Contact Center Lexicon

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Abandoned After Threshold: Calls that hang up after the customer remained in the queue beyond the agreed upon Threshold. These more adversely affect the service level than calls that are abandoned prior to the Threshold.

Abandoned Call: A call or other type of contact that has been
initiated into a communications network or telephone system, but is terminated
by the person originating the contact before any conversation happens. In an
Outbound calling scenario, an Abandoned Call refers to a call that is disconnected
by the automated dialer once live contact is detected and no Agent is available
to match up with the call.

Abandonment Rate: The percentage of callers who hang up before an Agent answers their call, or before they make a selection in an IVR (interactive voice response) unit. The inverse of Answer Rate.

Accessibility: Judges ability of customers to reach service, overall rapidity of call answering, and customers’ assent to speed of answer.

Activity Codes: Allow an Agent to indicate and record the reason for a call, or piece together information having to do with the call such as how they contacted this number or what incited the call.

Adherence: Also known as compliance, adherence measures the ability of an Agent to stay committed to his or her delineated schedule.

Advanced 800 Services: Toll-free services that encompass long-distance calls routing into a company based upon business hours, original sources, and call volume.

After-Call Work (ACW): ACW encompasses data-entry, activity codes, form completion, and Outbound communication. This activity directly follows a call or negotiation.

Agent: Also known as a telephone/customer service representative, an Agent deals with customer interactions and contacts in the Call Center.

Agent Availability: Normally conveyed as a percentage, Agent Availability is the time in which Agents are awaiting calls.

Agent Group, Split, Or Gate: A group of Agents dealing with particular calls or negotiations.

Agent Occupancy: The amount of time an Agent passes actively versus idle waiting for a call.

Agent Status: The circumstance of an Agent, be it available, on call, off-phone work, and so on.

Agent Utilization: Total amount of Agents busily handling customer calls logged onto the system

All Trunks Busy (ATB): ATB is when Trunks in a particular group are busy. Also occurs when a divvy of the Trunks are blocked by a system user, particular to periods of understaffing in order to deflate the number of calls lined up.

Analytics (Contact Center Analytics): Using a variety of methods to collect customer data across all platforms in in an effort to identify customer needs, increase customer engagement, optimize call center performance and increase customer satisfaction levels.

Announcement: A pre-recorded directive played to callers.

Answer Rate: Amount of calls answered by Agents in comparison to the amount of calls arriving.

Answer Supervision: The signal sent by the ACD or other device to the
local or long distance carrier to accept a call. That’s when billing for
either the caller or the Call Center will begin, if long distance charges apply.

Answered Call: A call received by an Agent, indicating that a customer is being spoken with.

Application Based Routing and Reporting: The ACDE capability to route and track transactions by type of call, or application (e.g., sales, service, etc.), versus the traditional method of routing and tracking by Trunk Group and Agent Group.

Architecture: The fundamental structure of a system. This establishes the workings of all the components necessary to the system and how they are integrated.

Area Code: The three-digit precursor to the rest of a telephone number in any area of the United States and Canada.

Audiotex: This enables and directs callers to announcements. Contingent upon Voice Processing.

Auto Available: Agents are automatically made Available after wrapping up a call and disconnecting. In order to achieve After-Call Work, agents must shift themselves manually from Available to Unavailable.

Auto Wrap-Up: Directly related to Auto Available, Auto Wrap-Up conversely puts an Agent into After-Call Work as opposed to Available. Agents have to put themselves back into Available promptly afterward.

Automated Attendant: A processing system in which callers dictate numerical choices in order to reach a certain destination (i.e: Press one for customer service, press two for human resources).

Automated Greeting: Allows an Agent to record a salutation that plays automatically when a call is answered.

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.

Automatic Number Identification (ANI): Also known as Caller ID, ANI provides nominal and/or locational information about the person calling. Helps and Agent gear his or her response based on the information provided.

Auxiliary Work State: What an Agent does other than take calls, as in sending emails or preparing paperwork. During this time, Agents will not receive calls.

Available State: Describes Agents who awaiting calls to arrive and are signed onto the ACD.

Available Time: When an Agent is able to take calls and/or already occupied on an Inbound or Outbound contact.

Average After-Call Work Time (AWT): Also known as “Not-Ready Time”, this is the average amount of time Agents work on customer accounts after ending a call thus being unavailable to another call.

Average Delay Of Delayed Callers: Excluding calls taken immediately, this is the average wait callers experience when delayed.

Average Delay To Abandon: The standard time callers wait before an Agent answers, disconnecting before speaking with someone.

Average Handle Time (AHT): This metric 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

Average Holding Time On Trunks (AHTT): 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 Speed of Answer (ASA): Metric used to calculate the average time a call remains in the queue until an Agent has picked it up. This is sometimes called “Average Delay”.

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 spent on hold or any after call work by the Agent.

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B2B Social Media: Refers to the many kinds of social media strategies whose primary focus is to cultivate relationships from one business to another.

B2C Social Media: Refers to the many kinds of social media strategies whose primary focus is to cultivate relationships from one business to their consumers.

Base Staff: The minimum amount of Agents necessary for service in any given period of time. Unproductive work is not accounted for such as breaks, meetings, training, and so on.

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 that a call needs answering to, however it can also indicate the monitoring of a call.

Benchmarking: Refers to the comparison of head counts, processes, and assistance with other industries to denote pros, cons, and improvement opportunities with regards to one’s own organization.

Big Data: High-volume data that may require specialized tools for processing to reveal patterns, trends and associations, relating to human behavior and interactions.

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 emails, and/or 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 unable to be completed because of a busy condition.

Blog: A site managed by one or more users which conveys long-form written, video or audio opinions concerning any number of things including business, social movements, advice, recipes, etc.

Blogger: Someone who writes and maintains a blog. Also, a term for a site in which users create his or her own blog, posting images and text for other users to browse.

Bodies In Chairs: 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 Chairs number assumes staff are available 100% of the time to handle calls and does not include adjustments for staff shrinkage.

Brand Reputation: The attitude surrounding a brand, how it is perceived by the population, and the mission statement that upholds the brand. This reputation must constantly be monitored and maintained by the brand or brand representatives on social media and other communication vehicles.

Business Case: This establishes that a project is apt to be well taken care of, will enhance the business, and is economically sound. Essentially, it is a process for analysis, appraisal, and data to target a need and pinpoint a resolution.

Business To Business: Describes Inbound and/or Outbound contacts that are generally to/from another business.

Business To Consumer: A term used to describe Inbound and/or Outbound contacts that are primarily with an individual consumer.

Busy Hour: The two consecutive half-hour periods of a day in which the maximum quantity of calls/contacts are offered.

Busy Study: A telephone study provided by a local or long-distance carrier showing the number of calls attempting to be connected on incoming Trunks. Also shows what number of percentage of those attempts were not possible due to insufficient Trunk capacity, resulting in a busy signal to the caller.

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Call Blending: The method of organizing the Inbound/Outbound flow of calls, as well as email 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 and Network Inter-flow.

Call Center: An operation with two or more persons that makes and 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 Center Attrition: The regression of Call Center employees due to the repetitive nature of the Call Center atmosphere; reducing the factors that add to this issue should improve employee turnover.

Call Center 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 others that can not.

Call Center Service Level: Summarizes the overall service experience customers are receiving in measurable terms. This takes into account calls offered and calls handled, while keeping track of how many were answered before the Threshold. This is usually measured as a percentage. Example: If 17 out of 20 calls were answered before the Threshold, the Service Level would be 85%.

Call Control: The act of controlling the flow of a conversation, usually by asking questions.

Call Control Variables: A gauge for judgement used to process calls. Includes routing criteria, overflow parameters, recorded announcements and timing Thresholds.

Call Detail Recording: Data on each call, acquired and stored by the ACD. Includes Trunk used, time in queue, call duration, Agent who handled the call, number dialed (Outgoing), and other information.

Call Forcing: An ACD feature that automatically delivers calls to Agents who are available and ready to take calls. They 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.

Call Length: The amount of time it takes to process one customer synergy, generally expressed as an average. See Average Handle Time.

Call Recording: Storing data from phone interactions, often with the goal of being able to providing additional training to the agent by monitoring for quality control all in an effort to enhance customer satisfaction. Additionally, call recording also can be used as documentation of a transaction, offer, action to be taken by both or either parties or a conversation.

Call Review Assessment: An assessment of an Agent’s call-handling proficiency, usually scored and conducted by a member of a Call Center quality assurance team.

Call Strategy: The plan or approach that an Agent will take in handling a customer call. Includes the desired outcome of the call.

Call Time: The typical time of a call. See Average Handle Time.

Callback Messaging: Rather than remaining on hold, callers have the option of leaving a message or a telephone number with the keys of a touch-tone telephone pad for subsequent callback from an Agent.

Caller-Entered Digits: Utilizing the telephone keypad, callers can enter digits to navigate a directory or leave a callback message.

Caller ID: Displays a caller’s information on the telephone itself or on a separately attached screen. This allows the receiving end to identify who is trying to contact them.

Calling Line Identity (CLI): Essentially, this is Caller I.D., which delineates a caller’s information on the telephone itself of on a separately attached screen. See Automatic Number Identification.

Calls Handled: A variable in Call Center metrics that represents the volume of calls answered from the queue before being dropped.

Calls In Queue: A real-time report that alludes to the number of calls received by the ACD system but not yet connected to an Agent.

Calls Offered: Number of calls available for answer, key indicator of staff required to satisfy call volume.

Calls Per Agent: A calculation that involves dividing the calls handled by the total number of Agents taking calls in a particular time.

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.

Case Management: Managing a set of customer service relationships, which will begin from initial contact interaction until the last communication has been completed and the customer is completely satisfied.

Cause-and-Effect Diagram: Used to sort ideas into beneficial categories, often utilized in a brainstorming session.

Central Office (CO): Can refer to either a telephone company switching center
or the type of telephone switch used in a telephone company switching center.
The local central office receives calls from within the local area and either routes them
locally or passes them to an inter-exchange carrier (IXC). On the receiving end, the
local central office receives calls that originated in other areas, from the IXC.

Centum Call Seconds (CCS): C, for Centum, is the Roman numeral for 100; thus, Centum is 100 call seconds. Widely considered a unit of telephone traffic calibration, i.e: 1 hour = 1 Erlang = 60 minutes = 36 CCS.

Chat: Like an instant message system, this allows any logged-in computer Agents and users to have a written conversation online and in real-time.

Chief Information Officer (CIO): The usual name used to refer to the highest ranked officer-holder in charge of an organization’s information system.

Circuit: Facilitates a network to transmit information between two points.

CitySearch: Based on location, CitySearch allows users to locate restaurants, bars and clubs, spas, hotels, and shopping hubs in a specified city.

Client/Server Architecture: An arrangement of computers and computer systems that all share an infrastructure in which their capabilities and devices are combined.

Collaborative Browsing (Co-Browsing): Synchronized Internet browsing by at least two people. This can be used by Agents to guide customers in website navigation. The difference between Co-Browsing and similar Internet communication tools like Screen Sharing is that all participating parties have control over the browsing window.

Collateral Duties: Business activities that don’t require phone calls. These duties can be allotted when call load is leaden.

Common Causes: Causes of variation that are inherent to a process over time. They cause the rhythmic, common variations in the system of causes, and they affect every outcome of the process and everyone working in the process. See Special Causes.

Completed Call: A call that has undergone total attainment by an Agent. Concerning Outbound calls, a contact has undergone optimal recycle attempts.

Computer Simulation: Used to predict a future occurrence, usually quantitatively, utilizing multiple variables. Especially with so many variables, this is usually the best and only way to predict a result.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI): The amalgamation of the telephone and computer system, which holds the database based off of 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.

Consumer Affairs: Any action taken by a customer to express their questions, concerns, or comments about a product, service, policy or action taken by a customer service representative in an effort to meet the needs of the customer.

Contact: Any contact between a customer and an Agent – could be a call, email, chat, fax, or letter.

Contact Center: Usually synonymous with Call Center. A Contact Center will handle e-mail, chat, faxes, and so on – not just “calls”.

Contact Management: Keeps track of contacts and trails lines of communication in order to organize Call Center information. Processed through software applications, such as ACT.

Contingency Planning: Describes preliminary actions to be taken in the case of unfavorable situations within a business. Delineates what can be done in terms of prevention, reaction, and recovery.

Contract Staffing: A service utilized by Call Centers in which staff from separate sources are employed to work in the Call Center. The staff is recruited and trained by the contract staffing agency consists of employees of that agency rather than employees of the Call Center.

Controlled Busies: Refers to the ACD generating busy signals when the queue backs up beyond a programmable threshold.

Conversion Rate: A measure of an Agent’s sales proficiency. The number of sales made divided by the number of calls taken.

Cost Benefit Analysis: By assigning dollar values to benefits and costs, cost benefit analysis is the comparison of benefits and costs in decision-making.

Cost Per Call: The total cost running a Call Center divided by the number of calls handled in a given period.

Cross Sell: In order to increase order value, items are offered to a customer that are likely to be purchased. They could supplement or substitute an item or share a target market.

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 already indicated what they intend to purchase.

Crowdsource: Referring to the internet community, Crowdsourcing involves using the opinions of the masses in order to obtain certain information, such as public opinion. Usually participants are willing volunteers or part-time workers.

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score): Represents customer satisfaction, CSAT is used to calibrate the product delivered against the customer’s anticipation for the product.

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 to maximize 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 Contact Center: Dealing with customer relations, a contact center manages customer interaction, routes information to the necessary people, and collects data.

Customer Service Representative: One who deals with customer calls and contacts. He or she answers any inquiries, dissatisfaction, or support calls.

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Data Aberrations: Deviations in data that could relay extremes, much like outliers in statistical evidence. They should not be utilized when attempting to forecast processes. Though some are valid, most should be discarded in the data analysis method.

Data Directed Call Routing: A capability whereby an ACD can
automatically process a call based on data provided by a database of information
resident in a separate data system. For example, a caller inputs an account
number via touchtone phone. The number is sent to a data system holding a database
of information on customers. The number is identified, validated and the call
is distributed automatically based on the specific account type.

Data Mining: Describes the detection of trends in customer data over a period of time.

Data Warehouse: Data stores created to display historical perspective of events and negotiations that transpire in a business. It is meant to be accessible to all departments, facilitating analysis and due process based on the data.

Database: An amalgamation of collected data over the course of a business’s history. Allows for rapid and accessible means of entry to necessary information.

Database Call Handling: An application in which the database computer works with the ACD to process calls.

Day-Of-Week Routing: Usually utilized when Agents are unavailable, day-of-week routing directs calls to alternate sites of automated systems based on the date (i.e: holidays, weekend days).

Delay Announcements: What callers on hold listen to as they await an Agent, often containing information and requesting patience from the caller.

Delay Time: Refers to the time callers are waiting for an Agent behind other callers. During this time they may be listening to delay announcements but does not include the time they spend interacting with an automated attendant.

Desktop Applications: Software that facilitates a slew of tasks necessary for the functioning of an enterprise. Word processor, Excel, ACT Database, and various graphics programs are all examples of desktop applications.

Detrending: The process in which the most recent twelve months of data
are brought up to current levels by equalizing the effect of trend rate. The
detrending process removes the influence of trend from a set of data so the
true seasonal patterns can be identified.

Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS): This helps a Call Center deal with multiple corporations and identify how to answer the phone for a specific client. DNIS is essentially Caller ID, it helps determine which number was dialed by a customer.

Disaster Recovery Plan: An organized, planned design for sending any calls to a different site in case of an emergency, or a disaster.

Do Not Call List: A nation-wide registry of phone numbers that telemarketers, or any organization that sends out automated calls that are not emergency-related, may not contact. A company may have its own internal Do Not Call List as well.

Drivers: Directives that affect obtaining a potential clientele, which can be controlled by management and staff.

Dynamic Network Routing (DNR): A service provided by the telephone companies that allows the Call Center to dynamically change where customer calls are routed.

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Economies Of Scale: Based on the idea that businesses do well and are more efficient when larger group sizes are utilized.

Efficiency: Utilizing resources while wasting as little as possible. Essentially optimizing assets.

Efficiency Metrics: Calibrate costs and opportunities in a Call Center.

End Of Call Disposition: Call status labeling the purpose of an Outbound call. This label tells the reason why the call was made; including but not limited to confirmation of details, scheduling appointment or resolution of incidence.

Envelope Scheduling: A purposeful over-scheduling of Agents to cover a forecasted number of incoming calls to cover extraneous work such as outgoing calls or emails. See Blending.

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.

Erlang: Measures telecommunication traffic usage. One Erlang equals 3600 seconds of usage in a one-hour period of time. Deals with CCS, Centum Call Second.

Erlang-Engset: A Traffic Engineering model that is used 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.

Erlang Models: A set of Traffic Engineering techniques utilized to
determine numbers of facilities required in various telecommunications scenarios
that were developed by Danish mathematician A.K. Erlang in early 1900’s. Erlang
B 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” contact center scenario.

Error Rate: The number of faulty transactions or the number of faulty decisions made in a transaction.

Escalation Plan: An organized and planned design that articulates which actions should be taken when a caller queue builds beyond agreeable levels.

Escalation Protocol: Defines how a brand specialist should respond to and or escalate a given issue concerning mention of a brand online.

Executive Summary: A short, concise statement delineating key objectives of a more particularized report.

Explanatory Approach: Utilized when two or more variables are compared and used to foresee future events with regards to a Call Center.

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Facebook: The corpus callosum of the Internet, where 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. As of July 2013, 1 in 7 people on earth use Facebook.

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, communication that occurs privately, not on someone’s wall.

Facsimile (Fax): Technology that scans, encodes, and transmits a document over a telecommunications circuit, reproducing it in original form at the receiving end.

Fast Clear Down: An immediate disconnection by the caller due to a delay announcement.

Fax On Demand: Callers are able to request reports, accounts, or various other documents using a telephone keypad. With the specified fax number, the documents are delivered.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC): This government ordained organization regulates interstate communications.

Feel, Felt, Found: A strategy Agents use when dealing with challenging situations with a customer. Empathy and understanding are the underlying principles of Feel, Felt, Found.

First Attempt: The calls that are attempting to be connected on 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): Properly diagnosing the customer’s issues on the initial point of contact. This customer relationship metric illustrates the quality of service customers are receiving by measuring how often their issues are resolved on the first point of contact.

Flickr: Mainly used to embed images, Flickr is used by photo bloggers and video hosts to share personal and corporate photos.

Flowchart: A step by step diagram of a process. Used to display a plan for a potential client or review past business transactions.

Flushing Out The Queue: Redirection of callers to a different group to avoid a disagreeable queue and to give callers the ability to talk to an available Agent.

Full Coverage Scheduling: A schedule type that facilitates every half hour period to be covered.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE): The number of Full-Time Equivalent people is equal
to the number of total scheduled persons hours divided by the number of hours
per week which constitute a full-time person (e.g., 40 hours, or 35 hours). FTE
may consist of several part-time individuals whose combined work hours in a
week equal the hours of a full-time person.

Funnel Forecasting: the process of starting with an annual forecast and narrowing to smaller monthly, then weekly, then daily, then half-hour forecast.

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Gate: An ACD routing division that allows contacts arriving
on specific telephone Trunks or certain transaction types to be answered by
specific groups of employees. Also referred to as split or group.

Grade Of Service: A percentage of calls that will face a busy signal. Defines the service of telecommunications transmission facilities.

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Handle: The Twitter username using the “@” symbol in reference to a specific person or business. This can be used to expand a tweet’s access to one’s followers and followers of the referred.

Handled Call: When an Agent deals with a caller instead of blocking the call or being abandoned by the caller.

Handling Time: The time an Agent spends taking a call, doing After-Call Work, dealing with any necessary and extraneous details, and the time it takes for a machine to process dealings.

Hashtag: Facilitating 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. Used most often to describe the customer support
operation of computer software or hardware suppliers.

Historical Reports: Track a Call Center’s and Agent performance over a given time span. They’re generated by ACDs, third party ACD software packages, and Call Detail Recording Systems. A system can handle only a certain amount of history depending on the amount and the type of system.

Hit Rate: A percentage of the number of attempts based off the number of connected contacts.

Home Agent: An Agent that doesn’t work at a Call Center’s central location, be it home or somewhere different.

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Idle Time: Any time that isn’t spent on a call or doing After-Call Work. This can be conveyed as a percentage of logged in time or of hours.

Imaging: The method used to store documents into a system, done by scanning and electronically saving them.

Immutable Law: In terms of an answering service, Immutable Law refers to the idea that when occupancy increases, service level decreases.

Inbound: Incoming calls (or faxes, emails, or chats) that are generated by customers. See also Outbound.

Incoming Call Center Management: Obtaining an agreeable amount of savvy workers and ample resources to deal with a forecasted workload qualitatively.

Incremental Revenue (Value) Analysis: A method that helps foresee the value of taking in or letting go of an Agent. Refers to the cost and revenue.

Index Factor: In forecasting, a proportion used as a multiplier to adjust another number.

Information Mailbox: Similar to an automated attendant, an Information Mailbox directs callers to a pre-recorded menu system. It may provide directions to a website, hours of business operation, instructions, or anything else in which human interaction is unnecessary.

Information Technology (IT): Involves computer systems and applications, especially their augmentation, establishment, and implementation.

Instagram: A photo sharing app available for download on smartphone devices. Followers see their friends’ photos on their feeds and vice versa. Anyone can comment and like a photo.

Instagram @Reply: On Instagram, the ampersat (@) is used in front of a user’s handle to essentially tag  them in a photo and copy their response to the photo.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): A slew of international objectives assigned to telephone transmission which provides a digital network, out-of-hand signaling, and greater bandwidth than older telephone services. Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI) are the two standard levels of ISDN.

In-Sourcing: Hiring an outside worker to obtain, hire, and train a staff of employees. Also called contract staffing.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR): An automated retrieval and processing device that provides information for callers via touch-tone signaling and/or voice recognition. The response may be a recorded voice or an artificial, or synthesized, voice. “Bank by phone” and “check on my order” applications utilize IVRs.

Interflow: 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 callers. Calls can be manually or automatically inter-flowed to a different site.

Interflow/Overflow: Refers to the flow of calls between Agent Groups in an ACD, an effort to balance a scheduled workload and reduce caller delay.

Internal Help Desk: In reference to more complex calls, an internal help desk supports other Agent Groups.

Internal Response Time: When an Agent Group supports other internal groups, internal response time is the time it takes for said group to respond to transactions that don’t have to be immediately taken care of.

Internet “Call Me” Transaction: This allows a customer to receive a call from the Call Center via an internet option while exploring a website. Interconnection of the ACD system is required by means of an Internet Gateway.

Internet Phone: In an effort to forgo the long distance network, internet users can make calls via the internet.

Invisible Queue: When callers are awaiting an Agent and are unaware of how long they will be on the line because they have no way of knowing how long the wait will be.

ISO 9001/2000: An international standard for the creation and maintenance
of a quality assurance system within a company.

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Judgmental Forecasting: Based more on attitudinal than statistical factors, judgmental forecasting encompasses opinions and beliefs as a basis for predicting what will occur. Intuition, interdepartmental committees, market research, and executive opinion are all integral to judgmental forecasting.

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Key Performance Indicator (KPI): Calibrates performance in any organization.

Knowledge Base: See Knowledge Management System.

Knowledge Management System: In relation to dealing with customer interaction, this system holds a database of relevant knowledge.

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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 under two percent is considered to be desirable in finding needed staff, while a labor saturation rate of over five percent may indicate not enough qualified workers will be available.

LAMA: A call-handling technique that emphasizes listening and interaction with the customer for call control. The steps are Listen, Acknowledge, Make A Statement, and Ask A Question. Designed by Judy McKee of McKee Motivation.

Law of Diminishing Returns: Refers to the marginal improvements in service level. With each added Agent, after a certain level of success and achievement, improvements decrease.

Load Balancing: Juggling contacts between queues, Agent Groups, and websites.

Local Area Network (LAN): An integrated system of computers inside a building, enabling computers to share information. See Wide Area Network.

Local Exchange Carrier (LEC): Provides local phone call service and calling capacities. Long-distance calls are provided within the local or regional area.

Logged On: Though Agents may or may not be able to receive calls while logged on, this indicates that they have signed on.

Long Call: Calls that are longer than thirty minutes fall under this category; named for the purpose of calibrations and Traffic Engineering purposes.

Longest Available Agent: When an Agent has been sitting idly for a long time, they are considered a longest available Agent. Calls are distributed to them, and when there is a queue they become “Next Available Agent.”

Longest Delay In Queue (LDQ): Conveys the worst case in a measurement period. Considered the longest time a caller waits in queue before he or she is spoken with and handled.

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.

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Make Busy: In order to downsize incoming callers to alleviate understaffed groups, Agents can set a Trunk or Trunk Group to a busy tone or inhibit other communicative paths.

Management By Walking Around (MBWA): When a manager or supervisor physically walks through the contact center to oversee contact handling and performance.

Marketing Agency: A company hired in an effort to target the most profitable markets, promote awareness, and conversion.

Metric: How performance in a contact center is measured, be is Average Handle Time or Schedule Adherence. Simple a unit of measure for any given performance interval.

Middleware: Software that moderates between hardware and software on a network. This allows the two to work together smoothly.

Mission Statement: A broad, general statement that declares an organization’s aim and how it will go about achieving this.

Modem: Contraction of the terms Modulator/Demodulator. Converts analog signals to digital ones, as well as vice versa.

Monitoring: Observing Agents’ calls in order to evaluate the way a caller was spoken with and how he or she was handled. Also called service operation.

Multichannel: Market strategy that involves using multiple independent channels to reach a customer, such as through brick-and-mortar, catalog, or website.

Multimedia: A combination of different types of communication of information. A regular phone call is dubbed “mono-media,” and a video call is dubbed “Multimedia.”

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Network Control Center: The corpus callosum of the Call Center, the network control center monitors real-time working conditions on a site, routes Thresholds when necessary, and coordinates events that will affect impact base staffing levels. Also called a Traffic Control Center.

Network Inter-Flow: A technology used in multi-site Call Center environments
to create a more efficient distribution of calls between sites. Through
integration of sites using network circuits (such as TI circuits) and ACD software,
calls routed to one site may be queued simultaneously for Agent Groups in remote
sites. See Call By Call Routing and Percent Allocation.

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 being paid but are not on the phones – also called off-phone time. Includes time spent in meetings, training sessions, on breaks, and so on.

Nuisance Call: When no live Agent is available to meet a call, and a live contact is made with a potential customer, dead air space is the result for the customer.

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Occupancy: The time, in percentage, an Agent spends logged in and available; the time they spend in active contact handling.

Offered Call: Either answered or abandoned, an offered call is received by the ACD.

Off-Peak: Refers to any period of time in the Call Center that is not extremely busy. It is expected that any work that does not have to do with the phones is accomplished during an off-peak.

Omni-Channel: An extension of the Multichannel approach, emphasizing synergy across channels for an enhanced customer experience. For example, a customer can purchase an item online and then pick it up at the brick-and-mortar location.

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 – protecting the brand.

Open Ticket: A customer contact awaiting completion, meaning it has yet to be handled or negotiated.

Outbound: Contacts made by Agents to reach customers and clients. Includes calls, faxes, emails, or chats. The opposite of Inbound.

Outsourced Call Center: An external institution that may handle all or some of the aspects of the customer service experience, which may include correspondence by phone, email, chat, and social media on behalf of a company or organization.

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 Interflow, Intraflow.

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Pacing Algorithm: A set of instructions used by an automated
Outbound dialer to determine when to initiate a call attempt. System can
speed up the dialing speed when too many idle Agents are detected, or slow down
he pace if too many live answers are unable to be matched up with a live Agent.

Pareto Chart: A bar chart that puts events in order of occurrence and frequency. Used as common method of organizing cause analysis and helps navigate for corrective action.

PBX/ACD: A Private Branch Exchange that is equipped with ACD capacity.

Peak Traffic: When traffic is at its pinnacle for a telecommunications system.

Peaked Traffic: The type of traffic pattern in which pronounced peaks and valleys of call volume occur within an hour or half-hour window of time. In statistical terms, the variance-to-mean ratio of peaked traffic is greater than one.

Percent Allocation: A contract 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: An ideal set of behaviors and goals that are aimed at by employees and managers. Goals to be obtained, behaviors to be followed.

Pinterest: A photo based social networking site in which users “pin” ideas on their “boards,” topics include food, art, games, photography, décor, etc.

Point Estimation: When a future prediction is based off of a single point in an enterprise’s history. It doesn’t necessarily account for recent trends and isn’t the most accurate and precise estimation approach because of this.

Poisson: Formula used to calibrate Trunks. Based off of the assumption that callers will keep retrying to get connected if they are unsuccessful the first time, thus resulting in an overestimation of Trunks required.

Pooling Principle: Consolidating resources and moving into that direction results in improved traffic-related efficacy. On the same token, if for any reason there is the opposite of consolidation of resources, traffic-related efficacy will be reduced.

Predictive Dialer: A device used to automate the way Outbound calls are made and direct them to an Agent when a live person answers. Predictive Dialing screens out other responses like answering machines, busy signals or operator intercepts and records the results. The dialer takes into account the number of available Agents, the number of lines, talk time and the likelihood of call results to determine how many calls need to be made to maximize Agent Output. Examples of 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 was available when the call was initiated.

Preview Dialer: For the use of an Agent, a preview dialer is a device that displays an account’s information and phone number on the screen to facilitate the Agent to be able to instruct the caller to dial, or not dial, the call.

Primary Rate Interface (PRI): PRI supplies 23 bearer channels for voice and data and 1 channel for signaling information (23B+D) in the United States. PRI supplies 30 bearer lines (30B+D) in Europe.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX): A telephone exchange positioned on the premises and connected to the public network.

Private Network: An exclusive use of a network made up of circuits for a particular organization or group of associated organizations. These are usual for larger enterprises and can be regional to international.

Process Management: A manner of doing things for the sake of efficacy and efficiency. Includes application of analyses, actions, and tools.

Process Map: A graph that conveys the process of a business from beginning to end.

Progressive Dialer: This displays the account information and phone number on a telephone screen. Considered more automated than a preview dialer but less than a predictive dialer.

Public Relations Agency: A company hired in an effort to establish a favorable image to the public.

Public Switched Network (PSN): The public network which provides the capability of interconnecting any home or office telephone with any other.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSN or PSTN): The basic connection between two telephones; available to the general public and most widely used.

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Quality Analyst: An employee charged with the responsibility of reviewing processes and procedures of a company.

Quality Monitoring: To oversee telephone and screen activities to make sure all is running smoothly and as instructed. One can monitor by sitting next to an Agent or silently.

Quantitative Forecasting: Uses statistical evidence to base predictions of future events off of. Time Series and Explanatory Approaches are the two major sectors of quantitative forecasting.

Queue: Where a call is held until an Agent is available. Equivalent to a waiting line.

QuikStaff: A tool used to calibrate staffing and Trunking requirements in order to ascertain tradeoffs.

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Random Call Arrivals: 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 a visual display, usually mounted on the wall or ceiling, that provides real-time and historical information on queue conditions, Agent status and Call Center performance.

Real-Time Adherence: Measures how Agents stick to their 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.

Received Calls: Abandoned from or answered by the Agent, received calls are caught and taken by a Trunk.

Recorded Announcement: While waiting in a queue, callers hear an announcement generally providing information about products or services, requesting patience and giving an approximate wait time or a more opportune time to try calling again.

Recruiter: An employee charged with the responsibility of hiring staff by perusing resumes, conducting interviews, doing background checks, etc.

Reddit: A news and entertainment site, Reddit allows users to peruse pages and pages of posted link or text posts. Users can vote a post “up” or “down,” ranking the post and determining its position on the page.

Redial: On a telephone, dialing a second or third time after a failed first attempt.

Re-engineering: Changing processes dramatically in an attempt to increase efficacy and efficiency of a service.

Remote Agent: An Agent that works outside of the contact center. He or she is usually connected via telecommunications links that provide data pathways. They work on an as-needed basis unless provided a schedule to supplement answering capabilities.

Reporting Analyst: An employee charged with the responsibility of producing content reports based on the information in the systems.

Request for Proposal (RFP): A request made by an organization for a supplier of a service to submit a business proposal which can outline the costs and capabilities of the supplier. The subjects may include company background, core competencies, references, recruiting, training, workforce management, technology, telecom, data security and the business continuity plan.

Response Time: The time elapsed between a transmission ending and a receipt of the response message beginning. This is calibrated at the inquiry originating station.

Retention Rate: The percentage of customers who initially called to cancel their service, but decided not to after speaking with an Agent. Sometimes referred to as Save rate.

Retrial: A caller who, after receiving a busy signal, calls an answering service again in an effort to get help or services.

Retrial Tables: A method utilized to calibrate Trunks and various other system resources required. Based on the assumption that a few callers will try to reach the Call Center again if they receive busy signals.

Revenue Generation: Making money or profit off of a service provided. See also Upselling.

Revenue Metrics: Utilized to calibrate revenue in a Call Center. Necessary for determining revenue allocation and other such matters.

Ring Delay: A setting that adjusts the amount of time a system rings before the call is automatically answered by either an automated attendant or the caller is given a busy signal. This delay is necessary for inclusion when calculating Trunk Hold Time.

Rostered Staff Factor (RSF): The minimum staff needed to reach a required service level and response time objectives. Base staff calibration precedes RSF calibration, and covers breaks, absenteeism, ongoing training, and various other factors. Also called an Overlay, Shrink Factor, or Shrinkage.

Round Robin Distribution: The method of assigning Agents a list of already determined calls. See Next Available Agent and Longest Waiting Agent.

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Scatter Diagram: Measuring correlation, a scatter diagram conveys the relationship between two variables. Ranging from -1.0 to 1.0, negative and positive correlation are strongest when closest to the latter and former number.

Schedule: The exact and specified time an employee is to clock in, or be on duty, in order to handle contacts. Accounts for the assigned days and hours an employee works.

Schedule Adherence: How an employee complies with his or her scheduled work times, including start, stop, break, and time off.

Schedule Exception: Accounts for meetings, ongoing training, absenteeism, unscheduled breaks, and other such activities unplanned in an employee’s work schedule.

Schedule Horizon: The amount of time between a schedule creation and its cycles. Depending on the employee and the Call Center, schedules can be created on a weekly basis or maintain horizons longer than six to twelve months.

Scheduled Callback: Between an Agent and a caller, a scheduled callback is an established time for a redial.

Scheduling: In an effort to ascertain and maintain the right amount of people working at all times, a Call Center assigns Agents to weekly schedules.

Screen Monitoring: If necessary, screen monitoring authorizes a supervisor or manager to oversee activity on computer displays and terminals of Agents. Commonly used for newer Agents.

Screen Pop: Enables corresponding data to an incoming call to present itself on a computer screen, provided by IVR, ANI, and CTI technology.

Screen Refresh: Accounts for the rate at which live-streaming content is updated on an Agent’s display, usually five to fifteen seconds. It does not correlate with time-frame for real-time calculations. See Real-Time Data.

Script: To assist an Agent in handling a contact, a written script entailing correct wording and logic aids is used. Also assists in the maintenance of focus on the content of the contact.

Seasonality: The fluctuations of business levels from one time period to another. These influxes are predictable due to experience and depend on the nature of an organization.

Segmentation: Compartmentalizing customer contacts into various categories, dependent upon perhaps value or relation. Each category is 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: Conveyed as the speed of answer, service level accounts for the percentage of calls to be answered within some number of seconds. Often obtained at some percentage.

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: How well a call is dealt with. Consistency, amiability, greeting, and the ability to complete a call are all factors of service quality.

Shrinkage: Obtained as a percentage, shrinkage is the paid time that staff aren’t 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 goals.

Silent Monitoring: Enables a supervisor or manager to oversee a call between an Agent and a caller in action. Neither party is aware of any monitoring. Silent monitoring is used to ascertain training needs and performance quality.

Single Point Of Failure: When the success of a project or process is inhibited by a single element.

Six Sigma: Developed by Motorola, Six Sigma is an attempt to gain control of a process and drive down defects for the customer.

Skill-Based Routing: Rather than using the first available Agent, skill-based routing transfers a call to an agent that is considered the best to deal with the specific needs of a caller.

Smooth Call Arrival: In a perfect model, smooth call arrival represents calls arriving evenly and “smoothly” across a specified period of time. In a real Call Center, this is virtually nonexistent.

Snapchat: A mobile app that allows users to send pictures to each other only visible for a few seconds, systematically deleting the picture sent.

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 provide actionable insight. May include sentiment, share of voice, engagement and other metrics.

Social Media Analytics Platform: A Software as a Service (SaaS) hired by a business in which specialists compile data of a brand mention and overall online morale of a business’ brand. Often a listening, analytics, and management platform are integrated in a single site.

Social Media Brand Care Specialist: A specialist able to communicate via social media that is also well equipped with the knowledge concerning a brand.

Social Media Certification: Becoming certified in social media for business. There are a growing number of accredited organizations that offer these types of certifications. The certifications are not held with as high a regard as Project Management Professional Certification or others due to the newness and fast-paced nature of social media.

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 Consultant: A specialist referred to for businesses; he or she is able to offer advice and information concerning social media.

Social Media Customer Care: Using social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to interact with customers, geared toward building strong brand confidence for the customer through quick and effective responses to online queries.

Social Media Customer Service: The interaction between a customer and a particular brand on social media. A channel, similar to emails, phone calls, and chats, that facilitates customer service.

Social Media Dashboard: A tool used to organize all the social media sites a business may utilize to spread brand reputation and analyze customer reactions. It brings everything together in one place. This may also refer to an analytics dashboard for quick access to key social media metrics in one place.

Social Media Education: Acquiring knowledge and skills that deal with social media; realizing that there is more to it than Google search, and that it is an integrated, complicated process.

Social Media Engagement: An effort to mobilize users to mention brands and communicate with customer care specialists via social media.

Social Media Escalation Protocol: Defines how a brand specialist should respond to and or escalate a given issue concerning mention of a brand online.

Social Media Firm: A social savvy company designed specifically to provide services dealing with social media. May focus on Marketing, Public Relations, or Customer Service.

Social Media For Business: Integrating online resources and communication via social media platforms in order to further business development, customer acquisition, and increase lifetime customer value among other goals.

Social Media Listening: Monitoring social media by means of investigating and tracking what is being said about a brand or company.

Social Media Listening Platform: A Software as a Service (SaaS) hired by a business in which specialists monitor mention of a company’s brand online.

Social Media Listening Tool: A wide array of software and analysis options exists to monitor social media for a brand or company.

Social Media Management: An effort to regulate social media use in a business concerned with maintaining an appropriate image.

Social Media Management Platform: A Software as a Service (SaaS) hired by a business to facilitate the management of a brands social presences including engagement, marketing, public relations, and customer service.

Social Media Management Software: Software specifically designed to maintain and manage social media with regards to a business.

Social Media Manager: The role of a specialist involved in monitoring social media sites for brand mentions and measuring the presence of the brand itself. The manager may be responsible for teams of Social Media Agents.

Social Media Measurement: An active monitoring leading to the measurement of blogs, news, and social networking sites concerning a brand or business.

Social Media Monitoring Software: Software designed specifically to collect data on, manage, and regulate social media sites and brand mentions on those sites.

Social Media Project: A collaborative undertaking that has to do with a social networking site (i.e: a Wikipedia article, a WordPress blog, etc.).

Social Media Reporting: After data is collected concerning brand mention on social media sites, reports are created, analyzing the data thoroughly.

Social Media Response Guidelines: Delineate how a customer service care representative or specialist should respond to online complaints or mentions of a brand.

Social Media Response Protocol: Appropriate response options and combinations for brand specialists based on whether a mention of a brand is negative, positive, or erroneous.

Social Media Response Time: The time it takes a brand specialist to respond to a brand mention online.

Social Media Risk Management: Main risks involving social media involve brand reputation, compliance violations, and release of confidential information. Risk management is the effort of an organization to minimize these issues, usually involving an integrated team of social media specialists to monitor these sites and respond to mentions of their brand.

Social Media ROI: The return on investment of social media. Can be calculated in monetary return, brand awareness, customer satisfaction, retention or other metrics.

Social Media Software: A Software as a Service (SaaS) platform which facilitates the use of social media.

Social Media Strategy: A high level plan to achieve set goals on social media. Supported by social media tactics.

Social Media Tools For Business: Various Software as a Service (SaaS) tools that fulfill a business objective. May require a paid subscription, but often they have freemium models as well.

Social Media Tracking: The process of tracking and trending social media occurrences in reference to a brand.

Social Media Training: Teaching social media practitioners the strategies, tools, and tactics necessary to fully leverage social media for the benefit of a brand.

Social Network: Internet based media platforms that facilitate intercommunication and geared toward staying in touch with people not physically in the area. Other uses include (but are not limited to) brand promotions, common interests, and social movements.

Social Presence: A brand’s maintained properties on social networking sites and how users perceive the brand.

Social Service Level: A specified contract or agreement between the customer and the company defining what each party receives in terms of social media and channels, specifically relating to the timeliness of response.

Speech Analytics: Recording and analyzing calls, often utilizing speech recognition software, in an effort to better understand the needs of the customer, evaluate the knowledge and skillset of your customer service representatives and lastly to optimize customer interactions.

Speech Recognition: In the case of an automated attendant and various other voice processing systems, speech recognition entails ciphering spoken words and phrases to enable interaction at some level.

Speed Of Answer: Calibrates the time a live answer is awaited for by a caller for an Agent. Service level and average speed of answer (ASA) are both factors in speed of answer.

Split: Part of an ACD routing division, split calls allow specified groups of employees to deal with certain transaction types. Dependent upon the needs of callers and services provided.

Staff-To-Workload Ratio: A ratio entailing the comparison of staff hours to the hours of call workload. Simply divide 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 stagger every fifteen or twenty minutes on the hour.

Stakeholder: Someone who holds a share or an interest in an organization or place of business. Clients, customers, managers, Agents, and other various people can be stockholders.

Supervisor: The person that typically 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.

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Talk Time: The time between an Agent answering and an Agent disconnecting a call.

Tech Support (Technical Support/Help Desk): Assisting the customer in resolving a range of technological issues, such as troubleshooting technology and/or maintenance of software systems in an effort to resume continuity and maximize technical performance.

Telecommuting: Communicating with a telephone and/or a computer system in order to perform job duties. Without travel to and from work, an employee utilizes telecommunication to relay with the office.

Teleconferencing: Needless of travel to and from a location in order to conduct a business meeting, or just communicate without traveling, teleconferencing enables a conference between people not near each other. A telecommunications system keeps a business in contact with physically unreachable contacts.

Telemarketing: A technique utilizing Outbound telephone calls to market a certain product, sale, promotion, or anything of the like.

Telephone Service Factor (TSF): A calibration dependent on an equipment manufacturer. Composed of a percent of calls answered in a defined number of seconds. In the context of an answering service, TSF can be used to ascertain whether or not goals have been met.

Telephony Applications Programming Interface (TAPI): A combination of telephony and computer services. Enables faxing, voice calling, dialing, answering, hanging up, holding, transferring, conferencing, and other such basic functions.

Telephony Services Application Programming Interface (TSAPI): Similar to TAPI in that it consists of control commands, voicemail, call logging, and using a Network server. However, TSAPI us a server-based system.

Threshold: Maximum agreed upon time that calls should remain in the queue. The industry standard is that 80% of calls should be answered within twenty seconds. (80/20)

Tie Line: Keeps ACDs or PBXs connected across wide areas that usually cannot sustain such connections.

Time Series Approach: By analyzing past data, effects of trend rates, and seasonal factors, a Time Series Approach to analysis helps to forecast future events relevant to the Call Center.

Toll-Free: Making a call without charging a fee for a possible long-distance situation. 800, 866, 888, and 877 dialing codes are all toll-free numbers.

Traffic Engineering: In an effort to meet user requirements, Traffic Engineering facilitates smooth functioning.

Traffic Study: Determines levels of Inbound and Outbound calls (traffic) that a Call Center is currently dealing with. Local and long-distance calls are included in the count of contracts that that study consists of. New system requirements are ascertained by using this data to foresee future traffic.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP): Originally created to link contrary computers across various networks, TCP/IP are now common standards for commercial equipment and applications. In essence, TCP/IP govern the correspondence of sequential data.

Trend Rate: In general, the rate of change anything can undergo from point A to point B. Contextually, the trend rate is calibrated as monthly/annual growth rate.

True Calls Per Hour: The number of actual calls and individual or group dealt with divided by occupancy for that period of time. See Occupancy.

Trunk: In the case of a Call Center, a Trunk is a single conveyance channel between a caller and its receiver, or just two points.

Trunk Group: More than one Trunk provided by the local telephone company or various other carriers. Before a busy signal gets back to the caller, most Trunks in the group will be in use.

Trunk Hold Time: How long a Trunk is on a specific call. This is measured from the first ring to the moment a call is ended.

Tumblr: A site in which users create his or her own micro-blog comprised of posted texts, images, and audio files.

Turnover: In the case of employees, how often, on average, they leave a business they began working for. See Attrition Rate.

Tweet: A post consisting of 140 characters on Twitter.

Twitter: A fast-paced micro-blogging platform where users post (Tweet) a maximum of 140 characters. Users acquire followers, respond to Tweets, and can 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: On Twitter, a follower is able to see someone’s Tweets in their feed; following someone means 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.

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Unavailable Time: The times in which an Agent will not be able to take or make any calls with customers or contacts. Breaks, lunches and corollary time for managing and processing administrative work are all components of Unavailable Time.

Uniform Call Distributor (UCD): A smoother, more consistent manner of allocating calls to Agents. Due to predetermined logic, UCD is generally incapable or routing calls based on real-time traffic load. See ACD, essentially its opposite.

Universal Agent: An Agent that can deal with several different types of contacts and can usually oversee any type of call, offer advice, and aid in the handling of various customers.

Upselling: In an effort to accumulate more revenue, Agents will offer more service opportunities or a supplementary/complementary product.

Username: An alternate identifier used uniquely for a computer system or social networking site.

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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 is rampant on the internet and circulated very quickly. Usually stated as, “going Viral.”

Virtual Call Center: Enables network and Agent resources to be located in separate locations but facilitates functioning as if these are all in the same location.

Visible Queue: When a caller is informed by a system announcement or some other automated announcement about an expected wait time. This allows a caller to choose to wait or abandon a call, but they know either way approximately how long a wait time would be.

Voice Of The Customer (VOC): The aggregate evaluation of the customer’s needs and expectations, which can be gauged through feedback from customers, customer service representatives and by listening to call recordings.

Voice Processing: The system used widely in a Call Center that facilitates voice storage, computer speech, and a computer’s reaction to human speech.

Voice Recognition System: A telephone system using speech recognition to activate equipment that dials telephone numbers automatically. May be speaker-dependent
or independent.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP): A system that is able to transmit telephone data to the internet, thus making the internet a source of communication in the same way that a telephone is. This facilitates callers to bypass the telephone entirely, and use a free network to make long-distance calls.

Voice Response Unit (VRU): Also referred to as Interactive Voice Response Unit (IVR). A device which automated retrieval and processing of information by phone using touch tone signaling or voice recognition to access information residing on a computer to give a response. The response may be given by a recorded human voice or a synthesized (computerized) voice.

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Wanelo: A site similar to in which consumers can view and purchase merchandise.

Wide Area Network (WAN): By using digital data circuits, a WAN connects multiple computers across an expansive area.

WordPress: A site in which users create his or her own blog, posting images and text for other users to browse.

Workflow Management: Delineates the way in which a task is performed. Tasks are analyzed and broken down in an effort to compartmentalize discrete steps and ascertain what the next steps should be.

Workforce Management: In a perfect model, workforce management represents having the exact number of Agents needed at the exact times to answer correctly forecasted amounts of calls, all the while keeping costs at an absolute minimum.

Workforce Management System: A system charged with the tasks of creating staff schedules, determining staff requirements, forecasting calls, and tracking performance of Agents. This system is automated, thus cutting the time and cost of hiring employees to do this.

Workforce Planner: The employee charged with the responsibility of ascertaining workload and creating schedules for Call Center employees that minimizes costs and maximizes productivity.

Workload: The combination of time on calls and the work done after a call. It can also be the combination of ring time, delay time, and conversation time. The former is more geared toward Agents while the latter is more geared toward Trunks.

World-Wide Web (WWW): An internet capability that allows users to access the internet in a graphical manner, making things more visual and easier to understand.

Wrap-Up Codes: Agents enter codes into the ACD in an effort to ascertain what type of calls they are dealing with. Reports can be generated by call types, handing time, and time of day.

Wrap-Up Time: Consists solely of the time that an Agent spends doing After-Call Work. Does not deal with meetings or breaks of any sort, only with the call and the work directly related to it afterward.

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Yellow Pages (YP): Based on location, Yellow Pages is a local search, media, and advertising company.

Yelp: Based on location, Yelp allows users to search for various services offered in the specified area.

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Zip Tone: Indicate the arrival of a call as well as the possible monitoring of a call. Also called a Beep Tone.

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[Sources: Call Center Staffing (The Call Center School Press), Call Center
Management on Fast Forward (Call Center Press), Call Centers for Dummies (Wiley)]