Prior to starting my current career, I worked in contact center operations for 20 years. I started answering phones many, many years ago and progressed to different leadership positions. My last leadership position was Director of Operation Resource Solutions for a workforce of 2,000+. It was a fancy title for Workforce Management or Resource Planning, nothing more and nothing less.
I have worked for and with some very knowledgeable people who brought a lot to the table. One executive in particular was very interested in routing. He clearly understood the value of getting the right call to the right person with the ability to expand the target if the expected wait time was outside of the customer acceptable threshold using skills-based routing. But he was very concerned with our inability to apply the same methodology to work, specifically service requests, e-mail, faxes and other electronic work generated by phone calls and other processes.
I think we can all agree that a phone call to customer care has, in simple terms, two possible outcomes:
- The customer calls and at the end of the call, all issues are resolved and there is no follow-up required for this particular issue. A classic example of first call resolution (FCR).
- The customer calls and the issue can’t be resolved, or as a worst case isn’t resolved due to an oversight, and follow-up is required.
Let’s examine the case in which the call can’t be resolved with a simple example.
The customer of a bank has a credit card and there is an unrecognized charge so he calls the customer service number listed on the back of the card. The CSR follows the bank’s procedures and opens a ticket to research the charge. The call ends and the ticket is delivered to a work bin that delivers work on a first-in first-out (FIFO) basis. So in other words, regardless of the dollar amount or customer status, this ticket is now at the back of the line. Once the research is completed, the customer is notified of the outcome.
The executive I mentioned earlier, the one that wanted to apply skills-based routing to work, recognized that we routed the calls for customers by priority or business rules, but once the ticket was opened, the ability to maintain best-in-class service was lost. Compound this by the fact that throughout the day we moved people back and forth from phone calls to work. Needless to say, the hunt was on for a better solution that utilized skills-based routing regardless of the source, phone, service requests, e-mails, faxes, etc.
After an exhaustive search, we landed on the only true skills-based routing solution for all sources. The solution changed the game as we knew it because now we could apply business rules to work in the same manner as phone calls. And, the work could come from multiple systems to create a single source for distribution to the right person, at the right time. In addition, the solution had a business user friendly interface so rules could be created, changed and tested in near real-time. They could then be loaded to production during working hours if necessary.
The results were astounding. Our employees were happier because they weren’t being moved to work, work was being moved to them, and it created variety throughout the day. But more importantly, the customers were happy because they were getting issues resolved faster than ever before by the right person, and quality improved.
Read more about Workload Management, or find out more about skills-based routing in this white paper, Customer Service in the Digital Workplace.