ShoreTel Enterprice Contact Center Skills Based Routing!

The ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center provides for “Skills Based Routing” an often confusing and misunderstood feature. It is important to note that this function might not achieve the desired result as it is only effective when there is more than one Agent available to accept a call. Lets take an obvious skill, like a Language requirement and assume that our call center needs both English and French speaking customer service representatives. We can assign a skill level to French, but we might not achieve the desired result. If we want to make sure that French callers get connected to French speaking Customer Service Agents, we might consider some other selection options.

For example we could use an Automated Attendant to select English or French and then route to the correct Agent Group. We might also use an IVR application to do a database dip, if they are an existing client, to determine their language preference. Finally, you might have separate DNIS numbers for each language required. These options will achieve the desired result, where “skills based” routing may not.

If we choose to use “skills base routing” as our best fit strategy, first we need to activate skills based routing. This is a system level option and you will find it as the SKILLS tab in entities under system. Each skill gets a value that indicates the minimum level of skill required to process the call. This means that a fluent native language speaker might get a FRENCH SKILL value of 100%. Another agent might get a 75% rating meaning that they have a language proficiency but equal to that of a native speaker. The “skill’ has a minimum value requirement of 75%.

Agents in turn are assigned two values. The first value defines the ability with respect to the requirement. In this example, someone would have to have between 100-75% as a French speaking skill. The second value would be a “preference” value. In this case the expression “preference” is an indication of how much the Agent likes to work with this skill and not your preference for selecting that Agent. This is a very important factor.

Lets assume we have Agent A and Agent B. The selection process is based on the product of the Agents value and preference subtracted from the required skill. The lower the value is most likely to be selected. Agent A has a 50% skill value and a 100% preference; Agent B has a 75% value and a 75% preference. Remembering that we have set 75% as the minimum skill required to handle this call, the arithmetic works like this: Agent A would be (75%- (50X100/100) = 25. Agent B would be (75% – (75×75/100) = 18.75 and as a result Agent B would be selected to handle this call. Again remember that the best fit is only applied when there is more than one Agent to select from! Thus skill based routing ensures that higher skilled Agents in a Group get calls before lower skilled Agents. Under heavy call volume, the skills have less of an effect, so keep this in your thinking when planning to achieve the desired result.