What is Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)?

June 08, 2021

Does your contact center ever struggle with too many unfiltered incoming calls at the same time? ACD might just be the right solution to create some order in the chaos.

ACD, short for Automatic Call Distribution, is a telephony service that helps you answer and distribute incoming calls based on specific attributes. 

With ACD, contact centers can prioritize incoming calls and put them in the right queue while waiting for an available agent. 

It can increase customer satisfaction and your team’s effectiveness by optimizing queues, and reducing the time spent on waiting and transfer.

Why You Need ACD And How It Works

With ACD, you can route incoming calls to the most appropriate agent or menu. ACD can be triggered automatically by agents’ availability, the caller’s phone number, history, the current date, or the time of the day.

For example, if the caller’s phone number starts with +52 (dialing code for Mexico), you can redirect them to a Spanish-speaking agent without having to go through the English menu first. 

Or, you can play an automated message on Christmas day that informs customers that your contact center is currently closed.

If you have VIP customers who get special treatment, you can set it up so that the system recognizes their phone numbers and automatically send VIPs to your top agents, without having to wait in the queue like everyone else.

ACD also considers which agents handled the fewest calls on a given day. It then routes the call to them – an excellent way to prevent your agents from overwork and burnout.

On top of these automated triggers, you can pair it with an IVR menu (short for Interactive Voice Response), and let the callers select the most appropriate option manually, via voice command or the buttons on their touchpad.

This option is useful if you have no way to know in advance why a customer might call you. General inquiry? Account issues? Refund request? Let your clients pick the option that applies to them most, and they’ll be sent to the appropriate department.

Not only does turn your contact center into a well-oiled machine, but your customers will also feel happier with your service quality and speed. 

ACD graphic

What You Need To Set Up ACD

To activate ACD options, you need a contact center software that allows you to create a flow for incoming calls. 

To trigger events automatically, start by setting up conditions, that is, “if-then” pairs. For example, “IF the caller’s prefix is +49, THEN forward the call to any of the agents that speak German”. Or “IF the phone number isn’t in the database THEN send them to the pre-sales inquiries department”

The next step is to assign your agents to the specific skills that your contact center needs. That is, add different languages, departments, or levels of experience. This function is the so-called skill-based routing and tells the system who to distribute the call to. 

As we mentioned above, you can also pair ACD up with an IVR menu. An IVR flow lets you add menus to each button on the dial pad, and unlimited submenus under that. With the use of IVR, you can collect customer data. Callers can select the option that suits their needs best, and even add information for verification, so the agent can assist them more effectively.

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