Q: What's the best advice you could give to set up my inbound ACDs?
A: Two things:
Q: Is there any benefit to having calls routed to an IVR first, then to an ACD?
A: It depends. Some companies like using IVRs to "pre-sort" calls before they get routed, but some customers find it a "turn-off." All things being equal, linking a call-in number directly to an ACD is usually the better choice.
However, if there's some specific information you want to convey to a caller when they call in, use an IVR—if you want to acknowledge to the user that they've called the right place, and give them options to move their call elsewhere if they need to.
Q: Are there any tricks I can use to make sure my reps are available when they're supposed to be?
A: Use the Dialer Manager Console to track agent activity, see your current service levels, and manage your call queue. If agents aren't showing up as available when they should, it's likely because they have forgotten to reset their availability status in the Inbound Agent.
Get your users in the habit of using the status options correctly.
Q: How do I know if I've set the failover and agent ring timeouts properly?
Once again, track your metrics in the Dialer Manager Console, and in the report engine. How many calls are hitting your service level metric? How many failovers do you get on a per-call ratio? You should be able to quickly get a feel for how to set your ACDs.