Software Advice helps call centers choose the right automatic call distribution software so they can distribute calls and designate agent skill groups. How does it work?

Automatic Call Distribution Software


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inContact Cloud Contact Center logo
 
inContact is a SaaS-based call center software that helps businesses to maximizes the quality of leads and minimizes the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises of many features required to process inbound support requests... Read More
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inContact is a SaaS-based call center software that helps businesses to maximizes the quality of leads and minimizes the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises of many features required to process inbound support requests... Read More
 
Five9 Cloud Contact Center logo
 
Five9 is used by call centers around the world to manage inbound, outbound, blended or multi-channel contact centers.  It offers IVR with speech recognition, multi-channel ACD, predictive dialer and customer relationship management... Read More
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Five9 is used by call centers around the world to manage inbound, outbound, blended or multi-channel contact centers.  It offers IVR with speech recognition, multi-channel ACD, predictive dialer and customer relationship management... Read More
 
ChaseData Call Center logo
 
ChaseData Call Center software offers web-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the software. It’s designed for outbound, inbound, and blended call center teams. Dialing capabilities... Read More
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ChaseData Call Center software offers web-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the software. It’s designed for outbound, inbound, and blended call center teams. Dialing capabilities... Read More
 
Nextiva VoIP logo
 
Nextiva's Business VoIP solutions offer telephony services for small businesses with functionality that eliminates the need for a traditional phone system. The packages include VoIP phone systems, scalable PBX trunks, online faxing... Read More
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Nextiva's Business VoIP solutions offer telephony services for small businesses with functionality that eliminates the need for a traditional phone system. The packages include VoIP phone systems, scalable PBX trunks, online faxing... Read More
 
Cloud Contact Center logo
 
Cloud Contact Center, by Telax Voice Solutions, is a call center management solution designed for SMB companies in various industries. Government agencies, retail, energy, healthcare, insurance, professional services, engineering,... Read More
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Cloud Contact Center, by Telax Voice Solutions, is a call center management solution designed for SMB companies in various industries. Government agencies, retail, energy, healthcare, insurance, professional services, engineering,... Read More

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X5 Cloud Contact Center logo
 
X5 Cloud Contact Center developed by Ytel is used by various SMB call center companies and businesses with dedicated phone support teams. This solution offers an integrated call center suite with features including automated call... Read More
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X5 Cloud Contact Center developed by Ytel is used by various SMB call center companies and businesses with dedicated phone support teams. This solution offers an integrated call center suite with features including automated call... Read More
 
PureCloud logo
 
PureCloud by Genesys is a call center solution for businesses of any size and in any industry. Among its modules are Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, Computer Telephony Integration, Auto Dialer, a mobile call... Read More
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PureCloud by Genesys is a call center solution for businesses of any size and in any industry. Among its modules are Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, Computer Telephony Integration, Auto Dialer, a mobile call... Read More
 
RingCentral Contact Center logo
 
Coud communications provider RingCentral has recently expanded into the Call Center space with their Contact Center solution. The suite is powered by inContact and offers Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, CTI,... Read More
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Coud communications provider RingCentral has recently expanded into the Call Center space with their Contact Center solution. The suite is powered by inContact and offers Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, CTI,... Read More
 
Sharpen logo
 
Sharpen’s cloud-native platform is a SaaS contact center solution for midsize to large enterprise businesses. As an all-in-one solution, the platform provides businesses the ability to communicate with customers by SMS, MMS, live... Read More
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Sharpen’s cloud-native platform is a SaaS contact center solution for midsize to large enterprise businesses. As an all-in-one solution, the platform provides businesses the ability to communicate with customers by SMS, MMS, live... Read More
 
Streams UC logo
 
Streams UC is a cloud-based call center solution created by PanTerra. Users can manage and monitor inbound calls from any device with an internet connection, giving call center employees the ability to telecommute. Call center seats... Read More
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Streams UC is a cloud-based call center solution created by PanTerra. Users can manage and monitor inbound calls from any device with an internet connection, giving call center employees the ability to telecommute. Call center seats... Read More

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CallShaper logo
 
CallShaper is a cloud-based call center management solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include lead management, real-time reporting, agent monitoring and tablet support. CallShaper enables users to create... Read More
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CallShaper is a cloud-based call center management solution suitable for small to midsize businesses. Key features include lead management, real-time reporting, agent monitoring and tablet support. CallShaper enables users to create... Read More
 
Convoso Cloud Contact Center logo
 
Convoso Cloud Contact Center is a robust, integrated call center solution with a predictive dialer and inbound call support.  This cloud-based solution gives small and midsize businesses a full set of tools and is priced based on... Read More
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Convoso Cloud Contact Center is a robust, integrated call center solution with a predictive dialer and inbound call support.  This cloud-based solution gives small and midsize businesses a full set of tools and is priced based on... Read More
 
VanillaSoft Pro logo
 
VanillaSoft is a powerful sales management software designed for inside sales teams. This solution combines important features for CRM, lead management and telemarketing in an easy-to-use, simple solution that can be accessed from... Read More
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VanillaSoft is a powerful sales management software designed for inside sales teams. This solution combines important features for CRM, lead management and telemarketing in an easy-to-use, simple solution that can be accessed from... Read More
 
XenCALL Predictive Dialer CRM logo
 
XenCALL is a cloud-based call center solution for companies of all sizes in a variety of industries. Key features include automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, auto dialing, scheduling, performance analytics and... Read More
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XenCALL is a cloud-based call center solution for companies of all sizes in a variety of industries. Key features include automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, auto dialing, scheduling, performance analytics and... Read More
 
Noble Enterprise logo
 
Noble Enterprise is a call center management solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include inbound, outbound and blended contact management, predictive dialing, skills-based call routing, digital recording and... Read More
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Noble Enterprise is a call center management solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include inbound, outbound and blended contact management, predictive dialing, skills-based call routing, digital recording and... Read More

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Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform logo
 
Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform is a web-based contact center suitable for organizations with 100 or more concurrent and named users. The system is a complete set of customer service capabilities including self-service, omnichannel... Read More
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Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform is a web-based contact center suitable for organizations with 100 or more concurrent and named users. The system is a complete set of customer service capabilities including self-service, omnichannel... Read More
 
Aspect Unified IP logo
 
Aspect Unified IP is a call center management solution suitable for inbound and outbound call centers of any size. Key features include automatic call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), computer telephony integration... Read More
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Aspect Unified IP is a call center management solution suitable for inbound and outbound call centers of any size. Key features include automatic call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), computer telephony integration... Read More
 
ContactWorld for Sales by NewVoiceMedia logo
 
ContactWorld for Sales is a Web-based contact center solution for organizations of all sizes and industries. The software provides integration with Salesforce, which enables agents to directly work in the Salesforce user interface.... Read More
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ContactWorld for Sales is a Web-based contact center solution for organizations of all sizes and industries. The software provides integration with Salesforce, which enables agents to directly work in the Salesforce user interface.... Read More
 
storm CONTACT logo
 
storm CONTACT is a cloud based multi-channel CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) solution that is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It provides outbound and inbound interactions, including iACD (Intelligent Automated Contact Distribution),... Read More
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storm CONTACT is a cloud based multi-channel CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) solution that is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It provides outbound and inbound interactions, including iACD (Intelligent Automated Contact Distribution),... Read More
 
Enghouse Interactive Contact Center logo
 
Enghouse Interactive is a contact center solution designed for midsize and large companies. It offers multi-channel contact management, an operator attendant console, interactive voice response (IVR), call recording and quality assessment... Read More
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Enghouse Interactive is a contact center solution designed for midsize and large companies. It offers multi-channel contact management, an operator attendant console, interactive voice response (IVR), call recording and quality assessment... Read More

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Buyer's Guide

by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 22, 2017


Most callers don’t like being placed in a queue, but consider the alternative: to simply let them wait indefinitely on hold. Most of us can guess what the outcome of that strategy will be.

Moreover, if the call is placed to one of your business’s main numbers rather than an employee’s dedicated number, how will you ensure that the call on hold is answered by one of your available employees?

Automatic call distribution is a capability both of integrated call center suites and standard business phone systems that solves these problems by enabling call queueing and rules for routing calls from the queue to your employees.

We’ll answer the following questions you might have about automatic call distribution:

What is an Automatic Call Distribution System?
Which Kinds of Systems Offer ACD?
Common Functionality of Automatic Call Distribution Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?

What is an Automatic Call Distribution System?

Essentially, a phone system or call center system with ACD capabilities parks incoming calls in a "call queue" and then routes them to call center agents or employees as they become available.

This ensures that calls get answered in the order that they come in, minimizing the time that callers wait on hold.

Moreover, because calls are routed to available personnel instead of being blindly routed to a line regardless of whether someone is there to answer, ACD ensures that your business answers far more calls.

Which Kinds of Systems Offer ACD?

Without ACD, you don’t have the option of call queueing—all callers will have to wait on hold. Because of this, ACD is used in nearly any business with a main company number or a toll-free number answered by multiple employees.

ACD is included in nearly all business phone systems, except for the most basic and stripped-down small business offerings on the market.

Call centers, in which large groups of agents spend long shifts answering inbound calls, have specialized ACD requirements. Thus, call center suites offer far more advanced ACD capabilities than most business phone systems, particularly when it comes to call routing.

Let’s take a look now at some of the specific features of advanced ACD systems.

Common Functionality of Automatic Call Distribution Software

A queue dashboard in 8x8 tracks metrics for calls in various queues (highlighted in red)

The core functionality of an advanced ACD system is to route calls based on pre-defined rules, whereas simpler ACD systems merely route the caller who’s waited the longest to the first available employee.

One common form of ACD used in call centers. With skills-based routing in place, call center agents are first assigned to groups based on skills (e.g., a sales team, a billing support team, a technical support team etc.). When a caller selects that they need “sales” or “support” in the system’s menu, the call is then routed to the right team, instead of just being sent to the first available agent in any team.

How ACD Directs Incoming Calls

Even more advanced systems are capable of routing calls based on algorithms that factor in historical data collected by the call center system. For instance, calls can be routed to the best-performing agents (as determined by historical metrics), or to the agent who’s been waiting the longest between calls if multiple agents are available.

Factors used to route calls can include:

  • The number the caller dialed
  • Caller selections within the company’s interactive voice response (IVR) system
  • Caller profile data stored in the company’s CRM or call center system
  • Agent skills
  • Agent idle time
  • Agent performance metrics
  • Caller ID data
  • Geographical information
  • Time of day or day of week

Call center ACD systems also offer advanced options when it comes to reporting and queueing, such as:

Usage data capture Allows users to gather data such as the number of incoming and outgoing calls, average time on call, average wait time and more. This information can be analyzed for reporting and used to populate agent scorecards.
Virtual queueing Allows callers to avoid waiting on hold by entering their numbers to receive a callback when it’s their turn. This reduces customer frustration and wait times.
Differentiated call queues ACD software users can create multiple call queues and have the ability to transfer callers between them. For example, a company may create one queue for support and one for sales, then transfer callers based on the purpose of their calls.

Virtual queueing, also known as callback, offers a dramatically improved waiting experience for callers, as we explain in our report on the subject. However, it’s still far from being a universally included feature in ACD modules, so make sure to mention it in your Request for Information (RFI).

What Type of Buyer Are You?

At the very least, most businesses are going to need basic ACD. Thankfully, the ability to create call queues is a nearly universal feature in business phone systems.

The need for an advanced ACD system depends on a company’s volume of calls and whether those calls need to be routed in a specific way. Almost all buyers of advanced ACD solutions are call centers.

Here are some specific recommendations about the kinds of ACD capabilities that different businesses will need:

Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees needing to place calls in queues can simply use a small business phone system. Small business systems generally offer ACD or at least “hunt groups,” i.e. the capability to group lines together so that multiple lines ring at once for a single inbound call.

Very small call centers can get by with basic hunt groups rather than advanced ACD by using a “round-robin” approach. In this routing scheme, calls are delivered sequentially to different employees. For instance, once employee A’s line rings, the next call is sent to employee B, then C etc.

Alternatively, some small call centers send calls to all agents at once, on the assumption that competition over who gets to answer is a motivating factor.

Call centers fielding a high volume of calls should implement an ACD system to manage a queue and distribute calls based on time-on-hold, caller data, agent skills and more.

Outbound and inbound call centers with an IVR should use an ACD to route calls. Outbound campaigns utilizing IVR menus require that you have ACD in place in order to properly route calls based on recipients’ IVR selections.

Complex sales and support teams that need calls to be routed to various departments should use an ACD’s skills-based routing capabilities.

Virtually all of the call center systems listed on Software Advice offer an ACD system, in addition to the standard business phone systems we list. Explore our product profiles to find the solution that works best for your needs.

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