Call Routing: What it is, How it Works and the Best Practices

Call Routing

Call routing is a VoIP feature that connects callers to qualified agents who can best assist them with their questions or concerns.

Businesses can employ a variety of call-routing strategies to improve their call routing, including reducing hold times and preventing endless call transfers to multiple agents, to make it easier for customers to contact the company.

Let’s get started with routing, from the basics to implementation details and best practices.

What Is Call Routing?

Call routing is just putting live calls in a queue and sending them to the right department or agent according to predefined criteria and rules.

It’s necessary for every business phone system because, without it, you would have to manually direct every call to the correct person or department. 

For example, if a number is calling from a different country, you can choose to have it sent directly to voicemail. Or maybe you want all calls from the same area code to be routed to the same department, so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Call routing is also known as ACD ( Automated Call Distribution) system.

If a call comes in, and you don’t know who it’s for, what do you do?

Smart people avoid putting incoming callers on hold. And if you’re really smart, you don’t direct them to the incorrect person.

That’s where intelligent call routing comes in. With intelligent call routing, your phone system can automatically route calls to where they need to go without having to go through any hold times or manual transfers.

How Does Call Routing Work?

When customers call your business phone number, call routing is determined by the data they provide. Usually, this is accomplished through interaction with your IVR system.

The call routing process is divided into three stages.

Caller Input: With Caller Input, callers can press numbers on the phone’s keypad to respond to prerecorded questions or select call menu options.

For example, if you call the customer service department and hear an IVR system instructing you to press 2 to speak with an agent, pressing 2 on your phone would be considered participation in Caller Input.

Call Queuing: When you’re in this phase, the phone system will use ACDs to route calls into the correct queues based on IVR responses.

Call Queuing:  When you’re in this phase, the phone system will use ACDs to route calls into the correct queues based on IVR responses.

Call Distribution: These calls are queued until they are ready to enter the final phase of call routing, called “Call Distribution.” 

Call Routing Types

You can choose from a variety of routing strategies to customize the way your incoming calls are distributed.
To improve on direct call routing, routing strategies were developed, which enable different agents, departments, or special offers to use their own phone numbers.

When you implement the call routing strategies listed below, your customers will get help faster, spend less time on hold, and rarely need to be called back.
Skilled Based Routing: In this type of call routing, a call center agent can choose which calls to answer and which calls to defer. This is helpful because it allows you to prioritize certain types of calls.
For example, if you have an order entry team that handles orders for clients, you may want those agents to take priority over other types of calls, such as customer service or technical support calls.

Least Occupied Routing: Less occupied routing, or least idle routing, connects the incoming call to the agent who has taken the fewest calls for that day.
This approach is especially useful for customer service and support departments, which can use it to distribute incoming calls among all the available agents.

Round Robin Routing: This technique allows you to distribute calls among agents equally.
Agents A, B, and C all answer calls in a round-robin fashion—the first call goes to agent A. Once she’s dispatched the caller with an answer or other response (such as transferring him through to another department), you move on to Agent B. Only after Agent A has been relieved of his current call will he get back in line for the next one that comes into your office.
The system administrator created an algorithm for the business VoIP line to manage incoming calls. The program ensured that all salespeople received equal call time opportunities, improving company morale and productivity levels.
Predictive Behavioral Routing: Predictive behavioral call routing uses live and recorded data to determine which calls should be routed to which agents. based on the past behavior of those agents to best match what that customer wants.
In the simplest terms, Predictive Behavioral Routing is a way of routing calls based on how you have previously handled similar situations.
The goal of predictive behavioral call routing is to improve the quality of service and customer satisfaction. By analyzing the behavior of your customers, you can provide them with a more personalized experience that meets their needs.
Through this routing strategy, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used to determine what type of interaction would be most effective by analyzing history and personality.

Sequential Routing:
Sequential Routing is the simplest form of call routing. It is also known as “fixed order routing.
In this type of routing, calls are routed to the next available agent. Agents are usually assigned to specific queues so that they can be more easily reached by callers. This type of call routing can be used as a simple call center solution or as part of a larger call management system.
For example, if agents A, B, and C are all taking calls, they will be dispatched in this order: Agent A first accepts a call but is also the first responder to subsequent calls; Agents B and C take the next available call only after Agent A’s workload has been exhausted or he/she sends it their way.


VIP Routing: VIP Routing lets you prioritize your most important clients so that when they contact your call center, their calls are routed to the front of the line.

The Benefits of Call Routing

The following are some of the ways call routing rules help out both callers and employees:

  • Efficient communication
  • Less time spent on hold
  • Decrease abandoned calls
  • Reduce your number of missed calls and voicemails
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Improved efficiency
  • Reduces Cost
  • Faster resolution
  • Reduced call volume
  • Reduce overall call time
  • Business Continuity
  • Reduces the need for call forwarding
  • Increases sales
  • Prioritizing VIP clients
  • Focus on the topic at Hand
  • Redirects calls to specific departments
  • Understand and analyzing call metrics

Call Routing Best Practices

  • Route calls to the right team or person
  • Use software that allows you to customize your call routing strategies
  • Organize your call routing
  • Use an IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
  • Give callers the option to leave voicemail messages and to have those messages forwarded to the right employee
  • Make sure customers can reach you 24/7
  • List down what you need to tell callers
  • Decide on the appropriate greetings to use
  • Integrates routing system with your CRM software
  • Give callers an automated callback option
  • Define call volume periods
  • Configure your IVR carefully
  • Invest in customer-support software to help create a better experience for your customers so they don’t have to deal with repeat issues.
  • Create a business phone number for your busy department
  • Implement escalation and de-escalation steps
  • Allow users to route their calls based on language.
  • Tag or color-code the information you receive from callers
  • Identify their needs and pain points
  • Map out a call flow
  • Produce weekly call center data reports at least once each week.
  • Do customer surveys on a regular basis
  • Record calls, then review the recordings to monitor agent efficiency and identify issues that repeat


Using better call routing strategies can improve the customer experience.

To ensure that customers get the help they need and deserve, call centers can use strategies like these.

To improve call center performance, evaluate customer feedback and KPIs to determine which routing strategies will work best for a department or type of problem.

For even greater efficiency, use other call center software’s features that allow you to automatically forward calls and set up multiple incoming lines.

For more information about call center software, check out our comparison of the top platforms.

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