Brought to you by IPC Tech — Platinum Certified Mitel Support Partner specializing in connecting your business applications to optimize your communication experience.

As part of an overarching strategy to improve the customer experience, many organizations are looking to improve the call center experience. Minimizing hold times, efficiently routing customers to the right agent, and resolving customer issues on the first call are typically the top priorities. While each of these objectives touches on a number of processes within the contact center, optimizing inbound call flow can go a long way toward getting the experience right.

Call flow is the process of placing each incoming call into a queue and applying policies to automatically route each call to the appropriate individual or group. Policies are based on criteria such as call volume, time of day, the caller’s location, language preferences, agent availability and the nature of the call.

Your organization may have different departments, but your customers see you as a single brand name. This is why customers get so frustrated when they’re passed around to different departments and/or individuals. Call flow helps you connect customers with the agents who are best equipped to resolve their issues.

Does their question involve billing? An appointment? A delivery? A complaint about a product or service? An employee? Maintaining proper call flow not only enables customers to quickly find the resolution they demand, but it also allows contact center agents to be more productive. Many tasks, such as appointment confirmations, can be completely automated so agents can focus on more complex queries.

Many organizations use an interactive voice response (IVR) system, which presents the customer with self-serve choices so proper call flow can be maintained. These options need to be clear and concise to the customer. An IVR system should be tested frequently to ensure the choices presented still make sense based on what customers want and need, and that the system is routing calls correctly.

Ideally, the IVR should be integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) system to optimize call flow. CRM integration allows you to identify who the customer is, better understand their history of activity with your organization, and deliver a more personalized experience. You can even prioritize your high-value customers by automatically moving them to the top of your queue.

Intelligent, skills-based routing can be used to get the customer to the right agent. This feature allows you to assign skills to agents based on criteria such as language fluency and specific areas of expertise. Agent skills can be ranked and updated in real time to enable continuous optimization. Certain responses to an IVR system can trigger specialized, skills-based call routing to further enhance call flow.

These features and capabilities are focused on the three primary goals mentioned previously — minimize hold times, route customers to the right agent and maximize first-call resolution rates. Of course, customers will occasionally be placed on hold, so organizations need to be transparent about a caller’s place in the queue and estimated wait times while offering alternatives such as online chat or a callback from an agent.

IPC offers customer experience consulting services to help you optimize call flow, meet customer expectations and keep your contact center running smoothly. Let us show you how to enhance the customer experience by implementing solutions that improve how your contact center functions.