How to prioritize call routing

Christina Dechent
Christina Dechent
  • Updated

Some call centers have “VIP” calls they want to prioritize. For example, a particular telephone number is set up for such calls and calls to this number receive preferential treatment, e.g. are connected to agents quicker than other calls.

The only way to influence the handling order of calls is to integrate delays for the lower priority calls. At the same time, it is important having agents available to deal with the higher priority calls.

In order to achieve this, we will have to get a bit technical, so it might be useful to have an analogy or two in mind:

Imagine, you queue to enter a night club. Suddenly the doorman puts the red rope in front of you because Beyonce's entourage has just arrived.

The only way the doormen can let Beyonce and Co. enter first, is to withhold the "normal" folks.

A more related analogy is the following: Imagine a huge DHL or Amazon package depot where the packages have lots of attributes, some of which indicate priority. The only way high priority packages can get sent to a customer earlier than the others is to build appropriate delays into the processing of the lower priority packages.

There are two things to consider in all of these scenarios:

  • the delays applied to lower priority calls/packages/folks
  • the availability of the processing units - staff/agents

Now let's look at the technical bit:

First, we'll deal with introducing delays to the lower priority calls.

The order in which calls are processed is almost independent of the selection of agents for calls. The only influence that the selection of agents has is that if none are available for a particular call, the call will stay queued (or else - depending on the call flow configuration). But that does not change the order in which the calls are processed.

The main thing to consider is that all the timings are specific to each call, i.e. time of queue entry, start of agent selection, start of attempt to reach an agent, end of attempt to reach an agent, time of queue leave, etc. All these timestamps are dependent on the specific call and have no knowledge of other calls. This means that at any time, and for every individual call, the system tries to connect a particular call to the agents based on the selections.

Here is a configuration of a call flow that will favor the prioritization of high priority calls:


The main mechanism is the delay built into the queuing of low priority calls. The call flow removes low priority calls from the queue while high priority calls remain in the queue. By adjusting the length of the audio played in the Prompt Player at the bottom, you can adjust the extent to which higher priority calls are favored.

The second part is to ensure that agents are set up to handle higher priority calls. Therefore, we have to adjust the selection mechanism for these calls:

Head to Routing & Queuing > Queues and select the queue for which you want to define your prioritization.

In the screenshot you see two selections, one with "prio 1" for high priority calls and one with "prio 2" for low priority calls. Note that the selections use tags, but you could also use agent groups for that.


Now, the only remaining task is to assign the tags we use in the queue selection to the agents. The important thing is to ensure that there are sufficient agents to deal with high priority calls. It can also make sense to have the low priority agents set be a subset or at least overlap with the high priority agent set.

To learn more about creating and managing queues, head over to this article.


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