What is an ACD?

An automatic call distributor (ACD), is a tool commonly used in the telephony industry. ACD systems are commonly found in any office that handles a large volume of inbound calls. The primary purpose of an automatic call distributor is to route incoming calls to contact center agents or employees with specific skills.

The ACD system utilizes a rule-based routing strategy, based on a set of instructions that dictates how inbound calls are handled and directed. These rules are often simply based on guiding a caller to any agent as fast as possible, but multiple variables may be added, all with the end goal of connecting the customer is with a qualified agent as quickly as possible. Matching and routing literally thousands of calls to the correct agent is a difficult task, and is often done in concert with an interactive voice response (IVR) system to better determine the customer needs.

While its original intent was to route incoming phone calls, today’s ACDs are increasingly sophisticated omnichannel routing engines, capable of routing customer inquiries that are received via email, messaging, web chat, social media and other digital channels.

How does an ACD route interactions?

ACDs commonly rely on a skills-based routing engine that intelligently routes digital and voice interactions to the right agents. An intelligent routing engine matches customer requests to agents based on skills, customer data, real-time contact center performance, customer sentiment and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered behavioral profiles. It consolidates routing across inbound and outbound, digital and voice, agent assisted and self-service channels. The ACD ensures every interaction is routed to the best available agent in the least amount of time.

What are common features of an ACD?

Today, most automatic call distribution (ACD) systems are capable of:

  • Routing of incoming calls and digital interactions to specific agents based on pre-defined criteria
  • Interactions with CRM and other systems via computer telephony integration (CTI) to “pop” relevant information to the agent automatically
  • Multiple call queues
  • Identification and rapid response to VIP callers
  • Reporting on interaction volumes and agent activities
  • Call center overflow to voicemail
  • Integrated auto-attendants allowing callers to reach a specific agent
  • And more

How can NICE help?

NICE CXone has an industry leading automatic call distributor (ACD) that facilitates features such as:

  • Personalized customer experiences – by ensuring that customer records are available for data-driven routing and to personalize interactions throughout the customer journey
  • Connecting customers to the right agents – intelligent routing matches customer requests based on skills, natural language analytics and AI-powered behavioral profiles
  • Empowering business users with a simple and intuitive interface to create an maintain skills-based routing flows based on changing business needs