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In a State of Customer Service report for 2022, nearly 90% of service leaders agree that customer expectations are at an all-time high. Customers expect responses within minutes instead of days. They also expect service agents to have the capacity to handle ever complex issues. This increased demand for better customer

service underscores the need for more effective customer call management. As your business grows, customer calls come in droves almost at the same time. With every caller seeming to be in urgent need of assistance, prioritizing and routing calls is a daunting challenge. This is when automatic call distribution becomes an indispensable part of your customer service strategy.

What Is Automatic Call Distribution?

Automatic call distribution (ACD) is basically an automated system of handling incoming calls. The ACD system automatically receives incoming calls and distributes them to call centre agents or business personnel based on preset criteria. Augmented by an interactive voice response (IVR) system, ACD helps manage large volumes of inbound calls more effectively.

How Automatic Call Distribution Works

Many automatic call distribution systems today have advanced features that can be customized according to the specific requirements of a business. However, all ACDs have three basic functions—call identification, queuing, and routing.

Call Identification

The first step in call distribution is identifying the caller and the purpose of the call. An IVR is used to offer preset options to get customer input. The ACD then uses the customer data collected to determine the nature of the call and its urgency.

Call Queueing

Next, the ACD sorts the call into the appropriate queue. Queueing is based on different factors, such as the call type, customer status, caller wait time, and agent availability. Often, customers identified as VIPs are prioritized in the queues.

Call Routing

From the queue, the call is routed to agents based on your preferred distribution system. You can use skills-based routing to match the customer with a dedicated agent who has the expertise or specialized knowledge to address their specific concern. This method helps resolve complex issues without having to transfer the call to different agents.

Another alternative is to use a rotary or fixed order system where agents take turns answering calls in a particular order. This ensures that calls are distributed equally to all agents, and no one gets overwhelmed with too many calls on queue.

If all your agents are highly capable of handling any type of query, distribute calls based on agent availability. With incoming calls sent to any available agent, you can minimize hold times and resolve concerns faster.

The ACD can also be set to offer callback options if all agents are busy or terminate calls when a caller is unresponsive. All calls that go through an ACD are logged, so you can monitor customer service better too.

Benefits of an ACD for Businesses

The benefits of utilizing an ACD goes beyond the effective handling of call surges. It reduces FRTs, as callers don’t have to wait long before getting connected with an agent. It also improves FCRs, as calls are routed to the right agents who can best resolve concerns. This then leads to fewer callbacks, better customer experiences, and increased customer satisfaction. Ultimately, the effective handling of calls leads to better business growth.

Find the Right ACD Solution

An automatic call distribution system will definitely help you answer calls effectively. Now, the question is, where do you get the best ACD for your business? Well, there are plenty of ACD software solutions available today that can be integrated into your existing phone system. However, you’ll still need an in-house contact centre to maximize its use.

If you’d rather focus on your core business operations and have calls handled by professional agents, you can outsource your contact centre instead. ACD is a built-in functionality in most call centre solutions. For more information about how you can utilize ACD for more effective call management, visit

At On Call Centre , we deliver exceptional customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year—sometimes 366. On Call Centre has been providing tailored, fluently French/English bilingual answering services and call centre services to small business owners (professionals, trades) and customer support departments (government, high tech, property management, healthcare, emergency clients) serving Ottawa , Montreal and Toronto —and all over Canada —for almost 50 years.