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Unlocking the Power of Chat Routing: A Comprehensive Guide

In the fast-paced world of customer service, effective chat routing has become a critical component for businesses aiming to enhance the quality and efficiency of their customer interactions. For companies with multiple customer-facing teams, devising a robust chat routing strategy can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Correctly implemented chat routing can lead to significant improvements in the speed and quality of conversations with customers. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of chat routing, discussing what it is, its advantages, and how to plan and execute chat routing strategies using the powerful Respond.io Workflows Module as a chat router.

What is Chat Routing?

At its core, chat routing is the process of determining which team within a company should be responsible for handling a customer’s conversation. The decision on routing depends not only on the specific needs of the customer but also on how the company organizes its various teams and departments. Chat routing is a dynamic and flexible approach, primarily designed for managing instant messaging interactions, where real-time decisions are critical to customer satisfaction.

Chat Routing vs Ticket Routing

Traditionally, many businesses have utilized ticketing systems to manage customer inquiries and concerns, particularly via email. However, ticketing systems have some inherent downsides when compared to chat routing, particularly in terms of response times and customer satisfaction.

With ticket routing, customers are often required to submit a form or email and then wait for an agent to pick up and respond to the ticket. This waiting period can be frustrating for customers in need of immediate assistance, leading to potential dissatisfaction.

Furthermore, ticket routing lacks real-time communication. Unlike chat routing, which enables rapid back-and-forth exchanges through instant messaging channels, ticket-based systems may not offer the immediacy required to address complex or urgent issues.

Chat router vs ticket router: A comparison

Moreover, ticket routing primarily relies on email, which may not seamlessly support multichannel communication in the same way that chat routing does. Many ticketing systems were originally designed for traditional communication channels like email and may not integrate well with social media or instant messaging platforms. This limitation hinders the ability of customers to reach out through their preferred channels.

Since email interactions are generally slower and less conversational, ticket routing via email is not the most efficient approach for addressing simple inquiries that require swift resolution. In fact, it can potentially slow down the overall issue-resolution process.

How Chat Routing Works

When customers encounter a query or require assistance, initiating a chat conversation through a company’s website, app, or instant messaging channel is often as simple as clicking on a chat widget or a chat link. The process is intentionally user-friendly to ensure that customers can reach out for help without encountering unnecessary obstacles.

Some chat routing systems gather basic information from customers before routing them to a specific team. Details such as the customer’s name, email address, or order number play a vital role in personalizing the conversation and, more importantly, in ensuring successful routing.

In cases of returning customers, this information can be automatically retrieved from the business’s database, saving both agents and customers valuable time.

How chat priority routing works

Once the contacts are identified, the business’s routing logic comes into play. Some companies will automatically route customers based on the provided data, while others may allow customers to choose their path through interactive menus, enhancing the customer’s sense of control.

Chat Routing Benefits

Implementing chat routing in a business offers a myriad of advantages. Firstly, it optimizes team utilization, making customer-facing operations more cost-effective by efficiently managing human resources. This optimization becomes particularly important as a business grows, allowing large companies to customize their routing strategies for multiple specialized teams, ensuring that conversations are routed to experts in their respective fields.

Additionally, chat routing ensures a personalized customer experience. Returning or VIP customers can be directed to specialized teams, fostering stronger relationships with loyal clients.

Chat routing benefits

One of the most significant benefits of chat routing is the reduction in conversation resolution time. By quickly directing customers to the right team and agent, issues are addressed promptly, resulting in higher first-contact resolution rates and improved customer satisfaction.

Overall, when routing logic is correctly applied, chat routing significantly improves the customer experience. Faster and more relevant interactions play a crucial role in increasing customer satisfaction by promptly and efficiently addressing their needs.

Popular Chat Routing Methods

Chat routing methods can vary based on a company’s unique needs and customer interaction strategies. The choice of routing method should align with the nature of the business and its customer-facing teams.

Before selecting a specific routing method, it is crucial to identify the customer-facing teams involved and define when to route conversations to one team versus another.

1. Chat Route Based on Team Function

Companies that adopt this method typically handle customers from similar locations or those who speak the same language(s). In such scenarios, the organization’s work is organized based on agent functions, with minimal constraints related to language or time zones.

Chat router based on team function

There are two primary approaches to routing conversations based on team functions. First, using a chat menu, contacts in the conversation thread can be asked which team they want to talk to, often achieved through a multiple-choice question. Alternatively, agents can ask contacts for their email and determine which team should attend to them by querying their customer data bank. In both cases, the contact will proceed along the branch of the desired function, ensuring a tailored experience.

2. Chat Route Based on Contact Language

For companies with international audiences or operating in regions where multiple languages are spoken, routing conversations based on the contact’s preferred language is crucial. Customers often seek support in their language of choice, making this method highly effective.

Chat router based on contact language

Similar to function-based routing, the contact’s preferred language can be determined by asking a question. In cases where there have been previous interactions with the contact, the contact’s language preference can be saved as a data value to avoid repetitive questions. The number of branches should align with the number of languages that the company supports, ensuring seamless language-specific support.

3. Chat Route Based on Team Shifts

Some companies receive messages at different times of the day due to international customers or varying business hours. In such cases, team shifts come into play to ensure that customer-facing teams are available during the hours that matter most to customers.

Chat router based on team shifts

Shift-based routing focuses on the company’s operational hours rather than customer data values. Branches are created based on team shifts, allowing contacts to be routed to the currently active team based on the time of the conversation. This approach is especially useful for companies with international audiences.

Leveraging the Respond.io Workflows Module

To execute effective chat routing strategies, businesses need an advanced and user-friendly automation builder. The Respond.io Workflows Module is designed to simplify complex business operations, including chat routing. Its capabilities enable businesses to create, customize, and execute routing strategies with ease.

Chat Routing with respond.io: The Comprehensive Guide

Respond.io, a versatile platform designed to streamline communication for businesses of all sizes, offers a robust Workflows Module that enables chat routing. This feature, available to all users, regardless of their subscription plan, is a powerful tool to automate and optimize customer interactions. In this guide, we will delve into the basics of chat routing using respond.io, providing an in-depth understanding of the process.

Introduction to Chat Routing

At its core, chat routing is the process of directing incoming messages from customers to the most appropriate teams or agents. It ensures that customer queries are handled efficiently, enhancing the overall customer experience. Respond.io simplifies this process by offering a user-friendly Workflows Module, which empowers businesses to create and customize chat routing workflows.

Chat Routing: The basics

The Three Essential Steps of Chat Routing

A successful chat routing strategy can be broken down into three fundamental steps:

Step 1: Ask a Question

The first step in chat routing involves asking a question to the contact. This is crucial because it helps determine which team or department the contact should be directed to. Respond.io provides a variety of question formats, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your needs. In the case of our example template, a multiple-choice question with two discrete values, “Talk to sales” or “support,” is used.

Step 2: Save the Answer

Once the contact responds to the question, their answer needs to be saved. The method of saving the answer depends on whether the information will be used only for the current conversation or for future interactions. For instance, if you require the contact’s email address for future identification, it should be saved as a Contact Field. However, in cases where the answer is relevant only for the current conversation, dynamic variables are more appropriate.

Step 3: Build a Branch

The final step in chat routing involves building branches. The number of branches you create should correspond to the number of customer-facing teams or departments you want to include in your chat routing strategy. In the example provided, we have two pre-built branches based on the choice of “sales” or “support.” To route contacts effectively, configure specific conditions for each branch using the saved dynamic variables. Additionally, implement your agent assignment strategy to assign contacts to available agents.

Expanding Your Chat Routing Techniques

While the basic chat routing steps we’ve discussed are essential, more complex scenarios may require additional setup. Respond.io offers several advanced techniques to handle a variety of routing situations:

Multi-Condition Branching

As your business grows, you may need to route contacts based on multiple conditions. This involves building branches with two or more conditions, allowing for more sophisticated routing strategies. For example, you can route a contact to an English-speaking sales team or a Spanish-speaking support team using multi-condition branching.

Routing for New and Returning Customers

Distinguishing between new and returning customers is crucial for tailored customer service. New customers often require data enrichment, while returning customers need swift and efficient routing to the appropriate team. The “Routing: New & Returning Contacts” template provided by respond.io is specifically designed for this purpose and can be customized to fit your team structure.

Prioritizing High-Value Customers

To enhance customer experience, some businesses prioritize VIP contacts. By creating a separate route for these high-value customers, you can allocate the most skilled agents to cater to their unique needs. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also strengthens customer loyalty.

Handling Routing Failures

Not all contacts will fit into predefined routing conditions, leading to routing failures. Respond.io’s Workflows Module includes an “Else” branch to manage such situations. You can use this branch to assign contacts to a supervisor for manual routing, ensuring no inquiries fall through the cracks. This not only resolves immediate routing issues but also offers opportunities for workflow improvement based on common routing incidents.


In a world where customer satisfaction is paramount, chat routing has emerged as an indispensable tool for businesses seeking to optimize their customer-facing operations. By efficiently directing customer inquiries to the right teams and agents, chat routing not only reduces resolution times but also enhances the overall quality of customer interactions.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the concept of chat routing, its benefits, and the popular methods used by businesses to streamline customer communication. Moreover, we’ve highlighted the importance of using advanced tools like the Respond.io Workflows Module to execute these strategies effectively.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, mastering the art of chat routing will become increasingly critical for companies aiming to deliver exceptional customer service and stay ahead in their respective industries. Visit our website today!


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