Call Center Glossary. Call Center Resources

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1 Call Center Resources Call Center Glossary after-call work (ACW) The work that an agent completes after a call ends. It can include entering activity codes, completing forms or sending an outbound communication. agent The person who handles incoming or outgoing calls and other communications in an organization s contact center. Agents are also referred to as customer service representatives (CSRs), operators, associates or team members. analytics The capturing of data from calls and other communications to identify trends and uncover the cause of problems as part of an effort to optimize contact center performance and improve customer service. Contact centers often use powerful software tools to collect data and present it in a way that allows for ease of analysis. answer rate The percentage of calls answered by a contact center. For example, if 1,000 calls were received in a day, and 950 were answered by an agent or by the interactive voice response (IVR) system, the answer rate is 95 percent. automated attendant A system which prompts callers to make numerical choices ( Press one for Sales; Press two for Customer Service ) to reach a specific department or person.

2 automated broadcast A pre-recorded phone message sent to a group of recipients. Often used to send emergency alerts, to announce marketing promotions, or to announce new products or services. automatic call distributor (ACD) Also known as an automated call distribution system, an ACD is the device or system that routes incoming calls to contact center agents. Call-routing rules can be based on a number of different criteria, including customers phone numbers, the time of day, or the selection made by the customer when prompted by the automated attendant. average handle time (AHT) This calculation includes the amount of time an agent spends on a call with a customer (including time that the customer may be put on hold) and after-call work (ACW) related to the call. average speed of answer (ASA) Also known as Average Delay, this is the average time that a call waits in a queue until it is answered by an agent. The calculation includes both calls that wait on hold and those that are answered immediately. average talk time (ATT) This is the average amount of time (usually expressed in seconds) that agents spend in conversation with a customer. It does not include time spent on hold or time of an agent s after-call work. blended contact center An operation that handles multiple types of contact with customers, such as inbound and outbound calls, s, web chats and other communications. contact center forecasting The process of predicting call volumes using a variety of factors, including past experience and upcoming promotions or holidays. The forecasted volumes are used to plan for required staffing. Call length: The amount of time it takes to handle one customer interaction, usually expressed as an average. (See Average Handle Time). call length The amount of time it takes to handle one customer interaction, usually expressed as an average. (See Average Handle Time). call monitoring Contact center supervisors will listen to calls to assess the quality of agents customer service. Also known as service observation, call monitoring may happen in real-time or supervisors may listen to recorded calls at a later time. call recording The recording of all or part of a conversation between an agent and a customer to help ensure quality customer service or to provide training feedback from a supervisor. Additionally, call detail recording captures data on calls, including time in queue, call length, outgoing number dialed and other information. callback messaging This is a feature that offers callers the option of leaving a voice message or telephone number using touch-tone to request a callback from an agent rather than remaining on hold. chat Also known as web chat, this is an instant message system that allows agents and customers to have real-time written conversations. cloud customer contact technology Contact center infrastructure that is internet-based and uses a software platform that connects to offsite cloud servers. contact center The industry uses the terms call center and contact center interchangeably, but contact center more accurately describes multi-channel customer engagement by phone, , chat, text and social media. 2

3 cost per call Calculated by taking the total cost of operating a contact center and dividing it by the number of calls/communications handled in a given period. customer relationship management (CRM) Gartner defines CRM as a business strategy that optimizes revenue and profitability while promoting customer satisfaction and loyalty. CRM technologies enable strategy, and identify and manage customer relationships, in person or virtually. CRM software provides functionality to companies in four segments: sales, marketing, customer service and digital commerce. customer service representative (CSR) An organization s representative who handles customer communications, including contacts, inquiries, support and complaints. Do Not Call list Also known as the Do Not Call Registry, this is a national database of phone numbers that telemarketers are not allowed to call. Consumers can add their number to the registry for free at escalation plan A plan that specifies the actions to be taken when a caller queue begins to reach an unmanageable level. first call resolution (FCR) A critical metric of quality for contact centers, first call resolution reflects an agent s ability to understand and solve a customer s issue during the first contact. handling time The time an agent spends on a call and doing related after-call work. Handling time also refers to the amount of time a machine takes to process a transaction. help desk A contact center set up to handle calls and communications to support a product or service, typically related to computer hardware or software. historical reports These reports contain information that managers use to track contact center and agent performance over a certain period of time. The data is typically generated by automated call distribution systems and call detail recording systems. home agent An agent that doesn t work at a centrally located contact center. Cloud contact center technology is allowing for more and more virtual contact centers, where agents log in from home or other locations where an internet connection is available. idle time The time agents spend waiting for calls. It can be calculated as the percentage of time logged in that is not spent on a call or doing after-call work. intelligent auto-response A system that recognizes commonly asked questions in inbound customer s and automatically responds with accurate answers and links to relevant knowledge bases. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) A set of communication standards for digital transmission of voice, video, data and other network services over the copper wires of the traditional public telephone network. interactive voice response (IVR) A system that automates processing of information for callers by voice recognition or touch-tones. Callers hear responses from a recorded human voice or computer-generated voice. IVR systems are often used with bank by phone and check on my order services. internet phone Technology that allows phone calls to be placed over the Internet, allowing callers to bypass traditional copper wire telephone networks. knowledge management system A means or process of capturing, developing and sharing organizational knowledge. Contact center agents will often have access to a knowledge base to help answer customers questions and resolve issues with products or services. 3

4 last agent routing A contact center technology feature that will route a call to the last agent a customer communicated with. The agent s familiarity with the issue and the customer typically results in faster resolution and higher customer satisfaction. mobile customer engagement software A contact center technology for mobile devices that offers a number of convenient features for consumers, including ways to easily find selfservice information, to reach a knowledgeable agent, or to arrange for a call back at a later time. multichannel A term used to describe contact centers that provide customer service and support through several communication channels, including phone, , web chat, text, fax, and social media. network control center Also known as the traffic control center, this is where supervisors will monitor real-time conditions in a contact center. They will use the information to adjust routing thresholds and gather data to plan for appropriate staffing levels. next available agent Supervisors will arrange for the first contact in a queue to be routed to the first available agent, helping to maintain an equitable agent workload. If there is no queue, contacts are routed to the agent with the longest idle time to help maintain an equitable workload. off-peak Refers to periods of time when the contact center is not busy. Off-peak times can be used for agent desktop maintenance and updates, and agent training. omni-channel Omni-channel refers to a customer s buying or service journey that can be accomplished seamlessly across all service channels. An omnichannel experience, for example, is one where a customer identifies a product for purchase on a company s web site, gathers more information for the purchase by talking with an agent via web chat, then placing the order online for pickup at a local brick-and-mortar location. At every customer touch point, the contact center agent or customer service representative has access to all the transaction information necessary to deliver outstanding service. outsourced contact center: An outside company that handles an organization s customer service communications through multiple channels, including phone, , chat and social media. PCI DSS The acronym for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a set of information security standards for organizations that handle credit cards. Technology solutions are available for contact centers to ensure that they are compliant with PCI DSS standards. predictive dialer A system that automates outbound calls and routes them to an agent when a live person answers the phone. Predictive dialer software can calculate the number of outbound calls necessary to maximize agent productivity. quality monitoring Contact center supervisors have the capability to listen to live and recorded calls as well as agent screen activity to ensure the high quality of customer interactions. quantitative forecasting The use of past trend data and other variables with statistical analysis to predict future call volume. queue The virtual waiting line of a contact center -- where calls are held until an agent is available. script A written, step-by-step process to assist contact center agents with serving customers. skill-based routing Instead of routing to the first available agent, the call is routed to the agent best skilled to handle the needs of the caller. 4

5 social media agent A contact center agent trained to communicate with customers via social media channels. social media monitoring Agents, supported by software platforms that monitor mentions of a company s brand online and in social media channels, will proactively handle customers comments, concerns and complaints. speed of answer The time it takes for a caller to reach a live agent. An important metric for evaluating contact center service levels. threshold The point in a process where an action must take place. In the contact center industry, thresholds are placed on the number of calls in a queue or the maximum time calls are allowed in a queue. unified agent desktop A contact center software feature that offers agents one window or one program on their screen to access of all necessary information to serve a customer. virtual call center Cloud-based contact center technology platforms enable agents to be located in different physical locations, but function as a single, virtual call center. About DATAMARK DATAMARK, Inc. is a leading business process outsourcing company specializing in a wide array of outsourced business services, including multichannel contact center services, high-volume digital mailroom management, document processing, and process improvement consulting. If you have questions or need assistance in developing your organization s case for outsourcing your contact center services, DATAMARK s business process specialists are available for a complimentary initial consultation. Contact us at: Toll-free: Info: 5

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