Welcome to the November 2018 issue of the NACC In Queue newsletter!

Traditional Call Routing, Meet Predictive Behavioral Routing.  Welcome To The 21st Century! 

Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,


When it comes to customer service history, about the only technology that’s been around for almost as long as the phone is call routing. I say almost because the first customer call center was founded in 1957 by Time, Inc., to support phone calls from subscribers of LIFE magazine. That call center supported multiple numbers and calls were manually switched and connected by live operators at a switchboard.

The first call routing technology, the Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), didn’t arrive in the market until 1973. The Rockwell Galaxy ACD was the first call routing system available to the market and it was purchased by Continental Airlines for its customer reservation and service center. Although the popularity of the ACD grew exponentially over the next 20 or so years, the rules-based routing algorithms that enabled automatic call distribution didn’t really see any significant change during that time.

In the 1990s we saw the introduction of skills-based routing in the ACD. Skills-based routing requires agents to be grouped according to skills, such as product knowledge, and the type of assistance required. The type of help a customer caller needs is determined by having the customer qualify their call through responses to an IVR-type menu-driven series of questions. Once the IVR qualifies the customer and understands the reason for the call and any particular needs the customer has, ACD rules direct the caller to the best qualified agent group.

So, for example, if the IVR determines through customer input that the customer is calling with a question about a recently purchased product and that the caller speaks Spanish, ACD rules will route that call to the agent group with expertise in that particular product and has Spanish language skills.

Despite booms of big data, analytics, and personalization strategies, skill-based routing essentially remained the state-of-the-art until the advent of what today is referred to as predictive behavioral routing. Originally introduced by a company called Mattersight in 2014, Predictive Behavioral Routing represented the first major shakeup in contact center call routing in more than 20 years.

Mattersight’s foundation in analytics along with its proprietary behavioral model set the stage for the application of data to improve calls at the instant they were connected to an agent. Predictive Behavioral Routing, powered by the industry’s largest database of customer behavioral profiles and advanced analytics, helps your customers have better conversations with your agents. Without additional effort on the part of the customer, mathematical algorithms interpret customer information captured on quality management recordings by analyzing communications patterns, language choices, pauses, and other communications metrics to understand the customer and the agent best suited to connect with them. Based upon the algorithms and collected data, the Predictive Behavioral Routing server communicates with the ACD to intelligently route calls to the best available agent based on customer personality, behavioral data, and communications preferences.

Seeing the value in this unique, analytics-based routing technology and the immediate value it provided enterprises, NICE acquired Mattersight in August of this year. With the acquisition, NICE paired Mattersight’s Predictive Behavioral Routing solution with their Nexidia Analytics to streamline go-to-market while accelerating the R&D on analytics-based routing technologies. Combining the business results driven by Predictive Behavioral Routing with the power of the artificially intelligent (AI)-driven routing technology has resulted in a customer-focused call solution that provides intelligent routing unlike anything the industry has seen before.

Last month I participated in a webinar with NICE Nexidia’s Abby Monaco in which we explained this revolutionary call routing technology and discussed its significance in the global contact center market. A replay of that webinar can be found here, and I encourage readers to take some time to understand this groundbreaking call routing development.

Watch for future issues of this newsletter in order to learn more about Predictive Behavioral Routing. In the months ahead, I’ll dig deeper into the inner workings and application of AI within Predictive Behavioral Routing and discuss the potential impact of this innovation on the creation of the optimal customer experience. Predictive Behavioral Routing is paving the way for a new era in customer care, combining the best of data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the customer experience.

Inbound Call Goals In Call Center Outsourcing 

Shannon Svasek, Operations Manager, Quality Contact Solutions,


How do inbound calls enhance outbound call programs? Many


companies have an inbound customer service number. Customers can and do call in for a wide variety of reasons. They need to order an item or service, maybe they are unhappy with that item or service and wish to get a refund or perhaps to check the status of an order to name a few. But how do those inbound calls enhance the outbound call programs those businesses may be running? We will talk about that in a moment, but before any of that can happen you must have one really important piece – a great team!

A great inbound call center outsourcing team has these characteristics

A successful contact solutions team includes an amazing customer service team whose primary responsibility is to handle incoming calls. This team is the face of your company. These are the friendly helpful faces who will greet your customers at your “front door”. They must be attentive, willing to help, optimistic, energetic and most importantly great listeners! They need to be wiling and ready to help the customers and make their experience at your business a great one. Customers who are treated well and feel as though they were listened to and are happy with the outcome of their call are now willing to hear about other products and services you may offer.

Optimizing your contact solutions team and processes
So, when we think about how those inbound calls can enhance outbound call campaigns. There are a couple things that come to mind, first is lead generation. Generating leads for other faucets of your business. Asking customers if they would like to speak more about other services or products you offer that can be of help or interest to them. This is most successfully accomplished when the listening skills of your inbound agent are needle sharp. For example, a customer calls in to order a product, the inbound agent asks the customer some discovery questions to uncover what their needs are; allowing them to fit the customer with the perfect solution.

Now the inbound agent can circle back to the needs they uncovered the customer has from the earlier discovery and use that as a reference point when generating interest for other products or services. “Earlier you indicated you needed help with ______. We do offer other solutions related to this and I would love to have a specialist contact you to discuss those further, allowing you to weigh your options. OK?” The great part about this is that you are using the relationship and help you have provided them to open up more avenues for your call center outsourcing team.

Increased average order size is a significant byproduct of an optimized call center outsourcing team

Proper use of an inbound team that takes customer service calls or order take calls and turns them into additional revenue will produce the highest return on investment across your contact solutions team. Using incoming calls to upselling other products and services produces higher results than most outbound call campaigns. The prospect or customer has set aside time out of their day to initiate a phone conversation and are ready and willing to listen to solutions your business offers — so set the bar high. Don’t stop with order taking, look beyond that and strive for order making. Offering additional enhancements to the customers original reason for calling in is exciting and should be approached that way! “If you like that…you are going to love this!”

Customers prefer to transact with your company in a manner that they choose and timing that works best for them

Let’s face it. Some customers like to receive calls notifying them about specials or deals that they may not be aware of. Other customers prefer to call you. Having an inbound contact solutions team coupled with outbound calling is a must. Customers aren’t always ready for the call that your call center outsourcing team is making. However, we must be on the ready when the customer has time to call us. Time, as we know is precious and how you handle your calls (both inbound and outbound) require constant awareness of the customer’s current state of mind. As I like to say, you are always buying the next 30 seconds.

Shannon Svasek is Operations Manager for Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing organization. With responsibility for overseeing the daily operations of client programs, and agent success. Shannon focus is that her client programs consistently reach the desired goals – every day. With over 18 years of experience in Telemarketing, Shannon has built her career on creating fun, open & respectful relationships between her team & her clients which drives unparalleled success. Shannon can be reached at or 516-656-5126.

Are You Ready For The Gig Agent? 

Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,

With the success of such “gig economy” ventures as Uber and Lyft, and continued interest in the variety and flexibility offered by gig work among the new generation of workers, it stands to reason that the gig agent in the contact center is a very real possibility. Research conducted by the NACC in conjunction with Saddletree Research reveals that many contact centers are already preparing for the gig agent in 2019 and some contact centers are already making the changes necessary to accommodate these Millennial and Gen Z workers.

I recently participated in a webinar with Tim Dreyer of Aspect to discuss the results of not only the research recently conducted by the NACC, but also the results of a gig economy research study commissioned by Aspect. While our research focuses on the management aspects of working with gig agents, Aspect’s research focuses on attitudes of the workers themselves toward the gig economy. The results are both informative and intriguing.

The webinar can be accessed here. I highly recommend spending some time getting up to speed on the potential impact of the gig economy in the contact center, and this webinar would be a good place to start.

Call Center Comics

 callcentercomicsIf you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at and visit his website at or just click on the comic to tak you to his page. The NACC appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.   

In This Issue...

  • Traditional Call Routing
  • Inbound Call Goals
  • Are You Ready For The Gig Agent?
  • Call Center Comics!

Pearls Of Wisdom

"We should never reach so high that we forget those who helped us get there."

             ~ Will Rogers

Reports From NACC

The NACC has been burning the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are sore to bring out reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you are interested to see what we are writing about, click on the links below and download the executive summary of each. If you like what you see, join the NACC so that you can view these reports and others that will be coming out soon on our website. These reports will ensure that you know the latest trends in the industry.

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  2018 National Association of Call Centers
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