Get Started with Omni-Channel

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Explain how Omni-Channel facilitates multichannel support.
  • Describe how Omni-Channel routes work to the right agent.
  • Describe the different routing types that Omni-Channel supports.

How to Keep a Growing Customer Base Happy

The CEO of Ursa Major Solar, Sita Nagappan-Alvarez, is thrilled that her company is expanding. Its customer base has grown significantly, and with it, so has the number of customer cases and support inquiries. Ursa Major Solar has hired more support agents to manage the workload.

At the same time, Sita hears from customers that they’d like it to be easier to get in touch with customer support. Customers currently contact support by phone, email, or through a web form. Sita’s interested in adding more service channels, such as chat and text messaging. But she’s worried that adding more service channels means creating more business practices and trainings, and that would just make things more complicated.

She’s heard that Salesforce offers a feature called Omni-Channel, and wonders if it can help her implement more service channels, increase the efficiency of her contact center, and make life easier for her support managers and agents.

All Your Service Channels in One Place

Service channels are ways that customers can contact your company. Service channels include, for example, phone, email, web forms, web chat, text messaging, and social media posts to your company. Multichannel support means offering your customers multiple ways to get in touch, so they can connect when and how they want.

Keeping track of all the incoming information and support requests on multiple channels can be difficult—but it doesn’t have to be. Service Cloud lets you bring all of these channels into the Service Console, so it’s easy for agents to follow your business practices and help customers no matter how they contact you. That’s just where Omni-Channel comes in.

What Is Omni-Channel?

Sita learns that Omni-Channel—all channels, get it?—lets you apply consistent business practices to incoming work items, regardless of the channel. And if your org uses bots, you can even route work to a bot instead of an agent.

Salesforce uses the terms work and work items to refer to all the different types of Salesforce records that Omni-Channel routes, such as cases, leads, web chats, custom objects, and more. Omni-Channel takes incoming work items and routes them to the most qualified, available support agents using the routing criteria that you define.

Omni-Channel is flexible and gives Ursa Major Solar several ways to route work items to agents. Let’s take a look at the different routing frameworks.

Type of Routing How It Works Best Use Case
Queue-based routing You assign agents to queues, which typically represent a single skill.

Omni-Channel assigns work items to a queue and then pushes work items to an agent who is a member of that queue.

Works natively in Salesforce.

Best for smaller organizations that support a limited number of products.
Skills-based routing You assign skills to agents and required skills to work item types.

Omni-Channel matches work items to agents who possess all the required skills.

Works natively in Salesforce.

Best for larger organizations that:
  • Have many agents that support many products.
  • Support products that require complex skill sets.
  • Support customers in many countries or across multiple languages.
External routing A third-party routing implementation of your choice routes work items through Omni-Channel to agents via the Salesforce Service Console.

A developer uses APIs to integrate the partner routing application with Salesforce.

Best for organizations that want to route work to the Salesforce Service Console while keeping the routing implementation that the organization currently uses.

Queue-Based Routing

In queue-based routing, you organize your agents into different queues, which generally represent a single skill. A queue can support a particular product or a particular part of the business. For example, you can have a Billing Queue and a Technical Support Queue.

In queue-based routing, Omni-Channel assigns work to a queue. Agents are members of a queue, and Omni-Channel assigns work to agents based on the priority of the queue.

Smaller companies that operate in limited geographies and have fewer product offerings and agents often prefer queue-based routing because it’s simpler to set up.

Skills-Based Routing

If you have agents with different skill sets and abilities and your customers have different needs, skills-based routing can be the best option. In skills-based routing, the contact center routes work to the best agent for the job.

Say a customer case requires an agent who speaks Spanish and is knowledgeable about your company’s billing and returns processes. With skills-based routing, Omni-Channel can assign skills that you create, such as Spanish and Billing, as required skills on the case, and then match the case to an agent with those skills.

Companies that are expanding into different geographies and larger companies with multiple product offerings and services usually prefer skills-based routing because it makes it easier to route work items to agents based on a more sophisticated set of criteria.

External Routing

Perhaps you already have a routing implementation that you like, and you’re adding Salesforce to the mix. You can integrate third-party routing using a partner application with Omni-Channel.

Developers can use Salesforce’s standard APIs (application programming interfaces) and streaming APIs to write code that lets third-party routing systems work with Salesforce. External routing lets your company route work to the Service Console, so that you can keep the routing system that you prefer.

Decide on a Routing Framework

Back at Ursa Major Solar, Sita wants to try out queue-based routing and skills-based routing to see which one works best for her company. Ursa Major can even choose to use both queue-based and skills-based routing at the same time in its org, but not for the same work items. She asks Maria, her trusty Salesforce admin, to try out queue-based routing first.


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