Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): What is it? How Does it Work?

October 05, 2021
ACD - Featured Image

What does Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) Mean?

An ACD is a phone software system that responds to incoming calls and directs them to the relevant officer or department inside of a business. An ACD interacts frequently with a computer telephony integration system (CTI) and interactive voice response systems (IVR) to smartly route incoming calls to the best agent.

ACD systems are generally employed by businesses that get a significant number of phone calls, such as those specializing in sales or support.

The basic function of an ACD is to guarantee that calls are routed to the most appropriate agent or customer experience personnel who can assist each caller based on the customer’s unique needs. ACD automation sifts across omnichannel call centers to match the question with the appropriate agent.

How Does the ACD Route Call

How Does the ACD Route Call?

To effectively route digital and voice interactions to the proper agents, ACDs frequently employ a skills-based routing engine. An intelligent routing system assigns client requests to agents based on their talents, customer data, real-time contact center performance, customer sentiment, and AI-powered behavioral profiles. 

It combines incoming and outbound routing, digital and voice channels, agent-assisted and self-service channels. The ACD guarantees that every encounter is routed to the best agent available in the shortest time.


Who needs an ACD?

Active call distribution can be beneficial to almost any organization that manages a significant call volume. This includes any firm with customer service personnel who take incoming calls, major stores with several divisions, organizations with a large sales staff, and others. 

Active call distribution benefits both the client experience and the organization’s representative experience. Customers’ calls are handled appropriately, and agents get the right calls at the right time.

1. Call centers

Call centers are where calls are answered, so they are likely to be the most obvious beneficiaries of automatic call distributors. These solutions remove the tedium of routing, resulting in a better, more pleasurable experience for those who operate the company phones.

2. Sales divisions

Similarly, sales teams acknowledge ACDs’ beneficial effect and their incredible ability to promptly and competently assist consumers. ACD systems create orderly systems rather than continuing chaotic episodes and prevent the risks of behind-the-scenes calls and uncomfortable users.

3. Clientele

Customers gain tremendously from firms that use an ACD system. When searching for a query or an answer to a problem, customers can save time, energy, and effort.  These benefits are important.


ACD Popular Features

ACD Popular Features

Interactive Voice Responses

Many ACDs have rudimentary IVR (interactive voice response) functionality. This includes both messages and menus that callers may engage by voice or keyboard. Since the ACD captures more information about the caller and their issue, this enables even smarter routing.

Because the IVR is the first voice your callers hear, use a smart directory to make a good first impression. With this tool, you may direct callers to specialist teams with the necessary capabilities to handle their problems. Calls can be routed according to language (English, Spanish, etc.) or department.

Routing incoming calls to specific agents

Calls may be readily directed to particular agents who are most suited to handle them, for example, based on their language abilities, area of specialty, or experience. There are no needless redirections, which improves both customer happiness and team productivity in the long term.

Calls can be directed to the person or department most suited to handle the customer’s needs. Calls from Mexico, for example, will be directed to Spanish-speaking agents.

Calls can also be directed to certain agents or departments based on the phone number dialed. When a consumer dials the technical support number, they are connected to the technical support department.

Prioritize VIP callers

Using ACD, VIP callers may be routed directly to the most relevant agent or, if none are available, to the top of the waiting list. Callers are classified as VIPs based on pre-defined information, tags applied to them, and data from interconnected databases or business tools.

Let’s face it: some calls are more important than others. In such instances, an ACD makes it simpler to provide excellent support. As a result, all VIP calls will be instantly routed to or pushed to the top of the waiting list.

These callers are often recognized using information from the call center system. The same is true for banned numbers: these numbers may be recognized ahead of time and instantly deleted, allowing “real” callers to go through lines faster.

Integrations with CRMs

Another advantage of ACD systems is the ability to integrate with other company software, such as customer relationship management (CRM). 

Because call notes and recordings are automatically linked between the ACD and CRM, this connection connects your contact center to a larger customer care plan while saving time on data entry.

As previously stated, Automatic Call Distribution will not function without suitable call center software. When it is integrated into a larger system, agents may have full information on callers in one place and quickly examine and access it.

Fortunately, many call center solutions with Automatic Call Distribution capabilities can be readily connected with CRM, helpdesk, or live chat platforms, to mention a few. 

All of these systems capture important information about your clients and when combined, may provide your agents with a comprehensive set of information about the calls, allowing them to better serve customers.

ACD Multiple Queues

Inbound calls will begin to flow after a call center’s routing plan is determined and phone lines are activated. The ACD will evaluate the phone number, traffic volume, queue wait times, time of day, and the essential department on the receiving end of the call when using the prescribed routing algorithm.

ACD assists in properly balancing the utilization of phone lines. It enables the creation of numerous waiting queues – for distinct numbers, departments, or teams, for example. Multiple waiting lines combined with intelligent call distribution make for speedier call response.

Furthermore, when all agents are busy and queues are full, calls can automatically be sent to voicemail. This implies that with ACD in place, any contact center can handle large call volumes and provide adequate service to callers.

If all agents are occupied and the queues are full, the ACD can automatically send calls to voicemail. Every company can handle large call volumes and be more uniform, efficient, and professional with this skill.

Skill-based routing 

Your ACD must enable skill-based routing to match your clients with appropriate agents. 

In the past, ACD rules simply routed a call to the agent who was idle for the most time or who had a first-time strategy to route a client, even though the agent was not the best for the call type. Each agent is allocated one or more skillsets in skills-based routing.

ACDs can also enable skills-based routing via user-defined rules, which allow each call type to be routed to different groups of agents (or skills). 

These rules can be based on factors such as time in the queue, the number of agents available in an agent group (or with the same skill), and the time of day. In some ACDs, calls can be queued simultaneously to several agent groups (or talents).

Call Monitoring

Managers can use ACDs to do call monitoring, phone conferencing, call barging, and whisper coaching. These characteristics improve both the coaching process and managerial practices. ACDs also enable data gathering for real-time and historical reporting.

Automatic call distribution systems, particularly through call monitoring capabilities, aid in staff training and management assistance. A supervisor can watch conversations so that novice call center employees (or more experienced agents managing a difficult call or VIP customer) can receive hands-on help and immediate teaching via the call whispering feature. ACDs also enable supervisors to hop on conference calls and speak with customers directly if necessary.

Some ACDs can also produce analytics reports and live stream data. When supervisors monitor call behavior in real-time and analyze data for patterns and trends, they uncover valuable information that can be used to plan future call center coaching tactics.


ACD-Compatible Systems

ACD-Compatible Systems

If you’re new to ACD telephony (or even if you’re not), the many technologies involved might be confusing. Here’s how systems interact to provide the greatest ACD call center experience.

When a caller calls a phone number, a complicated routing procedure is initiated depending on pre-set distribution criteria. But how precisely are ACD calls routed and handled? 

All of this is generally feasible using cloud-based software that includes:

CTI (Computer Telephony Integration)

CTI, or computer telephony integration, enables call center agents to answer calls immediately from their computer or another connected device. CTIs employ desktop-based interactions to increase the efficiency of call centers.

Callers don’t know (or care) whether their call is routed through a CTI interface or a regular telephone, but a user-friendly dashboard may make or break an agent who is on the phone all day. 

A CTI helps contact center personnel by allowing them to obtain all of the information they require with only a few clicks.


Interactive voice response (IVR) controls the menu selections callers get when their phone rings. This includes such factors as the introduction and greeting, the virtual operator’s voice instructions, and the ability to read and answer keypress selections or vocal caller answers remain part of the IVR. An ACD often contains an IVR that is built straight into the system.

This procedure is guided by an automated call distribution system, which directs callers from the IVR menu to the appropriate person who can assist them. It simplifies the entire call routing process and cuts down on wasted time.

ANI (Automatic Number ID) may also be used by powerful call center systems to “sync” incoming calls with caller information already in place and helps to effectively route calls, particularly to detect (and cover some of) the calls from VIP customers.


What An Efficient ACD Means for Your Company

What An Efficient ACD Means for Your Company

Without the right technology in place, busy firms frequently discover that they have more inbound calls than their agents can handle. Either they discover a software system that can organize the call center or they wind up struggling to climb up a mountain of backlogged calls and dissatisfied consumers.

In its most basic form, an ACD phone system allows you to react to client calls more quickly. That is the day-to-day function of the tech. When you consider ACD as a system that connects with your wider CRM strategy, you’ll see that, like any excellent assistant, answering phone calls is only a tiny portion of the job.

Data-based Strategy Methodologies

Metrics analysis helps you assess the performance of your call center. Reports from your ACD phone system enable you to crunch statistics relating to missed calls, call volume, and wait time. To develop a more responsive and effective call center, use patterns you discover as your blueprint.

A live stream is also an excellent tool for staying on top of day-to-day activities. A live stream provides managers with up-to-the-minute context, allowing them to adjust resources as needed to ensure that calls continue to connect seamlessly.

Better Customer Service

There is no compelling hold music to make a client exclaim, “Wait! Put me on hold again. I must hear the conclusion of this song!” They want a genuine person to address their situation as soon as possible. 

Some VIP customers may even demand special attention to ensure they reach their representative as soon as possible. Advanced ACD algorithms may prioritize VIP numbers while handling high-volume traffic, ensuring that no one wastes time listening to hold music. 

Customers may not think about consistency as much as they do hold time, but it is important.

Better Call Coaching And Mentoring

Dealing with a genuine (and furious) customer in real life is not always equivalent to role-playing a call-in training. Without an ACD system, new agents may be compelled to transfer calls to supervisors, lengthening hold times and causing customers to reiterate their issues many times.

Modern ACDs feature whisper coaching, allowing supervisors to assist their employees without alerting the caller that someone else is on the line.

Automatic call distributor software provides features that contribute to a consistent, reliable customer experience and an easy-to-use agent and data management system that improves the operation of a contact center.


The Power Of ACD

The Power Of ACD

Don’t underestimate the importance of making software simple for your staff. The quicker you use your ACD, the more productive your call center agents will be. An easy-to-use interface will allow your salespeople to get customer information and take action in a few clicks.

Your virtual call center dashboard will provide a single location for all of your team’s numbers, users, and even foreign teams.

Both your consumers and call center workers want the same thing: to handle callers’ issues as fast and professionally as feasible. A strong ACD enables you to make the greatest first impression and gain the confidence of every consumer who contacts your company.


The Importance Of Rules Within ACD

The Importance Of Rules Within ACD

Computer instructions that decide if an agent answers a call, how that agent reacts to the call, and at what stages the client is connected to this agent are rules that are analogous to algorithms. 

Computers frequently employ rules to construct numerous hierarchies so the ACD code may route calls to the best agent following certain criteria, such as the position of the agent, location, language, and so on.

These criteria are stored in an ACD system, which monitors incoming calls and automatically directs them to the appropriate agent. The ACD Server is frequently an efficient, high-performance computer system that does both basic routing and start-up and termination.

The ACD framework also can comprise a database network, a contact center management system, and an IP-based network that operates ACD software on a computer server wherever ACD has access. 


What is ACD


Companies want to increase the productivity of their contact center business via tech applications suppliers. Software as a service is the most recent advancement in enhancing the overall outcomes of a contact center. Companies establish technological service providers to assist them to improve their creativity in the operations of call centers.

Whether you are a startup establishing your first contact center or a multinational corporation with call centers on all continents, an ACD phone system may improve your call center’s efficiency in connecting callers to the appropriate agents.

As a result, your organization’s brand image improves, call wait times are reduced, and resolution rates are maximized.

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