what is automatic call distribution?

What is Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)?

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Great customer experience has many components, but one of the most important tasks for contact centers is routing customers, regardless of channel, to the best agent possible. Though the name is a bit outdated given that contact centers now handle calls, chats, emails, social, and SMS, an automatic call distributor, or ACD, has been the mechanism for how customers get transferred to agents.

What is Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)?

Automatic Call/Contact Distribution (ACD) is software that enables contact centers to route customer inquiries to the customer support representative who has the skills to best handle their specific needs. ACD software is important for companies who:

  • Handle a large amount of customer service calls
  • Employ a large amount of customer support agents
  • Have multiple contact center locations (whether that’s domestic or international)

What does an Automatic Call Distributor do?

With an ACD system, customers won’t just get pushed to the first agent that’s available. It’ll connect them with the agent best equipped to handle their particular issue. Many automatic call distributor systems aren’t just limited to phone calls either, and include multi-channel support for chat, email, social media, and more.

 What are some common features of Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)?

Aside from the ability to route customers to the appropriate agent, today’s ACDs also have a variety of additional features that’ll help keep efficiency high and costs down. For instance, some ACDs have the ability to estimate queue times and give customers the option of being automatically called back once a qualified agent becomes available.

Inbound/outbound call blending is another popular offering within an automatic call distributor. This feature routes calls to outbound agents whenever inbound call volume surges, ensuring customers are assisted quickly and with as little headache as possible.

Additionally, the more information your agents have on a customer, the better. A quality ACD system will import customer data from company CRMs and pass it along to your agents so they can handle requests with all available information, including previous calls, recurring issues, etc.

 Why would a contact center need Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)?

An automatic call distributor takes a lot of the heavy lifting out of the routing process for contact centers, creating a more enjoyable experience for both customers and agents. The best ACDs on the market today are also extremely easy to operate and don’t require outside technical assistance to get up and running. On top of that, any investments made in ACD software should gradually be offset by the cost-savings from running a much more efficient queue process.