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The Best ACD System — Checklist

If your business is searching for the most robust ACD System, then we’re here to help you out!
Olivia Maier

Olivia Maier

11 min read

What we have for you today:

We want to make sure that, no matter where you are in the ACD process, you are able to get something out of this post. That’s why we’re going to start by going into all the background information you need to know, such as the technology behind ACD systems and the different options available to you.

From there, we will give you a helpful checklist to help you determine which ACD system could be best for you! Then, we will give you a comparison of 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.

We want to make sure that you leave this article ready to take on the ACD search process. In 2022, make sure that you are equipped with the best business technology that you can get your hands on, including your ACD system.

If that sounds good to you, then let’s get started with the ACD basics!

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The ACD Basics

What is ACD technology?

ACD technology, 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. Your team can select from a wide range of ACD distribution options, depending on the capabilities of your business phone provider. These options can include:

  1. Fixed Order

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

  2. 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.

  3. Time Based

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

  4. Team Member Based

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

ACD works hand-in-hand with IVR technology. Not to throw another acronym at you, but an IVR system is 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. Your IVR system will determine the PURPOSE of the incoming call, DISCOVERING caller intent.

From there, your ACD system will act as the DISTRIBUTION method to initiate the call routing.

IVR systems are able to be customized by using pre-recorded welcome messages and prompts, making them adaptable to your specific needs. We recommend that you take advantage of VOICE or INTELLIGENT IVR systems. These next-generation systems will route callers based on what they are saying in real-time, and can eliminate the need for “press 1 for sales, press 2 for billing” menu selections.

Who should be using ACD technology?

We think there is a simple answer to this question: EVERYONE!

That is because no matter the size of your business, you can gain big benefits from ACD and IVR technology. You are able to streamline your workflows, avoid unnecessary interruptions, and better handle incoming calls. You can make sure that your team members aren’t thrown a call that they aren’t equipped to handle, leading to frustrated customers and employees. You can also ensure that callers aren’t wasting time waiting around for an available agent, or even worse waiting for someone just to find out they were routed to the wrong department.

Even if you are a small or solo team business, call routing can help you gain valuable pre-call information to be better prepared for an incoming call.

Regardless of your size or style of business, ACD technology can be a BIG help to your business phone communication.

Just to recap:

ACD and IVR technologies are separate components of the call routing process, and each can be tailored to best fit your business needs. ACD options are different methods of call distribution, such as fixed order, simultaneous distribution, time based, and team member based routing. IVR options are the different ways caller needs are identified, either through listening to what they are saying in real-time or having them select from different menu options.

In the end, we believe that EVERY team should be using ACD and IVR based technology to route callers. While a live receptionist could be in charge of routing calls, receptionists aren’t feasible or even productive for many types of businesses. By implementing an ACD and IVR based tool to handle incoming calls, you can free up your team members as well as ensure effective communication is taking place.

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The Best ACD checklist for every team

We want to make sure that you are equipped with the most robust ACD system out there, which is why you need to ensure that your ACD system contains the following features and functionalities. With only 7 on our short and simple list, don’t settle for a provider that doesn’t give you access to all 7!

  1. Robust ACD Options: Your ACD options shouldn’t be limited by your business phone provider. We listed out a range of options before, but just to remind you the options should include one or more of the following: fixed order, simultaneous distribution, time based, or team member based.
  2. Voice based IVR: With voice based IVR, you can route your callers effectively without subjecting them to a potentially inconvenient menu list. Traditional IVR menus aren’t always a good fit for your callers, and could even be seen as annoying. That is why you should take advantage of the modern IVR system, and route callers based on what they are saying in real time.
  3. Traditional IVR menus: While we are a huge fan of voice-based IVR, the best phone systems will also give you the option to choose between styles of IVR. It just makes sense to give your business as many options as possible, so that you can determine what makes sense for your business and your customers.
  4. Incorporated into your business phone: Speaking of providers, your ACD provider should be the same as your business phone provider! While there are some ACD and IVR add-ons that can be implemented to connect to a different phone provider, this can lead to technical issues and frustrations. Don’t risk missing important calls, and find a system that has everything you need within it.
  5. Increased flexibility: Make sure that your ACD and IVR system is accessible across device types, such as mobile phones, desktops, laptops, and tablets. That way you can have convenient and flexible phone capabilities. The best way to do this is to take advantage of a cloud-based phone system, as these systems can connect to multiple styles of devices so long as there is a reliable internet connection.
  6. Canned responses: While routing your calls is probably your top priority right now, you also want to give your team options on how those routed calls are handled. With canned responses, you are able to respond to the identified caller’s intent before even answering the phone. Canned responses work to communicate via pre-prepared customizable responses that can be easily selected from at the moment.
  7. Smart integrations: If your ACD system can integrate into your other business tools, then you will have access to increased customer information, and allows you to collect valuable customer data. This is especially true for business tools such as a communication platform, for example Slack, or for CRM tools such as Hubspot or Salesforce.

Finding a provider can be hard, but if you are able to find those SEVEN identified top features within a provider then you can know you have found a robust ACD system.

These features are specific to looking at the ACD and IVR capabilities, so make sure to check out our other checklist blog posts to see additional features that can help you find a business phone system in general!

The checklist in action:

As promised, we wanted to show you the checklist in action so that you can get a good idea of how to utilize this new tool!

Yodel.io

  • ACD options available:

    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.

  • Voice-based IVR functionalities:

    Yodel’s voice-based IVR system is able to route callers based on what they say in REAL time. You can also monitor the incoming call with a live transcription, so if there is a unique request you can manually route the call to the right place.

  • Access to traditional IVR menus:

    Yodel is able to provide traditional IVR menus as well. This way you can determine the best style of IVR menu for your specific needs.

  • Incorporated into your business phone:

    Yup! Yodel is an intelligent business phone system that comes complete with intelligent voice IVR capabilities. That means that you don’t have to worry about connecting outside features with a phone system, and instead access a complete solution.

  • Increased flexibility:

    No matter where you are, as long as you have an internet connection or cellular data, you can take your business phone system on the go with you. That is because Yodel is a cloud-based, internet phone solution. Access calls routed through your IVR system from your mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

  • Canned Responses:

    Whether you are looking for a customized greeting, canned responses, or the ability to text your callers, Yodel has a wide variety of ways to connect with incoming callers before you even begin your phone communication.

  • Smart integrations:

    Yodel can easily connect to your favorite CRM tools, such as HubSpot and Salesforce. You can also integrate Yodel into hundreds of other business applications, including Slack!

Aircall

  • ACD options available:

    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.

  • Voice-based IVR functionalities:

    Yes and no…Aircall gives you access to interactive voice response flows. Inbound callers will have to self-guide themselves through a series of messages and options responding to their voice. While voice routing is used in part, this does not give you access to the full convenience of an intelligent IVR system.

  • Access to traditional IVR menus:

    Aircall does give you access to a traditional IVR menu, giving your business options in terms of the best IVR style.

  • Incorporated into your business phone:

    Aircall is a business phone solution with ACD capabilities. By utilizing a phone system with ACD functionalities built in, you can avoid issues connecting multiple tools.

  • Increased flexibility:

    As a cloud-based business phone tool, Aircall allows you to access it from a wide variety of devices, including tablets, mobile phones, computers, and laptops.

  • Canned Responses:

    Sadly, Aircall does not list canned responses as one of their features. It is a shame that this phone system does not allow you to connect to your customers with this pre-call communication option.

  • Smart integrations:

    Aircall integrates into a variety of CRM software such as HubSpot, Monday.com, and Salesforce.

Grasshopper

  • ACD options available:

    Grasshopper does not explicitly mention different ACD configurations. It appears that they MAY offer manual call transferring as their only ACD-esque feature, but it may be worth getting in touch with their team to fully understand what is possible.

  • Voice-based IVR functionalities:

    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.

  • Access to traditional IVR menus:

    Grasshopper does not explicitly mention any traditional IVR options.

  • Incorporated into your business phone:

    Grasshopper is a cloud-based business phone system, so if there are any ACD or IVR capabilities they would be directly incorporated into this phone system.

  • Increased flexibility:

    As a cloud-based business phone tool, Grasshopper allows you to access it from a wide variety of devices, including tablets, mobile phones, computers, and laptops.

  • Canned Responses:

    It appears that Grasshopper does allow for canned responses, through a feature they call Instant Responses.

  • Smart integrations:

    Grasshopper does not appear to directly integrate with any platform. It is a shame, as direct integrations are a great way to connect important business tools and platforms.

In the end:

We hope that both the checklist, as well as our examples using it, has helped to provide you with the tools you need to effectively search for a business ACD system.

If you want to take advantage of Yodel’s robust ACD, and intelligent IVR system

get started today with a 14-day free trial. We would love to help you get started with a demo call, or you can take advantage of our free webinar.

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