When it comes to customer service, the customer’s experience is always the top priority. Especially when you consider that 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company. That’s why contact centers use automatic call distribution (ACD) systems to manage their calls. ACD systems help to ensure that each customer receives the best possible service by routing their call to the most qualified agent. In this blog post, we outline what automatic call distribution is and how it works in a contact center. We also take a look at some of the different call distribution methods that are available.
Table of contents
- What is automatic call distribution (ACD)?
- How does automatic call distribution (ACD) work?
- How does an ACD route interactions?
- What are the different call distribution methods?
- What’s the difference between ACD and IVR?
- The benefits of automatic call distribution (ACD)
- What are common features on an ACD?
What is automatic call distribution (ACD)?
Automatic call distribution (ACD) is a system that contact centers use to manage their inbound and outbound calls. ACD systems are designed to route calls to the most qualified agent based on criteria set by the contact center. ACD systems are designed to improve the customer experience by ensuring that each caller receives prompt, efficient service.
How does automatic call distribution (ACD) work?
When a caller contacts a contact center, the ACD system will first assess the caller’s needs. The system will then route the call to an available agent who is best suited to handle the call. This process ensures that each caller receives prompt, efficient service.
How does an ACD route interactions?
ACDs are often based on a skills-based routing engine that skillfully routes digital and voice conversations to the appropriate agents. An intelligent routing engine matches consumer requests to agents based on their competence, customer data, real-time contact center performance, customer sentiment, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered behavioral profiles. It combines inbound and outbound routing across digital and voice channels as well as agent assisted and self-service pathways. The ACD ensures that every communication is sent to the best available agent in the shortest amount of time possible.
What are the different call distribution methods?
There are several different methods that can be used for automatic call distribution. The most common method is skills-based routing, which routes calls to agents based on their skills, qualifications, knowledge, or domain expertise.
Other methods include:
- Geographic routing: Routes calls to agents based on the caller’s location.
- Customer profile data: Routes calls to agents based on the customer’s profile data, such as their past purchase history or demographic information.
- Caller ID: This method routes calls to agents based on the caller’s phone number.
- Agent availability: Routes based on which agents are online and available to interact with customers.
- Queue statistics: Routes calls to agents based on queue statistics, such as the number of calls in queue or the average wait time.
- Time of day: This method routes calls to agents based on the time of day.
What’s the difference between ACD and IVR?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that IVR (interactive voice response) and ACD (automatic call distribution) are the same technology. While they’re both used to improve the customer service experience, they are different.
IVR is used to provide customer self-service opportunities. Interactive voice response is a system that allows customers to interact with a company using their voice. IVR systems are typically used to prevent the need for callers to connect with a live service representative altogether. With IVR, companies can provide customers with product or service information without customers needing to connect with an agent.
ACD, on the other hand, is a system that contact centers use to connect inbound calls with customer service agents. ACD systems are designed to route calls to the most qualified agent based on criteria set by the contact center.
For example: An IVR call menu may prompt you to enter your birth date to access account information, “press 1” to pay a bill online, or enter another identifying number to route you to specific information.
An automatic call distribution system may use an IVR system to collect necessary information to ensure that a caller is connected to the right agent. But an ACD system isn’t just an IVR call menu.
For example: After listening to menu options, you enter the number “3” to purchase a product or get more information on a product. You’re then prompted to press the pound key. Based on the information you provided as well as factors like the time of day and your geographical location, an ACD system will route your call to a qualified sales agent versus an unrelated department.
Both ACD and IVR systems can be used to improve the customer service experience. However, it’s important to understand that they are two different technologies.
The benefits of automatic call distribution (ACD)
There are several benefits of using automatic call distribution in a contact center. ACD systems help to improve the customer experience by ensuring that each caller receives prompt, efficient service. Additionally, ACD systems can help to reduce call wait times and increase first call resolution rates.
- Improved customer satisfaction: Customers are more likely to have a positive experience when they are routed to the most qualified agent.
- Decreased abandoned calls: When customers are able to reach an agent quickly, they are less likely to hang up before their call is answered.
- Increased first call resolution: With ACD, agents have access to the information they need to resolve the customer’s issue on the first call. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and decreased call volume.
What are common features on an ACD?
Here are some common features that you may find on an automatic call distribution system:
- Call queues: Calls are placed in a queue and then routed to the next available agent.
- Call monitoring: ACD systems allow managers to monitor calls in progress and listen to recorded calls.
- Reporting: ACD systems generate reports that can be used to assess contact center performance.
- Agent login/logout: Agents can log in or out of the ACD system as needed.
- Skills-based routing: This is the most common type of call routing used in ACDs. Calls are routed to agents based on their skills and qualifications.
When used correctly, automatic call distribution can be a powerful tool for contact centers. By routing calls to the most qualified agents, ACD systems help to ensure that each customer receives the best possible service. LiveVox offers a highly configurable automatic call distributor that is unified across channels and runs on the cloud, allowing you to route to any agent regardless of location, whether inside your contact center or working remotely.