Skills-Based Routing: Implementation & Best Practices

Skills based routing is the process of routing a customer to an agent with the skills required to handle their inquiry. This is done by analyzing the customer’s skills and matching them with an agent which has those skills. There are two types of skills that can be matched: skills required to handle the inquiry and skills which would benefit the customer. For example, a customer who has a security-related question could be routed to an account or security specialist. On the other hand, a customer who has an HR-related question could be routed to a human resources specialist.

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Why is Skills Based Routing needed?

The need for this type of service arises when customers want to speak to agents who are experts in a specific area. The problem is that agents are usually generalists and they don’t have all the required skills. As a result, customers have to wait longer on hold or be transferred to another agent who might not be as good as the first one.
This problem can be solved by implementing skills based routing because it will ensure that customers get connected with agents who are experts in their field. Solving a customer’s inquiry in minimal time and with minimal to no transfers contributes to a better customer experience.

The speed of transfer is also a factor in expectations. If a customer can expect service to be rendered in less than 10 minutes, they are more likely to be satisfied with the quick response time. A great customer experience is one that meets or exceeds their expectations and has no negative impact on them. Factors that contribute to this include speed of transfer, solving the inquiry quickly, transferring the call back if necessary and addressing all their questions.

Agents with multiple skills

Your most valuable resource are agents who are not limited to a single topic or skill set, but also have knowledge about other areas so they can help customers when they need it most. A training program focused on increasing agent skills can help to make your agents more efficient and knowledgeable. This will make your agent pool more efficient and give employees a sense of value tied to how they contribute to the company, while also rewarding them when they exceed expectations.

Skill selection

To ensure customers are routed to the most appropriate agent to handle their inquiry, incoming conversations can be assigned to different skills. The skill selection process is the first method used by the routing engine to direct the conversation to the right agent.
Using skill selection, an incoming conversation is routed exclusively to an available agent with the conversation’s assigned skill. If no skill is assigned to a conversation, and no default skill has been configured, the conversation will be routed to an available agent in the contact center. In this instance, the most appropriate agent will be chosen based on the Agent Selection process, as set out below.
Incoming conversations are automatically assigned to skills based on:
  • The *Consumer’s Authenticated Engagement Attributes – the routing engine will evaluate the consumer’s engagement attributes, extracted during the authentication process, and assign the conversation to a relevant skill.
  • The default setting – a default skill can be assigned to incoming messaging conversations when no skill is configured by their engagement attributes.
  • The agent’s state – if no agents with the conversation’s skill are online, the conversation can be routed to a fallback skill.

*Consumer’s Authenticated Engagement Attributes. As part of the authentication flow, the authentication server can provide information on the consumer’s authenticated engagement attributes (SDEs). Engagement attributes are layers of information about a consumer that is recorded throughout their consumer journey. These attributes can be used for skill selection (and will also be presented to the assigned Agent once they receive the incoming conversation)

LiveAssist for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Routing logic

When a customer is ready to start a messaging conversation with your brand, it’s important to direct them to the agent that will best serve their needs. To facilitate this, the messaging routing engine works behind the scenes to select the most appropriate agent to handle an incoming conversation from a consumer. The engine used the following fundamental principles:
  • Chooses agent best equipped with the right skills to address the consumer’s inquiry
  • Optimizes use of the agent’s capacity
  • Maintains customer satisfaction and building an ongoing relationship
When a customer initiates a conversation, the routing engine carries out two key selection processes to assign the conversation to the most appropriate agent:
  1. Skill selection – identifying the most relevant skill to help with the customers inquiry
  2. Agent selection – assigning the most suitable agent out of all available agents that have the selected skill to handle the conversation

Live Assist for Microsoft Dynmamics 365 comes with Skills-based support routing built-in so you can intelligently route chat requests to agents with specific skill sets.

Advantages of a Skill based routing system

There are many advantages to using a skills-based routing system.
The first advantage is that it can increase the efficiency of agents. This is because the system will route customer requests to the best agent based on their skillset and location. For example, if an agent has a high level of expertise in product returns, then product return requests will be routed to them. If an agent has a high level of expertise in technical assistance, then technical assistance requests will be routed to them. If an agent has expertise in both skills then both inquiries/topics could be routed to them.
The second advantage is that it can help reduce wait times for customers by routing them to agents with lower wait times. For example, if there are two agents available and one has a lower wait time than the other, then the customer will be routed to that agent first so they don’t have to wait as long for an answer.
The third advantage is that it can reduce costs by routing customers from more expensive service channels (e.g., chat or email) to cheaper messaging channels.
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