Optimizing An Automatic Call Distribution System With Rules Engines


Customer service is a key differentiator and directly affects a company's bottom line. In fact, almost 52% of consumers are willing to pay a higher price for products if they could also receive better customer service. 

It is also a critical component in a company's overall customer experience.

However, contact centers flooded with incoming phone calls can be overwhelmed. Which callers have priority? How to effectively route callers to a suitable agent? How to avoid exhausted agents and angry callers?

A tried and tested way contact centers avoid these sorts of issues is by using an ACD (automatic call distributor) system.

What is An Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) System?

An automatic call distribution system is a software solution designed for call centers that automatically routes incoming calls and assigns them to relevant agents or technical support departments based on predefined rules. 

ACD systems help contact centers route and manage large volumes of inbound calls to avoid overwhelming the customer support team. They also improve the customer experience by quickly connecting callers to agents best-suited to solve their issues.

However, before the caller is queued and routed, they first interact with the interactive voice response (IVR).

Even though IVRs and ACDs are frequently used interchangeably, they refer to two different programs.

What is the difference between IVR and ACD?

An IVR is a software application that allows callers to interact with an automated answering machine before being connected to an agent. They identify the user’s issue and, by extension, the kind of support they require. IVR allows callers to convey their reason for calling using either voice or dial pad selection feature. 

Once the caller's needs are identified by the IVR, the ACD system takes the customer data and routes the caller to the appropriate agent. Together, an IVR and an ACD system optimize a call center's skills-based routing strategy.

As a result, businesses can deliver a personalized and streamlined customer support experience from the start.

How Does Automatic Call Distribution Work?

The automatic call distribution process consists of three steps:

  • Caller Identification
  • Call Queueing
  • Call Routing

Caller Identification

The first step is identifying the caller’s reasons for calling using an IVR. These systems use factors like language and location to personalize the customer experience. For example, callers from France are connected to French-speaking agents.

Therefore, calls can immediately be directed to a suitable correct call center agent.

Call Queueing

The next step involves placing callers on a waiting list. The call distribution software places callers in a queue based on a number of factors including:

  • Status
  • Waiting Time
  • Reason for Calling

However, more advanced systems that use business rules to route calls have more features. For example, they can identify callers based on predefined information, assigned tags and data from integrated databases.

This allows companies to place high-value callers or those with priority at the front of the waiting queue.

Call Routing

The final step involves connecting callers to customer service representatives best suited to address the reasons for the phone calls.

Benefits of Automatic Call Distribution Software

Companies that use automatic call distribution software enjoy the following benefits:

  • Routing calls to customer service reps using predefined rules
  • Avoid long waiting times by using a multiple queue method when the number of calls is high
  • Quick response for callers who have priority
  • Increased call center agent productivity
  • Better workforce management by routing calls in an orderly and systematic manner
  • Call monitoring is simplified

The fast and smart routing of ACD systems ensures that customer is quickly attended to, resulting in higher customer satisfaction levels. At the same time, agents share the same amount of work by reducing idle time and properly routing calls.

Better Collaboration

Automatic call distribution systems enable companies that have agents or contact centers in different locations and time zones to operate seamlessly. A rules-based ACD system can connect callers to remote agents, various departments, and international offices.

Automatic Call Back

ACD systems allow callers who would like to avoid waiting in a queue the possibility to have an agent call them back at a suitable time. 

Multiple Call Queues

Businesses with a large volume of inbound calls often deploy multiple waiting call queues. For example, there can be different waiting queues for different agents or departments, or even for phone numbers that the caller dialed.

The Skills-Based Routing Strategy

Automatic call distributor systems that receive large volumes of incoming calls rely on business rules engines to route callers.

A rules engine is a pluggable piece of software that runs powerful conditional "if-then" statements called business rules that help route callers. Business rules engines customize the routing strategy based on the business goals of each contact center.

Therefore, call centers set up business rules to design various incoming call distribution methods based on their customized criteria, such as agent skill sets or customer data.

Enhancing Call Distribution with Higson

Higson is a business rules engine deployed in call distribution systems by companies with departments and customers dispersed across various countries and continents. As a result, they're able to easily manage their contact centers for maximum efficiency.

Using Higson, non-technical business professionals are able to:

  • Route calls based on queue statistics, time of day, agent availability, and area of expertise
  • Create conditions that automatically tag calls for further evaluation
  • Make trigger-based alerts using a user-friendly graphical interface
  • Use caller information from IVRs, such as area codes or phone numbers to place callers in specific queues
  • Customize parameters based on data from the IVR system (for example, ‘press 1 for the technical support department’)
  • Automatically route callers to contact center agents based on sales history, language, location, or any other data captured by IVR systems
  • Play recorded messages to particular customer segments using factors such as preferred language and location
  • Automatically route the call to relevant agents when an outbound campaign reaches an interested caller

When the need for new rules arises, they're instantly deployed in Higson by non-technical users without having to restart the automatic call distribution platform. No need to wait weeks for the IT department to find time to make changes to the routing rules.

Bottom Line

Rules-powered automatic call distribution systems are designed for teams in different locations that handle a large number of incoming calls, and teams with specialized agents.

Computer telephony integration plays a critical role in optimizing automatic call distribution systems, as it provides an opportunity for rules engines to analyze and respond to real-time data such as call volume, wait times, and agent availability, improving operational efficiency and customer experiences.

Higson can be integrated into existing call distribution systems, allowing companies to make instant rule changes that help provide a seamless and personalized customer experience.

Get in touch with our experts to learn how Higson can optimize and automate your call distribution processes.

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