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Have you ever been caught in a situation where it was all greek to you? This can happen most of the times in the contact center world since it keeps evolving day after day. Too many jargons, buzz words, acronyms, abbreviations are spoken that it is sometimes difficult to comprehend the meanings. Here is a list of the most commonly used lexicon in the contact center industry which will help you understand these seemingly difficult terminologies. What’s more, we have simplified the language for you too.

1. Abandoned call/contact – a call where the caller has hung up before the agent answers the call. In an outbound call, abandoned calls refer to calls that are disconnected by the automated dialer once a live contact is detected and no agent is available to take up the call.

2. After Call Work (ACW) – also known as ‘wrap up time’ is the period of time immediately after the transaction with the customer is completed. Work could be keying activity codes, updating the database, filling out forms, or placing an outbound contact.

3. Agent – also known as ‘customer service representative’ is the person who responds to the customer queries on behalf of the organization. This can be through any channel, for example receiving and making calls, responding to emails, talking via chat or social media.

4. Agent status – current work mode of the agent. This can be busy on call, available to receive calls, unavailable to receive calls, and after call work mode.

5. Average Handle Time (AHT) – the amount of time an agent is occupied with an incoming contact. This is the sum of transaction time and wrap-up time.

6. Automatic call back – a calling feature that allows the caller to hang up when the called individual is unavailable and instruct the system to call when the line is available or the called number is no longer busy.

7. Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) – a specialized software platform designed for handling many incoming calls. Based on the routing instructions, the system will direct the call to the most suitable skilled agent. It also queues calls.

8. Automatic Number Identification (ANI) – also known as ‘calling line identity (cli)’ is a feature on the telephone where you can see who is calling you before you answer.

9. Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) – a solution to automate some or all parts of a customer call. It allows the caller to interact with the call center, using their natural language, without the aid of an agent.

10. Average Talk Time (ATT) – is a metric that measures the time an agent spends while speaking to a customer. This does not include the time a customer spends on hold or the time an agent does any work during or after the call.

11. Blended agent – an agent who is trained to handle both and outbound calls and related applications as needed.

12. Blocked call – a call that cannot be completed because of a busy condition.

13. Call avoidance – a proactive strategy implemented to reduce inbound call volumes to the contact center.

14. Call handling analysis – this is an approach to monitor the effectiveness and quality of handling of calls by the agents.

15. Call recording – also known as ‘call logging’ is a technology that enables call centers to capture and record the interactions between the agent and the caller. The caller has to be informed before the call is recorded.

16. Call routing – this is a process designed to ensure that each call is routed to the right agent with the right skills to handle the call. This feature is mostly to route high-end customer calls to a shorter queue.

17. Contact center – also known as ‘customer interaction center’ is a central point in an office from which all customer contacts are managed. While a call center is focused primarily on voice communications, contact center offers voice services (inbound and outbound), chat, email, instant messages and web interfaces.

18. Contact Center As A Service (CCAAS) – a cloud deployed contact center that enables an organization to reduce capital expenditure and operate a fully featured, multi-channel contact center with greater scalability and flexibility.

19. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) – connects a call center’s computer system to the agent’s phone system and integrates with the acd or dialer to help the agent identify and access customer details when on a call with the customer.

20. Cross selling – the practice of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer.

21. Database – collection of data structured and organized in a disciplined fashion for quick and easy access to information of interest.

22. Dialer – is a software application used to automate the process of dialing to external phone numbers automatically. There are different types of dialers:

  • Progressive dialing – very similar to preview dialing except in this, the decision when exactly the customer is called is not made by the agent, but by the application. After the call is finished, the next call request is routed to the agent automatically.
  • Preview dialing – the preview dialer selects a number from the call list and proposes this call record to an agent. The agent can look at the customer record (preview) and then decide whether to call the customer or not. Based on the response, the agent talks to the person on the other end or disconnects the call if there is an automatic answering machine, fax, busy signal or no response.
  • Predictive dialing – consists of a predictive ‘algorithm’ that predicts when the agent will be available and calls are automatically made based on the above prediction.

23. Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS) – is a telecommunications service sold to corporations that allow them to determine which number a customer dialed to reach them. This service is important for companies that have different numbers for different services even though all the calls are handled by the same call center.

24. Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) – also known as touch-tone is the signal to the phone company that you generate when you press an ordinary telephone keypad.

25. Erlang – is one hour of telephone traffic in an hour of time. Erlang b is a formula widely used to determine the number of trunks required to handle a known calling load during a one hour period. Erlang c calculates the predicted waiting times based on the number of agents, the number of people waiting to be serviced, and the average amount of time it takes to serve each person. It can also predict the resources required to keep the waiting time in check.

26. Expected Wait Time (EWT) – refers to the expected time customers may be made to wait before they are able to speak to an agent.

27. First Call Resolution (FCR) – this is an important call center metrics. This is focused on resolving a customer’s query or complaint on the first call. Fcr is used for monitoring the quality of service customers receive by counting the number of times their issues got resolved on their first point of contact.

28. Home agent/remote agent – a home /remote agent works from home or someplace else other than the actual contact center location.

29. Intelligent Call Router (ICR) – is a telecommunications network service that is able to provide information on call queuing and agent’s availability across the call center’s network. It then directs the call to the most appropriate agent. It effectively has a similar job to a switchboard operator.

30. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) – is a set of telecommunications standards and implies to various types of communication services such as voice calls, video calls, packet-switched or data-switched data and fax transmission that can be done through this network.

31. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – also known as ‘voice response unit (vru)’ is a technology that allows customers to respond to a menu of choices (spoken by an electronic voice) by pressing the appropriate buttons on the telephone keypad or using voice (speech recognition).

32. Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – a set of measures used by a call center to measure performance/productivity.

33. Load balancing – the process of balancing contacts between multiple sites, queues or agent groups.

34. Multi-skilled agent – agents who have the skills to handle a variety of calls.

35. Next available agent – a call distribution method where the first contact in the queue is routed to the first available agent. If no queue exists, contacts are routed to the agent who has been sitting idle for a long time (longest available agent).

36. Nuisance call – refers to any type of unwanted, unsolicited telephone call. This includes prank/crank calls, telemarketing, and silent calls. Silent calls are telephone calls generated by the predictive dialer but there is no agent available immediately to take the call.

37. Outbound call – calls that are initiated by a call center agent to a customer and are different from calls that come into the call center and are answered by the agent (inbound call).

38. Private Branch Exchange (PBX) – a private branch exchange located on the users’ premises and connected to the public network via trunks. Sometimes known a pabx where ‘a’ stands for automatic.

39. Public Switched Network (PSTN) – is the wired phone system over which landline telephone calls are made. It relies on circuit switching. It consists of a collection of individual telephones that are hardwired to a public exchange.

40. Queue – the waiting line for delayed calls. A queue holds the call until an agent is available.

41. Response time – the total amount of time it takes to respond to a service.

42. Screen pop – any technology, including ivr, ani, or cti, that presents corresponding data on the computer screen simultaneously with the incoming call.

43. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) – is a communications protocol for signaling and controlling multi-media communicated sessions such as voice and video calls.

44. Service Level Agreement (SLA) – is a contract between the service provider and its customer that documents what services the provider will furnish and defines the performance standards the provider is obligated to meet.

45. Silent Monitoring – a process that permits a supervisor to listen to both sides of a conversation including an agent and a caller. Used for determining training needs and performance quality. Neither agent nor caller is aware that the monitoring is taking place.

46. Skill Based Routing (SBR) – a method of routing calls in which the call is routed to the person best able to meet that caller’s needs, rather than simply routing to the first available or longest idle agent.

47. Speech recognition – the capability of a voice processing system to recognize and translate human voice signals into digital signals a computer system can understand. Includes both speaker dependent and speaker independent systems, and may work through discrete syllable recognition (most basic) or continuous speech recognition (most advanced).

48. Talk time – the time elapsed from when an agent answers the call till the agent disconnects the call.

49. Trunk – a single transmission channel between two points, both of which are either switching centers or nodes, or both.

50. Unified Communication (UC) – is a set of communication services and solutions bundled, sold and delivered together as a single cohesive solution. Ucs enables the use of voice, data, internet, video and other communication services through an integrated product or system which is developed by a single vendor or in collaboration with supported partners.

51. Universal agent – an agent who can handle multiple types of contact.

52. User Interface (UI) – is a broad term for any system, either physical or software based, that allows a user to connect to a given technology. Graphical user interface (gui) is a type of user interface that allows a user to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators.

53. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) – is a technology that allows telephone services to be delivered over the internet. It uses facilities, such as digital data packets to deliver voice information over the internet. It can be a popular choice, as voip service providers are normally offered at a lower cost than traditional phone companies.

54. Virtual call center – the concept of having network and agent resources that are located at multiple physical sites perform as if all resources were located at a single site.

55. Virtual Private Network (VPN) – is a private network that is built over a public infrastructure. Security mechanisms, such as encryption, allow vpn users to securely access a network from different locations via a public telecommunications network, most frequently the internet.

56. Wallboards – this is an electronic display showing; team performance, key performance criteria, service level, call queuing, etc within a call center. It can be used as a way of motivating the team, or as a reminder of the speed and level of service that the agents should be delivering.

57. Wide Area Network (WAN) – is a network that exists over a large-scale geographical area. A wan connects different smaller networks, including local area networks (lan) and metro area networks (man). This ensures that computers and users in one location can communicate with computers and users in other locations.

58. WorkForce Management (WFM) – the art and science of having the right number of agents, at the right times, to answer an accurately forecasted volume of incoming calls at the service level standard set by the call center.

59. Workforce Optimization (WFO) – is a strategy used in business with a focus on maximum customer satisfaction and benefits with minimal operational costs and supported by integrated technologies, cross-functional processes, and shared objectives.

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