‘Omnichannel’, ‘Predictive Dialer’, ‘ACD’…
These terms can hide or reveal all kinds of hidden treasures that buyers need to be aware of. All vendors claim to do ‘omnichannel’, but what does this really mean? (See our blog – Omnichannel, Customer Journeys And Contact Center Performance – where we discuss this.)
The Evolution of the ACD
So too with ‘ACD’. All contact center vendors offer one, but as we have discussed in our blogs before, there are many varieties of ACD. In the early days, there were simply routing engines for voice calls, using simple rule sets. And they operated in silos with no thought for resource utilisation and constraints in other contact channels.
Then came automated blending with outbound voice. Do it right and you don’t need to abandon an outbound call in order to move an agent from an outbound queue to pick up a waiting inbound call.
And routing logic got better. So you could examine an incoming call and decide which agent or queue to assign it to. And for most ACDs that’s as far as they get to.
But there’s more …
The Omnichannel ACD
We live in a world of multiple contact channels and it is reasonable to expect that contact center agents should be able to manage any and all of them – even several at once.
So, the challenge for the ACD has been transformed. It must no longer manage just calls (i.e. voice) but chat, social media, email and so on too. It’s a far cry from the siloed ACD of just inbound voice only.
There are a lot more moving parts and possible connections between agents and customers, and the human brain is incapable of managing them all.
Introducing Intraday Automation
In order to get sessions to the right or best agent, deploy resources optimally and deliver the best possible service to customers, the right solution has to be automation. Human beings alone just can’t achieve these objectives.
So, move forward to a world where we know what skills our agents have and what the SLAs are for all of our queues. Reasonable? Of course.
Using this information, automation can effectively blend across all contact channels and in the process, free supervisors from the impossible task of doing this themselves.
There’s strong correlation with the challenge for outbound. Many dialers still require human intervention, but the best dialers don’t and are (or should be) fully automated.
And there is a new (well, new-ish) term for this – intraday automation. If your ACD vendor hasn’t got there yet, ask them ‘by when?’ Or just talk to us.