ACDs: In the beginning
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. For inbound calls, ensuring fair, consistent and reliable distribution is a big challenge. For outbound calls, it’s easy to make hundreds of calls for waiting agents, but to do this under compliance is tremendously difficult; many dialers end up either delivering poor performance or being non-compliant… and very often both!
The next leap forward was call blending: a mechanism to distribute inbound calls while making outbound calls for the same pool of waiting agents. This allowed SLAs for inbound queues to be met, whilst ensuring that outbound calls are made in a balanced way, avoiding excess abandoned calls.
The multi-media ACD challenge
Thus far, the only type of media that we have talked about has been voice calls. What about other media channels that customers want to use when communicating with a business, such as email, SMS, web chat, video and social media options such as Facebook and Twitter?
Incorporating not only calls, but all other engagement sessions simultaneously makes the ACD puzzle far more complex. 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 inevitable result is:
- less efficiency and greater stress for agents
- overly complex reporting and management
- a poor experience for the customer.
Many systems still remain siloed and not fully blended and sadly, may have a limited shelf life in this brave new world.
Automatic Session Distributor: the truly omnichannel ACD solution
The only solution to this puzzle is a system that can truly handle multiple media types and multiple sessions for each agent, with not just call blending, but with full omnichannel blending. And with the mix of voice, digital and video sessions between agents and customers, we need a new acronym as well! We say goodbye to the ACD and hello to the Automatic Session Distributor (ASD®)!