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Skill-based routing (SBR) is a call-assignment strategy call centers use to assign incoming calls to the most suitable agent. It is an enhancement to the automatic call distributor (ACD) systems found in most call centers. The need for skills-based routing has arisen as call centers have become larger and dealt with a wider variety of call types.

What is Skill-Based Routing?

In the past, agents answering calls were generally able to be assigned to only one queue taking one type of call. This meant that agents who could deal with a range of call types had to be manually reassigned to different queues at different times of the day to make the best use of their skills. With skills-based routing, the skills an agent needs for a particular call are often assessed by the number dialing, the caller’s profile, or choices from an auto-attendant. From any of these categories, a skills-based routing system then matches the call to a suitably trained agent. An agent with matching skills will be able to provide a better service than one who does not. The overall customer satisfaction will be higher due to a quicker call, and less transferring around.

Why It Benefits Customers

Skill-based routing improves customer service, shortens call-handling time, makes training shorter and easier, and increases agent utilization, productivity, and overall company revenue. It has become a major selling point compared to simpler automatic call distribution. Rather than having to go through a full auto-attendant or phone tree and then landing on the first available agent, callers get someone that matches their needs. If their call is about a specific product or service, they won’t funnel into a general bank of callers that agents draw from. Instead, they go to a queue with someone that has the right knowledge for their inquiries.

Skill-based routing helps alleviate customer stress by streamlining the customer service experience. It makes it easier for callers to get where they need to be, quickly. This routing gives a customer service experience where the first person they reach can actually help them. When a customer reaches out for support, it might be part of a long relationship with your business. It also might be the last straw for a frustrated customer. Make sure that their first interaction with your support team is a positive experience. If they walk away feeling satisfied with their experience, they will think highly of your support.

4 Reasons To Utilize Skills-Based Routing

1) Improves customer satisfaction

Skills-based routing ensures that the caller is assisted by skilled agents who have the tools and training necessary to resolve concerns efficiently. Having a team with specific skills will increase customer satisfaction (or CSAT levels) by ensuring that they address problems by the availability and training of agents for the job.

2) Increases first-call resolution

First-call resolution is a common call centric metric that measures the ability of an agent to resolve queries the first time a customer calls and without the need for a follow-up. With skill-based routing, calls are distributed to contact center agents with relevant skill sets, increasing their chances of resolving concerns immediately.

3) Reduces agent training

A contact center agent is always seeking a training opportunity to develop new skills. By listing their skills on queues, you can keep track of training objectives per agent. You are able to look at past programs or current skills, and build your routing strategy based on them.

4) Performance management

Skill-based routing can also improve the performance and productivity of your agents. Letting a specific agent handle queries that are more in line with their assigned skills can reduce their average time with callers. This allows them to assist more people more efficiently than ever before.

Need more info? Check out our knowledge base article on call routing in the portal.