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Is Skill-Based Routing Right For Your Contact Center?

Is Skill-Based Routing Right For Your Contact Center?


Have you ever wondered if a skill-based call routing strategy is right for your contact center? Spoiler alert – it most definitely is.  

Skill-based routing enhances the customer experience and increases employee productivity by pairing the customer issue with agents who are trained in a specialized skill.  Who would say no to those sweet benefits? Read on to discover why skill-based routing is so successful and how to implement it at your contact center or customer service department. 

Skill-Based Routing: The Basics

Skill-Based Routing Explained

Skill-based routing (SBR) is a call assignment method that assigns customers to the best suited or skilled agent, not necessarily the next available one. For example, let’s say a customer calls the support team at a marketing software company. This customer has an issue with how their marketing emails are being sent.

Instead of forwarding them to a random team member, you would divert their call to an agent with highly specialized experience in the platform’s email functionality. Their skills and knowledge of this area should lead to a quicker resolution. 


If you have ever used Interactive Voice Response (IVR) at your contact center, you know how helpful it can be. IVR is designed to help automate the call process, which alleviates some of your agents’ burden. But what you might not realize is how much more effective your IVR can be with SBR.

These two technologies aren’t exclusive to each other. In fact, SBR greatly enhances IVR. When a customer calls, they interact with the IVR to explain their issue.

Then the ACD (automated call distributor) routes them to the next available agent. However, when you use SBR and IVR together, the ACD sends the caller to the agent with the right specialty or skill relevant to the customer’s call. They will work in tandem to achieve the best results at your contact center.


What Industries Use Skill-Based Routing?

Any type of company can use SBR if they have a customer service team or a sales department. Skill-based routing is especially helpful if your business offers various products or services or has a highly complex offering. The finance industry and tech industry are prime examples of the need for skill-based routing.

Tech companies often have multiple features that make up their software, and so when their agents focus on specific areas of software knowledge, support tickets can be resolved much more quickly. And an institution like a bank may have many customers and various services, so routing calls by skillset or knowledge is essential.

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The Benefits of Skill-Based Routing

Improved Customer Experience

Skill-based routing dramatically improves your customer’s relationship with you because it streamlines the support process. When customers call a company, they’re most annoyed by long hold times (73%) and  being transferred to a new agent (70%).

Skill-based routing helps mitigate these frustrations. SBR typically yields faster call times and improves first-time resolution rates since the caller is sent to the best-suited agent the first time around, who is much likelier to solve their problem at the primary point of contact. Because the right people are handling calls the first time, call queues also tend to shrink, which adds to the customers’ positive experience.

Improved Agent Experience

Not only is SBR useful for making customers happy, but it also improves your staff’s experience as well. When customers are happier and cases are being closed more quickly, there are less frustrated customers to deal with during the day, which boosts team morale.

Increased Agent Productivity

Because call resolutions will likely occur more quickly, your team will reach higher rates of productivity. The positive performance will further increase employee morale and engagement, which is essential for every contact center. Increased employee engagement can result in a higher ROI.

Save Time and Money on Training

When you hire a new representative for your contact center, extensive training is necessary. Think about it: Your staff needs to learn your entire product or service suite and get up to speed on every possible type of customer call. That training costs money.

Estimations reveal that in 2019, the total spending on employee training globally  reached $370.3 billion. An average of $1,286 was invested per learner in 2019, with each employee training for an average of 42.1 hours. And the expenditure shows no signs of stopping: The average spend on workplace training worldwide has steadily increased since 2008.

With skill-based routing, your team can get up to speed more quickly since they learn about one specialized area of the company, therefore saving on training expense.  

Skill-Based Routing and Omnichannel

These days, customers reach out to support and sales reps in a myriad of ways, from video chat, SMS, email, social media and webchat. Therefore, contact centers and customer service departments must offer multiple lines of communication to meet customer needs. Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies see 91% higher year-over-year customer retention rates compared to companies that do not.

If you have an omnichannel strategy in place, you might wonder if you can use skill-based routing beyond phone calls. Fortunately, the answer is yes. Omnichannel skill-based routing works in the same way that traditional phone call routing does, except it operates through more communication channels. However, you must have the right technology in place to implement omnichannel skill-based routing. 

How to Configure & Implement Omnichannel Skill-Based Routing

To implement omnichannel skill-based routing, you must ensure that the current system you are using has the functionality to support it. With a cloud communications solution like RingCentral, you can create new skill categories and routing rules directly in the software. If a client reaches out through SMS, web chat, or some other way, they will still be routed through the system in the same manner of a phone call, without missing a beat. 

However, not all contact centers have an SBR-friendly solution in place. As we’ve seen, skill-based routing is good for your customers, your workforce and your training cost. So what can you do if your system does not have SBR functionality? 

The Next Steps To Adopt Skill-Based Routing at Your Contact Center

Are you looking for the ability to implement skill-based routing in your contact center or customer service department but aren’t sure where to start? We’re here to help you find a solution. Get in touch with us and we’ll provide you a free demo of RingCentral’s platform so you can see the possibilities for yourself.  


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