Call center tech glossary: what is an ACD?
Part of our ongoing call center technology glossary series: what is an ACD?
If you’re new to the call center space, you’re probably overwhelmed with the plethora of acronyms floating about: ACD, IVR, CRM, AHT, VoIP, SIP and more. So we’d like to welcome you to the debut post of our call center technology glossary series, where we define and demystify those three-letter bugaboos.
What is an ACD?
What exactly IS an ACD? The acronym stands for Automatic Call Distributor. The ACD is the hardware or software that routes an incoming call to the correct queue. The primary job of the ACD is call routing, which can be determined by a number of factors, including the dialed number, the number the caller dialed from (ANI) and the reason for call collected by the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.
Many ACDs support skills-based routing, which routes the call to the most qualified agent rather than the next available agent. For example, if a caller selects Sales from the IVR menu and is calling from a number that is not in the database (most likely a new customer), a skills-based-routing-enabled ACD might route the call to the sales queue rather than the first available agent in the general queue.
An ACD illustration
ACDs often work hand-in-hand with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, which you probably recognize as the automated voice systems that often first pick up a customer call and ask a series of questions to guide the call’s routing.
The infographic below is a simple illustration of how this software works. You, the customer, make a call to a particular business but instead of your call being answered by a live person immediately, you are asked to choose what your call is about and then you are routed to an agent in the right queue to get your question answered quickly.
On premise or cloud ACD
Traditionally, ACDs were purchased as hardware systems that were installed on the organization’s physical location, a model known as “on premise,” “premises-based” or sometimes “CPE.” However, this on-premise model has some drawbacks:
- It requires a huge capital expenditure.
- It requires a professional services contract to maintain the physical hardware.
- It’s difficult and costly to switch to a newer, better ACD.
- Most on-premise solutions are proprietary and can’t easily be customized to fit the organization’s changing needs.
In short, once an organization purchases and installs an on-premise ACD, they are stuck with it for a very long time. In contrast, many vendors are now offering cloud-based ACDs, which have the following advantages:
- No capital expenditure; organizations subscribe to the service and pay only for actual usage.
- Maintenance is typically included in the subscription contract.
- It’s relatively easy to change from one cloud vendor to another.
- Some cloud ACD vendors take an open-source approach and let organizations write their own applications.
Spoken offers both an Avaya-based cloud ACD and the Spoken Cloud ACD. Click to find out more.