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Avaya UCaaS

Avaya OneCloud UCaaS (formerly (formerly Avaya Aura Contact Center)) is a cloud-based and on-premise call center solution that caters to all businesses across various industries. The solution allows users to offer personalized int...Read more about Avaya UCaaS

4.39 (71 reviews)

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3CLogic is a leading cloud contact center platform modernizing enterprise communications for employees and customers. Built on AWS, the solution provides advanced and scalable speech-enabled offerings for leading CRMs, including S...Read more about 3CLogic

4.31 (49 reviews)

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8x8 Contact Center

Virtual Contact Center by 8x8 is a cloud-based call center solution for small to midsized businesses. In addition to call center functionality, this solution also supports other interaction mediums such as voicemail, email, web ca...Read more about 8x8 Contact Center

4.04 (24 reviews)

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AireContact is a cloud-based contact center solution that provides call center interaction and management tools for multiple channels of communication. The product caters to businesses of all sizes and allows users to create campa...Read more about AireContact

5.00 (1 reviews)

Bright Pattern

Bright Pattern is a cloud-based contact center software solution which helps businesses manage multichannel service including inbound and outbound voice, email, chat, and social media. Bright Pattern scales from 5 to 10,000 concur...Read more about Bright Pattern

4.73 (98 reviews)

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ChaseData CCaaS

ChaseData CCaaS offers cloud-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the solution. It’s designed for outbound, inbound and blended call center teams. Dialing capabilities inclu...Read more about ChaseData CCaaS

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Nextiva Call Center

Nextiva offers a robust call center solution for business large and small. Nextiva Call Center allows companies to deploy a contact center in the cloud for inbound and outbound calling campaigns. Smaller organizations can now acce...Read more about Nextiva Call Center

4.25 (64 reviews)

17 recommendations

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Talkdesk is a cloud-based call center solution that helps businesses improve customer satisfaction while simultaneously reducing customer support costs. It uses interactive voice response (IVR), automatic call distribution (ACD) a...Read more about Talkdesk

4.54 (694 reviews)

11 recommendations

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VanillaSoft is a cloud-based sales management solution that combines features for CRM, lead management and telemarketing which helps sales teams in businesses manage their daily operations. VanillaSoft uses a queue-based sort...Read more about VanillaSoft

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bxp software

bxp software is a cloud-based customer management solution made up of four separate modules that can be utilized individually or combined to create a multi-functional solution. These modules include contact center management, cust...Read more about bxp software

4.20 (5 reviews)


crmConnect is a cloud-based customer relationship management platform suite that includes tools to manage sales automation, field service, customer support, social CRM, call center and channel management. With crmConnect, c...Read more about crmConnect

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Five9 is an all-in-one cloud contact center solution for inbound, outbound, blended and omnichannel contact centers world-wide. Powered by Practical AI, Five9 enables agents to provide customer experiences across phone, emai...Read more about Five9

4.20 (428 reviews)

9 recommendations

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NICE inContact is cloud-based call center software that helps businesses to maximize the quality of leads and minimize the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises many features required to process inbound support reques...Read more about NICE CXone

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Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM ecosystem for small, medium and enterprise organizations, with a focus on Sales, Field Service, Customer Service complete with strong integrations with Microsoft’s other Office 365 offer...Read more about Dynamics 365

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OptifiNow is a modular Sales Automation platform that streamlines the day to day activities of sales professionals. By offering the system on a modular basis, clients can adapt the solution to meet their specific needs. The system...Read more about OptifiNow

4.80 (5 reviews)

PIMS Dialer

The PIMS Dialer is flexible, scalable, and secure. It’s a cloud-based application, and the servers are housed in a state-of-the-art facility that’s operated around the clock, delivering extremely reliable uptime. Companies can cus...Read more about PIMS Dialer

4.48 (21 reviews)

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MiContact Center Business

Mitel MiContact Center is a hybrid contact center solution that caters to businesses across various industries such as hospitality, healthcare, government, education and service providers. The solution can be accessed via web brow...Read more about MiContact Center Business

4.25 (4 reviews)

Huawei eSpace Contact Center

Huawei eSpace Contact Center is a cloud-based contact center solution that caters to various industries such as education, finance, healthcare, government, manufacturing and energy. The solution supports sharing of resources,...Read more about Huawei eSpace Contact Center

4.00 (1 reviews)

Genesys Cloud CX

Genesys Cloud CX™ cloud contact center software transforms your customer experience. It connects data across teams, tools, interactions so you have actionable insights to address customers problems with ease on any channel, at any...Read more about Genesys Cloud CX

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Vonage Contact Center

NewVoiceMedia’s tight integration with Salesforce is reflected in its AppExchange 5-star rating and the large number of positive reviews. The solution is designed to work in tandem with Salesforce capabilities and data to deliver ...Read more about Vonage Contact Center

4.30 (65 reviews)

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Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 21, 2022

Most callers don’t like being placed in a queue, but consider the alternative: to simply let them wait indefinitely on hold. Most of us can guess what the outcome of that strategy will be.

Moreover, if the call is placed to one of your business’s main numbers rather than an employee’s dedicated number, how will you ensure that the call on hold is answered by one of your available employees?

Automatic call distribution is a capability both of integrated call center suites and standard business phone systems that solves these problems by enabling call queueing and rules for routing calls from the queue to your employees.

We’ll answer the following questions you might have about automatic call distribution:

What is an Automatic Call Distribution System?
Which Kinds of Systems Offer ACD?
Common Functionality of Automatic Call Distribution Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?

What is an Automatic Call Distribution System?

Essentially, a phone system or call center system with ACD capabilities parks incoming calls in a "call queue" and then routes them to call center agents or employees as they become available.

This ensures that calls get answered in the order that they come in, minimizing the time that callers wait on hold.

Moreover, because calls are routed to available personnel instead of being blindly routed to a line regardless of whether someone is there to answer, ACD ensures that your business answers far more calls.


Which Kinds of Systems Offer ACD?

Without ACD, you don’t have the option of call queueing—all callers will have to wait on hold. Because of this, ACD is used in nearly any business with a main company number or a toll-free number answered by multiple employees.

ACD is included in nearly all business phone systems, except for the most basic and stripped-down small business offerings on the market.

Call centers, in which large groups of agents spend long shifts answering inbound calls, have specialized ACD requirements. Thus, call center suites offer far more advanced ACD capabilities than most business phone systems, particularly when it comes to call routing.

Let’s take a look now at some of the specific features of advanced ACD systems.

Common Functionality of Automatic Call Distribution Software

A queue dashboard in 8x8 tracks metrics for calls in various queues (highlighted in red)

The core functionality of an advanced ACD system is to route calls based on pre-defined rules, whereas simpler ACD systems merely route the caller who’s waited the longest to the first available employee.

One common form of ACD used in call centers. With skills-based routing in place, call center agents are first assigned to groups based on skills (e.g., a sales team, a billing support team, a technical support team etc.). When a caller selects that they need “sales” or “support” in the system’s menu, the call is then routed to the right team, instead of just being sent to the first available agent in any team.

How ACD Directs Incoming Calls

Even more advanced systems are capable of routing calls based on algorithms that factor in historical data collected by the call center system. For instance, calls can be routed to the best-performing agents (as determined by historical metrics), or to the agent who’s been waiting the longest between calls if multiple agents are available.

Factors used to route calls can include:

  • The number the caller dialed
  • Caller selections within the company’s interactive voice response (IVR) system
  • Caller profile data stored in the company’s CRM or call center system
  • Agent skills
  • Agent idle time
  • Agent performance metrics
  • Caller ID data
  • Geographical information
  • Time of day or day of week

Call center ACD systems also offer advanced options when it comes to reporting and queueing, such as:

Usage data capture Allows users to gather data such as the number of incoming and outgoing calls, average time on call, average wait time and more. This information can be analyzed for reporting and used to populate agent scorecards.
Virtual queueing Allows callers to avoid waiting on hold by entering their numbers to receive a callback when it’s their turn. This reduces customer frustration and wait times.
Differentiated call queues ACD software users can create multiple call queues and have the ability to transfer callers between them. For example, a company may create one queue for support and one for sales, then transfer callers based on the purpose of their calls.

Virtual queueing, also known as callback, offers a dramatically improved waiting experience for callers, as we explain in our report on the subject. However, it’s still far from being a universally included feature in ACD modules, so make sure to mention it in your Request for Information (RFI).

What Type of Buyer Are You?

At the very least, most businesses are going to need basic ACD. Thankfully, the ability to create call queues is a nearly universal feature in business phone systems.

The need for an advanced ACD system depends on a company’s volume of calls and whether those calls need to be routed in a specific way. Almost all buyers of advanced ACD solutions are call centers.

Here are some specific recommendations about the kinds of ACD capabilities that different businesses will need:

Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees needing to place calls in queues can simply use a small business phone system. Small business systems generally offer ACD or at least “hunt groups,” i.e. the capability to group lines together so that multiple lines ring at once for a single inbound call.

Very small call centers can get by with basic hunt groups rather than advanced ACD by using a “round-robin” approach. In this routing scheme, calls are delivered sequentially to different employees. For instance, once employee A’s line rings, the next call is sent to employee B, then C etc.

Alternatively, some small call centers send calls to all agents at once, on the assumption that competition over who gets to answer is a motivating factor.

Call centers fielding a high volume of calls should implement an ACD system to manage a queue and distribute calls based on time-on-hold, caller data, agent skills and more.

Outbound and inbound call centers with an IVR should use an ACD to route calls. Outbound campaigns utilizing IVR menus require that you have ACD in place in order to properly route calls based on recipients’ IVR selections.

Complex sales and support teams that need calls to be routed to various departments should use an ACD’s skills-based routing capabilities.

Virtually all of the call center systems listed on Software Advice offer an ACD system, in addition to the standard business phone systems we list. Explore our product profiles to find the solution that works best for your needs.