A call routing system can leave a good impression on anyone attempting to get in touch with your team, ensuring a prompt greeting and efficient customer support process. Given the traditional and internet-based solutions available, there are a few aspects to consider when choosing the best system for your business.
Traditional vs. VoIP Call Routing
If you’ve made any recent phone calls to a bank, a credit card company, a medical office, or a loan servicing center, you’ve likely encountered a call routing system.
As the name suggests, this technology is designed to route or direct the flow of incoming customer calls so that every caller is greeted promptly, placed in a queue, and quickly redirected to the department or individual capable of managing their needs.
Historically, businesses have long utilized the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) to route calls as they flowed in through the existing landline infrastructure.
It works like this: whenever a customer or vendor calls the main office number of a business located in another city, their call may be transferred through a series of terminals and offices before being placed in a single call queue or reaching a representative directly.
Alternatively, a business can also elect to purchase a Private Branch Exchange System (PBX) to act as its main, centrally-located call hub. With this type of private network, all key personnel and staff members receive their own phone terminals and individual extensions.
For either kind of traditional system to expand and scale, both PSTN and PBX routing methods require businesses to add more dedicated phone lines and/or extensions for each new person.
As a result, the inflexibility and increasing costs associated with traditional systems have led many companies to adopt modern Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions instead. By routing calls using internet infrastructure rather than traditional landlines, businesses gain far greater flexibility and control in customer-employee interactions. This can boost team productivity and dramatically improve caller experiences.
With VoIP call routing, you can manage and coordinate all team members, add lines, and program complex queueing protocols in just a few clicks. These kinds of updates can also be made via a streamlined, user-friendly software interface—so you don’t have to call your phone provider every time you want to make a change.
Call Routing for a Small Business
Even for small businesses, call routing offers a variety of benefits for callers and employees alike. Whether navigating a traditional phone system’s calling menus and voicemail extensions or a VoIP system’s bevy of features, the end result will likely include a more enjoyable customer service experience and a more empowered team.
When a staff member is busy or temporarily away from the phone, call routing can ensure that all customer calls are still answered in a timely fashion by placing the callers on hold or transferring them to another available employee.
Smaller businesses will often utilize the simple direct routing approach, which connects each caller with the next available agent.
Still, the advanced methods used by larger organizations can help further facilitate a superb and nuanced customer experience.
Advanced Call Routing Tactics
For larger organizations or high-volume call centers, setting up a multi-level Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system can further streamline and enhance the call routing process. With this technology, callers can use their telephone keypads and/or their speaking voices to choose how to proceed from a tiered menu of pre-arranged self-service options.
Many times, callers can find what they need much more efficiently than waiting for an agent to answer the call and do the same thing. For example, users might:
- Select a specific department
- Verbally state their call purpose
- Choose to receive an automatic callback when an agent becomes available
- Hear more information on a particular subject
Modern VoIP call routing services empower companies to manage call queues according to a variety of innovative metrics. After selecting a series of IVR menu options, calls may be routed to an agent with a particular skill set or expertise on a given topic.
Alternatively, the caller can also be directed to a specific department based on exclusive database information. For example, a customer calling from a recognized number might be routed to a sales retention team if the customer’s contract is due for renewal.
As communications technology advances beyond landlines to Wi-Fi calls, SMS texts, emails, and other means, call routing approaches are growing more complex and segmented. Most modern VoIP vendors can help you set up the proper system for your business and walk you through any available back-end features that might serve your customers and team.
Faster Call Routing Isn’t Always Better
If a customer is attempting to update a contact record or get an answer to a billing question, a faster answer can help keep them calm and satisfied with their experience. This is why it’s usually a best practice to connect a caller with an employee or agent as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, there are still times when slowing the call down might produce a better result.
For instance, by using an IVR system, you can help a caller flesh out the specifics of their problem so that the agent who ultimately takes the handoff is the best one at managing that particular issue.
At other times, an automated menu can assist a customer in solving their own problem—such as changing a credit card PIN or accessing a pre-recorded menu of upcoming events—without ever needing to speak to an agent. In such cases, a slower approach can save time and effort for all parties involved.
If you’re curious about which VoIP service would make the best fit for your team, we’ve put together a list of the top VoIP platforms available to help you make the right choice.