thereafter, perform a gap analysis to understand barriers that might hinder arriving at the wanted state. It is at this point that the contact center can demonstrate how skills-based routing delivers measurable value to the business.

Best practices

Rule #1: Ensure that the routing plan is relevant — and simple to manage. That is, a plan should be free of excessive design complexity, and should provide transparency within workflows as to how and why interactions traverse specific decision points. The following best practices can help.

Design routing plans in a practical, appropriate manner

High priority customers are a good example. It’s common to offer service that includes routing such customers to a dedicated agent. But if the agent is unavailable, interactions queue for a larger subset of agents for a set duration, and the routing design can force unnecessary hold times. By instead queuing a priority customer’s interaction for all agents with the wanted skills, the rate of immediate answers increases, average speed of answer and abandons decrease, and the quality of service remains neutral.

 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi


Related Contact Center Solutions Articles

    Sound Telecom Points out the Benefits of Multilingual Answering Service

    One of the consequences of globalization is the homogenization of the world, which is responsible for companies delivering the same service in locations as diverse as South Africa and New Zealand. Another is accessibility to talent, so companies in Silicon Valley can hire engineers and computer scientists from India and elsewhere. This has resulted in the influx of foreigners in the vast majority of metropolitan cities around the world giving rise to multilingual communities. [ Read More ]
    09/29/2014

    Contact Center Solutions Week in Review: Capgemini on Shopper Journeys and Role of Social Media

    A good way to characterize this week in the Contact Center Solutions Community is that there was a lot of sage advice to be gleaned. We also saw a projection as to how significant the cloud would be on contact center transformations and the fact that even Apple had its contact center a bit over-whelmed thanks to demand for the new iPhone 6s. [ Read More ]
    09/27/2014

    Contact Solutions Presents My:Time Customer Service Portal

    Customers are not only demanding from their businesses that their brands offer multi-channel customer support experiences, they are also demanding that those experiences be fluid, and any deviation, anything the breaks up that user experience into unwanted pieces, can tarnish brands in their customers' minds. [ Read More ]
    09/26/2014

    Capgemini Report Finds Digital Consumer Engagement is Important and Growing, Questions Role of Social Media in Shopper Journeys

    There is a constant drumbeat in support of omni-channel experiences when it comes to retailers looking to use the latest technology to seamlessly integrate the physical and virtual worlds to provide shoppers more compelling experiences. This is certainly an inexorable trend, but according to the release of the second edition of consulting firm Capgemini global report on such matters, "Digital Shopper Relevancy Report", there are some surprises that retailers literally and figuratively need to ta… [ Read More ]
    09/26/2014

FOLLOW US

Contact Center Solutions Glossary of Terms

Featured eBook

    All Things Customer Interaction Solutions eBOOK
    It has been said that customer interaction centers are the front door to any organization's value chain. This is an accurate description of the transformations taking place in contact centers as a result of enhancements in multichannel communications, speech analytics, IVR capabilities, integrations with unified communications capabilities (UC) and other collaboration tools and applications, and the move to the cloud...

Featured Whitepaper

    Microsoft® Lync® in the Contact Center: Integrating with Customer Interaction Center™ to Provide a Barrier-free Customer Experience To implement contact center functionality, organizations using Microsoft Lync Server 2010 can follow the unified communications blueprint of open standards interoperability and integrate to a contact center solution of their choice. Customer Interaction Center (CIC) from Interactive Intelligence is a proven best of breed contact center solution that merits consideration ...

Featured Success Story

    Contact Center Solutions Featured Success Story
    Interactive Intelligence all-in-one IP communications software suite integrated with Microsoft Lync helps Bentley save $200,000 annually.

Featured Product Demo

    Contact Center Solutions Interaction Analyzer™
    Interaction Analyzer™
    Real-time word and phrase spotting. Alerting. Analytics. Scoring. Coaching. Watch how Interaction Analyzer turns every moment, of every past and present call, into data that lets you deliver an exceptional customer experience.

Featured Resources

Ask the Expert