Published on April 4th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


How Does an Automatic Call Distributor Work?

Automatic call distributors (ACD) are systems used by call centers in order to route calls. An ACD allows callers to provide information about their needs. As the caller navigates the selection menu, the data they provide enables the ACD to identify the best way to direct their call. This way, the caller is quickly connected to the most suitable call center agent.

An automatic call distributor routes communication traffic with one key objective in mind: customer satisfaction. It draws information from databases to determine the optimal agent to address a person’s needs, based on the credentials of call center agents. So how exactly does it work?

How an ACD works

Basic ACD systems provide callers with options to choose from, such as what language they wish to communicate in, what issue they wish to address, or what type of function they wish to perform.

The caller is given these options through verbal prompts. They can then respond either verbally or with their phone’s keypad to make the appropriate selections. As callers make selections, they may be presented with new options to further narrow the focus of their request, or they may be routed to a selected agent.


ACD software has expanded beyond simply routing incoming phone calls. Many call centers incorporate multichannel software into their system so that their customers have more options for communication. Younger adults may be more comfortable addressing issues through chat or text messages. Multichannel platforms also give consumers the opportunity to communicate via fax or email.

As ACD software evolved, is expanded to incorporate communications through these channels as well as by phone. It uses the same type of routing system to identify the reason for the communication and which agent is best able to meet the caller’s needs. It then connects the caller to the agent via the communication channel chosen by the caller.

Other functions

While it is common to think of ACD routing calls, its functions have actually expanded. For example, a sales department can set up the ACD to perform a number of additional tasks, such as enabling callers to place orders or verifying a client’s identity.

All ACD systems can be set up to enable callers to record an audio message if they choose, and ACD software can also direct outgoing phone calls. ACD can also collect data about calls, call wait times, and call length times to provide useful information to the company about their call center.

First contact resolution

Whenever callers are connected to someone who can help them with their needs immediately, they are more likely to be satisfied with the experience. This not only reduces the number of times they’re transferred, but it cuts down on the amount of time they spend on the phone, because they don’t have to wait for new agents to answer their call.

Using ACD helps provide callers with a high chance that they have their call directed to the best possible agent the first time, so that they can have their needs met.

Customer satisfaction and cost savings

Processing calls quickly has a dual benefit. It increases customer satisfaction and it also reduces the amount of time that call center agents spend with customers. When call center agents can respond more efficiently, then they can save the company money by reducing the need for surplus staff.

Expanded options

The technological advancements of ACD software incorporate multichannel capabilities so that consumers are not limited to telephone communication. As companies strive to meet the communication preferences of their customers, ACD plays an increasingly important role in facilitating that goal, because it allows all communication to be effectively routed.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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