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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
How do inbound calls enhance outbound call programs? Many
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
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.
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
Increased average order size is a significant byproduct of an optimized call center outsourcing team
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
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.
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
email@example.com or 516-656-5126.
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
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
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
If you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit his website at http://callcentercomics.com 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
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.