25+ Call Center Terms

The call center industry is a fast-paced and ever-changing environment. It’s important for customer service agents to stay up-to-date on the latest terms that are used in the business. This article provides a list of some frequently asked questions about call centers and their terminology.

  • Agent: A customer service agent who engages in a conversation with the caller typically via telephone.
  • Agent Status: Whether or not an agent is available to take calls.
  • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD): a call routing system that matches up agents and customers according to their availability.
  • Average Handling Time (AHT): time it takes for an agent to handle one call.
  • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR): Technology that enables computers receiving through speech commands from humans; also called voice recognition software.
  • Average Talk Time: Average length of time spent speaking on a phone call during a workday. The average talk time can vary depending upon the type of business you are working in. For example sales representatives may spend less than five minutes per day talking to customers, while customer service representatives may spend about an hour per day on the phone.
  • Abandoned Call: A call that was terminated by a caller before it is answered or picked up by the agent. This can be due to the caller hanging up, having too long of a wait time after being put on hold or poor quality in connection.
  • Blended Agent: An agent who has been assigned more than one queue and skill set. The blended agents are then able to take calls from all queues when they’re available instead of waiting for specific timeslots where their skillsets are needed; this increases efficiency and provides better customer experience.
  • Blended Universal Queue System (BUQS): Combines multiple queues into one system with different wait times for each queue.
  • Call Blending: Process of routing calls to agents who are the most available in order to maximize customer experience, as well as business efficacy.
  • Call Center Manager: This person coordinates work schedules and manages shifts for call center staff. They also provide guidance on customer service practices and act as a liaison between customers and company executives.
  • Call Handling Analysis: A tool that measures what percentage of calls an agent handles successfully (i.e., first-call resolution) which can be used to make improvements in workflow or training; also known as “call recording”.
  • Coach: An employee designated by management who provides support during difficult periods such as high volume days or when new processes need to be learned quickly.
  • Customer Experience Management (CEM): A process that ensures a customer’s needs and expectations are met on every contact with the company.
  • Calling Line Identity (CLI): The telephone number of the caller. This is sometimes blocked by telemarketers and other companies who want to remain anonymous in order to avoid bothering some customers, while others may be intentionally left for identification purposes.
  • Call Recording: An activity wherein an agent records incoming phone conversations as well as their own actions and words; this can help identify problems or provide valuable information about how agents are performing.
  • Call Routing: A method used when processing calls; usually divided into time-slot routing, where callers must wait until their specified turn arrives before being answered or priority routing, which allows callers to be answered by the next available agent.
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI): Technology that links voice, fax and computer data systems to provide a more efficient call center; also called “voice over IP”.
  • Call Center Schedule Adherence: A measure of how well an agent is following their shift schedule as planned without disruptions or overtime hours from being added on. This can include factors such as arriving late for work or using lunch breaks outside of scheduled times.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System: An integrated customer database used for managing contacts with customers across multiple channels while tracking sales history and other information specific to each customer’s needs. CRMs are used in retail stores, e-commerce websites, healthcare facilities and call centers among others.
  • Document Management System (DMS): A system that is used to manage the flow of documents, which can include everything from contracts and purchase orders to emails and images; it allows businesses to store, organize and protect all forms of business communication in one place.
  • Expected Wait Time (EWT) Screens: Devices that provide a customer with an estimate for when they should expect their call will be answered or how long they’ll have to wait before speaking with someone by presenting them with various options such as “press after two minutes”. An EWT screen may also display survey questions while customers are waiting on hold if needed/desired.
  • First Call Resolution (FCR): The process of resolving a customer’s issue on their first call and generally used to refer to the percentage of calls that are resolved in this manner.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR): A system within a company’s phone network that allows an automated voice response using artificial intelligence; IVRs can be found on many customer service lines, voicemail systems or banking services where customers interact with menus rather than human beings when they want information.
  • Predictive Dialer: Software designed for businesses who have large volumes of outgoing telephone contact campaigns such as those promoting new products or events; the software predicts which people will respond best based on their past behavior and contacts them so they’re able to get more leads/sales from one campaign.
  • Power Dialer: An automatic dialing device that is used to send thousands of calls per minute and is typically installed on a computer or server.
  • Voice Response Unit (VRU): Software that can be downloaded from the web for free and then transferred onto an agent’s telephone system which enables them to work remotely by automating tasks such as sending faxes, waiting on hold, scheduling appointments etc.; VRUs are often used in call centers where agents need access to lots information or systems during their shift but cannot leave their desk at all times; it also helps with HIPAA compliance.
  • Workforce Management System: A software application designed specifically for use in call centers that assists staff members in planning when they should take breaks/lunch/etc. The WFM also schedules how many agents are on the floor for any given time period and when they should take breaks; it’s typically part of a CRM.

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