contact centre terminologies-100|Emitrr

                                  What is Contact Centre Terminology? 

Contact Centre Terminology or simply put Call Centre Terminology is a list of contact centre terms that are used in the day to day communication with contact centre stakeholders to refer to the operations aspects of the call centre with abbreviations.

At  Emitrr, we’ve put together a list of 100 Contact Centre Terminology/Call Centre Terminology to help contact centre managers, agents and others within the ecosystem learn the proper usage and meaning of their contact centre jargons/abbreviations. 

What can you expect from our list of contact centre terminology?

Contact centre terminologies are rich and full of abbreviations and acronyms that are used in day to day operations. We’ve compiled for you a list of 100 call center terminologies which would help with your contact centre lingo! 

1. Abandoned Call 

  Abandoned call, also known as lost call is when a caller hangs up before reaching an agent

2. Automatic call Distributor (ACD) 

   This is one of the must know contact centre terminologies. It is a software which helps distribute calls to different agents within your organization.

3. Account Code 

  This represents a series of characters used to identify a person or an entity.

4. After Work or After -Call Work (ACW) 

  The time spent by the agent after contact with the caller. This would include work that immediately follows an inbound transaction. This would also include administration work such as ticketing, filling forms, registering call and call related information, etc.

5. Adherence/Adherence to Schedule 

   This can refer to the time an agent was available for calls or the time spent by the agent in attending calls and also time spent waiting for calls to arrive. Generally used to see how well agents adhere to their schedule. 

6. Average Handle Time (AHT) 

   This is  one of the most popular contact centre terminology. It is the total of the entire time spent on handling a  caller. It includes time spent on the call with the customer, hold time, and after work. The formula for calculating         AHT =  (Talk Time + Hold Time + After-work) /Total number of handled calls

7. Awaiting further instructions ( AFI) 

    This is the status of a customer query in a support centre where things cannot proceed until further instruction is given.

 8. Automatic Number Identification (ANI) 

    This is a service that allows the call centre agent to capture the calling party’s telephone number in real-time. The call center can use the information to forward calls to different people for different geographic areas.

 9. Agent 

   This is the person who makes and receives customer calls. Also known as customer advisors or customer  representatives.

10. Agent Group 

     A group of agents being able to handle a specific task and sharing a specific skill. 

11. Agent Out Call

    An outbound call placed by an agent.

12. Agent Occupancy 

     Occupancy is the period of logged-in time agents spend on a call-related activity.

13. Agent Status 

    Status of the agent’s availability at a particular time e.g. wait, talk, wrap, idle, unavailable.

14. Agent Status Codes 

    Used for signalling an agent’s availability for calls to the ACD. 

15. All hands on deck (AHOD)

    A contact centre terminology used when the the call centre is really busy. All agents, managers, and team leaders  start taking calls tocover the volume of the calls Usually happens during a marketing campaign, system outage, or  weather problems. 

16. Application Program Interface (API) 

  Software that provides an interface for two applications to talk to each other. 

17. Answer Supervision 

   The signal sent by the ACD or other device to the local or long-distance carrier to accept a call. That is when billing for either the caller or the call centre will begin if long-distance charges apply.

18. Answered Call

    Another one of the popular contact centre terminologies, this is the call reached to the agent and answered by  him/her.

19. Application-Based Routing and Reporting

   The ACD capability to route and track transactions by type of call or application (e.g. sales, service), versus the   traditional method of routing and tracking by trunk group and an agent group.

20. Average Speed of Answer (ASA) 

     The average time taken by the contact centre to answer a customer call. 

21. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) 

     A feature with which a machine can detect keywords in a particular language and convert it into a language   understandable by the machine.  

22. Application Service Provider (ASP) 

    An application service provider (ASP) is a company that offers individuals or enterprises access to applications   and related services over the internet

23. Average Time To Abandon (ATA) 

   This refers to the average time a caller will wait in queue to have their call answered. Some might ‘abandon’ the   call and some might wait for long periods.

24. Auxiliary Time 

   Auxiliary time is the time an agent spends in unavailable status in the call center system, or during which the agent   cannot accept new calls because they are on a break, etc.

25. Average Talk Time ( ATT) 

  The average value of time spent by an agent talking with customers in a given period. Calculated using the formula:-

  total time spent in call / all handled calls

26. Business Continuity Plan (BCP) 

   A Business Continuity Plan is a written document outlining potential threats to a company and the information and guidelines the company needs to continue operating if an event takes place which negatively impacts  operations.

27. Back-Office Optimisation (BOO) 

   Shifting of resources from back office to the contact centre and vice versa during contact centre volume peaks  and low contact volumes respectively.

28. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) 

  This process involves a company contracting its core operations to other service providers to help increase  company flexibility, as well as optimize cost- and time efficiency.

29. Business Intelligence 

  Business Intelligence is used to support better business decision making. It uses software and services to leverage data insights through various data analysis tools. 

30. Base Staff 

   Used to denote the staff needed to keep operations working. It is assumed that an agent is available at all times. To  cover for when the agent is on break, absent, etc, additional staff is needed. The minimum number of agents required to achieve service level and response time objectives for a given period

31. Best-in-class (BIC) 

   A benchmarking term to identify organizations that outperform all others in a specified category.

32. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) 

    Business Continuity(BC) refers to the methodology that helps an organization’s business running and helps keep       functioning at full capacity after a crisis. Disaster Recovery (DR) is a plan that lays down how a business can  resume work quickly and efficiently after a disaster. Disaster recovery planning is a part of Business Continuity  planning. 

33. Blended Agents 

  Blended agents are agents who are trained to handle both incoming and outgoing calls.

34. Blockage 

  Refers to the callers who are blocked from entering the queue

35. Business As Usual (BAU) 

  BAU stands for the normal execution of standard operations within a call centre or any other operations  environment.

36. Blocked Call 

  When a call is blocked either because the queue limit has been crossed or if no circuit is available at the time of the call. 

37. Basic Rate Interface (BRI) 

  Basic Rate Interface (BRI) is one of the two levels of services provided by Integrated Services Digital Network  (ISDN). BRI, one of the contact centre terminologies, is made for home and small-scale enterprise use. It consists of    two bearer channels (B channels) and one data channel (D channel) for transmission of data.

38. Blended AI 

  This is a blend of both human and artificial intelligence to help better the customer experience. 

39. Busy Hour 

  A telephone traffic engineering term, referring to the hour in which a trunk group carries the most traffic during  the day. The average busy hour reflects the average over several days such as two weeks.

40. Balanced Scorecard 

   A balanced scorecard helps to see how a contact centre is performing. It is usually based on graphs 

41. Call Centre (CC) 

   A call centre is a place where calls coming in from customers are handled by agents. 

42. Call Avoidance 

  This is a strategy used to reduce the number of unwanted or low-value calls.

43. Call Blending 

  A feature that is used to handle inbound and outbound calls simultaneously. It is usually used to quickly handle any    incoming calls during an ongoing outbound campaign, by monitoring the number of incoming calls, agents availability, and other system measures at the same time

44. Customer Controlled Routing (CCR) 

  Customer controlled routing involves routing specific calls to specific agents who can handle that call. 

45. Call Detail Record (CDR) 

   This refers to the data on each call which is recorded by the ACD. Can include trunk used, time in queue, call duration, the agent who handled the call, number dialled (for outgoing), and other information.

46. Caller Entered Digits (CED) 

  These are the digits entered by callers on their phone keypads. The ACD can prompt for Caller Entered Digits. 

47. Call Forcing 

   Call forcing is a feature of the ACD through which calls are delivered to agents who are available to take the call. The call is received by the agent when he/she is ready to do so. 

48. Customer Experience Management (CEM) 

  Customer Experience Management uses certain processes, approaches, and methods to ensure the customer has a good experience. CEMs help boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

49. Customer Information System (CIS) 

   CIS is a system which is used to assist agents to acquire required information about the caller to ensure efficiency.

50. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

  Customer Relationship Management is an approach that companies use to interact with their customers. It is used  to build a lasting relationship with the customer. Also used to understand the needs and likes of your customer. 

51. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) 

  This is a method to connect your telephone system to your database. It allows the use of computers to handle  telephone calls.

52. Calling Line Identity (CLI) 

  Calling Line Identity is a method by which inbound calls made to a business or individual can be identified by their number of origin and, in some cases, the name of the person or organization that is associated with the number. This is also known in the USA as Automatic Number Identification or ANI.

53. Call Management System (CMS) 

   A call management system helps you to intelligently route and manage both inbound and outbound calls. It also allows you to track business performance by analyzing real-time call reports.

54. Delay 

   Delay is the time that a customer has to spend in the queue before being connected to an agent.

55. Direct Inward Dialing (DID) 

    Also known as Direct Dialing Inward (DDI), is a telephone service that allows a phone number to ring through  directly to a specific phone at a business instead of going to a menu or a queue and needing to dial an extension. 

56. Dialled Number Identification Service (DNIS) 

    A dialed number Identification service (DNIS) is a service offered by telecom providers to their commercial customers, letting them know what number was dialed for each incoming call.

57. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) 

     EAI is the implementation of technologies that facilitate communication between enterprise applications.

58. End of Service ( EOS) 

    End of service is when the contact centre stops taking customer calls for the day. It signals the end of the working day for the contact centre. 

59. Email Response Management System (ERMS) 

   An Email Response Management System, or ERMS, is a system that helps a company manage and organize their email activity to improve the value email delivers as an internal and external communication channel.

60. Escalation Plan 

   A plan that specifies actions to be taken when the queue begins to build beyond acceptable levels.

61. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) 

    Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a process used by companies to manage and integrate the important parts of their businesses. The means of determining staffing and occupancy levels for front- and back-office staff.

62. Expected Wait Time (EWT) 

    EWT refers to the time a caller has to wait to connect to a contact centre agent. It is calculated using the formula:- 

   average handle time (AHT) x position in the queue (PIQ) / number of active agents (AA) on the queue.

63. Failure Demand

    Failure Demand is when the contact centre comes in some sort of fault with the caller which in turn leads to extra demand for the centre, In other words, the businesses failure to do something – whether that’s a failure to call  back, deliver something on time or something of that nature – has created extra demand of the contact centre. 

64. First Call Resolution (FCR) 

   First Call Resolution is when a caller’s query is resolved in the first contact with the agent and requires no other  calls for follow up. It is a measure of success for individual interaction. 

65. Flushing Out the Queue 

   Changing system thresholds so that calls waiting for an agent group are redirected to another group with a  shorter queue or available agents.

66. Full Time Equivalent (FTE) 

   FTE refers to the equivalent of one person working full time. So, 1 FTE is 1 person working full time or 2 people working half time. 

67. Grade of Service 

  The probability that a call will be blocked or delayed because of all circuits being busy. 

68. Handled Calls 

   Calls that have been received and handled by the agents are handled calls. 

69. Intelligent Call Router (ICR) 

   Intelligent call routing (ICR) is a business telecom innovation designed to increase the efficiency of automated call management and improve the customer experience for callers. It takes real-time information from the ACD in the  call centre to provide details on queuing and agent availability across a virtual call centre network.

70. Intelligent Network Service (INS) 

   Facilitates the distribution of calls to multiple destinations across a virtual call centre network.

71. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) 

   Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers, gathers  information and routes calls to the appropriate recipients.

72. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) 

  Integrated Services Digital Network is a technology that allows companies and contact centers to handle up to 30 circuits (in other words 30 simultaneous calls) at the same time, with the ability to link two or more ISDN modules  together to handle 60, 90, or even more calls simultaneously.

73. Invisible Queue 

  An Invisible Queue is a call centre queue where the caller is not made aware of how they are progressing – typically in a call centre.

74. Key Performance Indicator (KPI) 

   Of all the contact centre terminologies, Key performance indicators or KPI is the most heard of. These are measurements of various aspects of how businesses and processes perform. KPIs are the critical (key) indicators  of progress toward an intended result. It demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.

75. Key Performance Objective (KPO) 

   Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) is the outsourcing of core, information-related business activities. As a  note of caution, KPO can also stand for Knowledge Process Outsourcing – with the acronym changing from one organization to another.

76. Least Occupied Agent (LOA) 

   LOA the least occupied agent is the agent who has spent the lowest percentage of their time on ACD calls since  logging in.

77. Local Area Network (LAN) 

   A network located in one building that links terminals, PCs, and common equipment, e.g. printers, so that computers can share information and applications.

78. Logged On 

   The state in which the agents have logged into the systems. 

79. Longest Waiting Agent 

   The agent who has been free for the longest time. Within the queue, the Longest Waiting Agent is made the next  Available Agent. 

80. Lost Calls 

   Lost calls are any inbound calls that do not result in the caller being connected to either an advisor or an  answering  service.

81. Manual Dialer

   Manual dialers require agents, once they are ready to make a call, to manually choose records and dial phone   numbers.

82. Most Idle Agent (MIA) 

   The agent who has been idle for the most period of time. Calls are then directed to this agent. 

83. Next Available Agent 

    A call distribution method that sends calls to the next agent who becomes available. The method seeks to  maintain an equal load across skill groups or services. When there is no queue, the Next Available Agent reverts  to Longest Waiting Agent.

84. Occupancy 

    Also referred to as agent utilization, occupancy is the percentage of time agents are handling calls versus waiting for calls to arrive.

85. Off-Peak 

    Periods other than the call centre’s busiest periods.

86. Omnichannel Customer Service 

    Customer service providing customer support via multiple communication channels such as phone, email, chat,  and social media.

87. Private Branch Exchange (PBX) 

    An office telephone system located in one building that provides voice communications. It switches calls between users in a central office line, thus allowing intercommunication between a large number of telephone stations.

88. Queue  

   One of the most common contact centre terminologies, A Queue is where callers are placed on hold, in a queue,  while they wait to speak with a live agent.

89. Remote Agents 

    Agents who do work from locations other than the contact centre, mostly their homes.

90. Rest Day Overtime (RDOT) 

   RDOT can refer to the amount of overtime an employee works on a day that was originally scheduled to be a “rest day” or a day off.

91. Software as a service (SaaS) 

    Software As a Service is a cloud computing service in which a software solution is hosted centrally, but is made available to license or subscription fee-paying clients over the internet.

92. Service Level (SL) 

   Service Level defines expected performance in terms of service availability within a given period. It is usually specified in %. 

93. Service Level Agreement (SLA)  

   Service Level Agreement is the percentage of calls answered by an agent within a previously-agreed Customer  Waiting Time. It is a contractual agreement between a service provider and the organization specifying specific  performance standards to be achieved.

94. Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) 

    Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, modifying, and terminating real-time sessions that involve video, voice, messaging, and other communications applications

95. Telephony Applications Programming Interface (TAPI) 

    The Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI) is a Microsoft Windows API, which provides computer telephony integration and enables PCs running Microsoft Windows to use telephone services.

96. Text To Speech 

    Text To Speech is a type of application or feature that allows computers or other systems to read a written text.

97. Unified Communications (UC) 

    Unified communications is a conceptual framework for integrating various enterprise communication methods -telephony, video calling, and conferencing within an organization.

98. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) 

    One of the important contact centre terminologies, Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that allows you to  make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Voice over IP converts your voice into a digital signal, compresses it, and sends it over the internet.

99. Wide Area Network (WAN) 

   An intra-office data network used to connect terminals, computers, and equipment across multiple sites.

100. Workforce Optimisation (WFO) 

   The means of applying schedules and forecasts based on previous and known future interaction and workflow volumes.

It’s important that one be well versed with these terminologies if they are working in a call center. Did we miss out on any contact centre terminology that you feel is important? Simply drop a comment or write to us on and we’d be happy to include the latest contact centre terminology to the list.


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