Longest Idle, Top-to-Bottom, Round Robin: 3 Call Distributions for Faster Customer Response Times

Posted on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 @ 01:21 PM by Carlos Lahrssen

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The ease and efficiency of your company’s incoming call management can depend entirely on the processes you have in place to direct calls after they’ve been dialed in to your call center. With an automatic call distribution (ACD) set up, callers dial in to a pilot number and enter a queue that’s set to distribute the call as the receiver would like—moving each call to the nearest available representative as quickly as possible.

Below, we take a look at the opportunities provided by longest idle, top-to-bottom, and round robin call distributions for faster customer response times:


1. Longest Idle

With the longest idle option, hunting begins with the agent who completed a queue call from the longest time ago. During the hunt, the incoming call searches within the queue, based on the established sequence, for the next available agent it can connect with. In this instance, if the first agent it comes to is unavailable, the call moves to the person that completed a call from the queue in the next smaller amount of time. 

If an agent forgets to sign off prior to taking a small break or to step away from his desk, for example, the call will ring a few times and then move on to the next agent in the list. This agent will then be automatically signed off from the queue so no calls will be delivered to his or her number until he or she returns and manually signs back in to the queue.

Hunting stops when an idle phone is found, or after all phones have been checked. If no one is currently available to take the call, the call enters the desired overflow condition set for that particular number. This can be whatever your business desires, and it may include sending the caller to voicemail or another call center location for access to additional agents.

2. Top-to-Bottom

In top-to-bottom distribution, calls go to an ordered list of available agents after they’ve entered the queue. Hunting starts with the first extension in the queue group, and continues through the list until it reaches the last number.

This type of distribution is helpful when your call center has a variety of skill levels among its agents. The most professionally developed are set to receive calls first and, if unavailable, the call moves down the line toward less trained agents to handle the call.

Hunting stops when an idle phone is found or after all phones have been checked. If no one is currently available to take the call, the call enters the desired overflow condition.

3. Round Robin

For round robin call distribution, hunting begins with the number after number that received the last queue call. For example, if 2012 received the last queue call, the next call will be received by 2013.

The list is worked beginning with a different agent each time, continuously creating new starting points within the list. As with the other types of call center distribution, if no one is currently available to take the call, the call enters the desired overflow condition.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your ideal configuration for a call center solution, you can rest assured that your call will be properly handled and always accounted for—even when agents are busy assisting other customers, the overflow condition for call unattended are treated based upon your exact needs and requirements.

Which call distribution method works within your business? What are the challenges or wins you’ve had with different call distribution options? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Topics: call center

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About the Author

Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen is president and CEO of nexogy, as well as founder, president and CEO of LD Telecommunications, Inc., nexogy’s parent company. Lahrssen is an industry fan, follower and advocate — stay...read more