What Is an ACD in a Call Center?
Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) system is a telephony system that routes inbound calls to the most qualified agent based on different parameters (like business hours, interactive voice response system (IVR) selection, the longest available agent, etc.)
If all agents are busy at the moment, ACD puts callers in the queue. As a rule, automatic call distribution software “cooperates” with the Interactive Voice Response system in routing inbound calls to the most appropriate agent. In this case, the IVR menu serves to identify the reason for customers’ queries, using voice prompts (“press one for support, two for sales”, etc).
When an ACD is crucial in your call center? It gives necessary assistance in situations like:
- When you need to handle call peaks;
- In case of call overflow (when all agents are busy and queues are full);
- When you want to handle incoming calls outside your business hours.
ACD is a great assistant in a high volume of calls or when customers lose their temper. Let us figure out how it works.
ACD Call Center System or IVR System and What’s the Difference?
These two systems skyrocket customer experience and generate revenue almost automatically. However, there are a few crucial differences that you must know. First of all, the purpose of IVR is to collect data from a customer or provide necessary assistance on demanding issues.
Through programmed press key mechanisms, customers achieve valuable information, purchase goods or services, connect with the sales team, etc.
On the other hand, an ACD system routes customers to the most relevant agent or department in a call center, based on their history of calls, account, time zone, time of day, etc. Voiptime Cloud's all-in-one software encompasses both IVR and ACD systems to satisfy all of the customer's demands.
How Does ACD Work?
The ACD working process is pretty simple though, the software identifies callers and routes them to agents based on programmed routing logic. Most of all, you will be interested in the three main steps of ACD processes:
- Caller information and identification. Through IVR, customers make a few easy actions to identify themselves and give an idea to the system about their needs. Nowadays, most of the obvious requests are solved with the help of the IVR system without involving a real agent. However, the more versatile issues, customers route with ACD to live agents. All calls are distributed to the most relevant person or department based on purpose, location, and language.
- Call queueing. Each call center queue of customers is customized to distribute calls based on the request, status, and waiting time. As an example, VIP customers or demanding requests are routed to agents faster.
- Call routing. It’s up to you to manage routing logic for your customers. One of the ways to organize your ACD routing strategy is to route customers to relevant agents as fast as possible or based on the urgency of the queries.
Most of all, you need to be concerned about preventing the clogging of customers in the queue because of the high calling volume. And resolve urgent or demand queries in a quick and professional manner. As a result, you generate more sales and increase customer satisfaction rates.
What Is a Call Waiting Queue?
Call queuing is used in inbound and blended contact centers. When a customer contacts your company while all agents are busy, an ACD system puts them in a call queue until some of the agents become available.
As a pre-defined rule, a caller is serviced by intro-music and achieves estimated waiting time announcements. It's up to them to wait for the connection with the agent, schedule a callback, or try again later.
What are the benefits of call queuing? Firstly, callers have easier access to telephony services. Being put in the call queue and knowing exactly how long they will wait, it's up to them to decide their actions.
Announcements about estimated waiting time show them that your company values their time, thus increasing customer satisfaction. Secondly, call queuing is beneficial for call centers as well. It makes their call flow more organized and smoother.
Adding new agents, if necessary, decreases the workload of those agents that are constantly connected to this queue. This crucial feature is useful during time-pressed calling peaks. For example, when you are launching a new inbound marketing campaign.
Why Is Call Queue Management Important
Proper call queue management can give your call center the following benefits:
- Increased customer satisfaction. Nobody wants too long waiting in the queue. Customers need quick responses to their queries. The longer they wait, the less satisfied they are. That’s why average time in the queue is one of the crucial call center KPI's. Metrics maintain a high level of customer satisfaction in both ordinary and time-pressed environments.
- Reduced abandon call rate. The longer your customers wait in the call queue, the more likely they hang up or...fall asleep while waiting. And there’s always a chance they’ll quit and go to your competitors. Professional call queue management will help you to avoid high abandon call rates and handle more calls per shift.
- Improved First Call Resolution. Call centers strive to solve as many queries as possible during the first conversation. High First Call Resolution rate (FCR) is one of the signs of top-notch customer service. If customers are routed to the proper agents from the first call, they're likely to fix their issue within one call.
- Reduced costs. It is you who pays for inbound calls and toll-free numbers, so poor call queuing may quickly drain your budget. On the other hand, such features as callbacks from the queue can reduce the total number of minutes you consume and save costs. Your agents will call customers back that will cost your company less than the inbound toll-free rate.
The Most Common Types of Incoming Phone Call Distribution
Calls can be distributed in several ways, depending on your call center's specifics. The most common automatic call distribution features are:
Fixed Order Call Distribution
These types of calls are routed to a specific group of agents in a predetermined order, starting with the same agent every time. If an agent is busy, a call passes to the next agent on the list.
The process continues until an answer from a free agent. Therefore, agent B can answer the call only if agent A is busy. This type of call distribution allows you to prioritize some agents over others.
Round-robin Call Distribution
This distribution method of call routing is a continuous loop. For example, we have 4 agents in the group. When agent 4 has taken a call, and the next call passes to agent 1. And thus restart the cycle all over again. Therefore, calls are distributed, so no agent is overbusy with call flow.
Simultaneous Distribution (Ring Groups)
A call is routed to all available agents at the same time. The first person, who has picked up the phone, handles the call. This method is considered obsolete and the worst among all others.
It looks like that results in quicker response time and creates a competitive atmosphere, but it’s not quite true. In reality, your agents will have a different workload because some of them will inevitably pick up more calls than others.
Furthermore, it is hard to endure this constant ringing in the office. Such an atmosphere may easily make your employees overbusy and cause burnout.
In this case, the Automatic Call Distributor detects the longest available agent (who remains idle for the longest time) and routes calls to them. This method ensures that every agent receives their fair share of calls. By using it, you will prevent your employees from overloading and optimize their working hours.
Priority-based Call Distribution
This method refers to skill-based or weighted call distribution. Every agent receives a weighted score based on your criteria (experience, sales proficiency, etc). A system will route calls to the agents based on this assigned weight. The method allows you to identify the most suitable agent to handle a call and in a way to improve the first call resolution.
Advantages of Using an ACD
How can your business benefit from using Automatic Call Distributor? Let us try to outline the top advantages of it.
Identification and Rapid Response to VIP Caller
Identification of VIP persons and efficient response to their needs is one of the top priorities in the ACD system. Process of identifying customers based on detecting premium number, history of interaction, account, etc.
As a result, satisfied VIP customers make more sales and are likely to stay with a company that provides a fast response to their needs.
Companies with PBX Systems from Multiple Carriers to Function as One Virtual Call Center
PBX system designed for basing the needs of a call center, such as basic inbound and outbound calls. Using PBX systems with multiple carriers is an activity that remains in some cases. If you have an infrastructure with IT professionals and telephony engineers who maintain and upgrade the PBX network.
However, this is a time and money-consuming activity that small and mid-sized businesses can’t afford these days. On the other hand, cloud contact center software encompasses PBX features (including inbound ACD) in one interface, without expenses on infrastructure and maintenance.
Improved Customer Experience
Using an ACD system can significantly improve your customer experience. Intelligent call queuing reduces waiting time to a minimum by connecting with agents as fast as possible.
If a customer really can’t wait, they may request a callback, and a system will call them back later by connecting to the relevant agent. This feature shows them that phrases like “your call is important for us” aren’t just word of mouth.
ACD systems are especially effective during time-pressed peaks to manage all of the customers possible. They are able to evenly distribute calls between your call center locations so the call center will meet SLA targets.
In case of call overflow (when the call volume exceeds the call center capacities), Automatic Call Distributor routes some calls to another call center until the problem is solved. Also, the system can route your incoming calls outside your business hours to an outsourcing call center or to voicemail.
Elevated Center Performance
An efficient Automatic Call Distributor can improve your agents’ performance. Your employees will be able to jump right into the problem-solving mode because a client’s problem is identified as early as they interact with the IVR.
There is no guarantee that agents can fix all the customer issues during the first contact. Here's where proper call distribution significantly increases your first call resolution rate. As a result, it reduces the agent's idle time and the number of transferred calls.
The ACD reports contain detailed information on your inbound lines. You can see all incoming calls that reached your call center (processed and missed calls), the time spent by a caller on the IVR and in the call queue before reaching the agent, and the call processing time by the agent.
It is also possible to track if your agents meet SLA targets (the percentage of incoming calls that operators have answered within the time that does not exceed a preset target response time). Using these reports, you can get valuable insights on how to optimize your workflow.
Specific Features of an ACD from Voiptime Cloud
Universal Queue for All Channels
Customers’ requests from different channels (call, email, web chat) are put in one queue for fast and effective processing and answering. You can distribute tasks between agent teams and determine the processing priorities for each channel.
Intelligent Call Routing
Voiptime Cloud ACD software has an efficient call distribution algorithm that enables you to distribute incoming calls to agents who work with incoming lines and outgoing telemarketing campaigns. You can handle all the call volume by distributing the load between all available call center agents, thus increasing the efficiency of your call center.
The automatic call distribution system manages all incoming calls, queues, agent teams, and individual agents by redirecting the incoming call to the first available inbound agent.
For more efficient customer service, Voiptime Cloud software identifies the customer as early as they are on the IVR and routes them to the queue that is engaged in servicing exactly their subject matter. Furthermore, the automatic call distribution algorithm routes calls to the most competent agents. And if all agents in the appropriate team are busy, pass calls to the first available agent from the team that is on priority.
The Voiptime Cloud call center software allows using several algorithms for processing incoming calls:
- if you have a single incoming line and it serves a single project, it's possible to distribute calls to teams of agents or individual agents depending on their competence;
- if you have a single incoming line, yet it serves several projects, then it's possible:
- distribute calls to groups of projects without the possibility to add agents from the neighboring team;
- distribute calls with the possibility to add agents from the neighboring team without taking into account the team’s priority, with or without taking into account the agents’ competence.
Fig. ACD monitoring in Voiptime Contact Center.
The ACD system from Voiptime Cloud supports the efficient mixing of operators from different groups to service different inbound calls from several incoming lines and different queues and allows you to reach a service level of 90% of calls answered within 5 seconds.
If the number of incoming calls exceeds the call center’s capabilities it's possible to transfer part of the calls to another contact center or contact center agent, which will handle this part of the call volume until it is normalized.
Call Monitoring, Reporting, and Coaching of Agents
As a remote contact center, you want to control every action of your agents. You need real-time insights about calls, messages, working time, and sales. It’s an achievable goal to maintain a high level of customer experience, control your agents, evaluate and mentor them absolutely remotely.
The Voiptime Cloud software gives you astonishing options to manage the workflow of the call center without losing a single additional dollar.
How to Overcome the Highest Volumes of Calls?
From time to time, your call center meets an extremely high calling volume from customers, and it's hard to handle all calls and queries simultaneously. To overcome this issue and deliver a 5-star experience anyway, you have the option to give a callback or receive a voicemail. Take a look at both of them:
- Callback. If your customers are busy and can’t wait in a queue, they have an option to use a callback function to receive the service as soon as possible. After receiving a callback request, relevant agents in a call center make a callback, based on the possible needs of the customer.
- Voice mail. In some cases, customers are busy or don’t want to achieve immediate callbacks. They leave voice mails instead of callbacks, so agents can listen to a message and solve it without calling.
Make smart cloud-based call routing software your core ally in providing a 5-star customer experience and revenue velocity. Astonish your customers with fast and effective resolving of their solutions without wasting any additional time or money.
Today’s situation is the best time to energize your business with bold and profitable decisions.
ACD systems are 5-star assistants that optimize your call center workflow and avoid long queues of frustrated customers. Proper use guarantees great customer satisfaction and revenue velocity.
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Published on 12/11/2020, updated on 08/16/2021