How Enterprise ACD Systems Benefit Service Desk Operations
As most people familiar with an Automated Call Distribution (ACD) system will tell you, its primary function is to route all inbound voice contacts to the next available service desk or call center agent. While that is indeed true, it is equally important to note that today’s ACD technology has far surpassed the old phone system in how quickly and intelligently we communicate. For starters, the ACD is no longer simply a conduit for routing voice calls, but thanks to computer telephony integration, it enables queuing and routing for all contact types including email, text chat, and even a video interface. All communications media are then received via a single queue that can be programmed to follow the same call flow and routing rules as well as prioritization for VIPs. Consequently, these various inbound contacts are tracked and managed through one database that can be generated either historically or in real time as one set of reports. Routing rules can be established based on the selected IVR prompt. So, based on the particular issue or reason the end user is contacting the service desk, that person will be routed to the appropriate support group with the necessary training, access, and documentation to resolve it.
Beyond Caller ID
The concept of transferring or forwarding a telephone call blindly or even a display of the caller ID has improved with today’s ACD as well. The most up to date telephony integration does away with the ring and replaces it with a screen pop or window appearing on the agent’s screen that informs them of both the end user’s contact details and the relevant greeting script. The latter feature is invaluable for shared service desk agents that support multiple private labeled accounts. In such instances, as with any service desk supporting a multi-tenant environment, client-specific IVR scripts are developed and recorded and associated with a dedicated line for that client. Expanding IVR touch-tone capabilities further, another option for personalization is to enable caller recognition through PIN entry. For voice calls, the ACD would prompt the user to enter their designated PIN number, register the Dual Tone Multiple Frequency (DTMF) tone entered, and verify that predefined value in the supported user database. With a successful match, it would recognize that caller and incorporate that information on the pop-up screen so the agent can personalize his or her greeting to that individual.
Quality and Supervisory Monitoring
As with any call center, the service desk ACD will notify the end user that all calls are recorded to ensure service quality. While that is indeed a large part of quality assurance especially for team leads that listen to those recordings and provide feedback and coaching, many ACD systems include screen capture videos of the agent’s work. So in addition to the audio play-by-play and people skills conveyed over the phone, the ACD keeps a synced up video log of all troubleshooting steps performed by that agent. As a result, IT management personnel can replay that file and see exactly what the agent typed and navigated towards the resolution. While detailed notes, categorization, and other ticket data may be sufficient from a reporting standpoint, video playback is the ultimate drill down tool for anyone who wants to know exactly how a specific incident was handled.
Web Enabled Redundancy/Virtual Office
Unlike landline handset phones or even cell phones, ACDs generally use Voice-Over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology which means agents can handle contacts from anywhere with a high-speed internet connection. So support is not limited to a single ISP or internal server infrastructure or even a specific office location for that matter. As a result, continuity of service desk support is bolstered by multiple carriers over redundant networks. Additionally, agents can deliver support from home offices across all time zones, a benefit that promotes high retention of seasoned IT professionals while keeping brick and mortar overhead low, which in turn translates to more competitive pricing in an outsourcing model or lower internal costs for an in-house solution.
However it’s applied, a properly developed, high functioning ACD essentially serves as an automated contact flow triage and management system that fast-tracks communication and resolution between the end user and the service desk. For the end users getting back to work quickly, there may be no greater benefit since the invention of the telephone itself.