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Automatic Call Distributor

Definition

What is an Automatic Call Distributor?

The Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) is a system widely used in the telecommunications industry. Automatic call distributor systems are beneficial in any office that manages large volumes of inbound calls. The routing strategy is a rule-based series of instructions that informs the ACD how the machine handles the calls.

The ACD system handles calls based on the number called and the related handling instructions database. Businesses providing service support use automated call providers to verify callers, make outgoing calls, forward calls to the right person, allow callers to log communications, collect utilization data, balance the use of telephone lines and provide different services.

Why is automatic call distributor important?

The primary function of an automated call distributor is to direct incoming calls to contact center agents. The ACD system is created to accommodate common computer devices. Great features for remote routing applications include computer-telephony integration. This can increase the performance of call center agents by matching incoming calls with important PC data.

The automatic call distributor system uses a rule-based routing technique, based on a series of instructions that determine how inbound calls are managed and guided. Matching and routing thousands of calls to the right agent is a daunting job and is frequently performed in combination with an interactive voice response (IVR) device to help define customer needs.

 

What is an Automatic Call Distributor?
What is an Automatic Call Distributor?
Outsourcing FAQ

What is Computer-Telephony Integration (CTI)?

What is Computer-Telephony Integration?

Computer-Telephony Integration or CTI is a platform that allows electronic systems to communicate with phones and other means of communication. Email, live chat, fax, and text messaging are the usual CTI platforms that people use. Many call center companies utilize call center tools with CTI functionality. CTI helps these call centers achieve a strategic advantage in their business by allowing them to take a more informed approach to communicate with their telemarketers.

The right CTI system would help the agents to save time and effort during each call phase. As a result, they will be able to keep calls, queue them, and connect using the same interface in which they manage calls.

Advantages of using computer-telephony integration

Computer telephony integration can offer more than adding telephone controls to the call center agent’s interface. CTI also offers capabilities that are at the core of operating an accessible and productive call center.

Here are some of the benefits of Computer Telephony Integration:

Easily authenticate the caller. CTI aims to verify the caller by matching the contact information they called to the records in the company's database and advanced business software. Enhanced reporting. CTI increases the efficiency of reports by allowing telephone data and the inclusion of data from software systems. Call tracking. Lastly, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) allows managers to monitor call activities. For instance, they use CTIs respond to live calls so that they can provide support when necessary.

What is Telephony?

What is a Telephony?

Telephony is defined as the field of technology that involves the development and application of telecommunication services between distant parties through the use of appropriate equipment, whether voice, fax, or data. It is also linked to the invention of the telephone.

Telephony, as a term, is also used to refer to any computer network systems, hardware, or software, that carry out the roles usually performed by telephones.

Types of telephony

Telephony allows people to carry out long-distance communication, and it is most commonly used to refer to telephone systems. However, there are other types of telephony:

Traditional telephony Voice Over IP (VoIP) and internet telephony Mobile telephony Faxing telephony

 

What is Voice Response Unit (VRU)?

See IVR.

What is the Voice Response Unit (VRU)?

The Voice Response Unit or VRU is an automatic telephone answering device composed of hardware and software that enables a caller to navigate across a set of pre-recorded messages.

When call centers started to transition to digital in the late 1990s, businesses began investing in computer telephony integration (CTI) with VRU systems.

Today, many call center companies use voice response units to handle the front end of inbound calls. VRUs usually play recorded greetings to callers and then present them with menu options. Interactive voice response (IVR) is another term for VRU.

Importance of voice response unit (VRU)

Voice Response Units help consumers communicate with the company’s host device using a keypad or voice recognition, through which services can be accessed via its interface. 

VRU systems may respond to additional direct users with pre-recorded or dynamically produced audio including how to proceed.

Voice response units can maximize customer service and increase operational performance. In addition, VRU systems can be used for smartphone transactions, banking transfers, services, shopping orders, utilities, travel details, and weather conditions. 

A correctly deployed voice response unit could be a key asset that helps both consumers and call centers.

Benefits of a voice response unit

Here are some benefits you can expect when using a VRU.

Cost savings

The voice response unit is one of the most considered useful for every business. You can save money on recruiting agents to handle minimal inquiries and routing incoming calls through using VRU to offer some customer service aspects and provide automatic call distributors (ACD).

Consistency and professionalism

Businesses can ensure a high degree of consistency and professionalism by incorporating voice response units into your system throughout the process. 

Customers will receive messaging and the tone you wish to engage every time they call if you have pre-recorded messages placed on your system.

Excellent customer service experience

Customers are put on hold while waiting for agents to answer the call. By answering calls immediately, voice response units can help relieve your consumers' frustration. 

Even if there is a high call volume and a long wait for a live agent, your VRU may enhance customer service and reduce staff anxiety by informing callers of projected wait times or providing a callback

Personalized customer service 

Many customers increasingly prefer the convenience of self-service in every brand they go to. Voice response devices can help consumers with basic or common questions by immediately answering them or directing them to the appropriate agent. 

Further, you can set your VRU system to identify and welcome such individuals by name. 

Data and information gathering

You can use your voice response units to collect data and information from callers if it does not breach any data regulations. This can help with future marketing and segmentation of your client base. 

Further, voice response units help identify common reasons for calls, allowing you to allocate more resources to that area if necessary.

What is What is business process outsourcing?

What is Business Process Outsourcing BPO?

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the delegation of business processes to an external service provider to a nearby or farther location. BPO uses various technology-enabled services to optimize the delivery of services.

Some of the usual outsourced business functions are the following.

Payroll Accounting Human resources Customer service Sales Marketing

In the case of content providers, these could mean hiring writers, remote editors, or virtual assistants.

BPO speeds up processes and enhances efficiency. Companies that outsource some of their business processes use their time on core services and competencies.

With this shift in focus, companies improve their current processes which may result in improved customer satisfaction. BPO helps companies divert their resources to more critical business strategies.

Often, companies find it impractical to hire a full-time position in-house because of the cost associated with doing so. Outsourcing services can also help them save costs and resources in hiring suitable employees.

How does Business Process Outsourcing work?

Business process outsourcing happens when a business taps a third-party service provider to operate some of its internal processes. Such ‘processes’ include customer service, accounting and finance, or sales.

It is different from hiring an agency to do specific tasks, as the outsourcing provider (BPO) is more concerned with the ongoing production of labour-intensive tasks, instead of the higher-level strategy and guidance.

Now, business process outsourcing has broadened and is more akin to staff augmentation, or staff leasing.

What are the benefits of business process outsourcing?

There are many benefits to outsourcing, as well as some downsides and risks. The common benefits include:

Cost savings

Companies can enjoy savings of up to 70% by leveraging the salaries and costs in countries such as the Philippines and India.

Global market

Businesses get to access a bigger pool of talent that can fit their requirements. They can have better options in hiring employees since they are not limited to what is available in their home countries.

Global presence

At the same time, business process outsourcing opens clients to global trade opportunities. They can establish their global presence and expand more easily to other locations since they already have operations in the area.

Flexible workforce

BPO reduces internal local compliance obligations including providing additional office spaces to employees. Instead, organizations can hold their business operations on a remote setup, most usually having their teams in an office provided by the BPO firm.

Leverage skill

Companies cannot always do everything on their own. BPO enables them to leverage the skills of other specialist companies on more complex tasks such as accounting and IT.

Focus

Lastly, BPO enables organizations to focus on their core business functions. This is since most of their non-core business operations are done with the help of a reliable service provider.

Business process outsourcing examples

The business process outsourcing sector is a vast industry, generating over $200bn annually, and employing millions of people worldwide.

BPO can be seen in different forms and contexts, from hiring single staff to getting an offshore team. Some examples of BPO include:

Big enterprise

Facebook and Uber outsource many of their operational functions, including content moderation for Facebook, and customer service for Uber

Medium-size businesses

A medium business with 50-500 staff might outsource the labour-intensive accounting and finance functions to a team in the Philippines.

Small business and entrepreneur

It is common for small business owners to have a Virtual Assistant (VA) working for them full time and remotely from the Philippines.

What are the different types of BPO?

The type of business process outsourcing can be characterised by their specialisation, location, and size.

Generalist or specialist BPOs

Business process outsourcing is in the human resources and professional services sector. However, their services extend across all industries. The majority of BPOs are generalists, in that they offer a full range of professional services.

Meanwhile, some specialise in certain verticals such as the following.

Legal process outsourcing

Legal process outsourcing deals more with delegating legal processes and compliances to legal firms in another area.

Knowledge process outsourcing

Meanwhile, knowledge process outsourcing enables companies to outsource knowledge-related work including research and development, innovation, and creatives.

Location

Business process outsourcing typically operates from developing nations such as the Philippines, India, and Colombia. They typically have cheaper cost-of-living and bigger populations. Different locations offer different advantages.

Size of BPO

The bigger BPOs employ more than 250,000 people. They are huge, global operations. Medium-sized BPOs range from 500-5,000 staff and offer a full range of services. The smaller BPOs might have 1-500 people.

Functions of business process outsourcing

Collectively, business process outsourcing provides any kind of staffing solution. Common functions of BPO include:

Finance and accounting

Outsourced finance and accounting services help businesses manage their books, monitor cash flow, and keep up with corporate income tax compliances without fuss.

Healthcare

Healthcare outsourcing, meanwhile, organizes various back- and front-end functions done for the healthcare and insurance industries.

Creative and content

Creative services outsourcing covers everything from post-production of Hollywood movies to newspaper and website content.

Tech, IT and development

IT outsourcing involves delegating network management, web and app development, and cybersecurity protection to IT firms in different countries.

Sales & customer support

Some BPO providers specialize in sales and customer support for pre- and post-sales transactions. This helps companies meet the expectations and demands of their customers, keeping them satisfied even after their purchase.

Marketing

BPOs and marketing firms can help in ongoing marketing, communication and branding activities for their clients. This helps them attract more suitable leads in a cost-efficient way.

Talent and HR

Businesses can delegate HR, recruitment and compliance to professional employer organizations to maximize recruitment and workforce management.

Administration

Generalist BPOs help organizations accomplish general business administration and operational activities. This includes data entry, appointment setting, and other related functions.

Supply chain management

Lastly, e-commerce stores benefit from outsourcing supply chain management to manage warehouse and delivery processes.

Top BPO companies in the world’s top outsourcing hubs

A wide range of business process outsourcing companies in different parts of the world provide utmost services to their Western and local clients. Many of them even earned recognition by award-giving bodies due to their performance in both their roles and their level of care for the employees.

Check out the top BPO companies in several outsourcing destinations below.

Top BPO companies in the Philippines Top Indian BPO companies Top South African BPO companies Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services

With the rise of new offshore outsourcing locations, companies can have better options in terms of location and services they can delegate. However, finding a suitable BPO company can be a daunting task to be done on their own.

Good thing advisory services such as Outsource Accelerator is there to help them.

Outsource Accelerator is the most trusted source for independent information & advisory for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). We have over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 2,500+ BPOs from different locations.

Outsource Accelerator's offerings make it easier for clients to learn about, and engage with, business process outsourcing companies worldwide.

Want to learn more about outsourcing? Check out the Inside Outsourcing book as well as the Inside Outsourcing book review today!

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About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,000+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.