IVR and ACD are abbreviations for Interactive Voice Response and Automatic Call Distribution. Both technologies help you to optimize your business phone system. In this article we’ll cover:
- The difference between IVR and ACD routing.
- How to integrate your cloud IVR and virtual ACD.
- Common ACD call routing strategies.
- Common IVR routing strategies.
- Business use-cases of both.
- How to set up IVR auto attendants and ACD software.
IVR Auto Attendant vs ACD Routing
IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
An IVR, also known as auto attendant, is software or system that allows a computer to interact with callers with pre-recorded audio prompts. The pre-recorded messages should provide callers with basic product or service information and include prompts to guide the systems behavior. The IVR provides the caller with the information they are looking for or allows them to navigate themselves to the proper specialist without requiring an operator.
ACD (Automatic Call Distributor)
An ACD automatically routes incoming phone calls based on predefined rules. ACD routing strategies are able to forward a caller based on factors your system can identify automatically, such as the caller’s location or time of day.
Integrating IVR and ACD Routing
The virtual ACD looks at the incoming caller’s number and routes the call accordingly. The IVR software is then activated and controls the call flow by providing or obtaining information based on the caller’s responses to various prompts. The IVR can likewise start outbound calls to deliver automated alerts or route the answered call to an agent.
IVR Service Benefits
An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system streamlines inbound call flow. This enables businesses in the delivery of efficient premium customer care. The business benefits of setting up a cloud-based IVR include:
- Create custom voice messages for current and potential customers.
- Decrease your caller’s expected wait time.
- Reduce the need for additional staff.
- Allow your customers to take care of basic requests without an operator.
- Offer an additional method of payment for customers.
- Let callers route themselves to the best agent for their needs (skills-based routing).
ACD Call Routing Strategies
Time of Day Routing
Time of day call routing allows you to deliver calls to different numbers or locations based on the time of day that the call is received. This is a popular routing technique with many businesses as it allows you to route calls based on your office hours. Incoming calls can be sent to the main office phone number from 8 AM to 5 PM. After hours calls can then be forwarded to your designated support line or agent. This enables businesses to provide 24/7 customer service.
Percentage-based call routing allows you to send calls to various departments based on your incoming call volume. It evenly distributes calls to the various designated locations. This allows for a consistent call flow and reduced waiting time for customers. For example, if you have a US based call center with 60 agents, and a call center in Hong Kong with 40 agents, you can use percentage-based routing to deliver 60% of incoming calls to your US-based location and 40% of your calls to your Hong Kong based call center.
Geographic call routing allows you to forward incoming calls to a specific geographical location. Calls are diverted based on the area code of the person calling. This is ideal for business with global offices, allowing callers to interact with agents in their own language, time zone and area. For example, if you have a Spanish-speaking customer base in Costa Rica, you can use geographic call routing to ensure that all calls originating from these areas are routed directly to your Spanish-speaking agents. Similarly, calls from your English-speaking customer base in the United States and Canada can be routed to your English-speaking agents.
VIP Call Routing
VIP call routing helps businesses provide their high end clientele with a premium customer service. Through VIP call routing businesses can create a specific list of VIP customers phone numbers. Any incoming calls from numbers on this list will automatically be routed. This can be programmed to route to a specific agent or office. This reduces the clients wait time but skipping the automatic incoming call queue.
Cloud IVR Business Uses
Banking institutions use IVR for client communication and extended business hours. They are also used for services such as “telephone banking.” This allows callers to independently make payments and check balances.
IVR systems are used by pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device companies and hospitals. They are also used to run clinical trials and access confidential test results.
IVR systems are widely used by survey organizations, television or radio game shows, and support groups. Through an IVR platform, individuals can answer sensitive questions without having to speak with an operator. In some cases, an IVR system can be used to do investigations in conjunction with a human interviewer.
How to Set Up IVR / ACD
AVOXI assists with the initial setup of the IVR menu to ensure it meets your company unique requirements. This auto attendant feature allows you to provide clear, simple instructions at the beginning of the message, and then offer customers 4 - 5 options.
AVOXI’s IVR system does much more than basic call routing, and you can use these additional features to your advantage. Rather than placing a customer on hold for 10 minutes for the department they need, you can program the virtual attendant to help customers do more without the help of a service representative. The more that your customers can go through the IVR, the less time they are likely to spend on hold.
The Virtual Attendant setup in the online portal allows you to enable the feature, configure your setup, and edit according to your business requirements. Additionally, you can link multiple virtual attendants and sub-menus. AVOXI’s IVR solution puts you in control with easy to management functions.