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  CommServ > Faculty And Staff > Support > ACD FAQ

ACD Frequently Asked Questions

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What is an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system?

An ACD system is designed to minimize the amount of time that an incoming caller waits to be connected to a departmental representative, and to minimize the amount of time that a departmental representative waits to be connected to an incoming caller.

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How does ACD work?

At its most basic level, ACD processes many simultaneous incoming telephone calls and evenly distributes callers among two or more people. With ACD service, instead of receiving busy signals or being sent directly to voice mail, callers are informed that their calls will be answered in the order received. Calls are then put through at the first opportunity. ACD service gives callers information and options that would otherwise be unavailable.

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What are the appropriate conditions for ACD service?

ACD service is appropriate in any environment where there are periodically considerably more incoming calls than staff available to answer them. Even in a one-person office, ACD would queue calls in the order they were received until someone could answer them.

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How will ACD service work with an existing Call Controller?

ACD and Call Controller services together give callers options which let them choose among departmental functions and services, or elect to be sent directly to voice mail. Departments gain the ability to modify messages if circumstances vary, and employees benefit by knowing which service a caller selected because the telephone LCD displays this before calls are answered.

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Does ACD service require special equipment?

NEC Digital Terminal (Dterm Series E) instruments are recommended and designed for use with ACD service. Dterm instruments have an LCD display and feature buttons which provide detailed information about incoming ACD calls. Benefits of using the Dterm instruments include the following.

  • LCD display shows what service or function the caller selected before a call is answered.
  • Display includes information about where calls originate from.
  • Feedback is provided by the ACD Management Information System (MIS).
  • Visual and aural indicators indicate when the number of calls waiting to be answered exceeds a predetermined level.
  • Single-button access lets staff make status changes between different modes of operation.
  • Dterm instruments have multiline capabilities.

ACD service will also work with standard analog telephones anywhere on campus. While this method of connection works as advertised, it is not preferable for several reasons. Analog phones are not designed to take advantage of ACD Management Information System (MIS) messages. MIS information is only available when using an NEC Dterm LCD display instrument. In addition, analog telephones require the use of access codes for ACD functional mode changes. This means that a different learning curve is needed to use analog phones with ACD. When an analog telephone is used for ACD service the phone is limited to answering incoming ACD calls exclusively. Analog instruments cannot be directly dialed when connected to ACD service.

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What MIS reporting features are offered with ACD?

ACD service automatically records usage statistics and keeps track of a variety of information with detailed reports available to help analyze call center activity. You may request reports by contacting us at help@commserv.ucsb.edu. A partial list of reports includes the following.

  • ACD Incoming Summary
  • ACD Incoming Trend Chart
  • Abandoned Call Activity
  • Call Activity Summary
  • Calls Waiting Summary
  • Pilot Number Statistics
  • State Activity Summary

Reports may be requested by contacting Communications Services at help@commserv.ucsb.edu.

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Are there limitations on where ACD is available?

With Dterm telephones, ACD is only available within 4,000 feet of the switch in the Public Safety building. The limitation is the actual feet of wire from point to point, and will vary from building to building depending on how the cable is physically routed through the campus telephone network.

On analog telephones, ACD is available anywhere on campus.

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How much does ACD cost?

Aside from Monthly Recurring Charges (MRCs) for one or more published telephone numbers, costs include MRCs for each ACD position. In addition, each position requires a dedicated number for the exclusive use of accessing the ACD system to answer incoming calls. An additional (or existing) number at each position would also be needed to originate outgoing calls.

With analog phones, an ACD number can only be used to answer ACD calls. Analog phones associated with the ACD service cannot be called directly.

A typical estimate of costs for a four-person work group would look something like the following. (Note: recharge rates are subject to change from year to year; the following estimate uses recharge rates effective as of May 1, 2005.)

One-Time Charges
Four 8-button Dterm telephones @ $175 each $ 700.00
Labor, 18 hours @ $70.00 per hour (Costs vary, call us for individual quote) 1260.00
Materials 912.00
Installation charges (activate 4 new phone lines @ $20 each)    80.00
Total One-Time Charges $2952.00
Monthly Recurring Charges (MRCs)
Standard line, $17.50 per new line x 4 $ 70.00
Data networking surcharge (required for each line), $6.50 per new line x 4 26.00
Feature package ACD, $27.00 per new line x 4 108.00
ACD pilot number, $1.68 per new line x 2 3.36
ACD member number, $1.68 per new line x 4    6.72
Total Monthly Recurring Charges $214.08

These are representative costs, and are in addition to the existing 4 lines used by staff. Actual costs may very depending on individual circumstances and the degree to which phones, applications, and recorded announcements are customized.

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Our busy periods are seasonal. Is it possible to reduce lines during non-peak periods?

If inbound calling activity is highly seasonal, active ACD lines can be put on Temporary Disconnect (TD) during idle months to save expense.

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How do I get more information?

For more information, contact Customer Service at help@commserv.ucsb.edu, or call extension 8700.

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