Skip to main

The Basics of Automatic Call Distribution

May 01, 2021, By Legacy Post

ACDs (Automatic Call Distributors) are commonly used in contact centers to help companies handle large volumes of calls and are usually the first line of interaction for customers. Learn more about what ACDs are (and aren't) capable of.

ACD switch and IVR systems also often use a voice menu to direct callers based on the customer’s selection, telephone number, selected incoming line, or time of day. ACDs are commonly used in call centers to help companies handle large volumes of calls. As the first line of interaction for customers calling a company, the ACD software is a vital piece of an organization’s technology.

Automatic call distribution can help maximize customer service and improve the productivity of incoming customer contacts, especially when designed with the features and tools that are essential to inbound services. That’s why more and more call centers are relying on ACD switches and IVR systems to enable a smooth, efficient process by connecting the right caller with the right agent, as quickly as possible.

the Automatic Call Distributor plays within the call center. The ACD switch is the heart of the system, answering calls and then figuring out what to do next. 

11 Questions to Ask When Evaluating an Automated Call Distributor

When looking at the many different Automatic Call Distributor solutions, there are some key questions to ask to determine what ACD switch and IVR systems offer the right-fit for a large corporation with one hundred and fifty agents or more.

1. Can you customize the call routing and the call queues for the ACD switch and IVR system?

As discussed earlier, call centers have a number of choices for how to direct calls. Your programs might need a mix of different methods for different campaigns. When customers are on hold, can you offer a range of messaging, tailored to their specific needs, to keep them interested and on the line? Can you give priority routing based on account information, such as sending VIPs to a special group or to the front of the line? Can you re-route or overflow calls quickly when queues get backed up, or for emergencies? Choose an ACD that gives you the flexibility and ease of use to customize your call management, from the method, messaging and routing rules used, to meet your keep up with daily demands.

2. Does it handle more than just voice for omnichannel customer contacts?

With so many choices for customers to communicate, whether voice or non-voice, you need to make sure you can manage each and every experience, regardless of channel. The omnichannel ACD will help you route all contacts – whether phone, email, text, web or social –and manage them all with the same quality and care.

3. Does the ACD or virtual ACD support advanced workflows, such as self-service and skills-based routing?

Ensure the best service each and every time with an ACD that lets you distribute calls based on skills. Whether it’s the language spoken, specific technical or problem-solving knowledge, licensing or certification, closing or promise-to-pay rates, etc., using intelligent routing can help improve first call resolution and create happier customers. Offering the ability for customers to self-serve with simple tasks, such as getting an account balance, changing an address, confirming an order status or appointment, making a payment, etc., reduces the reliance on your agent resources and makes it easy for customers to get answers more quickly.

4. Can you offer automatic call-backs?

When hold queues are long, customers can get tired of hearing how important your call is to them while they continue to wait and wait and wait some more. Automatic call backs allow your customers to remove themselves from the loop while holding their place in line, so they can get on with their busy lives. The ACD system will automatically queue up their call when the next agent is available, or even at another time or day of their choosing.

5. Does the system automate processes to increase efficiencies?

Keeping agents and customers satisfied is critical in today’s fast-paced environments. An ACD dialer that helps you automate tasks can reduce agent burnout, free resources for more complex tasks and provide faster service for customers.

6. Is the ACD interface easy to learn and use?

It doesn’t matter how many features it may have, if your ACD isn’t easy to understand and configure, you won’t be able to optimize its use. Ideal features include an intuitive interface that doesn’t require programming skills to manage or make changes and that presents all channels in a unified view that is easy to navigate. A supervisor portal should make it easy to access everything you need quickly with real-time dashboards, from resources and campaigns to performance and reports.

7. Does it have the tools that supervisors need to do their jobs effectively?

The right ACD dialer can make the supervisor’s job easier, with intuitive tools to see progress and motivate your team. Whatever software you choose should include the ability to:

  • Monitor and record calls Aid agents during their calls
  • Manage team schedules to meet service level targets
  • See who is succeeding and who is struggling, for rewards and training
  • View agent attendance and time management
  • Define data-driven team goals and measure progress

8. Does it integrate to your other business and operations systems?

Tying your ACD to other critical business tools, such as your CRM or dialer software, is an important piece of a larger customer service strategy. You can decrease call handle time and manual lookups, improve service and reduce data entry by syncing data between the systems. Your agents have fast access to customer information and histories and changes are quickly updated in the database.

9. Is there access to the right information and analytics tools, when you need it?

You should expect that the Automatic Call Distributor will offer phone-based (or omnichannel) metrics: call volume and lengths, answer speed, abandon rates, hold times, handle time, resolutions, transfers and IVR details, agent wait times, etc. Performance analytics can take it to the next level, monitoring success rates and customer emotions, so you can fine-tune your campaign strategies and improve results.

10. Is it accessible via a web or cloud-based service for access from anywhere, at any time? 

Your automatic call distributor should offer quick and easy access while you’re on the go or away from the office, so you’re never out of the loop. You’ll want to make sure you can access all of the features listed above and manage resources no matter where you are.

11. Is the ACD scalable to meet your changing contact center needs?

Let’s face it – your bottom-line goal is to grow your company. That usually means adding call center agents or resources as you gain more customers. But, as you change processes and take advantage of new tools, you should also be able to handle the workload with the same, or even fewer resources, or add new programs with the agents that you have. You may also have seasonal programs and fluctuations or need to quickly expand for a special offer or a new product launch.

Your ACD dialer should be able to provide you with the right fit, whatever your needs, to easily add or even remove agents and only pay for what you need, when you need it.


Alvaria is the world leader in enterprise-scale customer experience (CX) and workforce engagement management (WEM) solutions. Our name is derived from Latin for “hives” – nature’s perfect form for millions of years – bringing you call center solutions that are scalable, resilient and secure, with efficiency, speed and pinpoint accuracy. 

Experience how Alvaria can help teams be at their very best

Better engagement, productivity, and so
much more

Request a Demo
Man checking his phone