Contact centers began with relatively simple problems; how to distribute inbound calls to waiting agents and how to make outbound calls efficiently without breaching laws associated with dialing. To class these problems as simple is perhaps disrespectful to the original pioneers of the ACD. Ensuring the distribution of inbound calls is fair, consistent and reliable is a big challenge. For outbound calls, it’s easy to make hundreds of calls for waiting agents. However, to do this under compliance is tremendously difficult and many dialers end up delivering poor performance or being non-compliant and very often both!
Creating a solution that distributes inbound calls while making outbound calls for the same pool of waiting agents was the next leap forward. Call blending in this way allowed SLAs for inbound queues to be met, whilst ensuring that outbound calls are made in a balanced way, avoiding abandoned calls.
Thus far, the only type of media that we have talked about has been voice calls. The more recent challenge facing designers of call center management solutions has been incorporating other media types that customers want to use when communicating with a business. These include email, SMS, web chat, video and social media options such as Facebook and Twitter.
Adding different types of media to the ACD puzzle has made it far more complex. And we get a new acronym as well! With the varied mix of voice, digital and video sessions between agents and customers, we say goodbye to the ACD and hello to the Automatic Session Distributor (ASD®).
For many traditional ACD manufacturers, this complexity was a stretch too far and instead of having a single system to manage all these additional session types, they have opted to silo them. Agents are therefore constrained to working either on a single channel, such as chat or voice, or to having to manually control their availability on different media channels. The result is inevitably less efficiency and greater stress for agents. It also creates overly complex reporting and management and most importantly provides a poor experience for the customer. The only way to solve this puzzle is to build a system that can truly handle multiple media types and multiple sessions for each agent, with fully media blending (and not just call blending) across all media types. Systems that are siloed and not fully blended may have a limited shelf life in this brave new world.