Routes

Textline has created a feature to help organizations that have high volumes of inbound conversations or want to implement automatic assigning of conversations based on rules. This feature is called Routes. At the base of it, Routes is a feature that allows organizations to define which agents are in a pool to be chosen from and how to choose an agent from that pool. Add Routes to an automation with other conditions like contact tag or message body filters and you can have Textline automatically choose the right agent for the conversation. Routes are a feature of the pro plan. Text our support at +1 (415) 849-4349 for more questions on plans. But without further ado, here is how Routes work:

Routing Type

This is how you tell the route which agent to select from the pool you define. There are three route types:

Round Robin

This type distributes conversations using the “next up” method. For example, if you have a group of 5 agents, this route type will put the agents in a list and will assign a conversation to the first agent on it. It will then assign conversations to the subsequent agents until it reaches the end of the list. Once it does, it goes back and starts at the beginning. Round Robin does NOT take into account whether or not an agent already has a ticket.

Last Assigned

This routing method helps organizations keep continuity in their conversations. If a contact has messaged before and the conversation was assigned, this route will re-assign the conversation to that same agent, if available.

Load Balanced

This route is designed to help evenly distribute conversations between your agents. It counts the number of conversations assigned to each agent in your pool and puts them in a list with the lowest first and ascending from there. The route will then assign conversations to the agent with the lowest count. This means that an agent can get multiple conversations in a row if they are the lowest each time a conversation is to be assigned.

Agent Pool

By default, a route will assign conversations to all agents in a department. We recognize that isn't always optimal, so we have built three ways to filter agents to create a limited agent pool for your route:

Team

Textline has the ability to group agents into Teams. Teams allow you to label your agents according to various criteria. Some common criteria are technical skill (billing, returns, scheduling, etc), language proficiency (spanish, french, etc), and organization role (manager, executive, dispatcher, etc). Admins can create whatever criteria is helpful to their business. A single agent can be put into multiple teams which would allow for an agent to be a part of different routes.

Agent is available

This filter allows you to make the route select from agents who have set their status as available. This is recommended and thus selected by default, but you can unselect this option to allow for a route to ignore an agent’s status.

Agent has not met conversation limit

This filter allows you to make the route select from agents who are under their set conversation limit. This limit is set on an agent’s profile, but only after initial creation. Agents without a set number have no limit. Having a conversation limit is recommended and thus selected by default, but you can unselect this option to allow for a route to not take into account how many conversations an agent has assigned.  You can read more on setting the conversation limit here.

Fallback

When using a route, there may be situations where no agent can be selected: all agents are unavailable, all agents have hit their conversation limit, no agents in the department are a part of the team, etc. In these situations, you then can then configure your route to use a fallback.

Leave unassigned

This is the default selection. If a route fails to assign an agent, it stays unassigned. You can use this option to allow other agents to manually pick it up later or use an Automation Timer to assign it later.

Specific agent

This option allows you to assign a conversation to a specific agent as a fallback. This is a great option to assign conversations to a manager or another key member of your team when no agent can be selected. It can be used to alert these key members that your queue may be full if they are getting conversations assigned to them so that they can then take other actions.

Another route

This fallback option allows you to select another route to be used if no agents can be selected. This can be used to route conversations to Tier 2 agents if the Tier 1 agents are all busy with other conversations or allow for another group of agents to quickly respond to a conversation if the VIP team is busy.

Using Routes

Transfer

You can use routes from the Conversation Dashboard. When viewing a conversation, click on the transfer button at the top of the conversation and a dropdown will appear showing you the list of routes and agents in your organization. Click on the route you want to use and you will see it transferred to the appropriate agent.

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Automation

To use a route, in an Automation Action, you will need to build an Automation to identify a conversation that you would like to be routed to a group of agents and then select the route as an action. The action is "Route conversation using"after which you will be prompted to select the name of the route you want to use:

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Automation Use Cases

We understand that the concept of Routes can be a bit confusing, so here a few real-world use cases that every Textline customer could take advantage of:

VIP contacts

Your organization has identified a set of very important contacts that need to be handled by a select group of agents. You tag these contacts with VIP and put these agents into the VIP_team. You also acknowledge that they are so important that your organization’s CEO, Mace Windu should also help if there is an issue. Here is the route and automation that you would want to setup:

Route

Name: VIP Route

Type: Round Robin

Team: VIP_team

Conditions: Agents is available and not met conversation limit

Fallback: Specific agent -> Mace Windu

Automation

Type: Message Received

Conditions: 

  • First message starting a conversation
  • Contact's tags must include VIP

Action: Route conversation using VIP Route

Spanish contacts

Your organization has a team to handle contacts who you have identified as preferring to speak Spanish. You put the agents that can speak Spanish into the Spanish team. Here is the route and automation that you would want to set up:

Route

Name: Spanish speakers

Type: Load Balanced

Team: Spanish

Conditions: Agents is available and not met conversation limit

Fallback: Leave unassigned

Automation

Type: Message Received

Conditions: 

  • First message starting a conversation
  • Contact's preferred language is Spanish, Castilian

Action: Route conversation using Spanish speakers

5 minute SLA

Your organization has a policy that a conversation must be responded to in 5 minutes by Tier 1 Agents or else it is routed to a manager. You put the agents Andy, Ron, and Tom into the Tier_1 team and Leslie and Donna into the Managers team. Here are the routes and automations that you would want to set up:

Route - Tier 1

Name: Tier 1 Agents

Type: Round Robin

Team: Tier_1

Conditions: Agents is available and not met conversation limit

Fallback: Leave unassigned

Route - Manager

Name: Managers

Type: Round Robin

Team: Managers

Conditions: Agents is available and not met conversation limit

Fallback: Specific Agent -> Ben

Automation - Initial

Type: Message Received

Condition: First message starting a conversation

Action: Route conversation using Tier 1 Agents

Automation - 5 minute SLA breach

Type: Timer

Condition: Conversation has been waiting for an agent response for 5 minutes

Action: Route conversation using Managers

Let contacts know who is handling the conversation

You want agents to be the point person for contacts they have handled before, but also want the contacts to know who they are speaking to (in case it is a different agent). Here are the routes and the automation that you would want to set up:

Route - Same agent

Name: Same agent route

Type: Last Assigned

Team: All agents in the department

Conditions: Agents is available and not met conversation limit

Fallback: Another Route -> Everyone

Route - Everyone else

Name: Everyone

Type: Round Robin

Team: All agents in the department

Conditions: Agents is available and not met conversation limit

Fallback: Specific agent -> Jack Bauer

Automation - Initial

Type: Message Received

Condition: First message starting a conversation

Actions: 

  • Route conversation using Same agent route
  • Send a message:

Hi {{contact.name}},
You are now speaking with {{assigned_agent.name}}

 

We hope this article helps! If you have any questions, please reach out to Textline support at +1 (415) 849-4349 or support@textline.com

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