What is an Automatic Call Distributor?

Any time that you contact a company for some sort of customer support, chances are that your call will be routed through a piece of equipment that is called an automatic call distributor. Here are the basics of how these systems work, and how they help companies to respond to your questions and concerns in an orderly fashion.

Larger companies and organizations typically set up call centers as part of their ongoing efforts to effectively market their goods and services, as well as provide an easy way for existing customers to speak with someone about a question or a concern about the good or service. In order for these centers to allow for an orderly processing of these incoming calls, the use of call center software will be implemented. As part of this structuring, call center software will be added to the operations system and an automatic call distributor will be installed to allow the inbound calls to be routed to persons who are standing by to answer the calls and assist the caller.

The beauty of an automatic call distributor, or ACD as it is called for short, is that the computer telephony integration system will automatically recognize when an extension is engaged and route the call to the next available extension in the hunt group. This is in contrast to older telephone solutions prior to the mid 1980s, which required the caller to endure endless rings to extensions before the system would recognize that line was engaged and move the caller on to the next extension. From this perspective, the automatic call distributor makes it possible for the caller to get to a real person much more quickly than in decades past.

The automatic call distributor is often partnered with other software that may ask the caller a series of automated questions, which helps to narrow down the scope of the purpose for the call. This additional data allows the automatic call distributor system to route the call to a selected group of extensions that are set aside for helping with queries of a specific nature.

For example, many phone companies today will have a central residential help line number. When the subscriber calls for assistance, the auto attendant may ask a few short questions that the caller will answer either with voice or by pressing keys on the telephone keypad. The collected information then allows the ACD to route the caller to a group devoted to technical assistance, billing issues, or general customer service queries. This helps to narrow down the number of persons that the caller may have to speak with before getting a satisfactory answer.

The automatic call distributor has made providing customer service to a large body of clients much easier than it was in years past. As new innovations in telephony software and procedures are developed, additional applications for the automatic call distributor can be anticipated.