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What Is An Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)?

Critical to the operation of the call center is the Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) or more recently called Omnichannel Routing. It receives inbound calls in a call center and intelligently routes them to the correct agent or group of agents with the appropriate skills to handle the inquiry. The goal is for it to quickly identify the agent or group of agents qualified to handle the call, so customers are not waiting on hold.

Calls can be routed based on a number of factors, including:

  • Dialed number
  • Nature of the call
  • Preferred language

    As technology advances, ACDs that were originally intended to handle just calls, can now perform omnichannel routing for digital channels including email, web chat, social messaging etc.

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When live agents are not available, ACDs can also:

  • Route incoming calls to an Intelligent Voice Response (IVR) system to answer the call
  • Can allow the caller to leave a message and request a callback.

    An important feature supported by the ACD in the call center is integration with Customer Relationships Management (CRM) systems or other databases via Computer Telephony Integration or CTI. This allows the ACD to do a data dip into a CRM or database of choice, retrieve the customer information including their profile, account details and past interactions, and present it to the agent as the call arrives. Additionally, this enables the agent to greet the customer and describe the reason for their call based on past events and provide a more personalized customer experience.

    For your VIP customers, your ACD can quickly identify them and route them to a specific agent or group of agents who may be assigned to their account. This kind of service for your most important customers can increase customer loyalty and may result in them recommending your brand to their friends and family.

ACDs collect an enormous amount of data in the call cener including:

  • Number of incoming calls
  • Amount time an agent spends on each call, also known as Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Total number of calls both incoming and outgoing
  • Length of each call
  • How long a customer has to wait in que before each call
  • How long agents spend on after call work

    All these metrics help contact supervisors understand the activity in the call center which allows them to staff appropriately with the right number of agents with the skills and knowledge to help your customers.

In addition to the features and functionality outlined here, ACDs enable

  • ACDs collect an enormous amount of data in the call cener including:
  • Call monitoring and coaching of agents
  • Combining multiple PBXs to function as a single call center
  • Multiple call queues for different departments, groups of agents or numbered dialed
  • Integrated auto attendants
  • Call center overflow to voicemail
  • And more!

    For more information about the Five9 Intelligent Cloud Contact Center, visit


Cloud-Based Agility

Moving to the cloud will allow for faster, easier deployments, seamless upgrades, flexible scalability, and reduced capital expenditures associated with on-premises systems.


Connected Journeys

The contact center should support customer journeys across web chat and social messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others.


Omnichannel Unification

Shoppers will be coming in from many different channels, so it will streamline the customer experience to route interactions using the same logic.

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Customer Context

Agents must begin the conversation right where the customer left off online. When the customer’s needs are transferred to an agent in real time, your brand is creating a seamless transition from web to contact center. Remove customer stress, unneeded customer repetition, wasted time, and deliver a world-class customer experience



Customer relationship management (CRM) system integration can improve the shopper experience by using CRM data to find the last person spoken to, use shopper purchase history to find the best expert, etc. In addition, once the connection occurs, your staff can access past interaction history and CRM information to understand the customer’s journey and deliver a more personalized experience.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI can deliver next- best-action recommendations and assist in responses that will improve conversion rates, increase shopping cart value, and speed up responses.

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Real-Time Management

Supervisors should monitor messaging interactions in real time and assist if needed, even if they are not in the same location.


AI & PCI Compliance

Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) can automate payment processing across digital channels and reduce your compliance risk by collecting sensitive customer data without revealing it to a human agent. Make sure that the IVAs can easily integrate with your payment gateways.


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