Inbound calls coming into your InsideSales.com system can be managed using Call Paths, a single, integrated tool. Call paths define everything about your inbound calls' behavior, from messaging and interactive voice menus, to final call disposition to a group of agents standing by.
Once you've set up a call path, assigned your agents and phone numbers to it, from that point on the call path directs your inbound traffic.
In this section we'll show you how to create a call path, set up the various path features, and get your agents connected when everything's ready.
Once the communications platform is enabled for your system, a new link will appear in your Admin tab for Manage Call Paths. Click the link and you'll be taken to the call path list area.
The Create New | Edit | Delete options are self-explanatory, but we want to point out the Inbound Numbers section. This allows you to get a quick glance at all of the assigned toll-free and LocalPresence bucket numbers assigned to the path. Hover your mouse over the View link to get a view.
Click to Edit and existing path, or Create New and let's take a look at the path editor.
The call path editor uses a "canvas" to generate an easy-to-see visual flow of your path. Each step along the way is represented by an icon in the path. Adding an icon updates the available options for that specific point in the path.
Every path has to have a Start action, as shown in the screenshot above, and an ending action. A path should always end in one of the following three actions:
We'll discuss each of these in more detail in a bit; the important thing to remember is that any call path that does not end in a terminator defaults to the Disconnect option. For example, if you set a call path to route to an agent queue, but did not have a terminator set for the path, if no one answers within the call path's time limit, the call will simply drop.
In most cases you probably don't want a caller to just disconnect without warning. Instead you'd want to forward them to another number (the Call Forward option), or a separate call path to initiate a different flow (the Path Bridge option). Use of the actual Disconnect terminator will be very rare, but there may be cases where this is the appropriate option.
Technically you don't HAVE to include the Disconnect object in the call path, but it makes it much easier to visualize how a call path ends if you include it when it's appropriate to do so.
Most of the call path editor uses intuitive, drag-and-drop style actions to add actions and links. To add an action type grab it from the canvas "dock" area and drag it in.
Once you've added some actions, you'll want to link them together in the correct order. To do this, hover your mouse over an icon on the canvas. Notice that a bubble dialog with the word "connect" appears in the middle.
Place the mouse cursor inside the Connect bubble area. Click and hold the left mouse button and start to drag, and a connecting arrow and line will appear. Move the mouse over the icon you wish to connect, and let go of the mouse button. The connector will snap to the object. Simple, right?
If you decide later you need to break the connection, simply click the line and arrow. A browser dialog will appear, asking if you wish to remove the connection.
Most path actions require setting up one or more options before they're ready for use. Without the right values set for those options, the entire call path won't function properly, or you'll see strange call routing behavior.
To set an option for a specific path action, double-click on the action in the canvas. A pop-up window will appear, showing you the available options for that action (we'll cover the options individually with their respective actions).
When you save a call path, the system first validates that you've completed all of the necessary options for each action. Actions that require additional values will highlight in red, and you'll see a warning in your browser.
While the editor will warn you if an action is missing some of its options, it won't warn you if an action isn't correctly linked to its preceding or following action(s). Double-check each action and make sure they're linked correctly to ensure proper call routing.
If you haven't set the Call Path Properties prior to save, the system will ask you set them when you save for the first time. You'll need to give your call path a name, and assign it one or more toll-free numbers, and / or LocalPresence "buckets."
This action instructs the dialer to start recording the inbound call immediately. There are no additional options for this action.
If the call is already being recorded, the dialer server will disregard this action and simply continue with the existing recording. If the dialer starts recording a call based on this action, any call recording limitations (limit recordings by area code, only record agent leg, etc.) will continue to be respected.
A number of actions incorporate message playback. The Play Message action is specifically used when you want to play back a message in its entirety for the caller, without giving him or her any other interactivity options.
The most common use case would be at the beginning of a call, when you want the caller to be notified that the call may be recorded or monitored, or you have other specific information the caller needs to hear before he or she proceeds to the next phase.
Play Message includes a single additional option to select the recording.
A Path Bridge is one of the default path terminators we mentioned previously. The objective for this action is to send the caller to a completely new, separate call path, where he or she will start at the very beginning of the chosen path.
You'd commonly use a path bridge when a caller dials in to the wrong number entirely; for example, they were looking for your sales team, but inadvertently dialed the support line instead. A path bridge allows the system to send them to the sales call path (which is where they intended to go in the first place).
One common misconceptions is that you'd use a Path Bridge to send a caller to a different interactive menu. With call paths, you can now include multiple menus in the same path without having to bridge to a different path.
The Path Bridge action includes a single additional option, where you define the call path where the caller should be sent.
We all have experience with interactive voice menus, sometimes called an interactive voice recording (IVR). The menu action gives your call path the same capability, presenting the caller with a selectable list of options.
First you'll need to define the message that will play back when the caller arrives at the menu. Remember this differs from the Play Message action, where the caller cannot interact or move ahead while the messaging is playing. Callers can interact with a Menu anytime.
Linking an action as a menu branch is no different than adding any other action; grab it from the panel and drag it to the canvas. When you drag a connecting arrow from the menu to downline action "branch," notice that a small white box appears in the middle of the arrow. This is where you set the menu "press here" for the caller's handset.
Click on the small, white box and a pop-up window will appear, asking you to select handset number / key, and whether you want to set this as the default option. You can change the default menu option at any time by selecting the appropriate connection and updating the Default Option checkmark.
Call Forward is one of the standard three "terminator" actions that sends a call out of the current call path directly to another phone number of your choice. The most common use for this option is to forward a call from a routing action (last caller, record owner, or rep queue) where no one picked up the call. In this case you might forward the call to a group ring line, or a number where the caller can leave a message.
Depending on where you forward the call, you might want the recipient to see a specific caller ID on the receiving end. You have three options: the original caller's number, the phone number established as your company's default caller ID in your IS.com company profile, or a manual number of your choice.
Obviously you'll want to choose the number that will give the recipient the best idea of where the call came from and how to best handle it.
Route to Last Caller sends an inbound call back to the agent who most recently dialed the number identified in the incoming caller ID. You can limit the amount of time that has passed between the agent dial and the return call, ensuring that if more than a few days have passed, other agents will have the opportunity to take the call.
Route to Record Owner works similarly to Route to Last Caller; the main difference is that there's no time limit on when the record owner last made contact or dialed. The call path will always make an attempt to send the call to the owner, whether it's been six hours or six months since the owner last made contact.
The Schedule action lets you set up action "branches" based on time of day. This is useful to route traffic differently if you expect (or don't expect) agents to be available based on the time of the call.
To set a schedule, add an action to the canvas and connect it from the Schedule action. Notice the small rectangle on the connector arrow; this is where you set the time range for this action branch.
Schedules run in a rolling 24-hour period, so you can set your start and end times for any period. For example, you might set one action as your "Business Hours" schedule branch to run from 8 AM to 6 PM, and an "After Hours" Branch from 6 PM to 8 AM.
The Default selector in the schedule branch options is useful in case there's ever gaps in your scheduled times. For example, let's say you accidentally forget to include a time range that covers 4 AM to 7 AM. If a call were to arrive in that time period, the system would know that even though there's not a specific schedule branch for that time, it should use the default branch logic you've identified.
The Rep Queue action is the most detailed, sophisticated action for routing calls to agents. Route to Last Caller and Route to Owner let you send calls to a single, specific agent. Rep Queues let you send them to a group of agents at once—a queue of representatives standing by.
A Rep Queue is analogous to an Automated Call Distributor, or ACD, in that it uses defined logic to find available agents and route calls to them.
Before reviewing all of the rep queue options we want to focus on the most important aspect of a rep queue first—your routing logic, determined by the Route Type setting.
This routing logic looks at the length of time agents have been marked as "Available" in the inbound dialer system. The call then routes to the agent with the highest time. Remember that this is available time, not a pure round robin. An agent who voluntarily logs off from the inbound system loses their availability status. When he or she logs back in, the availability counter starts over.
Thus it's possible for an agent to not receive a call for an extended period of time, be first in line for the next call, but log out prior to receiving it. Another agent takes the next call. When the agent who missed out logs back in her or she is now at the bottom of the "available" queue, and may not receive another call for some time.
Also be aware that longest available is generally the "slowest" routing type in terms of getting calls picked up, since if the first "longest available" agent doesn't pick up within the Answer Time, the call path can't look for the next "longest available" agent until the time expires.
Group ring gives every agent logged in to the rep queue an opportunity to take the call all at once. When a call arrives, they'll be presented with an Accept / Ignore call notification in their application screen. The first agent to accept receives the call. If no one accepts the call within the queue's Failover Time, the call moves on in the call path.
"Most Ready" logic is similar to longest available, in that it looks for the longest available agent, but with a twist. Instead of the dialer system looking solely at agents' availability time, it also looks for "readiness," indicated by 1) if the agent is already connected to an agent leg, and 2) if the agent is already on an active call.
Remember that an agent CAN be on an active outbound call and still be considered "available" for inbound using the call blending tools.
The priority goes as follows:
For example, let's say Tim and Jill are the longest available, and second-longest available agents respectively. However, Jill is connected to her agent leg and Tim is not. In this case, Jill is "most ready," and would get first crack at taking the inbound call.
If both Tim and Jill were connected to their agent legs but on an active call, then Tim would get first priority since he had been available the longest.
The "Round Robin" option is exactly what it implies, a true round robin system. The system plays absolutely no favorites; every agent in the rep queue will receive an inbound call in rotating order. No agent will receive a second call until all other agents in the queue have received one.
This is obviously based on availability; if the next agent in line to receive a call is not available, calls will continue to route through the round robin normally. As soon as the top-of-line agent goes available, the next possible call would be routed to him or her.
There are settings to reset the order if an agent hasn't been online for a period of time, for example, 48 or 72 hours. If a rep goes on vacation for a week, you may not want him or her to get the very first call on the first day back. Instead you'd rotate them back into the standard round robin order.
You want absolute, total fairness in distributing inbound calls to reps, regardless of how long they've been available or any other factors.
Last but not least, the Disconnect action does just what it implies—drop the caller off the line.
This is the third of the default terminator actions, but is the least used. Normally you would only use this action if you're absolutely certain you want the call to end without forwarding it somewhere else, such as to another call path (Path Bridge action), or to an external number (Call Forward action).