Call Routing: What is it and How Does it Work?

Call routing might not be the first or most important thing that comes to your mind when starting a business. However, when inbound calls are not handled properly, they can quickly become overwhelming for your team and your customers. Customers hitting a dead end, reaching someone's unanswered voicemail, or speaking with the wrong people on their team is any business owner's worst nightmare.

Not to worry. Incoming calls can be easily routed in any way you want. Call routing is a core function of a VoIP phone system that directs calls based on specific terms such as the reason for the call, the day of the week, the time of day, agent skills, and much more.

This article explains how call routing works and provides tips to improve your productivity and performance.

Portrait of businesswoman with headsets using computer at office desk

What is Call Routing?

Based on the rules and criteria you select, call routing automatically answers incoming business calls and routes them to individual extensions or groups.

Call routing ensures that people can always reach the right person or department without dialing a separate phone number. Call routing, also known as Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), works in conjunction with auto attendants.

An example is the simplest way to understand exactly what this means.

Assume you want to increase your business's credit card spending limit. You dial the toll-free number printed on the back of your credit card. The phone system then gives you several options, including opening a new account, receiving account statements, disputing a charge, setting up a travel alert, and requesting a credit limit increase. All you have to do is press the number option or say what you want.

The company's phone system is already aware that you are a cardmember. Instead of general customer service, it directs you to the team that handles credit limit increases. Call routing identified you and seamlessly directed you to the right person who is qualified to address your concerns.

How Does Call Routing Work? 

A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system can route calls in various ways. When someone calls your company, your cloud-based phone system answers the phone, displays an auto-attendant menu, and transfers the call to your team.

The following are some of the criteria used to determine how a call is handled:

  • Time Zones - The caller and the contact center may be in different time zones.
  • Caller ID - The phone number of an incoming call that also provides information about the caller's location.
  •  Auto-attendant selections - Caller input in response to an auto-attendant menu of options.
  • Agent skill level - Using intelligent call routing logic, direct calls to members of your team who are better suited.
  • IVR (Interactive Voice Response) — If the caller expresses their needs, your phone system can route the call using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Various Call Routing Methods

Call routing to staff or agents can happen in a variety of ways. Different call routing rules will suit various business needs. Talk to your phone system provider to find out which ones are available.

Consider the following call routing methods:


This type of call routing ensures that calls are distributed evenly among your team members.

For example, if a call center has five agents, the first call will be routed to the first agent. Following their successful acceptance of that call, the next one is routed to the second agent. The first agent receives a call after the fifth agent. It is an even rotation. 


The regular type of call routing necessitates determining a specific order.

For example, if a call center has three agents, the policy always insists on routing in chronological order. Calls will be routed to the third agent if agents one and two are unavailable.


The call will be routed to the representative who has been available the longest under the uniform type of call routing. They are now at the end of the line until they have the most available time after accepting a call.

Say you have five agents on your team. The first agent took a call 12 minutes ago. Agent number two was contacted 32 minutes ago. The following call would be directed to agent number two.


This call routing type is straightforward: it will ring all of the assigned users' phones simultaneously. When speed is critical to your business, routing calls in this manner is ideal.

For example, if you have three call group members, all of their phones will ring when a new call comes in. The person who answers the phone first receives the call.


This call routing type allows administrators to specify the number of calls that should be routed to each call center agent. It must total 100 percent. This inbound call strategy functions similarly to a sales pipeline for new leads. This call routing method is ideal for onboarding new employees or directing calls to high-performers.

For example, say you receive 100 calls per day and have three live agents. The first agent has an 80% weighted call distribution, the second agent has 15%, and the third agent has 5%. The call routing policy will route 80 calls to Agent 1, 15 calls to Agent 2, and 5 calls to Agent 3.

Call Center Features

Call Routing Benefits

Call routing is more than just a call center feature. Call routing is a valuable feature for businesses of all sizes and industries. Small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, large enterprises with thousands of customers, and support and sales teams benefit from effective call routing.

Essential advantages of call routing include:

  • Improves the customer experience by routing inbound calls to the most appropriate person.
  • Because agents are more productive, they spend less time on hold.
  • Limits phone calls outside of business hours and forwards them to a business partner or other designated form of answering when you are unavailable.

As a result, call routing improves immediate customer satisfaction while increasing revenue-generating activities. Instead of going to voicemail, calls are answered by the right people at the right time.

Call routing is a component of a larger solution — a modern VoIP phone system.

Now that you understand call routing, you must put it into action. Analog phone systems and a jumble of personal cell phones are incapable of keeping up. It's time to upgrade to a business VoIP phone system.

A cloud-based VoIP phone system allows you to manage outgoing and incoming calls via the internet through a simple dashboard. 

VoIP provides incredible value to your business in addition to efficiently directing calls. Want to learn more? Connect with one of our customer service representatives to see how Simplicity VoIP can help your business thrive!

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