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Beyond Round Robin – Intelligent Lead and Case Assignment in Salesforce

Covered in this article:

  • Automated Lead & Case assignment in Salesforce
  • Ensuring assignment to the best available rep or agent
  • Matching tickets by skill, experience or location
  • Using point-scoring
  • Priority based assignment
  • Load balancing
  • Automating exception handling
  • Enterprise scalability

round robin assignment system

Round Robin Assignment

Round robin assignment systems are where most Salesforce organizations start out. It’s a simple system to set up, whereby each lead, case or work-item is distributed to Salesforce users on a round robin basis.  Each user receives their next job or task in turn. On the face of it, it’s a very fair system and, in small organizations at least, it works just fine.

But as a business grows, so does the “real-world” complexity. Not all work-items are created equal. Some are complicated and take time to process. Others are dead easy and can be completed in a jiffy. Workloads quickly become unbalanced.  Fairness goes out of the window. And queues can quickly build up.

Introducing Dynamic Assignment

Q-assign is a powerful lead and case assignment app, native to the Salesforce CRM platform, which brings a whole new level of sophistication to automated object assignment.

Developed by London-based Ortoo, Q-assign is able to intelligently routes Leads, Opportunities, Cases, Tasks – or, in fact, any kind of helpdesk “ticket” – to the best available rep or agent, using automated assignment rules.

Q-assign can dramatically improve throughput and conversion rates in both sales and customer service helpdesk environments, with the potential to provide a healthy boost to revenues, profitability and customer satisfaction ratings.

Automatically assign any object in Salesforce

Seasoned Salesforce users will be familiar with the ability to set up simple assignment rules for the Lead and Case object. But Q-assign brings that functionality, and more, to any object in Salesforce. So, Q-assign supports automatic assignments, from either a source queue or a user, to the following objects: Account, Case, Contact, Event, Lead, Opportunity, Task or any custom object.

Beyond round robin: Assign to the best available agent

What distinguishes Q-assign from simple round robin assignment apps, is that its primary goal is to assign the object in question (we’ll call them tickets) to the very best available rep or agent. Simple round robin systems assign tickets to the next available agent, irrespective of the nature of the enquiry or the experience of the agent to whom it is being assigned. Q-assign is designed to analyze the contents of the ticket and then make a decision on who is best placed to process that ticket, based on a whole host of configurable assignment rules. By assigning each ticket to the very best available agent, they can be converted or closed down more quickly, resulting in greater throughput. In a sales environment, it’s inevitable that revenue and profit could and should rise accordingly. In a helpdesk scenario, cases can be resolved more quickly, and customer satisfaction should improve as a result.

Matching tickets on skill, experience or location

Intelligent assignment rules can be configured to match tickets based on any number of configurable criteria, including availability, workload, skill, experience, account ownership, language, country, territory, state, county, town, city, zip code or time zone. The trick is to assess the capabilities of each and every agent, perhaps group them into teams containing agents with similar skills and experience, and then to make sure that incoming tickets are distributed to the agent or agents that are most qualified to process each individual enquiry.

Priority-based assignment

By utilizing intelligent assignment rules (as opposed to, say, a simple round robin), we are able to implement priority-based assignment. Consider a hot lead that has gone into the lead queue from an A-list, Fortune 500 company and worth, potentially, millions of dollars. You don’t necessarily want that lead to be processed by an inexperienced sales rep or one that doesn’t speak the native language of the enquirer, fluently. Priority-based assignment allows us to score individual reps according to their skills, experience and capabilities, and then route the highest priority tickets to them automatically.

Handling SLA-bound tickets

Another example of priority-based assignment is the prioritisation of cases which are bound by Service Level Agreements (SLA’s). If a Case needs to be processed with the next 24 business hours, then the last thing you want to do is assign it to an agent who already has a stack of cases to get through, or one who is about to take a few days off. Q-assign can allow for workload, availability, business hours or shift hours and can easily identify the agent, or team of agents, who are best placed to process the given ticket within the SLA time-frame. In larger organisations, with teams of agents who are geographically dispersed, Q-assign can even be configured to “follow the sun”. So, if a ticket comes into, say, the London office at 5.15pm, then you might want to route it to the San Francisco office, which is just opening up for business, in order to maximise the time that the ticket can be worked on before the SLA deadline expires.

Load balancing

The problem with a simple round robin assignment system is that it takes no account of the “load” associated with each work item. You can distribute 30 items to 10 agents on a round robin basis and they’ll end up with 3 items each. But one agent might have 3 very complex items, which might take up to an hour to process, whereas another might have 3 easy items which can be done and dusted within 10 minutes. So we have unbalanced workloads.

In any sales or helpdesk scenario, load balancing is critical. It’s no use queuing a case for your very best agent if he or she is already working on half a dozen high priority tickets. By the same token, you don’t want agents sat idle just because they are less experienced. You need to get the balance right. Using load-scoring, Q-assign can do the load balancing for you.

Load scoring

Load Scoring enables workload for each team member to be calculated by a set of rules which allocates points for various configurable conditions. You can score the workload of each existing ticket that an agent is working on and estimate the amount of effort it will require to close it down. Each team member can be given a different workload threshold in terms of points (how much workload each can handle). Points for each active ticket owned by a member can be calculated and then added together to show the total Active Load Points of each member. Based on these load points, incoming tickets can be assigned to the member with the lowest number of points.

Automated exception handling

Tickets can be assigned or re-assigned automatically if agents log off, go sick, are on vacation or take too long to process a ticket for any given reason. Managers can be alerted to exceptions automatically, and they can make adjustments to assignment rules at any time to reduce bottlenecks and improve efficiency and throughput.

A highly scalable enterprise solution

There is no limit on the number of rules or teams that can be created and managed with the Q-assign automated assignment solution. Literally millions of tickets can be seamlessly assigned each day, enabling sales and service desks to operate more efficiently, and much more effectively. The impact on productivity, and therefore on the bottom line and on CSAT scores, can be quite dramatic.

The Power of Two

As you can see, Q-assign is a fantastic productivity app in its own right. But Q-assign is perhaps at its most powerful when used in conjunction with its sister app, Email-to-anything (e2a). e2a is an intelligent email automation app which is a bit like Salesforce’s own Email to Case, only much more powerful. e2a can do Email to Lead, Email to Case, Email to Opportunity – in fact email to any object, including custom objects. E2a automatically creates leads, opportunities, cases or tickets from inbound emails. Once those tickets are created, Q-assign can then pick them up and assign them using intelligent assignment rules. When used in combination, e2a and Q-assign make for a formidable partnership, capable of delivering a highly scalable, end-to-end ticketing solution to address any departmental helpdesk challenge.

Both Q-assign and e2a are available to download from the AppExchange, on a free 30-day trial. To make things as easy as possible for you, our highly-regarded support team are on standby to help you configure either product to address your particular use case, should you need the help. If you are ready to jump straight in, please feel free to download Q-assign and/or e2a from the AppExchange now.