contact center lingo

The A–Zailab Of Call Center Terminology

Whether you are new to the call center game or an industry old-timer, it is never too early or late to learn the lingo.

Never get caught out clueless in a meeting again. Your days of not knowing what a call center term means are over!

abandoned call
A call to a contact center that is ended by the customer before contact is made. Abandoned calls are usually a sign that your customer has been on hold for too long.

Your contact center employee who handles calls and interactions with customers, leads and the like. Your agent is usually your customer’s first point of contact with your business.

agent dashboard
The view the agent is presented with when they log into the Zailab platform. From this dashboard, the agent can access their contacts, view their recent activity and conversations, access their interaction log and set their status.

agent presence
A break code as used on the Zailab platform. When an agent’s status is set to Not Ready, they need to select a presence status from a drop-down menu on their agent dashboard. Options include: available, away, break, lunch, busy, meeting and training. When the agent’s status is set to Ready, their presence will automatically change to Working.

agent status
The agent’s availability. On their agent dashboard, an agent can set their status as Ready or Not Ready to receive interactions or stop receiving them.

Agent experience. The agent experience is your agent’s collective experience with your company.

Handling inbound and outbound calls together. A blended contact center is usually contrasted with an inbound- or outbound-exclusive contact center.

Business process outsourcing. A BPO is a sub-contracted contact center that handles certain operations on an outsource basis.

Business intelligence. BI is the data- and research-based information that helps you make informed business decisions.

When your agent returns your customer’s call.

All communication touchpoints handled by your contact center. Channels can include voice, SMS, email, social media and chat.

class of service
Class of service refers to the type of call your agent is permitted to handle – such as local, internal, mobile and international.

The collective software, resource and networking systems that operate online.

contact card
Accessible from the contacts menu on Zailab’s agent dashboard, a contact card contains all your customer’s contact details.

conversation card
The conversation card contains all your customer’s information including contact information, conversation history, call recordings and conversation outcome.

Your dealings with customers at a conversation level.

Customer relationship management. This is the technology or strategy a company employs to manage their customer relationships.

Approaching your company’s objectives and goals with the customer in mind and managing your strategies to ensure a good customer experience at every level.

customer journey
The collective journey and interactions your customer has with your business, that defines their relationship with you.

Customer experience. This pretty much describes the overall experience your customer has when dealing with your business, and drives their perception of your brand.

first-call resolution
When your agent successfully handles your customer’s needs the first time they call.

handle time
A common metric to measure agent performance. Handle time comprises three things: talk time, hold time and wrap-up time.

A set of headphones, typically with a microphone attached, worn by agents to handle calls in a contact center.

hold time
The amount of time your customer is put on hold while they’re on a call with an agent. Read why hold time should be on your contact center watchlist.

home agent
A contact-center agent who performs their duties from home. (Lucky them.)

A contact center that receives inbound calls from customers.

A reward for great-performing agents. Show me the money!

Inbound and outbound work items that have been handled by your agents.

interaction log
Contains all the interactions that an agent has handled.

Interactive voice response. An automated call-routing system that interacts with customers via prompts.

net promoter score
A measurement of your customer’s loyalty to your company, as indicated by how likely they’d be to recommend your company to somebody else (hence ‘promoter’).

A contact center that handles more than one channel of communication, such as email, social media interactions, SMS and chat.

A contact center that focuses on making outbound calls to customers.

predictive dialer
An outbound calling system that automatically dials out from a list of predefined numbers. The idea is to connect a live call to an agent just as the agent is getting off another call. Use with caution: it often burns agents out and irks those being called.

Quality assurance. This is the practice of measuring and standardizing your company’s quality of service and performance.

The queue is the virtual waiting line your customer enters when they call into your contact center. Contrast with single waiting room.

remote agent
A contact center agent that performs their task from a location outside of the contact center premises.

round robin
A call-distribution system where a call is automatically served to the next available agent.

The action of serving incoming calls to agents.

Scripts are a form of predefined text your agents can recite during calls. Scripts can include suggested greetings, wording around special offers and promotions, terms and conditions, and even responses to tricky technical questions.

single waiting room
Zailab’s single waiting room considers all work items in the queue and uses machine learning to ensure the best agent match.

Session initiation protocol. This is a communications protocol used for handling digital voice calls.

A location served by an agent, as used by Zailab’s platform. Sites are used during routing to match clients to agents in the various locations covered by your organization.

A program that allows you to make calls over the internet.

speech analytics
Speech analytics monitors the agent and customer’s tone of voice during a call to see how your agent is coming across and how your customer is feeling. This information is used to determine whether customer sentiment was positive, negative or neutral.

talk time
The duration your agent spends conversing with a customer during a call. Average talk time is a common contact center performance metric. According to the International Finance Corporation’s global best practice report, the global average is four minutes.

team leader
The person who oversees a team of agents in your contact center.

A point of contact between your customer and your business.

A literal way of describing voice calls.

Voice over internet protocol. This is the protocol used for the transmission of voice over the internet during a phone call.

wall board
A display inside your contact center dedicated to showing real-time data, results or performance.

A channel of communication with your customer that takes place through a chat window on your company website.

A digital communications tool that allows you to make phone calls over the internet, much like a softphone. A webphone is usually deployed as a browser add-on, much like our own ZaiCommunicator (see below).

Defines the path interactions follow on your IVR. Workflows can be set up on your Zailab administrator dashboard.

work types
Work types are used to assign properties to work items that are prioritized in the waiting room on Zailab’s system. These can be set up on your administrator dashboard.

workforce management
Systems or software used to manage the availability and work allocation of staff in your contact center.

The time it takes for an agent to complete a work item after a conversation has ended. The global average is six minutes.

Need more insider knowledge of the contact center industry? Try this blog about getting to grips with the millennial contact center.