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Managing call routing technology in the call center

We are moving from a call center agent group call routing environment to a skills-based call routing environment. What should we watch out for? What changes will we have to make to our workforce management (WFM) software to ensure we are staffing call center agents with the right skills?

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My biggest hot button regarding skills-based routing is "keep it simple." While the software you have will undoubtedly give you many options – in numbers of skills and skill levels – you will make your life easier if you keep it simple. The more complicated your skills strategy, the more difficult troubleshooting, reporting and workforce management (WFM) becomes.

Develop a strategy that is driven by your business needs, including your customers' experiences. Look at the toll-free numbers that you are handling and the prompting your customers will experience at the front end of the skills decision. Then look at the routing decisions on the back end to find the best qualified, available call center agent. Keep this skills matching process, and your resulting skills strategy, as simple as you can.

Regarding changes to your WFM software, ideally you would purchase the skills-based routing module for your WFM software. Many companies skip this investment, and the result is more manual work to try to approximate the skills world in your forecasting, scheduling and tracking. Because no two vendors do skills exactly the same way – in the routing or the WFM – going to a vendor training course on their skills module and networking with others who have similar environments can be invaluable. Most of the large vendors have user groups which can be a good source for hints and tips.

This was first published in April 2008

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