Call Centers

Glossary of Call Center Terms

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Glossary of Call Center terms;

We are often asked to provide our clients with a ‘glossary’ of terms and TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms) which are applicable to the call/contact center industry. Having finally started to put them down on paper we thought that including them here would serve two purposes; first to provide a reference guide to our reader’s and second to gain feedback regarding what other terms should be included in this list. So please review the listings below and let us know what other terms you feel we should include. We will update this glossary periodically and will make it available on the website. Term Definition

ACD Automatic Call Distributor. An component of a PBX or switch that routes calls to the first available Agent Abandoned Calls An incoming ACD call is counted as abandoned when the caller hangs up before the call is answered by an agent or before the call is routed off-site. The sum includes calls that abandon while waiting for an agent to answer the call at their telephone. Calls that abandon while in the Timed Overflow (TOF) queue are counted against the ACD queue that initiated the overflow.

AHT Average Handle Time. The amount of time an employee is occupied with an incoming contact. This is the sum of transaction time and wrap-up time.

ASA Average Speed of Answer. The Average Speed of Answer for calls received by an ACD queue. The timing for answering the call begins when the call is queued for the ACD queue and ends when an agent (either in the primary or overflow ACD queue) answers the call. If an agent in an overflow group answers the call, Average Speed of Answer is counted in the overflow group. This is the sum includes Enhanced Overflow Calls from other queues, but not including Timed Overflow In Calls from another queue nor Network ACD calls that are answered by a remote target agent.

Blockage A state in which all trunks in a specific trunk group are busy. May occur when all trunks are actually occupied with calls, or when some portion of the trunks are artificially blocked by system user in periods of understaffing to minimize number of calls in queue.

Churnover Staff that leaves the contact center to work elsewhere in the organization.

CIS Customer Information System. Often referred to as CRM.

CRM Customer Relationship Management. 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 to maximize the bottom line benefits to the organization. Also applies to computer applications that manage the customer relationship.

CTI Computer Telephony Integration. The linking of the computer in the ACD system to the computer which houses the company's database to permit faster and more efficient handling of calls. Screen pop is a function of CTI which can direct the data screen of the calling person's account to the terminal of the agent as the call is being routed there, saving the agent from having to identify the caller's account number, key it in, and wait for computer response. Also permits transfer of data screens to a second agent when a call is transferred and many other capabilities impossible with only one or the other system independently. Customer Satisfaction The satisfaction expressed by the customer when asked to rate the service provided to them. Generally determined by a third party.

FCR First Call Resolution. The ability to resolve the callers issue completely on the first contact.

GOS Grade of Service. The GOS measures how quickly incoming calls are answered. The customer specifies the time (in seconds) in the programming of the telephone system. The percentage of incoming calls answered or abandoned before that time (in seconds) is the GOS. A value of 100 means all calls were answered or abandoned within the customer-defined time threshold. Calls Time Overflowed and calls answered by target agents (TOF In Calls) are included in these calculations because TOF In Calls accumulate a Before Time Threshold value. However, TOF In Calls do not last in the target queue long enough to accumulate an After Time Threshold value. Calls Time Overflowed from a source ACD queue (TOF-Out) are not counted in this field because the GOS factor does not apply to calls answered by the source agent.

IVR Interactive Voice Response. A device which automates retrieval and processing of information by phone using touch tone signaling or voice recognition to access information residing on a server to give a response. The response may be given by a recorded human voice or a synthesized (computerized) voice. IVRs are used in applications such as "bank by phone" or "check on my order" which not only distributes information but collects transaction information as well.

KPI's Key performance Indicators. The most critical measures of performance in any organization, typically productivity measures.

Monitoring The practice of listening to agents' telephone calls to assess the quality with which the call is handled. Also called service observation. May be silent, announced, side-by-side, or recorded for later review.

PBX Private Branch Exchange. A switching system providing telephone communications between internal stations and external telephone networks. The term generally refers to manually operated switching equipment as opposed to computer operated switching.

QA Quality Assurance. Internal Assessment of the call quality delivered to callers. Generally based upon scoring forms completed during call monitoring.

Queue A queue is a number of calls that are waiting to be answered by agents in an ACD queue. The calls are usually assigned to available agents in a first-arrived, first-answered basis. The queue is the "line up" where incoming calls wait until they are answered. The queue sometimes refers to the group of agents available to answer incoming calls to an ACD queue.

RAN Recorded Announcement. An option which plays a recorded announcement for callers waiting for an available agent. An example would be when a caller is waiting and hears 'Your call is important to us. Please remain on the line, and your call will be answered by the next available agent'. A call can only get one First RAN treatment and one peg against the 1ST RAN amount. Each time that a call receives second RAN treatment, it is pegged against 2ND RAN amount. The 1ST RAN and 2ND RAN peg counts do not necessarily equal the Accepted Calls peg counts for an ACD queue. It is possible for a caller to hear RAN both before and after a transfer. In this case, the Accepted Calls count would tally only one call while there are two RAN peg count increases.

SBR Skills Based Routing. A method of routing calls in which the call is routed to the person best able to meet that caller's needs, as defined by identified skills or competencies, rather than simply routing to the first available or longest idle agent. Service Level Speed of answer goals that are often expressed as the speed of answer to be attained or as some percentage of calls to be answered within some number of seconds (e.g., 80 percent of call answered within 30 seconds).

Switch A switching system providing telephone communications between internal stations and external telephone networks. The term generally refers to manually operated switching equipment as opposed to computer operated switching.

Talk Time The elapsed time from when an agent answers a call until the agent disconnects

Turnover Staff that leaves the contact center to work elsewhere.

VRU Voice Response Unit. See IVR

WFM Workforce Management. 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.

Wrap Time Work immediately following an inbound call or transaction. If work must be completed before agent can handle next contact, then after call work is factored into average handle time. Work may involve keying activity codes, updating database, filling out forms, or placing an outbound contact.

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