Call Center, Contact Center, and Customer Experience Vocabulary Defined
The contact center glossary defines the most common vocabulary, measurements, metrics, and phrases related to call center software and the field of customer experience. It’s a comprehensive list of all the need-to-know terminology every contact center team can use to effectively communicate. Each index definition provides clarity around the meaning of a particular term used within the industry.
Abandon - This term refers to an inbound contact that waited to be connected but ended communication before being transferred. In outbound contacts, this term refers to an occurrence in which the predictive dialer ends communication because the system or agent was unable to connect.
ACD (Automatic Contact Distributor) - An ACD is a specialized omnichannel routing engine that distributes inbound contacts to agents based on customer need and agent skill set, ensuring that customer requests are resolved with self-service or elevated to qualified agents in the most efficient manner.
ActiveX Controls - A feature set within a web page that allows for interactive functionality.
Advanced Call Center Technologies - Term that describes modern technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), that has transformed the way we communicate and how call centers deliver customer service.
Agent Coaching - Agent coaching is a quality management and/or performance activity in which you provide agents with feedback, examples, and activities to complete to help them improve their skillset.
Agent Occupancy - Occupancy is a workforce management metric that shows the percentage of time agents are actively engaged in interaction handling activities compared to their total time logged in.
Agent Reports - A performance report providing statistical insights related to an individual agent’s average handle time, unavailable time, call log, etc.
Agent Self-Evaluations - Agent self-evaluations or self-assessments are a quality management activity in which agents evaluate and score their own interactions using the same evaluation form that another evaluator would use.
Agent Utilization - Agent utilization is a workforce management metric that indicates agent productivity.
Analog - The process of taking audio signals, like voice, and translating them into electronic pulses.
Analytics - Tools that analyze data points, make correlations, reveal insights, and report on trends to help a contact center or business improve operations.
Application - A tool, service, or capability that enables the system within your contact center to identify, respond to, route, and track interactions.
Application Programming Interface (API) - A set of functions and procedures allowing developers to create applications that access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Cognitive technology that uses and analyzes data, algorithms, and programming to perform actions, predict problems, and adapt to circumstances.
Auto Dialer - More commonly referred to as a Dialer, this technology automates the process of making calls from an outbound contact center. Dialers can offer advanced functionality, scripting, and reporting. See related: Predictive Dialer.
Automatic Callback - When all lines are busy or all agents unavailable, this contact center technology allows the customer to instruct the system to return their call when an agent becomes available within a specified amount of time or to indicate a preferred time for callback.
Automatic Number Identification (ANI) - A service that transmits the phone number of the caller for quicker customer identification. Also referred to as Calling Line Identification (CLID) or Caller ID (CID).
Automation - Technology built to assume control of processes previously performed by humans to boost efficiency and reliability and empower customers to self-serve.
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Call center agent scorecard - A tool for measuring and monitoring quality assurance (QA) and performance metrics for individual agents.
Call center agent software - Often called the agent desktop or agent workspace, when done right brings the processes and capabilities of newer call center software technology to a unified portal for call center agents.
Call center coaching - A quality management activity to provide call center agents with feedback, examples, performance assessments, and best-practice activities to help improve the skillset needed for their role.
Call Center Reporting - The tracking and presentation of key performance indicators (KPIs) and planned metrics on call center activities and individual call center agent performance.
Call recorder - Known as call recording software, is contact center technology that records the contents of phone calls and may also capture agent screens.
Contact Center - An operation that supports inbound and/or outbound communication between customers and agents (or self-service systems) across multiple voice and digital channels, typically for the purposes of Customer Service, Sales, or Support. See related: Call Center.
Contact Disposition - Dispositions are user-defined statuses that can be assigned to completed interactions either by an agent or by the system.
Caller - The calling party, or customer, with whom your contact center system or agent interacts.
Call Time - Refers to the length of time a caller is on an individual call with an agent. It typically includes talk time and agent-initiated hold time, but not post call wrap time. See related: Average Handle Time (AHT).
Call Volume - The number of calls or contacts made or received during a given time period.
Cloud Call Center - A cloud call center, or cloud-based call center, is one that has its call center technology hosted in the cloud and supported by a third-party vendor. See related: Cloud Contact Center.
Cloud Contact Center - A contact center powered by cloud native software (rather than on-premise hardware) to handle inbound and outbound customer interactions across multiple voice and digital channels.
Cloud Contact Center Platform - The complete, unified, cloud native system built to support multichannel or omnichannel communication between customers and agents (or self-service systems) in a manner that optimizes customer experience and agent experience.
Contact Center Agent - A contact center agent, also known as a customer service representative, is the front-line employee that interacts directly with customers and assists with issues such as placing orders, resolving billing issues and answering policy questions. See related: Agent.
Central Office - A site that houses major telecommunication devices and network access facilities for storage and operation.
Chat - A digital messaging application built into an organization’s contact center platform, and launched from the organization’s website, that allows a customer to communicate and receive service quickly and easily online.
Chatbot - An AI-enabled robot capable of communicating with human customers to deliver efficient service across voice and digital channels.
Co-browse - A solution that enables an agent and customer to simultaneously navigate the same webpage during a voice or digital interaction.
Compliance - Abiding or conforming to rules, regulations, or laws. Can also refer to adherence to agent schedule.
Context - A combination of identifying factors about a customer—including user identity, environmental, and process-based information—that form insights which allow an organization to deliver a relevant and optimal experience to the customer.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) - The strategies, technology, and resources used to achieve a holistic understanding of a customer and their relationship to an organization. Proper CRM integration in a contact center can lead to more personalized service, increased customer retention, and more revenue.
Cross-sell - When a sales rep suggests that an existing customer would benefit from the purchase of an additional product or service.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) - The customer satisfaction level, measured by how well the organization meets expectations. Typically determined through customer satisfaction surveys.
Contact Center Management - The way an organization manages operations of its contact center workforce and software to deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences across all voice and digital channels. See related: Call Center Management.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) - The monitoring, controlling, and integration of a phone system with a computer system. CTI can be run from an on-premise server or made available through the cloud.
CTI Server - The term used to describe software that supports a computer telephony integration (CTI) platform—although it is often commonly used in reference to both the software and the hardware on which it's loaded.
Customer Effort Score (CES) - A score based on the amount of effort a customer expends in getting their issue resolved, purchasing a product, etc.
Customer Journey - Describes a complete end-to-end set of experiences customers have when interacting with an organization or brand.
Customer Journey Map - A visual diagram of all touchpoints within a customer journey. It can be leveraged in real time for agents to improve an experience or leveraged via analytics to identify trends that help improve the overall customer experience that is delivered.
Customer Service - The support offered to customers before, during, and after their purchase.
CT Connect - A technology that allows computer applications to monitor and control telephone calls.
Contact Center Workforce Optimization - A strategy to improve multichannel or omnichannel customer and agent experiences via workforce management software. These software tools can include AI-enabled forecasting, scheduling, quality management, performance management, coaching, analytics, or reporting applications. See related: Workforce Optimization (WFO).
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