How are calls routed?

Note: Effective June 21, 2021, Talkdesk Classic Inbound Routing will no longer be available to sell to new customers. New customer accounts will only be able to configure inbound routing behavior through Studio.


Once you have decided how and when your agents should receive calls, call distribution will rely on four different criteria (for non-Studio calls) and priorities will be applied in the following order:

  1. Availability Criterion. Sorts according to the agent status.
  2. Less Flexible Criterion. Prefers agents with fewer ring groups.
  3. More Specialized Criterion. Prefers agents that are more specialized.
  4. Idle Time Criterion. Prefers agents that have been idle the longest.



  • When two agents are tied in a criterion, the next one will apply.
  • Calls routed via warm transfer will only use the Availability and Idle time criteria.
  • The four criteria are not applicable to incoming calls on dedicated lines. To learn more about this, please read Dedicated Phone Numbers.


Routing in Studio

If call distribution is being done through Talkdesk Studio, only ring group assignment and idleness of the available agents are considered for routing. Learn more about routing in Studio.


1. Availability

Incoming calls are exclusively routed to available agents, or agents with forwarding enabled. Available agents are selected before those who have calls forwarded to an external phone.


2. Flexibility

The flexibility criterion sorts agents according to how many non-overlapping ring groups the agent and the number have. Less flexible agents (i.e., agents with fewer non-overlapping ring groups) are preferred.


Consider a call routed to the “French” and “Enterprise Sales” ring groups with these available agents.


  • Mary has six ring groups assigned to her. Four of those ring groups don't match the incoming call. Therefore, she has four non-overlapping ring groups.
  • Rita only has the "French" ring group assigned to her. Since the call is routed to the "French" and "Enterprise Sales" ring groups, she has zero non-overlapping ring groups.
  • Peter only has two ring groups: "French" and "Enterprise Sales". The call in question is also routed to these ring groups, so likewise he has zero non-overlapping ring groups.

Given the above, Rita and Peter are tied as the most eligible agents for the call because they have the fewest non-overlapping ring groups.

Subsequently, Mary is the least preferred because she has the highest number of non-overlapping ring groups.


3. Specialization

The specialization criterion sorts agents according to how many overlapping ring groups the agent and number have. Agents with less overlap are preferred.

Note: Flexibility and Specialization criteria both prioritize agents with the fewest non-overlapping and overlapping ring groups, respectively. The goal of preferring agents with the fewest (non-)overlapping ring groups is to deprioritize agents containing ring groups not associated with the call that’s being routed. This optimizes routing by leaving them available for subsequent calls, which may necessarily require their skill set.


Using the same example above, let's again consider these available agents for a call routed to the "French" and "Enterprise Sales" ring groups.


  • Mary has six ring groups, two of which overlap with the call.
  • Rita, with only "French" assigned to her, has one overlapping ring group with the call.
  • Peter, with "French" and "Enterprise Sales" assigned to him, has two ring groups overlapping with the call.

Therefore, Rita is the most preferred agent of this set, having the fewest overlapping ring groups of the set.

At this step alone, Peter and Mary are tied with two ring groups matching the call. However, considering their ranking in the previous criterion, Peter becomes more eligible than Mary since previously he had fewer non-overlapping ring groups.


4. Idleness

The idleness criterion sorts agents according to how long they have been idle, which is defined as the amount of time since their last disconnected interaction (irrespective of status changes). Agents with the longest idle times are preferred.


Please review also the companion articles:

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