Contact centers experience heavy traffic and peak loads varies depending upon the nature of business. With multiple calls pouring in, it is essential to route the calls to the most capable agents and minimize the hold time. This is actually what an ACD in contact center system does. According to Wikipedia, ACD was first appeared in the 1950s and used by the New York Telephone Exchange in the 1970s.
What is Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)?
Automatic Call Distribution solution is the workhorse of the call center software that routes calls to different agents based on agents skillset and call priority. Even though the redirection is automatic, it isn’t random. The system works on a predefined pathway which allows it to prioritize calls as per business requirements. It is mostly skill-based routing that ensures that the customer is connected to the right department.
ACD is an essential solution for inbound contact centres. When there is high volume of incoming calls, it is hard to segment them and manually assign agents. ACD in contact center ensures that all calls get redirected once agents get free from their previous calls. For example, if a customer wants to pay their bill, he or she will be redirected to an agent from the finance department. The redirection based on whatever option the customer chose on the IVR helps in saving ample time and improving the customer service quality.
Features of ACD in contact center
An ACD software doesn’t only allow call routing but also enables few other functions as well. All these functions ensure an efficient customer service system without extra hassle. Some of these functions are:
- Skill-based routing that leads customers to the right agent or department based on previous preferences suggested by the customer itself. The agents are assigned to the specific skills or campaigns and calls are routed to them. The skills can be language specific or process specific or even a combination.
- Call-Back is another feature where a customer when waiting in a queue for long is offered a call-back option. Choosing this option will allow the customer to leave the call and get a call from the agent later.
- Estimated wait times help the caller to understand the typical wait times so that the caller can patiently wait, opt for a callback or even call back later. The estimated wait time is determined by the length of the queue, average handling time and agent availability.
- Assigning customer priority is also possible based on previous customer information available in your CRM. This ensures that your agents offer specific attention to customers who show loyalty or identified as VIP customers.
- First in First Out (FIFO) routing or Last in First Out (LIFO) are widely used routing of calls in the queue. While LIFO is counter intuitive but call centers have deployed LIFO and found better CSAT score.
- Cloud based ACD in contact center ensures that the call is routed to agents in different locations and even if they are working from home.
- Integration with multiple PBX systems helps in integrating multiple systems into one virtual call center.
- Call conferencing helps the agent to engage a senior agent or advisor into the call and can do a smooth transition of the call to another agent.
- Call barging and call whispering functionality is also possible for training agents while they are on call.
Benefits of ACD in contact center
There are multiple reasons for which ACD in contact center is a vital solution for inbound calls. Here are some of its benefits:
Improves Customer Experience With Immediate Response:
The quick response always generates customer’s trust. When you respond to the customer’s call or at least ensure that you will call back, it helps them to have faith in your brand. Doing the very opposite of this will make you lose your customers to negligence and lack of support. Instead, offer an immediate response and create a difference whenever possible. Without an ACD based call center, the agents have to take the call and then transfer to the right agents and make the caller wait. It is almost unthinkable in a modern call center.
Increased First Call Resolution:
When customers are redirected to the right agent on the very first contact, they feel heard. When their issues get resolved easily, they know they can trust your brand. This improves your first call resolution score and improves your customer service quality as well. This also impacts your revenue positively. With improved FCR, you retain most of your customers because they find satisfaction on their first call.
As calls are routed to the right agents, tickets get resolved easily. These calls get done quickly without much dawdling or transferring. This reduces the time spent on call, in return reducing your cost-per-call.
Increased Agent’s Productivity:
Agents no longer have to waste time on wrong calls and spend their days on mindless irrelevant tasks. Instead, ACD routes the relevant calls to the agents making them more active and productive. They spend most of their time resolving issues they are familiar with and improve their skill-set.
Multiple Integration with ACD in contact center For Better Service:
ACD is a dependable tool in isolation but its value can be increased with several integrations. Call center tools like Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) with CRM, live chat, omnichannel and more enhance the value of ACD. With all the touchpoints converging on a single dashboard, your employees will have access to all important customer information. The visualization of customer journey and details of previous interactions will help in resolving customer issues. Knowing the customer, addressing by their first name and knowing the previous discussions (if any) provides the necessary personalization during the interaction. This makes the customer feel relevant as well as ensures better service.
Call center productivity:
ACD in contact center acquires all the call related data like total number of incoming calls, time spent on calls, average handling time (AHT), call waiting time, call abandon rate, idle time, calls in queue and many more stats. These data help in reports and analysis of agent utilization and various KPIs of call center productivity.
Future of ACD in contact center
The future of ACD routing will be augmented by AI. The ACD routing decisions will be augmented by using customer data to determine journey intent. The routing strategies will also consider previous interactions, customer feedback and therefore become more dynamic than rule based ACD.
In conclusion, automatic call distribution is a must-have solution for every contact center. Dealing with high volume incoming traffic will be hard but not impossible. Even if you are understaffed, the right tools assure your customers that they will be supported in no-time.