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Automatic Call Distributor: The 5 Ws (and 1 H) of ACDs

Automation is all the rage right now across industries. It helps expedite processes, increase productivity, and make everyone’s lives much easier.

Data suggests that up to 97% of businesses feel automation is essential to their success. Contact centers are not an exception, and that’s why they’re increasingly implementing automation to improve efficiency and customer experience. Automatic call distributors (ACDs) are only one example of this. Read on to learn more about what they are, how they work, and whether you might need them. 


What Is An Automatic Call Distributor?

In short, automatic call distribution (ACD) is a feature that automatically identifies, answers, and routes incoming calls. Its main purpose is to distribute these calls to a group of individual agents to eliminate unnecessary call transfers and long hold times. This tool helps businesses increase first call resolution rates and prevent extended hold times by connecting people with the most qualified agent to assist them on a particular issue. 

An automatic call distributor is generally part of a computer telephony integration system. ACDs range from small systems that cover a few lines to those meant for larger operations. 

How Do Automatic Call Distributors Work?

In a typical automatic call distribution scenario, a client calls a company and an interactive voice response (IVR). The IVR greets the customer and provides them with a series of options to better determine what they need and how they can be helped. It uses voice prompts to give callers clear prompts and uses a combination of touch tones and voice inputs for callers to indicate what they’re calling for


When the purpose of the call has been established and based on the business routing strategy, the ACD will route the call directly to the most suitable agent or department. If all agents are busy, the ACD automatically places the caller in a waiting queue.

For an ACD system to work, the business needs to establish a call routing system. This helps better determine how calls will be assigned. Some popular distribution methods are:

  • Agent talk times: Incoming calls go to the least active agent.
  • Time-based routing: Agents set their working hours.
  • Fixed order routing: Calls are sent to the next available agent.
  • Simultaneous distributions: Calls are routed to all available agents at the same time.
  • Skilled-based routing: Agents get calls depending on their expertise.

Once a company has picked its preferred routing strategy, all phone lines are active, and calls start coming through, the ACD will use the established routing algorithm. To better assign calls to the appropriate person, ACD systems consider factors like:

  • Queue wait times
  • Time of the day
  • Traffic volume
  • Calling number
  • Receiving department

Who Uses Automatic Call Distributors?

Automatic call distributor systems are broadly used by businesses that require handling high volumes of incoming calls. This is more common for customer service representation agencies or emergency service dispatch centers, for example.

ACDs are not exclusive to a specific industry. All companies that offer sales and service support can benefit from automatic call distribution, regardless of their sector, to validate callers, forward their inquiries to the right parties, gather usage stats, and balance the use of phone lines. Some industries that can benefit from this type of automation are:

  • Education
  • Human resources
  • IT
  • Real estate
  • Law firms
  • Finance
  • Automotive
  • Health care

Why Should I Use An Automatic Call Distributor?

Automatic call distribution has numerous benefits, including:

  • Smooth call routing
  • Increased agent productivity and efficiency 
  • Immediate response
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Streamlined operations
  • Reduced contact center costs
  • Resource optimization

Integration of ACD with CRM, social media, and live chat allows agents to communicate more efficiently. Consequently, there’s a higher chance they can resolve the clients’ issues timely and accurately. Additionally, ACD systems enable teams to review past communications with clients and enable easier call transfers. 

With the help of an ACD system, contact center representatives can handle the calls depending on their expertise. This results in reduced friction and increased agent confidence. By providing agents with the appropriate customer information, ACDs enable more meaningful interactions between them and the client.

When Should I Start Using An Automatic Call Distributor?

Identifying areas of improvement at a contact center may be challenging for managers. However, taking a step back to analyze the bigger picture is a must to determine the need for automation solutions. Some indicators it’s time for you to implement and ACD are:

  • High wait times
  • Low customer satisfaction
  • Lagging agent efficiency
  • Low contact center productivity

As your business grows, it will become increasingly harder to answer and manage incoming calls. However, keeping calls on hold and long queues are not efficient ways to foster productive customer relationships. As your clients grow impatient, they’re likely to seek elsewhere for the solutions you’re failing to provide. An ACD system will reduce drop calls and build trust among clients.

Implementing an ADC to eliminate downtime between calls will help improve contact center metrics. This will keep agents on the right track to reach their objectives. 

Directing calls to agents that lack the correct skillset to solve a customer’s problems is common when incoming calls surpass a contact center’s ability to answer them. However, there are few things more frustrating for your clients than waiting patiently for an agent to pick up just to end up back at square one. Having the call go to qualified agents through an ACD algorithm will keep your customers coming back. 

Where Can I Get the Best Automatic Call Distributor?

Automatic call distribution is a handy tool to implement once your business has reached a certain size. It enables your contact center team to provide timely solutions to your customers to keep them happy and coming back for more. If you think it’s time to start using this business solution to increase your company’s contact center productivity, reach out to Aloware. 

Our business-oriented features make the communication process between you and your customers much more effective. Aloware offers ring groups where a group of agents can work together to answer calls and SMS messages. Additionally, it enables call routing to ensure your customers always get what they need as soon as possible. To learn more about this and other products Aloware offers, visit our site today.