May 20, 2022

What is an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) Solution?

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What is an automatic call distribution system?

Naturally, when customers call into your business they want to be routed to the correct person on the first try. Getting shuffled around from one person to the next can be incredibly frustrating. Arguably, even worse when there are long hold times and customers are not able to talk to anyone at all.

Proper call routing is part of the customer experience and a contact center has a responsibility to provide the highest quality service during every touchpoint, even during those interactions that are automated and take place behind the scenes. 

Phone calls still play an important role in the customer journey, as it is estimated that about 40% of customers still prefer to speak to a real person over the phone to resolve more complicated issues, such as payment disputes. 

Companies may experience high call volumes and might not be equipped to field all those calls in what customers find to be a reasonable amount of time, leaving them upset before they even get in contact with a live agent. 

Agents can also get frustrated with a phone system that is not able to route calls appropriately and slow down their productivity. An easy solution to implement is getting an automatic call distribution (ACD) system. An ACD solution can be a major benefit to the company as a whole and increase customer engagement by fielding calls and connecting customers to the correct agent the first time they call. 

ACD solutions increase efficiency of agents and help raise customer satisfaction rates, along with other KPI metrics, by streamlining the whole process.

Automatic call distribution, explained

An ACD solution is a telephone system that is used in contact centers to handle large volumes of inbound calls and distribute those calls to individual or group extensions. 

The automatic call distribution solution will route calls depending on preset rules and criteria that are determined by the contact center. These rules are often based on specific skill sets or areas of expertise of the agents, so customers are matched with a qualified agent, along with routing calls to an agent as quickly as possible. ACD solutions also can route calls based on factors such as customer profile and their interaction histories. 

Other variables may be added as the contact center dictates, depending on its needs. So, for example, a non-English speaking customer may be routed immediately to an agent who can also speak that language. 

ACD solutions increase efficiency of agents and help raise customer satisfaction rates, along with other KPI metrics, by streamlining the whole process.

What is a cloud-based ACD solution?

A cloud-based ACD solution is a popular choice in today’s digital age, as it offers an even higher level of convenience for contact center agents than traditional ACD solutions. A hosted ACD solution is fully integrated into your cloud-based contact center software to provide multiple functions. 

Since the ACD system lives in the cloud, it can go mobile. Today’s hosted ACD solutions give contact centers the freedom to stay in the traditional office or move to remote work, however, their company operates. The ability to move operations to remote work is particularly appealing with changing expectations in the workplace. It also allows companies to scale their business and open more locations, whether nationally or even globally, along with hiring more employees. 

Cloud-based ACD solutions also bring omnichannel routing to the table, which allows customers to connect with an agent from multiple channels, depending on their preferences. Omnichannel routing can route customer queries from channels such as email, chat, text message (SMS), and social media. Offering more than one way for customers to contact your business is essential these days. After all, 66% of customers have used at least 3 different communication channels to contact customer service. 

A hosted ACD solution also has the ability to collect and leverage data for a better customer experience. Customer data can give a more comprehensive view of customers so you can better provide services to fit the needs of customers.

ACD solution vs. IVR

Automatic call distribution systems and interactive voice response actually work in conjunction to take calls, understand the call purpose, and then route it to the correct department/person. An IVR system works specifically by providing customers with a menu of options to select using either their dial pad or speech recognition software. An example of an IVR prompt would be “press 1 to speak with a customer service representative.”

The IVR system collects the customer data to distinguish what the user’s query is and the type of help they need. Then the IVR system hands this information off to the ACD system, which takes it to know how to distribute the call accordingly. The ACD system will also use the preset criteria discussed above to choose the agent to send the call to. 

When these tools are used together, then they really optimize the workflow and save time and effort for both customers and agents. 

ACD systems are able to utilize multiple routing strategies to meet the needs of your team and contact center.

Types of ACD routing methods

ACD systems are able to utilize multiple routing strategies to meet the needs of your team and contact center. These routing strategies include:

  • Skills-based Routing: This is also known as weighted routing and it is the type of routing that is used for sending calls to specific agents based on what skills they have. Some of these skills include language proficiency, expertise, response time, and productivity levels. The specific skills are set by the manager and it can be helpful for new hires. So calls may be routed to more experienced agents, giving fewer calls to new hires while they adjust to the job and learn how to properly take calls and resolve issues. 
  • Simultaneous Routing: This is often the most popular choice in contact centers to be able to lower customer waiting times. This method involves calls being routed to all agents so that all of the phones ring until someone picks up. Whoever answers first is the one to take the call. As long as there are enough free agents available at any given time then it is an ideal choice because it lowers the chances that a customer’s call will go unanswered and go to voicemail.
  • Round Robin Routing: This is a fairly simple method of routing calls, but not necessarily the most efficient. Also known as fixed order routing, it is a routing strategy where inbound calls are distributed in a fixed order and go around in a loop. Agents are arranged in a specific order on a list. So calls are sent to agents based on what order they are on the list. If the first person in order is already on the call then the call will go to the next agent on the list and calls will keep going until it reaches the end, if all the agents are busy, and loops back around to the beginning of the list.
  • Time-Based Routing: This routing strategy is when calls are only routed to agents based on availability during a certain time period in the day. So, employees’ schedules can be taken into account and calls will not go to their phone if they are no longer scheduled to work for the day. It can also route based on when the contact center is closed or is no longer taking calls for the day and can send customers to voicemail.

An ACD solution is truly an essential customer service tool that can benefit any company. Ensure that your customers always talk to the right person from the start and are kept satisfied so they build brand loyalty. 

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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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