Glossary

  • Abandoned after Threshold: Refers to customers who disconnect after they remain in the queue beyond the agreed upon threshold (as determined by the call center).
  • Abandoned Call: A call (or any other type of contact offered into a communications network or telephone system) that is terminated before an interaction occurs by the person originating the contact. In an outbound calling scenario, an abandoned call refers to a call that is disconnected by the automatic dialer once a live contact is detected and no agent is available to handle the call.
  • Abandonment Rate: The percentage of customers who disconnect before an agent answers their call, or before they make a selection in an IVR (interactive voice response) unit. It is the inverse of "Answer Rate."
  • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD): A specialized phone system used for handling incoming calls. The ACD recognizes and answers an incoming call, looks in its database for call routing instructions, and distributes the call as appropriate. An important role of the ACD is to produce management information tracking both calls and agent performance.
  • Activity Codes: Codes that allow an agent to identify and record the reason for a call, or piece together information having to do with the call (such as how the caller found the number and what initiated the call). They are also known as "End-of-Call Disposition Codes."
  • Adherence: See "Schedule Adherence."
  • After-Call Work (ACW): An activity that directly follows a call or negotiation. It encompasses data entry, activity coding, form completion, and outbound communication. It is also known as "wrap-up."
  • Agent Availability: Normally conveyed as a percentage, it is the time during which agents are awaiting calls. It is the inverse of "Agent Occupancy."
  • Agent Group, Split, or Gate: A group of agents dealing with particular set of calls or negotiations.
  • Agent Occupancy: The amount of time an agent spends handling calls or doing after-call work versus waiting for a call. It is the inverse of "Agent Availability." Occupancy = work time (talk time + after-call work time) divided by hours logged in.
  • Agent Status: The current work mode of the agent as tracked by the ACD system. Examples include "busy on call," "available," and "after-call work."
  • Agent Utilization: A metric typically used for financial reporting as opposed to measuring productivity. It measures the total agent cost versus agent productivity. Utilization = work time (talk time + after-call work time) divided by paid hours.
  • Agent: A person who deals with customer interactions and contacts in the call center. An agent can also be known as a "telephone representative" or a "customer service representative."
  • Average Handle Time (AHT): A metric that is measured from the time the customer has initiated the call until all after-call work is finished. Average Talk Time + Average Hold Time + Average Call Waiting Time (ACW) / Total Contacts = Average Handle Time.
  • All Trunks Busy (ATB): Indicates when trunks in a particular group are busy. It may occur when all trunks are occupied with calls, or when some portion of trunks are artificially blocked by system user in periods of understaffing to minimize number of calls in queue.
  • Automatic Number Identification (ANI): Also known as "Caller ID," it provides nominal and/or location information about the person calling. It helps an agent gear his or her response based on the information provided.
  • Announcement: A pre-recorded directive played to customers.
  • Answer Rate: Percentage of calls answered by agents in comparison to the amount of calls arriving.
  • Answered Call: A term used to calculate service level metrics. It indicates that the caller has reached an agent, indicating that a customer is being spoken with.
  • Application-Based Routing and Reporting: The ACD capability to route and track transactions by type of call, or application (e.g. "sales", "service"), versus the traditional method of routing and tracking by trunk group and agent group.
  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA): Metric used to calculate the average time a call remains in the queue until an agent has picked it up. It is also known as "Average Delay."
  • ATA: American Telemarketing Association.
  • Auto Available: Agents are automatically made available after wrapping up a call and disconnecting. In order to complete after-call work," agents must shift themselves manually from "available" to "unavailable."
  • Auto Wrap-up: Directly related to "Auto Available," Auto Wrap-up puts an agent into "wrap up" as opposed to "available." Agents put themselves back into "available" after they have finished with after-call work.
  • Automated Attendant: A processing system in which customers speak or press numerical choices in order to reach a certain destination (e.g., "Press 1 for customer service", "Press 2 for Human Resources").
  • Automated Greeting: Allows an agent to record a salutation that plays automatically when a call is answered. It is also called a "voice-saver" system.
  • Auxiliary Work State: Is used when agents do other work rather than take calls such as, send email or prepare paperwork. During this time, agents do not receive calls. It can also be known as "wrap up" or "after-call work."
  • Available State: Describes agents who are awaiting calls and are signed onto the ACD.
  • Average After-Call Work Time (AWT): Also known as "not-ready" time, it is the average amount of time agents work on customer accounts after ending a call, thus being unavailable for another call. It is sometimes called "After-Call Work" (ACW) or "wrap-up" time.
  • Average Delay of Delayed Callers: Excluding calls taken immediately, this is the average wait customers experience when queued, waiting to be connected to an agent.
  • Average Delay to Abandon: This is the average time customers wait to speak with someone before hanging up or disconnecting the call.
  • Average Holding Time on Trunks: The average time inbound transactions occupy the trunks: (Talk Time + Delay Time)/Calls Received.
  • Average Order Value (AOV): A key performance indicator that calculates the revenue generated on a per transaction basis.
  • Average Talk Time (ATT): Normally expressed in seconds, this measures the time spent speaking with a customer. It does not include the time a customer spends on hold or any after-call work by the agent.
  • Base Staff: See "Bodies in Seats."
  • Basic Rate Interface (BRI): One of two basic levels of ISDN service. A BRI line provides two bearer channels for voice and data and one channel for signaling (commonly expressed as 2 B+D). See "Primary Rate." Interface (PRI) and Integrated Services Digital Network.
  • Beep Tone: Notifies agent of an incoming call; however, it can also indicate the monitoring of a call. It is also known as "Zip Tone."
  • Benchmarking: Refers to the comparison of head counts, processes, and services with other similar industries to identify pros, cons, and improvement opportunities with regards to one's own organization.
  • Blended Call Center: A combination of communications that deals with a mixture of different kinds of contacts, such as inbound and outbound calls, telephone calls and email, and contacts using other types of communication.
  • Blockage: Due to a busy occurrence in the communicative pathway, a connection is unable to be completed.
  • Blocked Call: A call that is unable to be connected because of a busy condition.
  • Bodies in Seats: A term used to refer to the base number of staff needed on the phones to meet a speed of answer goal. The "Bodies in Seats" number assumes that staff is available 100% of the time to handle calls and does not include adjustments for staff shrinkage.
  • Busy Hour: The two consecutive half-hour periods of a day in which the maximum quantity of calls/contacts are offered.
  • Callback Messaging: Rather than remaining on hold, customers are given the option of leaving a message or a telephone number for a subsequent callback from an agent.
  • Call/Contact Blending: The method of organizing the inbound/outbound flow of calls, as well as e-mail and Web transactions, to a set of agents. Contact blending can be accomplished manually or by means of automated systems that route the contacts to the agents capable of handling them.
  • Call by Call Routing: In accordance with real-time conditions, call by call routing is the method of directing calls to the choicest destination. See "Percent Allocation."
  • Call Center: An operation with two or more persons that makes and/or receives calls, where the incoming call requires a service and not a particular individual to handle it. Call centers could be help desks, customer service centers, catalog sales centers, reservations centers, or telemarketing/collections operations.
  • Call Forcing: An ACD feature that automatically delivers calls to agents who are available and ready to take calls. Agents hear a notification that the call has arrived (e.g., a beep tone), but do not have to press a button to answer the call.
  • Call Guide: A tool (or template) that outlines the natural flow of the call, providing agents with questions to ask and product information to assist them with call control. Call guides are often put online in a computer application.
  • Calls Handled: The number of calls handled by agents. The metric does not include abandoned calls.
  • Call Length: The amount of time it takes to process one customer interaction, generally expressed as an average. See also "Average Handle Time."
  • Calls Offered: Number of calls available for answer; it is a key indicator of staff required to satisfy call volume.
  • Calls in Queue: A real-time report that refers to the number of calls received by the ACD system but not yet connected to an agent.
  • Calls per Agent: A calculation that involves dividing the calls handled by the total number of agents taking calls during a particular time period.
  • Cancellations per Contact: The number of customers canceling service divided by the total number of calls handled in a given period.
  • Carrier: A business that supplies telecommunications circuits, or carries signals between two points. It can include both domestic and international providers.
  • Chat: Like an instant message system, this allows logged-in computer agents and users to have a written conversation online and in real-time.
  • Compliance: See "Schedule Adherence."
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI): The amalgamation of the telephone and computer system, which holds the database from which the company functions. This provides for smoother negotiation and handling.
  • Conditional Routing: The capability of the ACD to route calls or contacts on an "if...then" basis. Routing conditions can include day of week, time of day, agent availability, type of call, service needed, etc.
  • Contact: Any contact between a customer and an agent. It could be a call, text, e-mail, chat, social media, fax, or letter.
  • Contact Center: Usually synonymous with "call center." A contact center handles multi-channel communications, such as e-mail, chats, social media, faxes, etc. The contact center probably handles more than just calls.
  • Contact Management: Keeps track of customer contacts and threads of communication between the agent and the customer in order to organize call center information. It is typically processed through software applications.
  • Controlled Busies: Refers to the ACD generating busy signals when the queue backs up beyond a company-determined threshold.
  • Conversion Rate: A measure of the sales proficiency of an agent. It is the number of sales made divided by the number of calls taken.
  • Cost per Call: The total cost of running a call center divided by the number of calls handled in a given period.
  • Cross-selling: The technique used by agents to sell an additional product or service while engaged in a customer contact. See also "Upselling."
  • Cross-sell Matrix: Organized grid dictating which items should be offered alongside items that customers are already looking for. The grid clearly illustrates which additional items should be offered after a customer has indicated what he or she intends to purchase.
  • Crowdsource: Referring to the Internet community, "crowdsourcing" involves using the opinions of the masses in order to obtain certain information. Usually, participants are willing volunteers.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): A measurement of the satisfaction a customer has with a product or services received. CSAT is often determined by follow-up surveys.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): The strategy of identifying customer needs; improving customer interactions; and customizing contacts, sales approaches, and automation to provide optimum service to each type of customer maximizing the bottom-line benefits to the organization. It is a broad term that takes into account people, processes, and technology related to the acquisition and retention of customers, and the maximization of the value of each customer relationship.
  • Customer Service: Working on behalf of and for the satisfaction of a customer.
  • Customer Service Call Center: Dealing with customer relations, a call center manages customer interactions, routes information to the necessary people, and collects data.
  • Customer Service Representative (CSR): A person who handles customer calls and contacts including account inquiries, support calls, and complaints.
  • Data-directed Call Routing: A capability whereby an ACD can automatically process calls based on data provided by a database of information resident in a separate data system. For example, a customer inputs an account number via touch tone phone. The number is sent to a data system holding a database of information on customers. The number is identified and validated, and the call is distributed automatically based on the specific account type.
  • Data Mining: The practice of examining large databases in order to generate new information. It describes the detection of trends in customer data over a period of time.
  • Data Warehouse: A large store of data accumulated from a wide range of sources within a company and used to guide management decisions. It is used to provide a historical perspective of events and negotiations that transpire in a business.
  • Day-of-week Routing: Usually utilized when agents are unavailable, day-of-week routing directs calls to alternate sites or automated systems based on the date (i.e. holidays, weekend days).
  • Delay Time: Refers to the time customers are waiting for an agent behind other customers. During this time, they may be listening to delay announcements. Delay Time does not include the time customers spend interacting with an automated attendant.
  • Delay Announcements: What customers on hold listen to as they await an agent, often containing information and requesting patience from the customer.
  • Desktop Applications: Software that facilitates a slew of tasks necessary for the functioning of an enterprise. Examples include accounting software, enterprise software, graphics software, media players, and office suites.
  • Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS): This helps a call center deal with multiple corporations and identifies how to answer the phone for a specific client. DNIS is essentially Caller ID; it helps determine which number was dialed by a customer.
  • Dynamic Network Routing (DNR): A service provided by the telephone companies that allows the call center to dynamically change where customer calls are routed.
  • End of Call Disposition: A call status labeling the purpose of a call. Agents use this label to describe why the call was made. Reasons include, but are not limited to, confirmation of details, scheduling of appointments, and resolution of an incidence. It is also known as an "Activity Code."
  • Erlang Models: A set of traffic engineering techniques used to determine numbers of facilities required in various telecommunications scenarios. The techniques were developed by Danish mathematician A.K. Erlang in early 1900s. "Erlang B" is used to determine required facilities in an "all calls cleared" situation such as automatic route selection in a PBX. "Extended Erlang B" is a modified technique used when there is measurable retry of calls taking place when calls are blocked. "Erlang C" assumes blocked calls will wait in queue and is therefore the Erlang technique used to determine staffing needs in a typical "hold for agent" call center scenario.
  • Erlang-Engset: A traffic engineering technique used to determine staffing needs in a "smooth" traffic flow situation, such as an outbound calling scenario where calls are placed sequentially and not randomly. Statistically speaking, Erlang-Engset is used in a traffic situation where the variance-to-mean ratio (VMR) is less than one.
  • Equivalent Random Theory: A traffic engineering model that is used in a "peaked" traffic situation, such as calls responding in an "all or nothing" fashion to television advertising. Statistically speaking, Equivalent Random Theory is used in a traffic situation where the variance-to-mean ratio (VMR) is greater than one.
  • Error Rate: The number of faulty transactions or the number of faulty decisions made in a transaction.
  • Facebook: Friends, families, and co-workers connect on a single site. Direct posts on one's page can only be made and received by "Facebook Friends," facilitating more privacy here than on Twitter.
  • Facebook Comments on Wall Posts: On Facebook, friends can comment on posts on a page where the user can respond with a comment as well. This is where customer care would primarily occur.
  • Facebook Complaint: A post via Facebook conveying dissatisfaction.
  • Facebook Private Messages: On Facebook, these occur privately, not on someone's wall.
  • Fast Clear Down: A call center term for a customer who hangs up upon hearing a delay announcement.
  • Fax on demand: The ability of customers to request reports, invoices, or various other documents using a telephone keypad.
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC): A government-ordained organization that regulates interstate communications.
  • First attempt: Calls that are attempting a connection to a group of trunks for the first time. Traffic engineering is based on first-attempt traffic, as compared to offered or carried load.
  • First Call Resolution (FCR): First call resolution is the percentage of customers who achieve call resolution in one call. This important metric gauges the effectiveness of the agent (or call center) properly addressing the customer's need the first time they call, thereby eliminating the need for the customer to follow up with a second call.
  • Flushing Out the Queue: Redirection of customers to a different group to avoid a queue with too many people on hold, giving customers the ability to speak with an available agent as soon as possible.
  • Forecasting: Calculations based on rigorous mathematics and experience that are used to predict call volume. The expected volume is in turn used to project the required staffing in the given time. Many different factors can affect the forecast, some of which can be predicted (such as holidays) and some of which cannot.
  • Full-time equivalent (FTE): A number that is equal to the number of total scheduled person-hours divided by the number of hours per week (40 hours, 35 hours, etc.) that defines full-time work.
  • Full Coverage Scheduling: A schedule type that is broken down into every half-hour period to be covered.
  • Funnel Forecasting: The process of beginning with an annual call volume forecast and narrowing to smaller monthly, then weekly, then daily, then half-hour forecast.
  • Gate: An ACD routing division that allows calls arriving on specific telephone trunks or certain transaction types to be answered by specific groups of employees. Also referred to as a "split" or "group."
  • Grade of Service: The probability of a call in a circuit group being blocked or delayed for more than a specified interval. It is always with reference to the busy hour when the traffic intensity is the greatest. Grade of service may be viewed independently from the perspective of incoming versus outgoing calls, and is not necessarily equal in each direction or between different source-destination pairs.
  • Handle: Users' "Twitter handles" are the usernames they have selected and the accompanying URL, like: http://twitter.com/username.
  • Handled Call: A call that is answered by an agent (or a resource) as opposed to being abandoned or blocked.
  • Hashtag: A tag that facilitates a conversation on Twitter or Instagram; the hashtag uses the pound (#) symbol to indicate a trending topic in tweets. The pound symbol is placed before the word with no spaces (i.e. "The #Internet is expansive").
  • Help Desk: A call center typically set up to handle calls in support of a product or service. It is used most often to describe the customer support operation of computer software or hardware suppliers.
  • Home Agent: An agent who works from home or somewhere other than the actual call center location. See also "Remote Agent."
  • Idle Time: Any time that is not spent on a call or doing after-call/wrap-up work. This can be conveyed as a percentage of total logged-in time.
  • Inbound: Incoming calls (or faxes, email, or chats) that are generated by customers. See also "Outbound."
  • Instagram: An online photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR): An automated retrieval and processing device that provides information for customers via touch-tone signaling and/or voice recognition. The response may be a recorded voice or an artificial ("synthesized") voice. "Bank by phone" and "check on my order" applications use IVRs. Also referred to as "VRU" (Voice Response Unit).
  • Interflow/Overflow: This facilitates calls to be rerouted to a predetermined destination. This usually occurs when an ACD group cannot deal with every call coming in due to overflow of customers. Calls can be manually or automatically interflowed to a different site or group.
  • Internet "Call Me" Transaction: This allows a customer who is exploring a Website to receive a call from the call center via an Internet option. Interconnection of the ACD system is required by means of an Internet gateway.
  • Invisible Queue: Occurs when customers are waiting to be connected to an agent and are unaware of the length of the wait.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): The most critical measures of performance in any organization. Typically these are productivity measures.
  • Knowledge Management System: In relation to dealing with customer interactions, this system holds a database of relevant knowledge.
  • Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes (KSA): Refers to the attributes required of a candidate to perform a job properly. KSAs may include capabilities gained through education, service, or training.
  • Labor Saturation Rate: The rate that measures to what degree a position already exists in a certain population. It is commonly used to measure to what degree qualified staff may be available in a certain labor market and is calculated by dividing the number of specific positions by the working population for that area. A labor saturation rate of fewer than 2 percent is considered to be desirable in finding needed staff, while a labor saturation rate of over 5 percent may indicate not enough qualified workers will be available.
  • Local Area Network (LAN): An integrated system of computers inside a building, enabling computers to share information. See also WAN (Wide Area Network).
  • Longest Delay in Queue (LDQ): The longest time period that a customer in a queue waits before either connecting with an agent or hanging up.
  • Look-Ahead Routing: Before routing or overflowing a contact somewhere, a system can "look ahead" to distinguish the availability of a trunk or agent group.
  • Make Busy: The process of setting a trunk or trunk group to return a busy tone to customers. This technique can be used to downsize the number of incoming contacts to understaffed groups.
  • Management by Walking Around (MBWA): When a manager or supervisor physically walks through the call center to oversee contact handling and performance.
  • Metric: Any type of measurement used to gauge some quantifiable component of a company's performance, such as "Average Handle Time" or "Schedule Adherence."
  • Monitoring: The practice of listening to agent calls in order to evaluate the way a customer was spoken with and how he or she was handled. May be silent, announced, side-by-side, or recorded for later review.
  • Next Available Agent: Refers to the first available agent a contact is routed to in a queue. This is done in order to maintain an equitable workload among agents.
  • Noise Canceling Headset: Headsets that minimize background noise in an effort to increase the focus of an agent dealing with a customer.
  • Non ACD in Calls: Inbound calls which are directed to an agent's extension, rather than to a general group. These may be personal calls or calls from customers who dial the agents' extension numbers.
  • Non-Productive Agent Time: Time for which agents are paid but not on the phones. It is also called "off-phone time." It includes time spent in meetings, training sessions, and coffee breaks.
  • Occupancy: See "Agent Occupancy."
  • Offered Call: A call that is received by the ACD. Offered calls are then answered, blocked, or abandoned.
  • Off-Peak: Refers to any period of time in the call center that is not extremely busy. Many call centers use off-peak times to accomplish off-phone work.
  • Online Review Management: Allows customers to comment on services or products, in turn allowing potential buyers to read reviews and seek out companies based on these online reviews. The brand then manages, curates, and responds to these reviews so that the brand is protected.
  • Open Ticket: A customer contact awaiting completion; it has not been handled or negotiated as of yet.
  • Outbound: Contacts made by agents to reach customers and clients. Includes calls, faxes, e-mail, or chats. It is the opposite of "Inbound."
  • Outsourcing: Contracting with an outside company to handle some or all of an organization's contacts with customers.
  • Overflow: Extra traffic that needs to be routed to another group or site in order to be properly handled. See "Intraflow" and "Interflow."
  • Pacing algorithm: A set of instructions used by an automated outbound dialer to determine when to initiate a call attempt. The system can speed up the dialing speed when too many idle agents are detected, or slow down the pace if too many live answers are unable to be matched up with a live agent.
  • Private Branch Exchange (PBX): A telephone exchange positioned on the premises and connected to the public network.
  • PBX/ACD: A "Public Branch Exchange" that is equipped with ACD capacity.
  • Peak Traffic: When traffic is at its pinnacle for a telecommunications system.
  • Percent Allocation: A contact routing strategy used by multi-site call center operations. Contacts in the network are routed to various sites based on user-defined percentages.
  • Performance Standards: Specific performance expectations for each job duty.
  • Pinterest: A photo-based social networking site in which users "pin" ideas on their "boards." Topics include food, art, games, photography, and décor.
  • Predictive Dialer: A telephone control system that automatically calls a list of telephone numbers in sequence, screening out no-answers, busy signals, answering machines, and disconnected numbers while predicting at what point an agent will be able to handle the next call. Example applications of predictive dialing include collections and telemarketing.
  • Predictive Hang-up: Before the customer answers, a call is aborted due to the fact that no agent is available when the call was initiated. (See "Predictive Dialer.")
  • Preview Dialer: For the use of an agent, a preview dialer is a device that displays a contact's information and phone number on the screen. It allows agents to choose to dial the contact when they are ready, or to skip the contact and move to the next one. If the call is answered, the contact is connected to the agent. If not, the dialer moves on to the next contact on the list.
  • Progressive Dialer: A device that displays the account information and phone number on the screen after the number is dialed. Considered more automated than a preview dialer but less automated than a predictive dialer.
  • Public Switched Telephone Network (PSN or PSTN): The basic connection between two telephones; available to the general public and most widely used.
  • Quality Monitoring: A process of observing and scoring an agent's phone calls, screen activities, e-mail, chats, etc. Used to determine an individual agent's performance with customer interactions.
  • Queue: The "waiting line" for customers holding to speak with an agent.
  • Random Call Arrival: The usual manner in which a call center receives calls, not based on any kind of pattern or interval system.
  • Reader Boards: Also called "display boards" or "wall displays," reader boards are visual displays, usually mounted on the wall or ceiling, that provide real-time and historical information on queue conditions, agent status, and call center performance.
  • Real-Time Adherence: Measures how agents stick to the work schedule planned for them. The ACD can display real-time statistics to convey the current state of any agent. An agent's adherence is determined by comparing an agent's state to his or her schedule.
  • Real-Time Data: Compilations of information based on ongoing and current conditions. This could account for calls in queue or the current longest wait. It could also entail the last x-amount of calls or minutes for the sake of making a calculation, like calibrating the "service level" or "average speed of answer."
  • Real-Time Management: In response to current queue conditions, making adjustments to staffing and thresholds in the systems and network.
  • Reddit: A news and entertainment site, Reddit allows users to peruse pages and pages of posted links or text posts. Users can vote a post "up" or "down," rank the post, and determine its position on the page.
  • Remote Agent: See "Home Agent."
  • Retention Rate: The percentage of customers who initially call to cancel their service, but decided to continue their service after speaking with an agent. It is sometimes referred to as "Save Rate."
  • Retrial: A customer who, after receiving a busy signal, calls again in an effort to get help or services.
  • Retrial Tables: A method used to calibrate trunks and various other required system resources based on the assumption that some customers will try to reach the call center again if they receive a busy signal.
  • Ring Delay: A setting that adjusts the number of rings that can occur before a call is answered by an automated attendant or the customer is given a busy signal. When calculating trunk-holding time, this delay should be included.
  • Rostered Staff Factor (RSF): The minimum staff needed to reach the required service level and the response time objectives. Base staff calibration precedes RSF calibration; and covers breaks, absenteeism, ongoing training, and various other factors. It is also called an "Overlay," "Shrink Factor," or "Shrinkage."
  • Schedule Adherence: Describes how well an employee complies with his or her scheduled work times, including start, stop, break, and time off. Also referred to as "Adherence" or "Compliance."
  • Schedule Exception: Any unplanned activity in an employee's work schedule, including meetings, ongoing training, absenteeism, and unscheduled breaks.
  • Scheduled Callback: An established time for a redial.
  • Screen Monitoring: An automated monitoring system that allows a supervisor to see an agent's screen activity.
  • Screen Pop: A feature of a computer telephony integration (CTI) application that automatically displays all of the relevant customer and account information on an agent's screen during a call.
  • Script: The written words and call flow logic used to assist agents with customer interactions.
  • Segmentation: Compartmentalizing customer contacts into various categories, dependent upon for example value or relation. Each category may be treated differently. Higher value customers may receive more rapid answer than lower value customers, and so on.
  • Service Bureau: A company that handles inbound or outbound calls for another organization.
  • Service Level: The percentage of calls answered within a certain timeframe, as determined by the call center. It takes into account calls offered and calls handled, while keeping track of how many were answered before some defined threshold. This is usually measured as a percentage. Example: If 17 out of 20 calls were answered before the threshold of 20 seconds, the service level would be 85% of calls handled within 20 seconds. It is also known as "Response Time."
  • Service Level Agreement: An interdependent agreement entered into by two or more organizations or businesses that delineates which aspects of services will be provided for each other.
  • Service Quality: A measure of how well a call or contact is handled.
  • Shrinkage: Typically reported as a percentage, shrinkage is the paid time that staff are not available to take calls. Factored into staffing requirements, shrinkage accounts for breaks, meetings, training, off-phone activities, paid leave, and so on. This allows sufficient staff to be scheduled in order to meet service level goals.
  • Silent Monitoring: Enables a supervisor or manager to oversee a call between an agent and a customer in real time. Neither the agent nor the customer is aware of the monitoring. Silent monitoring is used to ascertain training needs and performance quality.
  • Skill-Based Routing: Rather than sending a call to the first available agent, skill-based routing is a component of automatic call distributor (ACD) systems that filters and directs incoming inquiries to call center agents with the most applicable skill sets.
  • Snapchat: A mobile app that allows users to send pictures visible only for a few seconds. The app then deletes the photos.
  • Social Media Agent: A specialist able to communicate via social media.
  • Social Media Analytics: Collecting and processing data from social media Websites in an effort to discern actionable insight. May include sentiment, share of voice, engagement, and other metrics.
  • Social Media Company: A company that deals with a networking platform in which people can connect and communicate. Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit are all social media companies.
  • Social Media Customer Care: Using social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to interact with customers. it is geared toward building strong brand confidence through quick and effective responses to online queries.
  • Social Media Listening: Monitoring social media by means of investigating and tracking what is being said about a brand or company.
  • Social Presence: How a brand maintains its properties on social networking sites and how users perceive the brand.
  • Speech Recognition: In the case of an automated attendant and various other voice processing systems, speech recognition ciphers spoken words and phrases to enable interaction at some level.
  • Split: Part of an ACD routing division, split calls allow specified groups of employees to deal with certain transaction types.
  • Staff-to-Workload Ratio: A ratio comparing staff hours to the hours of call workload. It is calclulated by dividing the people available to handle calls by the hours of workload within an hour.
  • Staggered Schedules: Instead of start times being on the hour, start times are staggered to every fifteen or twenty minutes on the hour.
  • Supervisor: A person who has first-line responsibility for the management of a group of agents. Responsibilities include monitoring and measuring performance, coaching, assisting with difficult or escalated calls, and perhaps training and scheduling tasks.
  • Talk Time: The time between an agent answering and an agent disconnecting a call. See "ATT" (Average Talk Time).
  • Threshold: The maximum agreed upon time that calls should remain in the queue. The industry standard is that 80 percent of calls should be answered within 20 seconds ("80/20").
  • Tie Line: Keeps ACDs or PBXs connected across wide areas that usually cannot sustain such connections.
  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP): Originally created to link contrary computers across various networks, TCP/IP is now a common standard for commercial equipment and applications. In essence, TCP/IP governs the correspondence of sequential data.
  • Trunk: In the call center, a trunk is a single conveyance channel between a customer and its receiver, or just two points.
  • Trunk Group: More than one trunk provided by the local telephone company or various other carriers. Generally, all trunks in a group will be in use before the caller receives a busy signal.
  • Tumblr: A microblogging platform and social networking Website. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow the blogs of other users, as well as make their blogs private.
  • Turnover: A measure, usually expressed in a percentage, reflecting the loss of call center personnel due to resignation, retirement, etc. See "Attrition Rate."
  • Tweet: An Internet post consisting of a maximum of 140 characters on Twitter.
  • Twitter: A fast-paced micro-blogging platform where users post ("tweet") in messages with a maximum of 140 characters. Users acquire followers, respond to others' tweets, and "hashtag" or include followers in their posts.
  • Twitter Complaint: A post via Twitter conveying dissatisfaction.
  • Twitter Direct Message (DM @Reply): A private message on Twitter.
  • Twitter Follower/Following: "Following" someone in Twitter means that you can see their tweets in your feed.
  • Twitter Retweet (RT @Reply): Posting someone's exact tweet via retweeting in an effort to agree with the original post, attributing the post to them as well.
  • Unavailable Time: The time in which an agent will not be able to take customer calls or make calls to customers. Breaks, lunches, and time for managing and processing administrative work are all components of unavailable time.
  • Uniform Call Distributor (UCD): A device for distributing many incoming calls uniformly among a group of agents. Generally less intelligent and less costly than an ACD, a UCD will distribute calls following a predetermined logic, based on which agent has been busiest or in idle status the longest.
  • Universal Agent: An agent who can deal with several different types of contacts and can oversee any type of call, offer advice, and aid in the handling of various customer interactions.
  • Upselling: The technique used by agents to sell an additional product or service while engaged in a customer contact. See also "Cross Selling."
  • Username: An alternate identifier used uniquely for a computer system or social networking site.
  • Variance-to-Mean Ratio (VMR): The amount of variance from highest point to the lowest point within the hour or half-hour compared to the average for the period. A high VMR (>1) indicates peaked traffic; a low VMR (<1) indicates smooth traffic; and a VMR=1 indicates random traffic arrival.
  • Viral: Refers to when a video or advertisement circulates very quickly on the Internet. Usually stated as "going viral." It is named for the ability of a virus to replicate quickly and change a small infection into one that takes over the host organism.
  • Virtual Call Center: Enables network and agent resources to be located in separate locations. Facilitates in a virtual call center act as one, as if they are in the same location.
  • Visible Queue: When a customer is informed by a system announcement or some other automated announcement about an expected wait time. This allows a customer to choose to wait or abandon a call
  • Voice Processing: The technology that allows computers to speak and react to human speech.
  • Voice Recognition System: A telephone system using speech recognition to activate equipment that dials telephone numbers automatically.
  • Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP): A system that is able to transmit telephone data to the Internet. Its users have a free network through which they can make long-distance calls.
  • Voice Response Unit (VRU): A technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and tones that are input via a keypad. The response may be given by a recorded human voice or a synthesized (computerized) voice. It is also referred to as "IVR" (Interactive Voice Response Unit), thus making the Internet a source of communication in the same way that a telephone is. This allows customers to bypass the use of a telephone entirely.
  • Wide Area Network (WAN): By using digital data circuits, a WAN connects multiple computers across an expansive area, all the while keeping costs at an absolute minimum.
  • Workforce Management: An integrated set of processes that call center managers use to optimize the productivity of employees. It involves scheduling employees, matching employee skills to specific tasks, and quantifying the amount and types of labor needed to accomplish particular jobs on a day-to-day or hour-to-hour basis.
  • Workforce Management System: A software system that automates the tasks of creating staff schedules, workforce management represents having the exact number of agents needed at the exact times to answer correctly forecasted amounts of calls, forecasting calls, and tracking the performance of agents.
  • Workload: The combination of time on calls and the work done after a call ("talk time" plus "wrap-up time"). If referring to Trunk Workload, determining staff requirements, delay time, and conversation time. Wrap-up Time: The time that an agent spends doing after-call work; does not include time spent in meetings or breaks. See "After Call Work" (ACW).
  • Zip Tone: A tone that can indicate the arrival of a call or the monitoring of a call. Also known as a "Beep Tone."