Skills-Based Routing Replaces the Group Email Inbox
By Mike Raia Posted April 14, 2020
What is Skills-Based Routing?
Skills-based routing is a strategy for marrying requests with the most appropriate resources. It's frequently used in customer call centers where incoming calls, chats, emails, and social media messages are automatically routed to the best available agent to handle.
However, the concept extends beyond an inbound call center to any area of your business that involves request handling. These could be employee requests, vendor requests, partner requests, etc. and can involve any department. Often, request handling in these situations is "managed" with the inefficient and confusing Group Email Inbox.
Group Email Boxes Largely Stink
Why are group email boxes inefficient and confusing? Anyone who's used one can easily answer that question.
- No one knows if an email has been handled.
- It's hard to keep track of group member availability.
- Everyone has their own folder management techniques.
- There are inconsistent skill levels between group members.
- Urgent emails aren't handled promptly.
Yes, there are techniques for trying to manage group inboxes better but few people would say they work consistently well.
Where Does Workflow Automation Fit?
With workflow automation, any element of a new request can be analyzed with business rules and then routed to an individual or pool of individuals best able to manage it. This ensures business efficiency and the best possible experience for the requester.
Without a skills-based routing workflow, a request may bounce around from person to person until the right employee is found. Meanwhile, multiple people are unnecessarily interrupted, and the requester is forced to wait longer. However, when automation is employed, requests and tasks are assigned to the people best able to fulfill them.
Example: Finance Department Requests
To illustrate the skills-based routing concept, let's look at a very simple example. In the scenario below, a Finance department wants to avoid "ping pong" emails where a request is handled via multiple interdepartmental emails.
The Request Form
They've set up a request form to gather the information they need to process before selecting the best finance staffer to handle it. The requester as selected the Request Type "Budget Request."
Now the workflow system knows which skills are required. Someone with budget experience (and authority) is needed. Let's take a look at the process.
You can see that there's a path for each of the options on the form, including "Budget Request." That request will be routed to a specific person or group of people with the proper skills to handle it. In this case those would be staff with budget approval authority. They can approve or deny the request or ask for more information.
You could take this even further by:
- Creating a separate path for budget requests over a certain amount.
- Routing requests to specific budget approvers based on department (or any other form elements).
- Adding additional, sequential approvers (Finance Director, CFO, etc.)
By routing requests to the best people for the job, you can drastically reduce cycle times, interruptions, emails, and headaches.
Interested in trying out this process? Visit our Help Site and download it as an Integrify Process Template.