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What is ACD?

An Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) is a commonly used tool in the telephony industry. ACD systems are common in any office that handles a high volume of incoming calls. The main purpose of automatic call distributors is to route circuits to contact center agents or employees with specific skills.

How does ACD work?
  • ACD systems use rule-based routing policies, based on a set of instructions that dictate how inbound calls should be handled and directed. These rules are usually based simply on directing callers to any agent as quickly as possible, but multiple variables may be added, all with the goal of connecting customers with qualified agents as quickly as possible. Matching and routing thousands of calls to the correct agent is a daunting task and is often done in conjunction with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to better identify customer needs.
  • While its original intent was to route incoming calls, today's ACDs are increasingly sophisticated omnichannel routing engines capable of routing customer inquiries received via email, messaging, web chat, social media, and other digital channels.
How does ACD route interactions?
ACD typically relies on a skill-based routing engine that intelligently routes digital and voice interactions to the correct agent. The intelligent routing engine matches customer requests with agents based on skills, customer data, real-time contact center performance, customer sentiment, and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven behavioral profiles. It consolidates routing across inbound and outbound, digital and voice, agent-assisted and self-service channels. ACD ensures that every interaction is routed to the best available proxy in the shortest time possible.
What are common features of ACD?
Today, most automatic call distribution (ACD) systems are capable of:


  • Routing calls and digital interactions to specific agents based on predefined criteria
  • Interact with CRM and other systems through Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) to automatically “pop” relevant information to agents
  • Multiple call queues
  • Identify and quickly respond to VIP callers
  • Report on interaction volume and agent activity
  • Call center overflow to voicemail
  • Integrated auto attendant allows callers to reach specific agents
  • More