Once you have decided how and when your agents should receive calls, call distribution is determined using four different criteria. Priorities are applied in this order so, when two agents are tied in some criterion, the next one will apply:
- Availability Criterion. Sorts according to the agent status.
- Less Flexible Criterion. Prefers agents with fewer ring groups.
- More Specialized Criterion. Prefers agents that are more specialized.
- Idle Time Criterion. Prefers agents that have been idle the longest.
- Calls routed via transfer will only use the Availability and Idle time criteria.
- These criteria are not applicable to incoming calls on dedicated lines. To learn more about this please read Dedicated Phone Numbers.
Incoming calls are exclusively routed to available agents, or to agents with forwarding enabled. Available agents are selected before those who have calls forwarded to an external phone.
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 least preferred because she has the highest number of non-overlapping ring groups.
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.
The idleness criterion sorts agents according to how long they have been idle, which is defined as the time since their last inbound call disconnected (irrespective of status changes). Agents with the longest idle times are preferred.
Note: Please also review the companion article, “How many agents should be rung?”