What is ACD?
ACD stands for “Automatic Call Distributor” – a telephony system that recognizes, answers and routes incoming calls to the terminal or agent that is best suited to handle the caller’s needs.
Knowing where to send incoming calls before they are answered is a huge help for companies receiving a large volume of calls. ACDs help companies meet customer needs more efficiently.
Understanding The ACD Routing Strategy
ACDs use algorithms to customize routing strategies for companies based on needs and business goals.
The algorithms are essentially a set of rules or criteria used as instructions for routing incoming calls. The algorithm can be based on a wide range of information including agent availability, agent skill sets, customer information, Caller ID systems, integrated databases and information the caller enters on his or her keypad.
ACD Features: A Break Down
Listed below are all the different capabilities of ACDs and their benefits. Learning ACD features will give you a better understanding of what an ACD is and why this technology is so important.
1. Skill-based Routing
ACDs use rules or pre-defined criteria to route calls to the agent or department that is most skilled for helping the caller.
By routing incoming calls to agents based on caller needs, the communication process is sped up and also produces better results.
2. Integrations with CTI Technology
Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) technology enables agents to make and receive calls directly from their computers. When integrated with CTI, ACDs can match caller numbers with their corresponding customer records, thus enabling the call center representative to reference relevant info on the call. Agents armed with caller information are able to have more productive, meaningful conversations and reach solutions quicker.
3. Rapid Response to High Value Callers
ACDs can use pre-determined info to recognize high value callers, or VIPs, and immediately route them to the best-suited agent. If no agents are available, then the VIP caller is moved to the top of the queue. Knowing which incoming calls are from VIPs is a big bonus for companies who want to keep high value customers just that. A little recognition and thanks can go a long way.
4. Recording Caller Usage Data
Call centers can obtain the caller’s past history of communications, including time spent talking with an agent, time spent in the queue, number of incoming calls, and more.
By recording caller usage information, companies can analyze the data and gain greater insight into who’s calling, what people are calling about, and how they are being serviced.
5. Call Monitoring and Agent Coaching
ACDs have special features where call center managers can participate on calls via call monitoring, call whispering and call barging. With this feature, managers can coach call center agents and improve future calls. Call Monitoring is also beneficial in providing companies with a better understanding of employee performance.
6. Automatic Call Back
The Automatic Call Back feature allows callers to select the call back option so that they don’t have to wait in a queue on the phone. Instead, the caller can return to what they were doing, and the agent will call back as soon as possible. Reducing time spent on the phone can result in increased customer satisfaction.
7. Integrated Auto-Attendants
Callers who want to speak with specific agents can dial their extension automatically, without having to go through another agent.
8. Multiple Call Queues
With an ACD, companies can have multiple waiting queues categorized by teams of agents, departments, or specific numbers that a caller dialed. Categorizing queues for high-volume call facilities helps further streamline the communication process by connecting callers with the right agent more efficiently.
9. Voicemail Routing
If all agents are busy and the queues are full, the ACD will automatically direct callers to voicemail. Companies receiving a high volume of calls can use the voicemail feature to handle the additional calls without having to increase call center staffing.
10. Seamless Functionality for Companies in Multiple Locations
ACDs can route calls to agents working from different locations. This means companies with satellite offices or agents working remotely can still function as one cohesive team.This capability makes it possible for companies to connect employees and offices across the globe without compromising customer service.
11. Integrating PBX Systems
Companies that use PBX systems from different carriers can use an ACD to operate as one cohesive call center.
ACD Routing Methods for Incoming Calls
Companies can implement different routing methods based on staffing and the types of calls that come in.
1. Linear Call Distribution Incoming calls are routed by the order in which they are received.
2. Circular or Rotary Call Distribution Calls are distributed to the agent next in line. In other words, agents are placed in a particular order for receiving calls, so calls get routed to the agent who is behind the agent who took the most recent call.
3. Uniform Call Distribution Calls are distributed to the agent who has spent the least amount of time on calls.
4. Simultaneous Call Distribution Calls are simultaneously presented to all agents, and whoever answers first gets the call.
5. Weighted Call Distribution Calls are distributed according to a weighted configuration. For example, calls could be routed to agents based on a particular skill set.
Why ACDs Matter
Now that you can answer the question, “What Is ACD?” it’s crucial that you know why ACDs matter.
ACDs are an invaluable resource for companies interacting with customers over the phone. By minimizing time spent on the phone for both caller and agent, companies are able to offer better, more efficient services. And that means happier customers.
If your business is struggling to provide incoming callers with the answers they need in an efficient manner, then consider implementing an ACD now.
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