A Call Center Glossary: The A-Zs

Call Center | 4 minute read

Often, we use terminology and abbreviations that we become accustomed to in our everyday lives, especially within the call center space. Given that the average person spends one-third of their lives at work, it is no wonder that we develop whole worlds of vocabulary to use within our professional environments.

After all, it is simpler to say, “Where are we with AHT this week?” than to say, “Where are we with the average handling time metric this week?” It may seem insignificant, but cutting words down to vowels or single syllables is evidently preferable to a mouthful of phrases, particularly if they must be used regularly within the workplace. Just look at our use of acronyms and abbreviations in everyday life – ASAP (as soon as possible), LMK (let me know), TTYL (talk to you later), and the list goes on.

Given this, it only makes sense that the call center and contact center landscape be riddled with abbreviations, especially given the technicality and complexity of some of the words and phrases used in the everyday life of the call center. So, in an attempt to demystify the complex acronyms within the call center landscape, today we bring you, as Google defines it; a ‘brief dictionary’ (glossary) of call center terminology.

ACD (Automatic Call Distribution): This is a specialized phone system that handles incoming/inbound calls. The Automatic Call Distributor recognizes and answers the calls and checks in the database, and routes them to the most appropriate agent. An important role of ACD is to produce management information that tracks both calls and agent performance.

AHT (Average Handling Time): This is measured right from the time an agent begins the interaction with the customer, including the hold time, talk time, and related tasks that follow the entire transaction.

ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition): A solution that can automate some or all parts of a customer call – it allows call centers to use natural language, with minimum intervention from the agent.

BUQS (Blended Universal Queue System): This is essentially a combination of email, chat and other data enabling universal queuing along with call blending.

CEM (Customer Experience Management): Procedures adopted by a company to track the interactions between a customer and the call center agents.

CLI (Calling Line Identity): A technology that uses Computer Telephony Integration software to match a customer’s number and their previous call records.

CTI (Computer Telephony Integration): The ability to automatically combine voice and data at the agent desktop. It is also known as screen pop – when customer details appear automatically on an agent’s screen at the same time a call is attended. Such technologies help call center agents do their job more effectively, and in turn, create happier customers.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management): This is a system that helps identify the customers’ needs, improving customer interactions, customizing contacts, sales approaches, and automation to provide optimum service to each type of customer.

DMS (Document Management System): There are many call centers that handle large amounts of incoming emails that can’t be checked manually. Therefore, they are opened and scanned by DMS for electronic distribution.

DTMF (Dual-Tone Multifrequency): A signaling system that sends pairs of audio frequencies to represent digits on a telephone keypad.

EWT (Expected Wait Time): In a call center, EWT is the expected time that customers are told to wait before they can speak to an agent. It is one of the best practices to measure the average expected time.

FCR (First Call Resolution): This is a way to identify the customer’s issue the first time they contact a call center agent. It is a metric that monitors the quality of service that customers are receiving, by counting the number of times their issues got resolved on the first point of contact. Providing an ideal caller experience will ensure the customer keeps coming back to engage with your business.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response): IVR asks customers to press the buttons on their telephone keypad to select which service they want. Thereafter, the IVR routes the call to the most appropriate agent.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange): A telephone system located at a customer’s site that handles incoming and outgoing calls. ACD software can provide PBXs with ACD functionality.

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

Unified Desktop: A Unified Desktop may also populate an underlying (CRM) system with interaction or customer data, in real-time.

VRU (Voice Responsive Unit): An interactive technology that allows humans to communicate with computers, either through voice or dual-tone multifrequency.

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol): The means by which a voice channel is delivered as packets through Internet Protocols, using a pre-existing streaming (CODEC) format.

WFM (Workforce Management): An integrated set of processes that call centers use to optimize the productivity of their agents on the individual, departmental, and entity-wide levels. It includes determining and providing schedules, forecasting, and adherence for a workforce in their future events.

As evidenced by this extensive list of lingo, it becomes crystal clear that those of us within the call center and contact center spaces love and rely upon our acronyms and abbreviations.

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