Are you tired of customers being transferred from one agent to another, resulting in frustration and wasted time? 

Don’t worry! Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) can help you manage your calls. 

Automatic Call Distribution improves the functionality of call centers by directing callers to the right agent on their first call.

In this blog post, we will discover how ACD revolutionizes call distribution, improves agent efficiency, and delivers exceptional customer experiences. 

What is Automatic Call Distribution?

What is Automatic Call Distribution

Automatic call distribution (ACD) enables business phone systems to manage calls. When an incoming call comes in, an ACD answers it and routes it to an available agent.

Calls can be distributed according to caller ID, business hours, support level, and IVR selections. Therefore, inbound calls are routed efficiently and without the need for the caller to dial another number in order to reach the correct agent or department.

Using skill-based routing or other distribution methods, automatic call distributors prevent unnecessary transfers. Because it reaches the right agent, handle times can remain low, and customer satisfaction can be improved.

How does ACD work?

An agent or queue is assigned to each caller based on the caller’s identity and reason for calling, and the caller is routed to the agent or queue that is best suited to assist.

There are three primary steps in ACD:

1. Identify the caller and their needs

2.  Manages the call queue

3. Route Customer Calls to the Appropriate Agent or Queue

Identify the caller and their needs

Most virtual phone system providers, contact center (CCaaS) platforms, and unified communications systems offer various features and systems to identify an inbound caller’s needs.

Common Caller Identification Methods:

  • Caller ID: Caller ID displays information about the caller, such as the caller’s name, number, and location. Using this information, you can determine a service, location, or product near them based on their language.
  • Phone number dialed: This identifies the location and user of the caller based on the number they dialed
  • Caller profile and history: Caller profiles provide information about callers’ companies, roles, locations, VIP statuses, communication preferences, and more.
  • CRM information: CRM systems provide detailed customer profiles, including recent purchases, company interaction histories, and sentiment scores derived from recent interactions.
  • IVR menu selections: For example, “Billing” or “Customer Service” inform the caller to contact which department or individual.
  • The time of day: This determines which call center locations are active or have the most agents available

Manages the call queue

The next step is for ACD to place every phone call in the correct queue. Call queues are waiting areas where calls are placed until the next available agent answers them. Customers who wait on hold are in the queue.

Several factors are considered when determining the order of call queues in the automatic call distribution system:

  • Agent skills
  • Caller wait time
  • Customer data from a CRM integration
  • Agent availability (also known as CTI status)

Contact center agents may need to transfer a call to another department in order to expedite the process. To reach the top of the call queue, they use call conferencing rather than transferring the call to the bottom. 

ACDs also utilize active call monitoring to anticipate the availability of customer support agents throughout the day. It tracks computer telephony integration (CTI) states, such as available, idle, or unavailable. 

Route Customer Calls to the Appropriate Agent or Queue

ACD routing ends with call handling and termination. Basically, it connects the caller with a live agent.

A callback option might be available if they are unavailable. It saves their place in the call queue while allowing them to continue working on other tasks. An outbound callback is then placed when the agent is ready to accept an incoming call.

While setting up ACD might seem daunting, it is relatively easy. Depending on your business needs, you can also customize your routing strategy.

Hosted contact centers direct your calls based on your rules and criteria. As we move forward, we’ll discuss the types of incoming call routing options you can use.

Types of  Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)

Your phone system’s call distribution methods and ACD routing style determine how and where an automatic call distributor routes calls.

Types of  Automatic Call Distribution

The following are some of the most common ACD styles offered by virtual phone system providers, UCaaS platforms, and CCaaS solutions:

  1. Skills-based: A skills-based routing system assigns callers to agents according to their qualifications in relation to their issues. 
  • Expertise and skill sets: the most experienced agent will be weighted most heavily
  • Language skills: Calls will be more likely to come to agents with certain language skills
  • Customer satisfaction: Agents with high customer satisfaction scores will speak with more customers
  1. Fixed order: Also known as linear distribution or round robin, fixed order telephone calls are routed to agents in accordance with a predetermined order. 
  2. Idle time: Depending on how long the agent has been idle (without taking a call), calls are routed accordingly.
  3. Simultaneous: The same inbound call is sent to all call center agents within a set ring group at the same time until one agent answers
  4. Time-based: Calls are routed according to the agent and caller time zones and the availability of the agent. To avoid returning to a high number of voicemail messages, administrators can assign calls based on available business hours.

Benefits of ACD systems 

When an issue is obvious, underperforming contact center agents often require more authority to solve it. To effectively handle customer calls, they might also need experience or skills.

Think about how it feels to reach the wrong person when you need help. Every day, it happens on customer calls. After that, consider the customer service agent’s impact on the overall customer experience.

Some of the advantages of Automatic Call Distribution systems are: 

  • Improves communication
  • A higher percentage of first-agent resolutions
  • Reduces operating costs
  • Enhances customer relationships and increases customer satisfaction
  • Enhances the effectiveness of the workforce
  • A faster response time to customer inquiries
  • A reduction in the number of lost customer support tickets and requests
  • Providing customers with shorter hold times
  • Enhances the flexibility of employees
  • An improved customer experience as a result of CRM integration

It’s not just better for the bottom line to optimize your contact center’s call routing, but it also improves customer and employee satisfaction.

What is the difference between IVR and ACD?

There is a difference between ACD and IVR, as ACD is a general telephony routing system, while IVR is a specific feature for routing calls. ACD is a routing system, whereas IVR is a routing feature.

What is the difference between IVR and ACD

IVR menus are an important element of an ACD system. Using IVR menus, customers can indicate why they called. By using this information, the ACD system determines where to route the call.

DifferencesIVRACD
FunctionalityAutomated menu that navigates callersCall routing system that directs calls to the right agent or department
Front-end vs. Back-endFront-end experience for customersBack-end call routing system
Data CollectionCollects user data and empowers self-serviceRoutes call to the appropriate department and available agent
IntegrationIt can be integrated with ACD systemsWorks in conjunction with IVR for a seamless customer experience
Self-service CapabilitiesEnables self-service for callersRoutes call to agents who can address the customer’s needs

How does ACD improve a caller’s experience?

Customers care about speed. Two-thirds of consumers won’t wait longer than two minutes on hold. Providing consistent customer experiences across channels is essential in an omnichannel world.

  • ACD reduces hold times by connecting callers quickly to the most suitable agent.
  • It increases agent productivity and efficiency by routing calls based on various factors such as caller information, IVR configurations, agent availability and skills, and business rules.
  • Customer service is more professional and efficient with ACD since dropped calls and incorrect transfers are reduced.
  • The solution can integrate with other solutions, such as CRM systems, to provide agents with more personalized information about the caller.
  • Customers can benefit from automated callback capabilities that eliminate the need to wait on hold and enhance the overall customer experience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) is a powerful tool that revolutionizes the way calls are managed within a contact center. ACD maximizes productivity by intelligently routing incoming calls to the most appropriate agents. Businesses can provide exceptional customer service with its sophisticated algorithms and features, such as skill-based routing, priority queues, and real-time monitoring. 

ACD balances workload, reduces wait times, and optimizes agent performance. An ACD system is a wise investment if you want to streamline call-handling processes and improve customer service. Make your business more successful by harnessing the power of ACD.

FAQs

What does automatic call distribution do?

Automatic call distribution routes incoming calls automatically to agents who are available to take them. Inbound contact centers use it to sort and manage large volumes of calls without overwhelming their staff.

How are calls distributed in a call center?

Agents who qualify to receive call tickets (calls in your call center) are automatically routed to them with ACD. There are several factors that determine the order in which calls are routed to agents and which agents receive them. Until the appropriate team member is available, calls are held in the queue.

What are the features of ACD?

Some of the features of ACD are:

  • Automatic callbacks
  • Virtual voicemail
  • Call queueing
  • Call monitoring
  • Analytics and reports
  • Omnichannel routing
  • Third-party integrations

How to grow ROI with ACD?

Call routing strategies can enhance the performance of a call center by improving agent efficiency, reducing idle time, and reducing the number of transferred calls with the right call routing strategy. Since each incoming call is routed to the most qualified agent, agents can increase first-call resolution rates.

What are the potential cons of using ACD?

When you use an ACD tool for your small business, you may end up paying for features you don’t need. Your company may need additional features in the future as it grows, so you should consider providers who offer tiered, scalable pricing.

Samir is a master of digital optimization and search engine wizardry. With a keen eye for data and a passion for all things SEO, he specialize in unlocking website's true potential and driving organic traffic to new heights.