4 Tips for Effective Skills-Based Call Routing

Technology | 3 minute read

Skills-based call routing sounds super technical! While there is a tech side to it, at its heart, skills-based call routing is all about people. Still with me? Picture this: You’re the coach of a soccer team. The opposing team is about to make a penalty kick, trying to score on your goalie. In net, you need the best of the best to ensure a goal isn’t scored. If you were to use a forward player as your goalie for the penalty kick, you would not be setting your team up for success. The same goes for contact center management. If some agents are ill-equipped to handle certain calls, why have them answer the call in the first place? Enter skills-based call routing.

What is skills-based call routing?

Just as the name sounds, skills-based call routing is a strategy that passes incoming calls to the agents who are best suited to handle the caller’s queries. Say a customer would like to upgrade their package. Their call would be automatically routed to a skilled sales agent. Or maybe they need a piece of hardware fixed. In this case, the call would be routed to technical support.

When callers are immediately connected with the best person to handle their issues using intelligent routing, plenty of benefits follow:

  • The customer’s total time on the line will decrease
  • First-call resolution (FCR) will increase
  • Customer satisfaction (CSat) scores will improve
  • Agent interactions will become more efficient
  • Wait times will decrease
  • Customer service and overall customer experiences will improve

The proof is in the numbers—a great customer experience leads to more revenue. 86% of people surveyed said they would pay more if that price tag came with exceptional customer service.

How does intelligent call routing work?

A skills-based call routing phone system will take several different factors into account when deciding where to queue a call, including the number that was dialed, the caller’s account details, and selections made by the customer in the IVR. Once the customer is connected with the correct agent or channel, they likely won’t need to be transferred and the call will be completed on the first go.


Did you know, Fonolo’s Web Call-Backs (formerly Visual IVR) allows customers to schedule a call back at any time during their journey, even when they’re surfing your site or mobile app?

4 steps to implement a skills-based routing system

1. Establish essential skillsets.

Decide which skillsets best suit the needs and services of your contact center. For example, if you provide service to a variety of locations, consider languages that will be required to best serve your customer base. Other potential items include:

  • Sales experience
  • Customer support
  • Training
  • Technical repairs
  • Software expertise

Then, group any relevant skill sets together. Maybe your software and hardware go together, in which case your agents in that skillset grouping should show proficiency in both those areas.

2. Assess your agents’ skills.

Your next step is to determine which agents are most proficient in which areas. If your team is small, listen to recorded inbound customer calls to see which issues are resolved fastest and how agents handle the interactions. If an agent effectively upsells in every sales call, this likely indicates a stronger proficiency in sales. If they can always help a customer fix technical issues, perhaps they’re best suited for repair inquiries.

Larger contact centers with hundreds of agents may require a broader method to determine skill levels. Start with a self-assessment survey for employees, with questions that help to determine where their specialties lie.

3. Determine your call-routing priorities.

The best skills-based call routing solutions can be programmed to consider multiple factors, including language as well as skill-set, when determining where to send a customer.

Try to think of a variety of different customer scenarios, then start to prioritize from there. Things like language and accessibility should be at the top of the list as they are essential to successful customer service.

4. Use analytics to monitor results.

Before implementing your new call-routing strategy, set measurable and time-bound goals. Look at our benefits list above and start from there. Maybe your goal is to improve your FCR by 2% over three months or decrease wait times by 20 seconds in four weeks. After the set period, take stock of your results and see if they’ve changed. Be sure to keep your team members informed on what your goals are and how the team is progressing.


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