ACD (Automatic Call Distribution)

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Working in a call center can be difficult when multiple customers are trying to talk at the same time. Who do you prioritize first? What if there are no agents available to take their calls.

One way to help prevent customer engagement problems is by implementing a good ACD system. So, let’s take a look at what ACD is and its benefits.

What is ACD?

ACD, or automatic call distribution, is a telecommunications system that automatically receives incoming calls and distributes them to an available agent.

The queuing system is designed to sort and manage large volumes of calls without overwhelming the team. It improves customer experiences by connecting customers to capable agents in a timely manner.

When a caller is trying to reach your office, they first must go through an automated attendant (IVR) and then routed to the appropriate person on your staff. The two are often confused with each other but there are key differences between IVR and ACD.

What are the fundamental differences between Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Automated Call Distribution (ACD)?

Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that quickly determines what the caller's needs are before transferring them to a live agent.

IVRs allow customers to use their phone's keypad to quickly choose from a list of different options. Sometimes, the IVR voice will ask you to punch in a number that corresponds with your issue. If you're calling about ordering something, for example, it would prompt you to dial "1." This lets the customer service reps enter information without.

IVR will be used to collect data from your customers, and this information will be sorted to determine which customer needs the quickest response. This system of management can improve customer satisfaction in your company.

How does ACD work?

The call distribution process is an easy 3-step plan.

01.

Caller
identification

02.

Call
queueing

03.

Call
routing
STEP 1. Caller Identification

One thing that call centers do to handle an influx of phone calls is separate the incoming callers into their own individual queues. Usually, a caller ask for help with a particular reason and will be directed to someone who’s capable of handling that issue.

STEP 2. Call Queueing

The waiting list is sorted by the distribution system. It considers a number of factors including:

  • Status
  • Waiting time
  • Query

The system can be programmed to prioritize calls from VIPs, but it also sorts based on other factors mentioned before.

STEP 3. Call Routing

The ACD will make a decision about how to route calls based on your preferred distribution method.

You can adjust the way that calls are distributed to agents in your call center so that customers who need the shortest waiting times for service end up being serviced by people with high-volume skills or urgent needs.

If you’re a call center, you need to figure out which of all the distribution methods will work best for your business.

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Types of call distribution

All distribution methods have their own pros and cons. Speed might be more important for some, while productivity is the key issue for others. If you need to fix these issues in your business, choose a routing strategy that will work best for you.

Rotary call distribution

Rotational distribution is a common approach for distributing the work of an organization's agents. For example, agent 1 takes call 1, agent 2 then handles call 2, and so on until everyone has participated in taking calls. Then the cycle repeats from agent 1 again.

Fixed order call distribution

In this type, the order of agents is pre-established and calls are initially distributed to just the first person on the list. Calls only go to next agent if previous one is busy. This type is good for companies with experienced agents who can resolve matters faster than others.

Simultaneous call distribution

The best routing strategy is when the automatic call distributor (ACD) alerts all agents simultaneously. The first agent who answers will handle the customer.

Talk-time call distribution

If it isn't possible to take breaks, the ACD can set a "talk-time distribution" so that each agent has met their work requirements by the end of these shifts. The system selects an agent with the least amount of talk time and sends them the next call in queue.

Skills-based routing

Skills-based routing is a term for the approach that prioritizes an agent by their score.

  • fluency in language
  • efficiency
  • expertise

These are just a few examples of the different priorities you'll need to consider before assigning skill levels. For example, if one task is more important than others then only assign skilled agents to that task and award higher ratings when needed. This strategy helps ensure callers will be routed directly to the agent with specific skills they're looking for based on their ratings.

Time-based call distribution

Time-based distribution takes into account the availability of your team members. The ACD will ring agents only if they're available to take that call, and if none are open, it will go straight to voicemail for processing later. If you don't want incoming calls being taken during hours when no one is on staff, then this is a good.

Call Center Overflow Tools

Calls quickly overflow a call center when there are not enough agents to handle the inbound phone calls. This frustration will lead customers to hang up, or never reach an agent if they have voicemail set up.

Choose between sending them to a pre-recorded message or setting up an automatic callback for those who remain on hold too long.

Voicemail

It also allows customers to leave a recorded message for our agents. The agent will then assess the issue and try to resolve it, or call the customer back with an update.

Automatic Call Back

Once the agent is available, they can make an automatic phone call to the customer.

Call Monitoring

Quality management is important to maintain the high standards of your team. One way to do this is by call monitoring. This allows a supervisor to listen in your calls, providing support where necessary.

These sessions can also be used for coaching as it grants the supervisor a real-time view on how the agent deals with customers. They can then give the agent advice on how to improve their performance.

The benefits of ACD

After learning about ACD, how can it benefit your call center?

Better management of the workforce

An ACD prevents team members from wasting time by routing calls in an orderly and systematic manner. When every member is required to take the same number of calls, you’ll have fewer people sitting idle and more time for other responsibilities within your company.

Better customer experience

With the help of routing management, customer service agents are able to more efficiently serve customers. Fast distribution ensures that make sure every customer is attended to right away--resulting in higher satisfaction levels.

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