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Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)

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Automatic Call Distribution or ACD, is a tool commonly used in the telephony industry. It first made a splash in the telephony scene in the 1970's when a modified 5XB switch was used by New York Telephone to distribute calls among hundreds of 4-1-1 operators. Today, ACD systems are found in virtually every office or call center that handles a large volume of inbound calls. The primary purpose of an Automatic Call Distributor is to disperse incoming calls to specific contact center agents or employees.

ACD systems utilize a rule based routing strategy, based on a set of instructions that dictate how inbound calls are handled and directed. These rules are often simply based on guiding a caller to an agent as fast as possible, but commonly multiple variables are added, all with the end goal of finding out why the customer is calling. Matching and routing literally thousands of calls to the correct agent is a difficult task, and is often done in concert with Interactive Voice Response and Computer Telephony systems. ACD servers can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to a few million dollars, especially for a very large call center handling thousands of calls per day.

Common ACD Uses

  • Forwarding calls to the right party
  • Validating callers
  • Making outgoing responses or calls
  • Allow callers to record messages
  • Gathering usage statistics