A discussion of inbound call center functionality.
FIFO versus ACD
FIFO (First In, First Out) and ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) are two similar paradigms for sending inbound calls to a group or groups of call-taking agents.
In simple terms, an ACD system transfers incoming calls to queue agents. In some cases these are blind transfers; in other cases they are attended transfers. However the result is the same: the caller must wait for the agent to answer. The advantage to this method is that the agent knows beforehand who is calling (by looking at the caller ID displayed) and can pull up the customer's account in a CRM or whatnot.
A FIFO system also distributes inbound calls to agents. However, instead of transferring the call directly to an agent, the FIFO system will call an agent and wait for the agent to answer. *AFTER* the agent answers, the FIFO system pulls the next inbound call out of the queue and connects it to the agent. The main disadvantage reported here is that the agent does not know which caller he/she will be speaking with until after picking up. The advantages, though, are that calls do not get lost while being transferred to the agent.