January 2019 NACC In Queue

Welcome to the February 2019 issue of the NACC In Queue newsletter!

Generational Call Routing:  Predictive Behavioral Routing And The NextGen Customer

Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC & Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,  paul.stockford@nationalcallcenters.org

If there’s one thing of which I am certain, it is that dramatic, unprecedented changes are coming to customer service and, by extension, to the contact center industry.  The difference this time, though, is that the changes will not be mandated by new technologies or new management strategies based upon the latest buzz words or starry-eyed theories to capture the imagination of the industry.  This time, the changes will be based upon the unstoppable, unchangeable expectations, preferences, and demands of the next generations of customers.

As Baby Boomers, and to some extent Generation X’ers, fade not only in the percentage of the overall population but as the majority of consumers, the contact center will be faced with understanding and meeting the demands of the NextGen consumer.  Figure 1 below illustrates the current U.S. population breakdown of the various living generations.


Figure 1:  U.S. Population by Generations


Collectively, the Millennial generation along with Generation Z represent nearly 49 percent of the U.S. population with Generation Z still growing.  These generations bring with them new attitudes and a different set of expectations when it comes to communications, information access, technology support and brand loyalty.  All this adds up to what we believe will be a seismic shift in customer experience practices that cannot be ignored or excused as a “fad” that will eventually disappear.  These changes will be here to stay.

We know through various secondary research sources that Millennials simply don’t have the patience of previous generations.  This generation grew up with having information at their fingertips and expect a speedy response to inquiries, such as customer service.  They are open to new customer services experiences and are not burdened by the skeptical attitudes toward something new that characterizes older generations.  They expect customer service to be as intuitive as every other application on their smartphones, meaning they likely won’t be as understanding of transfers between representatives during a customer service call.

Generation Z is the first truly digital native generation, meaning that they have never lived in a world without the internet.  They were born operating at digital speed and expect to get access to the right information the first time, every time.  This expectation will most certainly extend to their experience as customers and the efficiency of customer service they receive.

Common to both generations is their propensity to share their experiences on social media, including their service experiences both good and bad.  Brand loyalty among both of these generations is almost non-existent and the will not hesitate to take their business to another company after one bad service experience.

One of the last bastions of old-fashioned customer service technology in the contact center is incoming customer call routing.  In a previous analysis in this newsletter, I outlined the slow and minimal advances in customer call routing over the years.  In most contact centers today, call routing hasn’t changed in the last 40 years.  In basic terms, the incoming call is routed to the first available agent regardless of that agent’s particular skills, experience, or ability to handle the unique requirements of an individual caller or service issue.

Not only does this old-school way of routing customer calls need to change, it must change in order to meet the requirements and expectations of the NextGen customer as defined in this article.  The next generation of call routing, poised to radically redefine call routing in the contemporary contact center, is Predictive Behavioral Routing.

In 2018, NICE (www.nice.com) acquired call routing solutions leader Mattersight.  Mattersight introduced Predictive Behavioral Routing in 2014, essentially revolutionizing the concept of the customer experience when it comes to incoming customer call routing.  Rather than simply routing the call to the first available agent, the Predictive Behavioral Routing server communicates with the ACD to intelligently route calls to the best available agent based upon customer personality, behavioral data, and communications preferences.

With a foundation in analytics and the use of proprietary behavioral modeling along with the industry’s largest database of customer behavioral profiles, Predictive Behavioral Routing sends the call to the agent whose skills and ability best match the profile of the customer initiating the incoming call.  Figure 2 below provides a graphical representation of how Predictive Behavioral Routing works.


Figure 2: The Predictive Behavioral Routing Process

Along with digital customer communications channels such as web chat, e-mail, texting, and social media, Predictive Behavioral Routing is the final piece of the customer support channel puzzle that must be assembled in order to meet the customer experience requirements and expectations of the NextGen customer.  Rather than being routed to the first agent to pick up the call, the call is routed to the available agent who is most likely to succeed with the caller’s personality and behavioral profile. 

The net result of Predictive Behavioral Routing is a significant reduction in customer effort combined with the cost savings that come with increased first call resolution (FCR), decreased average handle time (AHT), and the boost in employee morale and job satisfaction that comes with having the technology that can deliver callers to them that they are more likely to have success with.

Grounded in data science, analytics, and the years of research required to create customer behavioral profiling, Predictive Behavioral Routing is the NextGen call routing revolution that is perfectly matched with the needs of an evolving population of customers in the future.  It sets a new standard in customer service and is a timely solution for the generational customer experience challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead.


In This Issue...
  • Generational Call Routing
  • Call Center Comics


Pearls Of Wisdom

"Looking at things from other people's point of view is practically the secret of success."

~ Paul Graham


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.

If you like this comic and would like to see more, write Ozzie at callcentercomics@yahoo.com.  The NACC appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.
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