Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice helps call centers choose the right automatic call distribution software so they can distribute calls and designate agent skill groups.

Showing 1-20 of 82 products

Five9 Cloud Contact Center

Five9 is an all-in-one cloud contact center solution for inbound, outbound, blended and omnichannel contact centers world-wide.  Powered by Practical AI, Five9 enables agents to provide customer experiences across phone, email, chat,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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PureCloud

PureCloud by Genesys is an on-premise and cloud-based call center solution for businesses of any size and industry. Key modules include Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, Computer Telephony Integration, Auto Dialer,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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eTollFree

eTollFree Predictive Dialer is an integrated cloud-based call center solution for businesses of all sizes. It works as both outbound and inbound call center software with interactive voice response built in. The customizable campaign... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Talkdesk Enterprise Cloud Contact Center

Talkdesk is a cloud-based call center solution that helps businesses improve customer satisfaction while simultaneously reducing customer support costs. It uses interactive voice response (IVR), automatic call distribution (ACD) and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Fenero

Fenero is a cloud-based contact center solution for sales and customer service teams covering email, phone and live chats. Key features include inbound, outbound and blended campaigns, call routing, interactive voice response (IVR),... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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NICE inContact Cloud Contact Center

NICE inContact is cloud-based call center software that helps businesses to maximize the quality of leads and minimize the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises many features required to process inbound support requests... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Noble Enterprise

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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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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KOOKOO

KOOKOO CloudAgent is a cloud contact center solution that works both standalone or blended with your existing trunk/legacy solution. Advanced tools enable intelligent call routing, inbound lead management, abandoned call management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Enghouse Interactive Contact Center

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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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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RingCentral Contact Center

Cloud communications provider RingCentral has expanded into the Call Center space with their Contact Center solution. The integrated suite powered by inContact offers Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, CTI, Auto... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Nextiva VoIP

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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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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ChaseData Call Center

ChaseData Call Center software offers cloud-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the solution. It’s designed for outbound, inbound and blended call center teams. Dialing capabilities... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Zendesk

Zendesk is a cloud-based help desk management solution offering customizable tools to build customer service portal, knowledge base and online communities. The solution offers a customizable front-end portal, live chat features and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex is a fully programmable cloud-based contact center platform that gives businesses complete control of their contact center experience. With Twilio Flex, companies can deploy an omnichannel contact center platform and customize... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Sales Sling

Sales Sling’s cloud-based call center software offers the latest technology in dialing systems in an easy to use dashboard that requires little training to get up and running. With each license, you get more than just a dialer. You... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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JivoChat

JivoChat is a business communication tool for e-commerce companies. It offers live chat, emails, calls and Facebook messaging in one omnichannel app. Users can implement live chat on their website, provide chat support to clients... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Cloud Contact Center

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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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
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Sharpen

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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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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XenCALL Predictive Dialer CRM

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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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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CenturionCARES Call Center

CARES (Communication and Relationship Engagement Solution) from Centurion is an integrated call center solution suitable for small and large enterprises looking for automatic call distribution (ACD), QA recording, outbound notification,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: March 13, 2019

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.