Bernard GutnickAugust 24, 2017

Universal Routing is Tao for the Omnichannel Contact Center

Is the key to omnichannel simply adding more channels? That is, if you supported every fathomable channel—all of which were seamlessly integrated—would your contact center become its strongest? I’d say no. Not until you’re ready to evolve a core element of omnichannel that is often overlooked. Read on to learn the impact that universal routing can have.

You’re a customer, right? So you know that when it comes to the brands you love to do business with, choice is vital. We want possibilities. More importantly, we want to be empowered to decide which serve us best depending on our needs. This is exactly why 20% of customers now use three or more interaction channels. What starts on a phone call might lead to an order on a website, which may offer chat assistance, followed by an email confirming the order and an SMS when it arrives. And this is just the beginning of digital transformation. Some reports suggest the average customer will be using as many as 11 channels by the end of next year.

But brands are mistaken if they think omnichannel is the end-all solution. While it’s true that we should be doing a much better job of channel integration (almost 60% of channels currently operate in silos), the real question is how resources are being matched across channels. I’d argue that an organization’s routing capabilities outweigh touchpoint integration.

What Really Matters for CX Success?

Omnichannel doesn’t amount to much unless customers are put in touch with the right resource at the right time depending on their needs. In just three years, it’s expected that demand for omnichannel will be driven by the need for near perfect execution. Not necessarily the number of channels that are integrated, but the way these channels are leveraged to deliver unparalleled experiences.

In an ultra-competitive landscape, a masterful balance between human and digital interaction keeps customers coming back. This means more than just basic routing. What I’m talking about here is universal routing: one integrated agent experience, one routing engine, unified reporting, and data-driven resource matching.

The Transformative Power of Universal Routing

We’ve officially entered a new era of routing, one in which the entire resource pool is considered based on a vast array of knowledge and expertise, in addition to availability. In this next-gen environment, agents can be matched with customers based on everything from certifications to similar interests—even to their unique situation on a given day. That employee with a sore throat may not be best for the phone today. You can modify your routing rules to ensure he focuses on chat and email, applying his skills to serve customers for that day. You can also consider employees’ empathy and adjust to reflect day-to-day performance.

For the omnichannel contact center, universal routing is deemed Tao. It sustains operations, drives unique new revenue streams and, above all, strategically leverages resources for the utmost benefit to the customer, making it a better experience for both the customer AND the agent. Consider these scenarios:

  • Meet Greg, the regular nightly supervisor of a customer contact center. Greg knows that chat traffic spikes from 5 pm to 8 pm as customers come home from work and begin browsing the web. With the ability to gain insight into all agent activity across every interaction channel, he can dynamically flex business based on customers’ behaviors and tendencies. He can even create rules that dynamically make this shift every night based on traffic rates to ensure consistency. Better yet? He can apply the same rules to any interaction channel—SMS, email, chat, social media, voice—to support evolving CX initiatives.
  • You’re the CMO of a national pet supplies store. (Congrats!) You need to consistently deliver amazing experiences by matching customers with their best resources. In this case, you may want to program a routing rule that directs interactions based on specific agent attributes. So, when customer Tammy initiates a chat session asking for new food recommendations for her two-year-old cocker spaniel, you can have her routed to a dog-loving agent. While assisting her, that agent may see that Tammy recently called about an out-of-stock toy. That toy may still be unavailable, but what better opportunity to recommend a similar toy? Or, you can see that Tammy is overdue for a checkup and grooming for her beloved pup. Why not proactively offer to set up an appointment with her preferred specialist? This is how companies get their customers thinking three simple words: “They get me.” That’s how loyal brand advocates are born. And they’ll let the world of social media know about it.
  • You’ve been sending out post-interaction surveys to gain insight into customers’ experiences. When going through collected data, you learn that attribute matching increases revenue by an average $8 per interaction. Multiply that by 10,000 interactions and you can begin predicting the financial impact of establishing custom routing rules. From there on out, you can change and improve those rules as needed.

Introducing an Alliance for the Ages

Universal routing is the key to omnichannel, and that’s exactly why Avaya forged a strategic partnership with Salesforce earlier this year. Through this partnership, we are introducing the Avaya CRM Connector specifically for Salesforce integration with the Avaya Oceana™ Solution. The solution is designed to enhance the relationship between Salesforce and the underlying foundation of the contact center. Built on our open application Avaya Breeze™ platform, this modular software enables users to seamlessly integrate with a range of Salesforce applications including Lightning, the company’s all-new framework for enterprise app development.

The Avaya-Salesforce connector gives agents full visibility into customer data across all connected Salesforce systems, and it provides the data access to realize the much-desired universal routing that all contact center managers crave. Information is presented in one consistent, integrated format, enabling managers to create custom routing rules that transform business. This alliance between Avaya, a global leader in customer engagement software, and Salesforce, the No. 1 global CRM provider, is truly a win-win for brands everywhere.

Play this video to learn more about the Avaya and Salesforce Global Alliance.

Bernard Gutnick

Bernard Gutnick is the Senior Director of the Engagement Evangelist organization at Avaya. His team's charter is to drive adoption of the company's suite of engagement solutions. Prior to joining Avaya, Bernard held senior leadership positions at ShoreTel, TerreStar Networks, Sylantro Systems and Covad Communications.

Read Articles by Bernard Gutnick


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