Another form of Enhanced Toll-Free Routing is Criteria-based routing. While I have never seen an exact definition of criteria-based routing, it usually means that call disposition is handled differently based on some caller characteristic whether it be phone number, area code, time of day, or some information that the customer inputs. In many cases it is very similar to geographic routing or time of day routing.
I’ll try to illustrate by giving an example:
Say an airline has set up a call center with an IVR (interactive voice response) system. Let’s say the airline has two different classes of customers, in this case, Regular and VIP whom they treat differently, with the VIP customers getting special treatment. Now, let’s say a Regular customer calls in at the same time a VIP customer does. The two calls get handled differently based on pre-set treatment rules.
The company’s PBX system captures the caller’s ANI/originating phone number and matches it against the existing CRM database. If it is a Regular customer, he goes into the general queue and is taken by the next available agent (he may be put on hold or instructed to input more information by the IVR). If it is a VIP customer she is directed to a live agent immediately through a separate queue as the airline recognizes that the VIP customer will look to fly first class and thus spend more money with the airline (and the airline wants to reward the VIP customers for their loyalty).
Of course, more complex IVRs can be designed to route calls based on input by the caller as most of us are familiar with this from past experience.
For instance, a cable provider might play a message that prompts the caller to:
- Press 1 for cable service
- Press 2 for internet service
- Press 3 for phone service, etc.
And then each option may have a sub-menu. For instance, if the caller presses 1 for cable service, the sub-menu may present the following options:
- Press 1 for billing questions
- Press 2 to report a service outage, etc.
By receiving information from the customer, the company can then route the call to the correct department or queue. Call disposition is thus based on some established criteria.