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High-value but low-volume work often is the bane of contact centers because it’s difficult to balance efficiency and effectiveness. Part 1 of this blog series looked at skill-based routing — where only skilled agents receive an interaction. In Part 2, we explore less-frequently used, but often more critical, routing patterns for low-volume but high-value work.
Borrow/Lend Rules Routing
Most businesses have a good reason to have specialist teams. For example, a special work type might require unique training, but there’s not enough volume to justify a dedicated team. This means that the specialists also do general work. Unfortunately, when the special work comes in, the specialists are busy doing general work. As another example, a critical type of work requires expensive training. The right number of people are staffed to be available, but that team sits around while others sweat.
Because the law of large numbers drives contact center staffing, specialist teams inherently have low utilization if they only do the special work — there’s no escaping the math. The same math will favor the high-volume work. Borrow/lend rules are a way to address those challenges. Here’s how the flow goes.
This is still a skill-based routing model; the difference is that target expansion uses more than a timeout.
1. Is the current state bad enough? This rule prevents large-volume work from overrunning low-volume work unnecessarily. The logic only expands when the goal is at risk.
2. Is the current state of target expansion good enough to lend? This is the protection rule. Consider the following to define your rules:
3. If either the borrow or lend rule doesn’t pass, then the work continues to wait without target expansion.
Borrow/lend rules complicate your routing logic, so use them where it matters. In the spirit of the 80/20 method, stay as simple as you can. But do what you need to do to balance multiple objectives.
Relationship routing matches a specific agent to work that’s related to a specific customer. Implementing relationship routing is simple: Identify the customer and then look up the assigned agent. However, companies size customer lists to keep agents busy so, often, they aren’t available for a specific customer. Here are four ways to handle that.
1. Wait for the personal agent.
2. Route to backup team. Work is sent to a set of agents who back each other up.
3. Route to a team of backups. Agents who are only backups.
4. Callback. Instead of waiting, queue a “personal callback.”
While I have my personal favorite (Option 3), consider the following as you choose the option(s) that’s best for your customer experience strategy:
Strategic Agent Use
Low-volume, high-value work can’t beat contact center math. But borrow/lend rules and backup strategies for personal agents are ways to balance availability with proper staff utilization.
In the final part of this routing series, we’ll guide you through choosing your approach. To learn more about delivering great customer experiences, check out our journey mapping ebook.
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