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Inbound Call Paths

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.


How To

Call Path Basics

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.


Path Editor - The Basic "Canvas"

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.

Required Elements

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:

  • Disconnect
  • Call Forward
  • Path Bridge

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.

Editor UI

Using the Canvas

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.

Setting Options for Path Actions

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).

Saving a Path and Call Path Properties

  • The Save action saves the call path and returns you to the call path list page.
  • Save As makes a copy of your current call path, and saves it under a different name you choose.
  • Quick Save saves the current call path but keeps you on the same page so you can continue editing.

Validating a Path on Save

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.

Is Everything Linked?

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.

Call Path Properties

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."

Manual Answer/Ignore on All Calls

Manual Answer/Ignore on All Calls

PowerDialer video

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Route to Agent Based on Area Code

Manual Answer/Ignore on All Calls

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Longest Available/Group Ring/Round Robin

Longest Available and Group Ring

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Group Ring

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Round Robin

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Immediate Failover

Immediate Failover

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FAQ

Start Recording Action

Start Recording Action

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.

Stop Recording Action

Stop Recording Action

This action stops recording activity for the current call, regardless of any other system settings. This includes recordings initiated automatically by the system, manually by an agent, or using the Start Recording action in a call path. This action has no additional settings.

Play Message Action

Play Message Action

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.

Path Bridge Action

Path Bridge Action

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.

Menu Action

Menu Action

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.

Menu 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.

  • Select the menu message.
  • Choose how many times the message should play back before the menu's default option is automatically selected and the caller moves on.
  • Set the delay for how long the system should wait before looping the message.

Branching a Menu to the Next Action

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.

Configuration Notes

  • You have to have at least one action connected to a menu branch.
  • If you don't connect an action branch to the menu, the call will automatically disconnect after the menu message has played back for the final time.

Call Forward Action

Call Forward Action

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.

Caller ID Display

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 Action

Route to Last Caller Action

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.

Settings

  • Object - Select whether the system should look up the incoming caller ID as a lead or contact object. If no match is found for the selected object, the call path will move on to the next action.
  • Called Within (Days) - If a match is found, the system will reference this number to see if the identified record should still be routed to the last caller. If the last call was not made within X days, the call path will move on to the next action.
  • Agent Answer Timeout (sec) - When a match is found for a record, and the last agent to dial the record is available, this defines how long the agent has to pick up the incoming call before the system continues on the call path.
  • No Answer Failover - If the agent is not available or fails to pick up the call within the answer timeout, this tells the call path how to proceed. The options are:
    • "Rep's Station Phone" - Forwards the call out of the call path and goes directly to the phone number stored in the agent's user profile. This would be a good option if you want the call to go directly to the agent's voicemail.
    • "Continue in Call Path" - Moves ahead to the next action in the call path.
    • "Call Path" - Sends the call out of the current call path and over to a different one. The call will proceed through the new call path from the path's start point.

Route to Owner Action

Route to Owner Action

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.

Options

  • Object - Select whether the record to check is a lead or contact in the system.
  • Agent Answer Timeout (sec) - How long the record owner has to accept the phone call before the call path fails over.
  • No Answer Failover - Where the call will route if / when the agent timeout expires.
    • "Rep's Station Phone" - Forwards the call to the record owner's station phone, linked to the default telephone field in his or her user profile.
    • "Continue in Call Path" - Sends the call to the next action in the path.

Schedule Action

Schedule Action

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

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.

Rep Queue

Rep Queue

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.

Rep Queue Logic - Routing Type

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.

  • Longest Available
  • Group Ring
  • Most Ready
  • Round Robin

Longest Available

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.

Why Use Longest Available?

  • You want to reward agents for diligently maintaining their availability status, but don't want to worry about who has the fastest "trigger finger" to accept the call, such as with Group Ring.
  • You're more interested in giving agents equal opportunities to take calls than in absolute, fastest response to incoming calls.

Group Ring

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.

Why Use Group Ring?

  • You want to give every agent an equal chance to take every call.
  • You want to reward agents who are proactive and aware of calls as they're working.
  • You want calls to be answered in the fastest possible manner.
  • You're okay sacrificing "fairness" in terms of equal call distribution to get the fastest response, and reward the agents who answer quickly.

Most Ready

"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:

  • The longest available agent connected to an agent leg gets top priority, IF they are not already on an active call.
  • If no agents are connected to an agent leg, or are already on an active call, then the longest-available agent gets priority, regardless of agent leg status.
  • If all available agents are already on an active call, then the longest-available agent gets first priority.

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.

Why Use Most Ready?

  • You want the fastest possible response times, with no delay for an agent to accept or ignore a call (such as with group ring).
  • It typically rewards agents who are actively engaged. Agents who stay connected to their agent leg are typically being productive with their dialer time.

Round Robin

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.

Why Use Round Robin?

You want absolute, total fairness in distributing inbound calls to reps, regardless of how long they've been available or any other factors.

Queue Options

General Options

  • Name - A descriptive label for outside reference.
  • Route Type - Sets the routing logic as previously outlined.
  • Failover Time (sec) - Total time in seconds a call will remain in the queue before it fails over to the next action in the call path (e.g., set to 90 and a call will remain in the queue for a minute and a half).
  • Wait Message - Audible recording the caller hears while waiting in the queue.
  • Pop-screen Type - Chooses the record object type that will appear in a screen pop when an agent takes the call. Can be set to any standard Lead Management Platform object: lead, account, contact, deal (opportunity), case.
  • POp-screen Layout - After choosing the object type, this sets the field layout for the screen pop when it appears. Agents will have different data inputs available to them for the record based on the selected layout.
  • Answer Time - How long an agent has to accept or ignore a call before the queue starts looking for the next available agent. The queue will continue counting down through each available agent until the call is answered, or reaches the failover time.
  • Attendees - Sets which agents are assigned to the queue. When marked available, these agents will be eligible to receive calls.
  • Loop Wait Message - Instructs the queue to restart playback of the wait message if the message reaches the end without the call being answered.
  • Always Create New Record - In some cases, you may not want the dialer system to look for a caller ID match for a a record to pop to the agent. Instead you may want the queue to always generate a new, incoming record.
  • Default Record Owner - In some cases the system may need to create a new record, since A) no caller ID match was found, or B) the call failed over because a rep didn't answer, and you wish to record the call took place. This assigns a default owner to the newly-generated record in these instances.

Advanced Options

  • Whisper Message - A whisper message is a digital recording that plays to the agent when he or she accepts the call from the queue. This is typically an informational message designed to help the agent succeed on the call, indicating the type of call, where it originated, etc.
  • Employee Area Code Restrictions - If you have enabled restricted area code logic in your system, this setting enforces that logic for the rep queue. Enabling this option has no effect if you have not set up area code groups.
  • Immediate Failover - In some cases, a call may arrive in a rep queue when no agents are available. They're either logged off, or busy on other calls. Normally the system would keep the caller in the queue for the full Failover Time, with the expectation that an agent may come available within 60-90 seconds (or however long the wait time lasts). However, instead of leaving the caller on hold, you may want to push the caller ahead immediately to the next stage of the call path. This option enables this feature.
  • Re-assign Owner After Routing - This option instructs the dialer to reassign ownership of any record that gets handled in the queue to the agent who accepted the call. This is uncommon for most workflows, but may be applicable for some business models.

Disconnect Action

Disconnect Action

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).

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