ACD Routing Best Practices – LIFO vs FIFO

A few years ago, one of our customers spoke at our User Conference about a change they made to how they were routing calls within their contact center – and after they made that change, their customer satisfaction ratings greatly increased! What did they do that had such a huge impact?

The speaker said that instead of routing them through the normal First-In-First-Out (FIFO) methodology, they switched it up and started routing the calls through a Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) methodology.

I remember sitting in the audience thinking, "Hold on. Did I just hear that correctly? Are you serious? You are really giving higher priority to the most recent caller versus those that have been waiting the longest?!" Needless to say, the speaker had my attention.

The speaker went on to explain that after measuring their customer satisfaction rates after changing their routing methodology over to LIFO, their numbers went up! Why? Here’s how the speaker summed it, as best as I can remember, in my own words:

"If you don’t know the truth, your perception is all you have to go on."

For the callers that called in last, they got answered first and they felt like they were getting right through. For those that called in first and had to wait, they only knew that they waited before they were helped and assumed that their wait time was normal – they knew no different. So, the overall perception was that while sometimes you would have to wait, other times you could get right in and get assisted.

When compared to the FIFO routing methodology, the perception was just the opposite – at all times you knew that when you called into the contact center you were gonig to have to wait.

See the difference?

I wonder, though, if there are any caveats to running this routing methodology in all contact centers. Is average talk time an issue? What about call volume? Seasonality spikes? Do any of these affect your ability to deploy LIFO routing?

What I’d like to hear back from you about is this:

  1. Have you ever used this routing methodology? And if so, what happened to your customer satisfaction ratings?
  2. I know that there is math behind this and I would love to know it. If you have the numbers to draw this out for us all showing how, mathematically, you can provide better customer service by using LIFO vs FIFO, I would love to see it!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Tim Passios