Plenty of VoIP and contact center technologies use predictive analytics, and multiple providers are releasing their own AI assistants.

This AI revolution has been coming for a long time, and while many might think that this technology will be cold and impersonal, what if it could provide more personalized experiences? Already there are IVR AI platforms that will walk a customer through the system without the need for an agent, and these will streamline routing to agents.

Your customer service experience is an aspect of your business that you need to continuously improve because customers value companies that prioritize their needs. Predictive behavioral routing is a technology that is designed to use data-assisted matching to greatly personalize the customer contact experience. Like other predictive tools, the software for predictive behavioral routing uses machine learning to improve contact center results.


Compare contact center solutions from top providers



Quick links:


What is Predictive Behavioral Routing?

Predictive behavioral routing is a technology that utilizes algorithms to match a customer with the most qualified agent. Unlike other technologies that perform AI-based predictive routing, predictive behavioral routing connects agents with customers based on personality and behavior.

The software gauges the natural predispositions and communications habits of both the caller and the agent so that the interaction is organic and positive for both parties. First, the organization identifies contact center metrics for each agent that determines things like disposition, average handle time, or how knowledgeable they are about a customer issue.

Next, the system uses call tracking to match the inbound call to its database to identify the communication and personality style of the caller as well as their history calling in. Multiple criteria are used to paint as expressive of a picture as possible for the caller.

How we communicate is a massive indicator of our emotional states and personalities. Some people communicate using more expression and have more emotionally-based means of communication. Others, on the other hand, use-value statements when communicating. Others still want specific facts and figures to proceed using a more logically-minded style of speaking.

Machine learning is becoming increasingly good at detecting these nuances of modern conversation and grouping both caller and agent into the appropriate matching categories. When you’re matching two individuals with similar communications styles, you’re making it easy to build rapport. This even increases the chances that a customer may purchase from a company if they are connecting with the rep on a personal level.

The behavioral software uses algorithms to group callers based on six behavioral profiles.

  • Doer: A doer is typically very charming and persuasive.
  • Organizer: This is the most organized and logical personality type.
  • Connector: Connectors value conversation and are often warm and compassionate.
  • Advisor: These are deemed to be observant and conscientious.
  • Dreamer: Dreamers have artistic personalities and tend to be reflective and calm.
  • Original: This personality type is original and spontaneous. Conversations between agents and customers can be somewhat random, but skilled reps can steer the conversation to keep handle time low.


The call is recorded in real-time and in stereo, which makes identifying the involved parties easier. Then, as the call progresses, the audio call recording data is transcribed by the software. Using language and speech analytics, predictive behavioral analytics develops predictive patterns about the caller. This determines where they fall in the aforementioned personality traits list and also ascribes a sentiment to their call. The call center software even breaks down contextual cues that might help the agent - such as levels of distress or personal notes about what’s happening in the life of the caller.

Mattersight pioneered this technology in 2014 and it became their most important product. Mattersight predictive behavioral routing utilized these aspects of conversation to take call routing in a brand new direction, providing advanced analytics on customer interactions and agent performance.

Not only does this technology facilitate better communications between agents and customers, but it also builds impressive data sets that can be used to better route callers. Did the caller respond better to a specific agent’s style? Is the caller more liable to be a bit chatty on the line? Then predictive behavioral routing will assign the call to a rep that will accommodate this kind of personality on the next call. Is the caller simply looking for a solution quickly without much fluff? Then predictive behavioral routing will recognize this and send the call to a more businesslike rep.

The system assigns a percentage to each potential routing possibility - the higher the percentage, the better the match. The entire process begins after, not during, contact with the caller, and the machine learning algorithms aggregate all information into a shared database that ascribes the personality traits to each customer.

When the caller next calls in, predictive behavioral routing then takes less than a second to look up the number, determine the personality of the caller based on previous interactions, and match the determined traits with an agent who has similar communications habits. Since the database is shared, data aggregated from one client can be used in the interactions of another - the numbers of the customers that call in are all that’s needed to better route calls based on personality and sentiment.


How Does Predictive Behavioral Routing Improve Customer Experience?

To retain customers, they need to have a pleasant experience with a brand, which is the reasoning behind predictive behavioral routing. While other systems consider routes based on algorithms, predictive behavioral routing sends outbound calls with both the customer’s and the agent’s satisfaction in mind.


Content Customers

Not every caller has a stressful issue; in fact, some customers may want to get information or make a change to their service and want to speak to someone. With predictive behavioral routing, the system uses its algorithms, sentiment data, and contact history to route the call to an agent that is more inclined to match the personality and current disposition of the customer. For example, if the customer is verbose and has a tendency to go slightly off-script and be more conversational, then the system will select a rep that will respond to this more genial style.

The predictive behavioral routing system works in tandem with other solutions like IVR systems, CRM software, and skills-based routing to provide the rep with all the pertinent data for the call. With a more personable interaction, guaranteed positive customer experience are more likely.

An example of an interaction from a rep could start with, “Hello! How are you today?”


Upset Customers

Customers who experience errors in billing or service also want fast resolution and for the business to acknowledge the issue. Behavioral routing uses voice cues and past conversations to recognize when a caller is upset or angry when routing. When it detects these emotional states, the employee will know through on-screen prompts before he or she makes contact.

With this information, the agent will be ready to apologize and offer a solution right at the beginning of the conversation. This will make the company seem more responsive to the issues of its customers. Since angry or upset callers require logic and succinctness, the system may route the call to an agent that falls under the “organizer” personality type.

An example of an interaction from a rep could start with, “Hello. I see that you’ve been having problems with billing or our (service). Let me take a second to apologize for you having to go through this. Let’s get this resolved quickly.”


Customers with Time Constraints

Sometimes, a caller is reaching out with a very tight deadline. Customers that are looking for resolution need reps that are direct and to the point while on the line. Long, drawn-out conversations with excess chatter will only degrade the customer’s perception of the company. Based on verbal cues and past call history, predictive behavioral routing matches the customer with a more direct and businesslike rep to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

This is an essential behavioral characteristic when working in industries like financial services and the tech industry, where clients are short on time.

An example of an interaction from a rep could start with, “Hello. I’m seeing that you need me to adjust (service name). Let me get you squared away so that you can go about your day.”


Repeat Callers

The problem with some other routing systems is that they tend to retread some of the same conversations, which is annoying for callers. When a caller is seeking resolution for an issue that’s preexisting, the system will take note of this, gauge the caller’s sentiment and emotional state, and route it correctly to an agent that matches their needs. The agent will be fully prepared with the history of calls and will pick up where the last call ended. This illustrates an attention to detail that is uncommon in the customer service experience, and the customer will notice it.

An example of an interaction from a rep could start with, “Hi! How has (the issue) been since we talked with you last Friday? I know you talked to (agent name) previously – have things improved since then?”


How Does it Streamlines Customer-Agent Interactions?

Customers want to feel that the brands that they interact with understand and value them. This technology’s pairing algorithms are created to create more pleasant experiences between agent and customer. With predictive behavioral routing, criteria such as the types of language used by callers help businesses understand the caller and improve on their customer journey. This will foster long-term relationships. Here are a few other benefits to adopting this type of solution into any type of contact center.


Decreases Call Handling Time

While more detailed, personal interactions may seem like they would increase handle time in a call center, but this isn’t always the case. The truth is, predictive behavioral routing increases the quality of customer and agent interaction, and as a result, handle times decrease thanks to the personalities of the two parties being complementary. Predictive behavioral routing is a system designed to augment the rapport between the caller and agent, and this typically makes conversations leaner and resolves issues quicker.

For example, CVS using Mattersight’s system, CVS was able to decrease handle time on calls with customers by 8.4%. They were also able to use the data to increase the efficiency of customer/agent interactions.


Improves Customer Experience

With an easy rapport, customers tend to be much more positive during customer satisfaction surveys. AI-powered smart routing also makes for more natural-feeling interactions with agents and provides a repository of caller data that is fed to the rep so that a customer feels acknowledged. Even in situations where the caller has limited time and needs efficiency, the system will recognize this and will select an agent that meets the caller’s needs.

Overall, the system delivers the versatility that many contact centers need to keep their customer satisfaction (CSAT) rates high – every caller receives individualized help. When a rapport is formed between agent and caller, customers will feel more comfortable, which means streamlined interactions and a better customer journey.


Faster and More Accurate Call Routing

According to NICE inContact, 95% of customers are randomly routed without predictive behavioral routing. This means that these systems sometimes bounce customers to the wrong departments. Imprecise routing is guaranteed to reduce the quality of the customer experience, especially as this will add minutes to the interaction. Extended interactions also will reduce the efficiency of the agents that had calls misrouted.

With predictive behavioral routing, the machine learning algorithm is very precise and will route the calls intelligently using not only personality and sentiment data but call history data as well.


Predictive Behavioral Routing Vs Other Call Routing

Predictive behavioral routing brings heightened agility and incorporates Big Data into the contact center experience. Since it uses all of the information gathered about a caller to provide organic matches with agents, it will integrate with existing systems with relative ease. Here are a few routing systems that predictive behavioral routing will enhance with its analytics-based routing.


Predictive Behavioral Routing and IVR

IVR is designed to walk a customer through a system using dial tone multi-frequency (DTMF), voice, and AI. IVR provides customers with bill pay and scheduling functions without the need to speak with an agent.

Predictive behavioral routing provides a holistic solution that takes all interactions with a caller into account, even from IVR records. With its algorithms, it will quickly determine if a customer was agitated during previous contacts with an agent or during the self-service experience.

Predictive behavioral routing systems communicate with IVR systems to paint a picture of the caller and connect them with their optimal agent. Did the customer sound terse as they used voice? Did they press “0” before listening to the phone options? What were some of the verbal cues in their tone of voice? Behavioral modeling and call history can go a long way towards helping callers match with the right agents.


Predictive Behavioral Routing and Skills-based Routing

Skills-based routing is a technology that places agents into specific groups based on their skills. IVR systems then route customers to certain groups of agents based on their needs. With this tech, callers are sent to a specialist when their issues are complex. This is a system that brings convenience because complex questions and issues can be solved quickly. Skills-based routing reduces handle times because the caller is bounced around less frequently, and customers love it.

But how does it compare to predictive behavioral routing?

Predictive behavioral routing is a system that utilizes Big Data to understand the personalities of customers, but since the solution utilizes AI, it also incorporates some aspects of skills-based routing. As a result, predictive behavioral routing can work as an extra layer that enhances systems that are in place to send customers to qualified agents. Not only will they reach the agent who knows how to handle their issue, but they’ll also be able to connect with them personally as well.


Predictive Behavioral Routing and Direct Call Center Routing

Like predictive behavioral routing, direct routing utilizes algorithms and data to route customers to the right department. For example, if a customer is behind on payments, this routing system will determine that the caller should be sent to the collections department. Similarly, a new customer might be sent to support or to the marketing department.

Everything is based on customer info with data-directed call center routing, which makes it a very useful system in contact centers that are looking to bolster efficiency. For example, sending a new customer to the marketing department will make upselling a new add-on service much more organic. Similarly, sending the same type of customer to support will also ensure that there are no snags in the service in those very important first months. Efficient routing, and therefore enhanced customer retention is a major reason for this system.

Direct call center routing is often called smart routing, but it’s not powered by AI like predictive behavioral routing. Predictive behavioral routing will enhance the direct routing experience by also routing calls to the right agent. Even in interactions with collections agents, improved personalization will make the customer experience a more positive one. For example, if a customer in collections was charged in error, then predictive behavioral routing will pick up the customer’s dissatisfaction through verbal cues and route the call to an agent that can correct the issue.


Match Customers with Their Ideal Agents For Better Outcomes

Throughout the contact center industry, this technology is being viewed as a paradigm shift because of its usage of big data and its potential to augment the customer experience. AI-driven routing technology is actively analyzing customers and their data and providing them with a more pleasant contact experience.

Not only does this benefit the customer, but it also allows agents to speak more naturally and connect with the callers on the other line, and more content reps will mean better agent retention. Keeping customers happy also provides extensive monetary benefits since content customers with healthy relationships with a brand stay loyal longer.

This technology reduces handle times and provides a better understanding of the customer journey, making it a vital complement to your other call center software. Predictive behavioral routing is another aspect of the increasing impact that AI-driven cloud solutions are bringing to the contact center. Tools for lead scoring, predictive dialing, and customer service are all here, and predictive behavioral routing is perhaps the technology that will have the most noteworthy impact in contact centers.

Any organization that is looking to improve their customer satisfaction should consider implementing a predictive behavioral routing solution because having customers and interact more deeply helps with customer retention.

Looking for more solutions that can improve the customer journey? Check out our guides on call priority queuing and predictive lead scoring.