Expect More from Your Automatic Call Distributor Today
March 04, 2013
While it’s generally accepted that a customer relationship begins when a customer calls a contact center and an agent picks up the phone, the truth of the matter is that a customer relationship begins before this. A customer kept holding in queue for too long will be irritated before the agent can even take a breath and say hello. The same goes for call routing: if the caller isn’t sent to the right agent to take his or her call, the resulting transfers and delays will also detract from the customer experience.
The automatic call distributor, or ACD, is one of the most critical tools in the call center’s toolbox. This is the solution that routes callers to the agent with the skills that best match the customer’s needs for quick and efficient resolution. While the ACD was once a clumsy and complicated piece of hardware, today it’s more likely to be a software solution. And as a software solution, it can offer far more options than the ACDs of the past.
Today’s ACDs can stratify and distribute customer calls based on different factors, and not just agent skill. They can, for example be configured to ensure your high value customers are given priority and are moved ahead in the queue, or routed to special priority customer queue. They can offer foreign language options to ensure that callers who speak a certain language are connected to an agent who speaks that language.
Not all ACDs are created equal, however. The better ones, like those from cloud-based contact center solutions provider inContact, will offer features that can help perfect the customer relationship in a way that goes beyond simply routing calls.
Most contact centers are multichannel today, and inContact’s solution is compatible with a number of communications channels such as the IVR, chat, e-mail, fax, click-to-dial Web calls, and even social media entries. This way, customers have a choice in how they interact with you, and regardless of their choice, the ACD connects everyone in a single intelligent and unified queue.
The inContact ACD also offers a callback feature that allows customers to wait for an agent without having to wait on the phone when call volumes are high. Customers dislike waiting on hold (in fact, it’s often their chief peeve), so callback features can preserve important customer relationships without raising costs.
Unlike with the ACDs of old, call center managers and administrators do not need an IT degree to make changes to the ACD on the fly. inContact ACD has an intuitive, easy-to-use thin-client user interface that can be managed from a single screen. It can also pull vital customer information from other sources, such as the customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
As both customers and company management demand more and more of contact centers (the latter often without increasing the budget), it’s critical that the contact center be prepared not only to serve customers during the course of the call, but to do their very best to deliver the customer to the right place before the first “hellos” are exchanged. As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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