- David Dean
Call Center and Contact Center Glossary of Industry Terms
This guide is intended to help people outside the call center industry familiarize themselves with the common industry terms.
An abandoned call is a call or other type of contact initiated to a call center that is ended before any conversation occurs. When inbound calls are abandoned, it is often because the caller is discouraged by the time on hold or a phone menu that is difficult to navigate.
A call center agent is a person who handles incoming or outgoing customer calls on behalf of an organization. A call center agent might handle account inquiries, customer complaints or support issues.
An agent who manages both incoming and outgoing customer calls is also referred to as a blended agent. Other names for call center agents include customer service representatives (CSRs), contact center agents, technical support representatives (TSRs), associates, operators, account executives or team members.
The agent status indicates how the team member is presently engaged and their current availability to handle another task. Team members in a call center might have the following statuses:
Available: An agent is available and able to take calls from their assigned queues. Busy: An agent is busy and unavailable to take calls. For example, an agent may be on break or working on a project. Learn how to create custom busy statuses. Offline: An agent is offline and not currently working. Assigned: An agent is assigned to a call but hasn't accepted it yet. On a call: An agent is currently on a call. Wrap-up: An agent has finished a call and is performing any duties needed before starting a new task. For example, an agent may be typing a call note or linking an article to the ticket. Listening: An agent is listening in on an active call.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)
Automatic call distribution systems are phone systems that automatically receive incoming calls and distribute them to the best available agent. ACDs help inbound contact centers sort and manage large volumes of calls to avoid overwhelming the staff. They also improve customer experiences by making sure calls are connected to capable agents as quickly as possible.
Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)
Automatic speech recognition is technology that provides the ability for a person to interact with a computer application with their voice, thereby eliminating the need to input data using the keypad. For example, automatic speech recognition eliminates the need for callers to “press one” when they contact customer service. It does this by converting a person's words into something a system can use, such as text or a computer command.
In contact centers, Interactive voice response (IVR) systems use automatic speech recognition to enhance the customer experience. When integrated with other applications, ASR technology enables callers to perform self-service tasks, such as checking account balances, as well as authenticating their identity prior to speaking with an agent. Automatic speech recognition can also be useful for identifying why the customer is calling and using this information to route the call to the appropriate agent.
Average Handling Time (AHT)
Average Handle Time (AHT) is the average duration of the entire customer call transaction, from the time the customer initiates the call to ending the call, including all hold times and transfers, as well as after call work.
Average Talk Time
Average handle time (AHT) is a metric that is often used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for call centers. It measures the average length of contact for a customer on a call.
A blended agent is a person that works in a contact center and handles customer contacts in multiple channels. This originally meant handling both inbound and outbound calls. But in today's omnichannel world, it can also mean handling emails, text (SMS), chats, and social media.
Blended Universal Queue System (BUQS)
A blended universal queue system (BUQS) is a customer service solution that combines the offer of call center agents handling calls on an outbound basis and visitors to their website. The BUQS solution allows for the business to reach customers through telephony, email and SMS messages.
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
Business process outsourcing is the delegation of one or more IT-intensive business processes to an external provider that, in turn, owns, administrates and manages the selected processes based on defined and measurable performance metrics.
Call blending is a term used to describe a call center's capability to both receive inbound calls and to place outbound calls using one contact center software system. Call centers can specialize in outbound calling, while others may focus on taking inbound calls, such as customer care contact centers.
Calling Line Identity (CLI)
Calling line identity is like caller ID for call centers. It is a method by which inbound calls can be identified by their number of origin and the name of the person or organization that is associated with the number.
Call center call recording is the process used in contact centers and call centers to record and monitor all inbound and outbound call activity. Recordings typically include the audio content of the phone call, but also screen recordings, which give visibility of the agents' workflows.
Call center routing is a call management system that automatically places and distributes inbound calls to a specific agent, or ring group, based on predefined rules and criteria. Call routing happens before agents pick up the call.
Call Center Coaching
Contact center coaching is the key ingredient for improving agent performance and building an increase in overall customer satisfaction. Coaching contact center agents empowers them to learn new skills, receive feedback on their work, and fix any potential problems they experience during customer interactions. Discover the five best contact center coaching ideas and strategies to build top performing agents.Call Center Manager A call center manager, or contact center manager, hires and oversees the daily operations of call centers and their employees.
Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM)
Customer experience management is the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle.
Call Handling Analysis
Call handling analysis is a call center terminology which refers to analyzing the effectiveness of the call center agents while receiving incoming calls or making outbound calls. Call handling analysis is performed by period call logging practices in call centers. Call center managers along with quality analysts.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
Computer telephony integration means linking a call center's telephone systems to their business applications, typically so that their business software can have more control over call management.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)
What is Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)? Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a software deployment model that enables companies to only purchase the technology they need and is commonly operated by a vendor to reduce IT, integration, and support costs.
Call Center Schedule Adherence
Schedule adherence is measured by taking the total time a call center agent is available for call work and dividing it by the time they are scheduled to work, expressed as a percentage.
Cloud Contact Center
Cloud-based contact centers help businesses manage the customer experience across phone, email, text, and social media. It offers advanced functionality that goes beyond inbound and outbound calls.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Call center customer relationship management (CRM) refers to a software tool that call center agents use to enhance the customer experience and increase efficiency. Call center CRM systems store records about customers, such as account information and contact history. Because they store history, they may be viewed as a case management tool. Agents use the information in CRM systems to personalize customer contacts and understand a customer's history with the organization.
Document Management System (DMS)
Simply stated, a document management system is an automated software solution for organizing, securing, capturing, digitizing, tagging, approving, and completing tasks with your business files. Although most document management systems store data in the cloud, a DMS is much more than just cloud storage. Because advanced document management systems, like eFileCabinet, handle the large amounts of paper flowing into your business for you, you can spend time on the work that you love.
Expected Wait Time (EWT)
Expected Wait Time is the length of time a customer has to wait in the queue before an agent answers.
First Call Resolution (FCR)
First call resolution is a metric that measures a call center's performance for resolving customer interactions on the first call or contact. The FCR metric is essential for monitoring a call center's operating cost efficiency and customer service delivery effectiveness. As a result, FCR is one of the most-watched call center industry metrics and is considered the most important call center metric.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Interactive Voice Response is commonly called a phone menu. A typical IVR for an ISP might prompt the caller to “Press 1 for support, 2 for sales, 3 for billing” and then route the call accordingly.
An IVR is an automated phone system technology that allows incoming callers to access information via a voice response system of pre recorded messages without having to speak to an agent, as well as to utilize menu options via touch tone keypad selection or speech recognition to have their call routed to specific departments or specialists.
A predictive dialer is a type of automated dialer that places phone calls even before the agents become available. It’s designed to increase agents’ efficiency by calling as many leads as possible. The system quickly moves on to the next lead after an unanswered call. Calls answered, on the other hand, are quickly routed to the next available agent. This guarantees more productive talk time, ensuring improved productivity for the call center.
A power dialer is a piece of automated telephone technology that dials a phone number right after a call is completed. As soon as an operator is finished with a call, the power dialer will call the next contact on the list.
Voice Response Unit (VRU)
A voice response unit, more commonly known as an IVR system, is technology often found in call centers that manages the front end of inbound phone calls. Voice response units typically play a recorded greeting for callers and then present them with menu options.
A voice response unit is an automated telephone answering system consisting of hardware and software that allows the caller to navigate through a series of prerecorded messages and use a menu of options through the buttons on a touch-tone telephone or through voice recognition.
Workforce Management (WFM)
Workforce management is an integrated set of processes that a company uses to optimize the productivity of its employees. WFM involves effectively forecasting labor requirements and creating and managing staff schedules to accomplish a particular task on a day-to-day and hour-to-hour basis.
Wrap Time (aka After Call Work or ACW)
Wrap time is the time used by the agent following the end of a call to complete any administrative tasks like updating notes about the conversation, process orders etc. Wrap up time is one component of the Average Handling Time metric.
Web self-service is a form of customer service and support that lives on your business's website, specifically, it allows website visitors and customers to identify solutions and resolve their problems through support-focused resources like your knowledge base, webinars, community forums, wikis, and FAQs.