Automatic call distribution (ACD) and  Integrated voice response (IVR) are often discussed in the same breath, and in modern technology they typically go hand in hand.  When selecting an inbound cloud based contact center solution, you will probably need access to both the voice response and distribution tools.  

Like any technology, not all systems are created equal.  Most systems handle the basic task of prompting a caller to select from a menu and then passing that caller to an appropriate agent, but the depth and complexities vary when it comes to routing calls based on various skills and more complex variables. 

IVR/ACD tools can significantly impact your customer experience and dramatically improve your call center’s efficiency. All callers are routed to the appropriate department without agent assistance, and tools that can integrate to your CRM or can look up information about existing customers and use that information to drastically reduce call time.

Considerations when choosing IVR/ACD Solutions

The key thing to consider when choosing IVR/ACD solutions is how it will integrate to your internal technology stack.  IVR and ACD solutions need to be able to access the data they need to make the right decisions, and also be capable of providing necessary information to the agent to ensure the customer transitions from the IVR/ACD system to the live agent in a seamless journey.

Specifically, consider your needs and integration capabilities surrounding:

  • Skills based routing
  • API integrations for 3rd party systems
  • A-B Testing functionality
  • Text To Speech (TTS) capabilities
  • Call blending
  • In-IVR call back option

IVR/ACD Software Vendor Selection

There are a lot of options when it comes to adding or upgrading IVR/ACD solutions, both in terms of the vendor and system implementation.

Many contact center solutions, even older on-premise solutions, have IVR/ACD technology built into the platform. Depending on your needs, you may be able to utilize your system’s current capabilities to achieve your goals. However, your options will be somewhat limited and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to implement many advanced functions.

There are also many standalone IVR/ACD solutions that can be added to your existing call center software system. This option is often sufficient to achieve your desired outcome, but in many cases it can be temporary. Depending on the age of your current system, upgrades to the IVR/ACD software may outpace your system’s capabilities as the code development will be geared toward more modern cloud systems that rely on increasingly advanced AI.

If you are running premise-based software, you may find that to truly achieve your IVR/ACD goals, you will need to invest in a full upgrade to a cloud-based technology system. This route will allow you to choose either a standalone platform or a system with IVR/ACD technology built in, depending on your unique needs. This option also minimizes the risk of needing to switch providers in the future, as cloud systems are able to adapt quickly to changing technology.