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Best ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) Systems 2022

Learn all about how an ACD system can reshape your business phone experience, as well as the top providers for 2022.
Olivia Maier

Olivia Maier

9 min read

What we have for you today:

We are here to dive into all the things you need to know about ACD systems. That means giving you all a background into the technology behind ACD systems, and the different options available. From there, we will help you determine which ACD system could be best for you, with a quick and easy checklist of considerations. Then, we will give you a comparison on some of the top business phone ACD options, including:

  • Yodel.io
  • Aircall
  • Nextiva
  • Grasshopper

If that sounds good to you, then we are excited for you to read and become an expert on ACD in just a matter of minutes.

What is an ACD system?

Like always, we’re here to break down ACD systems into easy to understand components, instead of leaving you with more questions than you had before. Taking advantage of an ACD system doesn’t require an in-depth understanding of the technology behind it, but it can still be helpful to get some background knowledge before we start.

ACD, short for Automatic Call Distribution, is a computer telephony integration that can help your team route incoming calls. The system is able to direct inbound calls to the right team members, who can properly address your caller’s needs. With ACD, your phone system will take inbound calls and automatically route them to your agents.

The ways in which the calls will be routed depends on the specific capabilities of your ACD system. We will go into the different types of call routing and agent prioritization later on, so for now it’s just helpful to know that there are a variety of different methods.

You may be thinking that this sounds a lot like an IVR system. An easy way to distinguish the two is to think about it as a two step process.

  1. Your IVR system will determine the purpose of the incoming call, aka discover caller intent
  2. Your ACD system will work as the distribution method to initiate the call routing
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In 2022, you should be looking for a business phone system that offers a comprehensive solution. This means providing BOTH your IVR system and your ACD systems. That way you will never have to worry about how you can make these components lining up perfectly, they’ll simply be designed to work together.

Wait… Why Should I be Using ACD Systems?

ACD systems are able to appropriately route your callers through your business phone system. These systems can help you reduce hold times, improve the customer experience, and avoid time wasters for you and your business.

Teams can see many benefits from ACD systems, and we wanted to give you some examples to really help you understand how this technology, which operates in the background of business phone systems, can make a big difference to your business communication.

Optimize Team Effectiveness - With an ACD system helping to direct the flow of inbound calls, your team’s time can be maximized and streamlined.

Upgrade Team Training - Instead of new members being overshadowed, or lacking new experience, you can direct appropriate calls their way! Or, with a robust phone system, you can assist on more advanced calls with plenty of features to help coach new team members.

Increase Revenue - Effective call routing can lead to qualified team members handling your more important calls. This can lead to increased conversion rates, and lower your churn rates. An ACD system also works to reduce cost per call, helping you to get the most out of your phone communication.

Improve Customer Experience - Waiting times may be hurting your customer satisfaction levels. With an ACD system, you can reduce your hold times, and help your customers quicker.

What are the differences in ACD systems?

There are a variety of ACD systems that your business could be taking advantage of. We wanted to share some information on some of the most common types, so you can feel equipped with the right vocabulary to effectively search for an ACD system.

Fixed Order

Team members are arranged in a customizable fixed order, and calls are routed based off of the list order.

Simultaneous Distribution

Significantly reduce waiting time by notifying all team members at once about an inbound call. The first team member to respond will handle the call.

Time Based

Calls will only alert available team members, and if none are open the call will be sent directly to voicemail.

Team Member Based

This skills based distribution system will prioritize team members based off of pre-determined skill sets, such as expertise or efficiency.

Some phone systems will be able to offer a variety of ACD systems, while others only provide one option for your team. We recommend searching for a robust system that will allow your team to find the perfect call routing solutions for you. That means having access to at least a few different ACD capabilities so that your team can test out what works best. That will also give you the ability to change your ACD system as your team grows and changes, without having to adapt a whole new business phone solution.

What should I know about IVR?

When we look at different ACD systems, we will also be discussing IVR capabilities. That is because, as we said before, these systems work best when they are provided by the same overall business phone solution. We wanted to give a little bit of context to that discussion, so you can truly evaluate the best ACD systems of 2022.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are an easy and affordable way to change the process in which you are managing your incoming calls. An IVR system is the initial touchpoint of your business communication. You’ve probably experienced an IVR system from a caller’s perspective before. If you’ve ever heard an automated message prompting you to select where you want to be routed based on menu numbers, or department names, that’s IVR.

IVR systems are able to be customized by using pre-recorded welcome messages and prompts, making them adaptable to your specific needs.

In 2022, you should be looking for a VOICE or INTELLIGENT IVR system. These are systems that can eliminate the need for “press 1 for sales, press 2 for billing”. Instead, a voice based or intelligent IVR system will discover caller intent by listening to them speak.

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Now that you have an idea of what an IVR system can do, we’re ready to share some of our insights into the best ACD systems of 2022.

The Best ACD Systems of 2022

We picked some of the top ACD systems that your team could be taking advantage of in 2022. We want to give you a helpful overview of a couple phone providers that have ACD capabilities. Since ACD and IVR systems are best when they go hand in hand, we will also be looking at the ways in which these phone systems are able to first discover caller intent. The routing of these calls, which is done by the ACD technology, will be analyzed by the different ways in which they are able to route callers.

Yodel.io

ACD options: Yodel is able to provide all four of the ACD systems that we had mentioned earlier, which are (as a reminder): Fixed order, simultaneous distribution, time based, and team member based. This will give your team the ability to determine what works best, and test out a variety of systems.

IVR capabilities: Yodel’s IVR system is an intelligent voice based system. You have the ability to set up a traditional IVR menu, where your callers will hear “press 1 for sales, press 2 for billing.” You also can take advantage of the voice based IVR, where your phone system will simply determine caller intent based on what your callers are saying in real time, and route the call accordingly. Voice based IVR systems can be a game changer in terms of increasing your accessibility and caller satisfaction!

Other important features: Yodel can also provide other features that truly make it an advanced, and robust business phone system. You can take advantage of business text messaging, smart integrations, and features designed to enhance collaboration between your colleagues.

Aircall

ACD options: With Aircall, you’re able to route calls through fixed order and team member based systems. There is no explicit mention of other ACD functionalities, but they may be possible with increased customization.

IVR capabilities: With Aircall, your IVR can be configured either as a traditional menu or using interactive voice response flows. This isn’t an entirely voice based system, but it is a nice way to break up the traditional voice menu.

Other important features: With Aircall, you’re able to access a complete internet based phone system. Aircall is able to integrate into a variety of CRM softwares, and allows for text messaging.

Grasshopper

ACD options: While Grasshopper does not mention different ACD configurations, their other features seem to allow for call routing capabilities to be handled manually through call transferring. This isn’t a great option if you are looking for a robust ACD system, but can still provide a similar effect.

IVR capabilities: Again, there is no explicit mention of any IVR functionalities from Grasshopper. There may be the potential to configure it using other features, but it is not a great sign that Grasshopper is not mentioning IVR or ACD in their listed features.

Other important features: While Grasshopper may not be the right choice for those searching for ACD or IVR capabilities, they are able to give users access to features such as instant responses and voicemail transcriptions.

Nextiva

ACD options: Nextiva mentions their ACD options, of which they have a few to choose from. They are able to provide all four of the ACD options that we have mentioned, which are fixed order, simultaneous distribution, time based, and team member based.

IVR capabilities: Nextiva’s IVR capabilities include voice based IVR. Their conversational AI IVR allows for users to simply speak and Nextiva will be able to discover caller intent in order to route them appropriately.

Other important features: Nextiva is able to provide a robust phone system that includes features such as business text messaging. Nextiva can provide a CRM service for your team to take advantage of. It does not appear that Nextiva can integrate into your existing CRM system, but it is worth researching to understand if that is the case.

In the End…

An ACD system is able to help teams of all sizes and styles. When you take advantage of a ACD system in 2022, you should also be searching for a robust business phone system that can provide not only an intelligent IVR system, but also other important features.

If you want to take advantage of Yodel’s intelligent ACD system, get started today with a 14 day free trial. You can test out our voice IVR system, as well as our suite of other intelligent business phone features.

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