ACD vs. CRM: How to Win the Battle
By Donna Fluss
Contact centers are complex systems and operating environments that require many types of applications to support agents and enable them to consistently deliver an outstanding customer experience. There can be as many as 45 different applications used in a contact center, but three are essential:
- Routing and queuing application known as the automatic call distributor (ACD), (or dialer, if an outbound shop). This system receives and routes calls and other types of interactions (email, chat, short message service (SMS), social media). In an outbound shop, it places the calls or sends out the interactions.
- Customer relationship management (CRM), servicing application or complaint management system. It keeps track of the each customer’s relationship and value to the enterprise, shares this data with agents, and is updated by agents to track their actions and commitments.
- Recording solution to capture phone calls and other interactions, which is increasingly a regulatory requirement in many countries.
The rest of the contact center applications are optional, although each one contributes to and enhances the performance of the operating environment in various ways.
There are many misconceptions about the role and benefits of ACDs and CRM applications. Some people believe that these two distinct and necessary solutions are interchangeable, when in fact, they are not. Others think that they can run their contact center effectively with just one of them, another incorrect assumption. This white paper will set the record straight about the purpose and uses of ACDs and CRM or servicing applications. It will also clarify why companies need both of these applications if they want to deliver a consistently world-class service experience.