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How ACD Call Queues are Helping Small Business

ACD Call Queuing is a concept used in inbound call centers. Call centers uses Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) to distribute incoming calls to specific resources (agents) in the center.

An ACD Call Queue is a managed holding area that uses pre-configured algorithms to route calls to the correct agent or group of agents. For example, a call comes in and the caller presses ‘1’ for sales and is put in a sales queue. Then the call queue will use a pre-determined routing program to decide where to send the call.

Some ways Calls can be routed:

  • Least Utilized Agent: The call queue will determine who when each of the agents was on the phone last. The agent with the longest time between calls will take the next call. This way the calls are dispersed in a calculated way so as not to overload one particular agent.
  • Skill Levels: A call queue can also be used to route calls based on skill levels. If a caller is put into a call queue and is asked if the call is about a specific area of expertise then their call will be routed to specific agents.

While the Caller is on Hold

A call queue can announce to the caller their place in line and how much time they should expect to be on hold based on the average amount of time callers are on the phone with an agent. Typically hold music or a marketing message is played while the caller is on hold in a call queue.

The Virtual Call Queue

Virtual queuing systems allow customers to receive callbacks instead of waiting in an ACD queue. This solution is analogous to the “fast lane” option used at amusement parks, which often have long queues to ride the various coasters and attractions. Customers who opt for a callback are prompted to enter their phone number and then hang up the phone. A “virtual placeholder” maintains the customers’ position in the queue while the ACD queue is worked off. This helps the caller avoid sitting on hold.

Hunt Groups Are Not Call Queues

There are, however, a great many companies that say they provide a ‘queuing service’ that do not actually provide ACD queues.  These crude replacements are referred to in the industry as ‘hunt groups’, because all it does is take a list of extension and try calling each one until it gets an answer or gives up.  This not only means that the first person is always busy while the last is rarely busy, but it also means that the caller has to wait on hold before being connected while busy phones are being called. 

A real ACD queue would be able to tell which lines are in use in advance, thus cutting down on this wait time dramatically.  In general, if you need high quality queuing service, make certain you contact the company’s customer service and ask them several questions about what they can and cannot provide in this regard. 

The Possibilities are Endless

But simplifying the ACD queue to simple call routing doesn’t really give full credit to what a properly built system is capable of, and how much effort goes into the little details.   A robust ACD queue is critical for any office of more than three people.  A call queue can be programmed to do all sorts of intelligent routing. The possibilities are endless.