Customers calling into your contact center are kind of like fighter pilots flying solo. They’re on a mission. They’re always under pressure. Every single second they spend on the phone comes with a big cost — just like how an F-22 burns $1,000 of jet fuel every single minute it’s in the air. And like those pilots isolated in their cockpits, our customers are all on their own out there.

At least, it sure feels that way, when they’re calling their favorite company and fighting their way through an IVR, only to be pointed in the wrong direction, routed to the wrong department and shuffled back and forth between agents — burning precious fuel the whole while, in the form of patience and brand loyalty.

But customers don’t have to fly solo. After all, Maverick had Goose to watch out for bogies. Luke Skywalker had R2D2 to navigate his jumps to lightspeed. So why can’t our customers have a wingman of their own? Someone or something to keep them on target, helping them accomplish their mission as quickly, reliably and painlessly as possible.

Well, with modern AI and cutting-edge intelligent routing, they can. In the final installment of our “Customer Experience Differentiated” mini-series, we explored how.

Promotion for Customer Experience in the Cloud live stream with Valur Svansson

The need for next-gen CX navigation

Study after study shows that improvements in customer experience delivery have a massive direct impact on revenue — an annual increase to the tune of $175 million for every 1-point improvement in CX Index, according to Forrester Research.

And you don’t need fancy survey data to grasp that nothing is going to tank the customer experience faster than that classic contact center nightmare where customers find themselves routed and rerouted, over and over, to the wrong departments or to agents who lack the necessary skills or knowledge to resolve their problem.

After all, as we’ve touched on repeatedly throughout this series, customers want nothing more than speedy resolution and a consistent, coherent experience across channels. Those outcomes are a whole lot easier to achieve if the customer has an AI wingmate on their side, gently guiding them along toward their ultimate target.

Of course, most contact center leaders have had some form of flow tool in place to handle routing for some time, usually designed around simple “If This Then That” (IFTTT) flowcharts. The problem, however, is that these tools have never been able to ingest and account for any contextual details about the customer, and they lacked any kind of built-in iterative intelligence to recognize exceptions or adapt to changes in customer behavior patterns. 

In other words, these routing flow tools weren’t so much like wingmen or even onboard navigation systems. Rather, they were more like a scribbled list of directions, which may or may not actually apply to any given customer. With the rise of AI, all that has changed. Now, intelligent routing offers one of the biggest opportunities to move the needle on improving the customer experience and, by extension, the bottom line.

Smoother flying through smarter routing

The beauty of intelligent routing is that it can draw data throughout the pre-, mid- and post-interaction phases, from many of the other varieties of AI we’ve talked about — like agent assist and sentiment analysis — to create additional value by connecting customers to the groups and individual agents most likely to help them resolve their issue successfully.

The intelligent routing system intakes data from a range of sources, including caller identification data, CRM and customer journey tracking systems, and IVR inputs. Historical data, such as purchase history, account standing, support timeline and sentiment data, are especially useful. 

Armed with this information, machine learning models can be trained to route certain types of customers or problems to certain groups or individual agents. For example, a customer who has a long track record of always expressing anger during calls might be routed to more experienced agents.

Meanwhile, the intelligent skill-based routing system is intaking data from the agent side as well, using agents’ track record, training history, personality profile and skill and product certifications to identify which types of customers they’re best-suited to serve. 

The 3 key takeaways

The end result? The customer gets to where they need to go faster and more reliably — because although they may not know it, they’ve got a personalized AI wingman on their side, looking out for them every step of the way. Here are the mission-critical takeaways:

  1. “Talk to me, Goose!” — Your customers need a wingman to successfully route them to the target outcome. 
  2. Intelligent routing boosts FCR rates — By taking a much more contextual and personalized approach to routing, AI-driven flow tools are great for boosting those all-important first contact resolution (FCR) rates.
  3. Why not adopt technology that delivers a win-win? — Not only does intelligent routing make CX much more frictionless, it helps improve operational efficiency. (Remember: Ping-ponging customers between agents is a waste of your time too.)  

For more insights, watch the full recent LinkedIn live stream episode, “AI Influencing Your Routing Decisions: Talk to Me, Goose.”

This concludes our “Customer Experience Differentiated” mini-series, but you can read about and watch the previous episodes here:

For discussion of similar topics, tune in for the “Customer Experience in the Cloud” live stream series with Valur Svansson, every Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. CT on the Lifesize LinkedIn page. To watch past episodes on-demand, visit our YouTube channel.