Social Routing in the Contact Centre

Social routing is an emerging
trend, a way in which contact centres can more accurately meet the
needs of their customers. But how is this different from what we’re
doing at the moment? The answer lies in describing the modern day

Social routing is an emerging
trend, a way in which contact centres can more accurately meet the
needs of their customers. But how is this different from what we’re
doing at the moment? The answer lies in describing the modern day

New media – new
especially the younger demographic, are more empowered today, through
the use of technology and social media. When interacting with an
organization about a product or service they increasingly using
channels other than the telephone.

Instead, the proliferation of
social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, web chat, video
chat and other communication methods have seen a decrease in the use
of the humble telephone. In addition, this empowerment has created a
virtual buying experience online, characterized by more choice, and
the availability of product videos, other customer reviews,
descriptions, and technical information.

Analyst Gartner has indicated
that customers are now in control of their own sales cycle which will
have an effect on how brands market their products. It also has wider
implications in that increasingly the control of customer service is
swinging away from organizations and shifting towards the empowered

Traditional call
this means is that customers expect the same level of functionality,
service and interactivity from customer service departments regarding
product and service related queries as they receive from buying
online. And social routing looks to address this demand and
effectively channel the customer to the most appropriate service
representative. There is a gap between the buying experience and the
support experience, as customer service hasn’t quite caught up to
the virtualized buying environment that offers customers a range of
options, information and ways in which to buy.

The traditional call centre
made use of linear call routing – a customer calls in and is routed
to the first available agent. As the omni- or multi-channel contact
centre developed, routing became more detailed – directed to an
agent based on IVR menu, client phone number, language, skills-based,
etc. – but remained linear.

Social routing eliminates the
disconnect between the buying experience and the support experience
by aligning customer needs with the organizational resources that can
best match those requirements.

How does it work?
social routing consumers will be presented with agent options and
will, in effect, select the best, most appropriate customer service
representative themselves to answer their query, request for
information or complaint.

When interacting with the
organization, either via the website or social media channels, the
customer will be presented with a menu of agents detailing the
agents’ name, skills and biography, and even photograph. The list
will be live and constantly updated with data such as average waiting
time. In terms of skills, these can include anything relevant to the
organization and the nature of what they supply, from language to
technical know-how. In addition, it can include an agent rating based
on reviews from previous customers.

Customers can review agents
and select the most appropriate option in an effort to get their
query resolved first time.

This kind of routing may also
be helpful in the training and development of agents. In much the
same way as current customer feedback assists in identifying training
gaps, agent reviews can be used for performance reviews, development
plans and incentive schemes.

There are possible challenges
to social routing in terms of agent privacy, especially in industries
such as debt collection or online gambling. From an operational point
of view this new method may impact on queuing, assigning of resources
and ensuring an even call distribution. These issues can, however, be

The future
routing is still in the early stages but remains an interesting,
beneficial and quickly developing area. Over the last 20 years we
have moved beyond the age of information with the connected device
and connected supply chain, where those who controlled the flow of
information had the power. We are now operating in the age of the
customer where the power lies in engaging with the empowered customer
and those companies that do that well, will be increasingly more
successful that those organizations that don’t.


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