Contextual Routing

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Contextual routing

What is contextual routing?

Contextual routing is the act of assigning a support conversation to the right customer service representative, based on context from the customer’s query. 

Let’s say a customer sends a message with a query that is related to billing. With contextual routing, you can make sure that the conversation is routed to a representative from the billing department rather than a regular customer service agent.

Contextual routing brings data into play while routing customer queries to your customer support agents. It makes the process far more efficient and far less time-consuming than sending your customers hopping across agents and departments till they find the right one.

Essentially, contextual routing helps your customers find the right agent the very first time.

Here’s how it works:

A customer sends a message on your chatbot. Your chatbot pulls attributes and uses rules to decide which agent or department the conversation should be routed to. You can even configure your system to route the conversation to the agent who managed that customer’s query previously.

contextual routing
Source: Slideshare

Contextual routing can even make use of big data in real time to empower companies and brands to make powerful customer engagement decisions that improve the customer experience and deliver significant business benefits. It can track a customers’ events, patterns, behaviors, and actions taken across multiple channels of interaction and place them in the context of the customer’s brand journey in order to identify new ways in which the businesses can satisfy and even delight or amaze customers in real-time and in a proactive manner.  

It becomes quite a difficult task for most enterprise contact centers when they try to strike a balance between providing a great customer experience while improving their operational efficiencies. But making use of contextual conversation routing can help them do both rather effectively - craft a quick, smart, and personalized customer experience, while simultaneously improving on important metrics for the contact center and the brand like first contact resolution rate (FCR), customer effort score (CES), as well as customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

The future of contextual routing could even be multichannel. Lets just imagine this: a customer tries to reach out to your company via a phone call. They wait on hold for upwards of 10 minutes, but still don’t reach an agent. Then they try reaching out to your company via a Twitter message, but for some reason, they still don’t get an answer. Then, the customer gets frustrated and decides to vent about it on Twitter. The future of contextual routing could involve identifying this activity across phone, Twitter DMs, and the Tweet, making use of sentitment analysis to detect customer frustration, and then notifying an agent to provide support to that customer immmediately. The agent would even be provided with a bried of the issue faced by the customer, so that they don’t need to ask the customer about the query they are facing.

What are the benefits of using contextual routing?

Benefits of using contextual routing
Benefits of using contextual routing

Contextual routing brings many benefits to the table. Here are a few of the most significant advantages that it offers.

1. Saves time

Contextual routing reduces the bureaucracy in the process. It shows your customers that you respect their time and want to help them get their issues resolved as quickly as possible. By using contextual routing, you are sparing your customers the trouble of wasting time conversing with one agent before they realize that they need to speak with another agent. It also reduces the amount of time that your customers spend waiting on hold while the conversations are transferred to other agents.

2. Increase First Contact Resolution Rate

If your system directly sends the conversation to an agent who is equipped to handle and resolve it, the need to transfer conversations or get back to customers after checking with another person within the organization is eliminated. It could cause your First Contact Resolution Rate to go through the roof.

3. Spike in agent productivity

When your agents don’t need to spend time conversing with customers who would anyways have to be transferred to another agent, they get to handle more of the customers whom they can actually help, raising their productivity levels.

4. Improves your customer effort score (CES)

Implementing contextual conversation routing helps you reduce customer effort substantially. Your customers don’t need to spend their time and energy talking to multiple customer service representatives before they are finally transferred to an agent who can deal with and resove the issues that they are facing. This makes it easier for them to do business with you and can tremendously reduce your customer effort score.

5. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty

When you answer your customers’ questions in the first go, their satisfaction levels rise. They become more loyal as well because they realize that if they stick with you, they won’t be left in limbo when they face issues, they know that they’ll get answers immediately.

What happens if you do not use contextual routing?

If you don’t use conditional routing, your customers will be left to fend for themselves. They’ll have to suffer being transferred across multiple agents and departments till they find the one that can resolve their issue. 

That causes a high level of frustration which could lead to a higher churn rate. But that’s not all, they might even complain about this experience while talking to their friends and family, tarnishing your reputation.

Additionally, if your agents have to spend time conversing with customers who anyways need to be transferred to another agent or department, their productivity levels fall. They will just end up wasting their time as well as your customers’ time, with neither party gaining any value from the interaction. If you did employ contextual routing, these conversations could have been routed to the right agent from the very start, so that your customers could get their queries answered quickly and your agents would be able to focus on handling queries that they can resolve themselves, instead of having to interact with a customer when they’ll just have to escalate the issue or transfer it to another agent or department.

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