Automatic call distribution systems are frequently used in the telephony industry. They will generally be used in contact centers expecting high volumes of inbound calls. They are automated systems designed to help callers reach the proper department and/or agent for their needs as quickly as possible. These days, most systems use acd software, though some organizations may still use legacy systems. Modern systems will also not be limited to taking calls and can connect through web chat, text, SMS, and a variety of other methods.
An ACD system uses a set of rules to route calls. The rules generally dictate to connect to agents quickly, although requests may be sorted based on priority, department, or other predetermined factors. Individual organizations are likely to add variables to determine the reason for the call so that callers may be more efficiently assisted. ACD systems are often paired with other technologies, such as Interactive Voice Response, and can be integrated into larger software packages.
ACD systems can route contacts in a few different ways. Firstly, there are the traditional systems that are limited to receiving voice calls. These systems were primarily used before the year 2000, and some organizations continue to use them.
Most modern contact centers, however, will have either multichannel or omnichannel routing. Multichannel is the more common of the two, and it simply means that customers can contact agents using any available contact method. They may call the customer service line, use the company site, or mobile customers may use text messaging or SMS. An available agent will answer and assist them via the same channel.
A true omnichannel routing engine, however, allows for seamless switching between different communication channels. A customer can begin their journey speaking with an agent in the website chat, seamlessly switch to text messaging, and then finish their conversation over the phone, all without having to wait or be transferred to another agent. Conversation progress is also tracked, so if for any reason a customer does need to be sent to a different agent, the new agent enters the conversation with the full context of the situation. It means that customers won’t have to repeat information, and everyone’s time is saved.
Naturally, the ultimate goal of any contact center will be to improve the customer experience. It helps to ensure repeat business and positive word of mouth. But ACD systems don’t just affect the customer experience. The technology available in a contact center also makes a great deal of difference for the employees. Agent turnover numbers are unfortunately high in contact centers, and subpar technology is one of the most significant factors in determining agent job satisfaction.
Contact centers with correct omnichannel routing are generally considered best for both customers and agents. These can be programmed to intelligently route calls to the best agents based on qualifications, availability, or other criteria without being overwhelming. Data regarding callers and agents are displayed in real-time, making it easy to find the best match. Agents with unified desktops are also able to easily keep track of conversations and find essential customer data to assist with contacts. Analytics software included with some ACD packages can also make it easier than ever for supervisors to coach agents and keep track of customer data.
No matter what kind of ACD system is used, the contact center is a customer’s first impression of your business and how it is run. If their experience is a frustrating one that involves holding and transferring, it will diminish their opinion of your organization. Having a system that gets customers to a resolution quickly and efficiently is a great way to put your best foot forward.