An automatic call distributor is a telephone system used in contact centers to route your customers’ calls to the most qualified agent on their first call. An ACD system is a tool that can help boost customer satisfaction rates. Customers no longer have to deal with long wait times, call transfers, and having calls dropped.

Customers still like calling in for customer support and a survey found that 65% of people have called a business in the last month, compared with only 22% who contacted a business through social media. The survey also states that 66% of millennials are likely to contact a company by phone. These high rates just go to show that it’s worth investing in a quality phone system.

ACD solutions have a lot to offer a company and are highly configurable for added convenience and allow you to have a system that meets all your contact center needs.

How Does it Work?

Generally, the call distribution process, with an automatic call distribution system, goes through what can be summarized as three steps.

The first step is to identify the purpose of the phone call. An interactive voice response (IVR) system will usually greet customers and provide a menu of options to choose from to direct their call. Using either their dial pad or speech recognition, the IVR will process what the caller’s queries are and that information is transferred to the ACD system.

Before the IVR switches over to the ACD system, it collects customer information so the ACD system can further process how it needs to distribute the call. This can be information such as customer profiles, previous interactions, and more. Caller ID may be incorporated to determine language and location to further help with proper call distribution.

Then the ACD system will take over in the second step, which is called queue management. This is where the ACD system places the call in the appropriate queue, using preset criteria. This criteria is programmed based on how the contact center wants the ACD system to route the calls and this is called a routing strategy. Routing strategies include skills-based routing, simultaneous routing, round-robin routing, time-based routing, and others.

So, for example, with a skills-based routing strategy the ACD system’s criteria for routing inbound calls will be based on what skills the agent has. If the skills match up with what the customer needs then the call will be placed in the queue to go to them. Other variables can be considered as well, again, as set by the contact center. With the appropriate routing strategy, wait times can actually be reduced.

Finally, the third step involves inbound calls being connected to the first available agent, using the criteria just described, and executing the call purpose. When deciding which call routing strategy to use you need to have an understanding of how your contact center functions and what metrics you value the most. This type of automation can make work easier for you and your agents and be one less thing you have to worry about. There are also several benefits incorporated into the workflows of an ACD system.

Workflows with ACD Solutions

ACD solutions can provide pleasant greetings to customers and ensure consistent call service every time. It is also a good system to have in place after hours. Contact centers are usually open during regular business hours, possibly with a couple of extended hours. So, when customers call after a contact center an ACD system can be there to greet them and route them to voicemail so they can leave a message and an agent can get back to them the next day.

Another nice feature of ACD solutions is automatic call back, so customers have the option to select an automatic call back in cases where they could not reach an agent on their first call. So, when a customer chooses an automatic call back and once an agent becomes free, the agent can try calling the customer back. This is a good feature to have for contact centers that deal with a high volume of calls and agents are often busy on the phone, and customers will not be left feeling frustrated and unimportant.

Call monitoring is another built-in function to aid in quality management. Contact center managers can listen in on calls between agents and customers to see if agents can use any coaching to improve performance. Metrics are great for calculating KPIs, but listening to your calls can tell you so much more than that. It can let you identify issues like why calls may be running too long, if call agents have the wrong tone with customers, or if agents do not have the correct knowledge to be able to resolve issues.

Most ACD solution providers will also have their phone systems integrated into their customer relationship management (CRM) systems to give you and agents full control over operations. This allows agents to view all the information they need from a single location and screen. A CRM keeps track of customer data, such as call history, social media accounts, chat history, and purchase history. When agents are talking on the phone then they no longer have to toggle back and forth between multiple screens to be able to assist a customer.

Along with an integrated CRM, ACD solutions usually have omnichannel capabilities to facilitate communications through multiple channels. This means companies can offer other ways, besides just phone support, for customers to connect and interact with the brand. Omnichannel routing supports various channels like email, chat, text message (SMS), and social media for customers to communicate through. Customers do not always want to get support over the phone and this allows them to reach out on their preferred method.

Keep Your Best Customers Happy With ACD

Customers want to be rewarded for being loyal and doing business with a brand on a regular basis. According to Accenture Strategy research, about 48% of customers expect specialized treatment for being a good customer. ACD solutions can actually help a company in keeping these customers satisfied by identifying loyal customers and providing them with rapid service. 

When a loyal customer calls in then the ACD system will immediately route them to the most qualified agent or put them first in line in the queue if an agent is not available right at that moment. With shorter wait times, customers are not agitated any further than they may already be if they are calling in with a problem and an agent can quickly work to resolve the issue. All of this is part of delivering consistent service.

Having happy customers pays off for a brand, as 52% of customers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after they’ve had a positive customer service experience. An ACD solution is definitely worth checking out if you don’t already have one, as it can only serve to benefit you, your agents, and your customers.