Contact center glossary

  • Abandoned Call – An abandoned call is one that has been presented to an agent, but the remote party disconnected before speaking with the agent. For an inbound call, it may be that the called party got tired of waiting in queue. For an outbound call, it may be that the predictive or automated dialer reached a live contact and had the call available for presentation to an agent, but no agent was available to accept the call.
    Note that FCC uses abandoned to refer to predictive calls that are answered by customers and not connected to agents within a compliance time (2 seconds). To avoid ambiguity, in ServicePattern such calls are referred to as unattended calls.
  • Access Number A telephone number of a contact center that can be accessed from the public telephone network. External access numbers are typically used as access points in dial-in scenario entries, however, some of these numbers can instead be associated directly with specific extensions to provide a DID function for those extensions.
  • Access Point A point where processing of service interaction attempts is initiated. For calls, an access point is usually either an access number or an extension dedicated to automated processing of calls. For chats, an access point is usually a web page from which chat requests are initiated. The logical entity that defines processing of interactions arriving at a specific access point is called a scenario entry.
  • ACD – (automated call distribution) is a technology to improve customer satisfaction and maximize agent utilization by introducing fair automatic agent selection and short wait time for incoming calls. We include this functionality in our Omnichannel blended ACD.
  • ACW After-call Work. An agent state indicating that the agent is unavailable to accept service interactions because he is currently processing information related to an interaction that he previously handled. This state is assigned from the moment the interaction is terminated and until the agent exits after call work either manually or by a system timeout.
  • Agent A user providing contact center services to customers. An agent is usually one party in a service interaction, the other party being a customer.
  • Agent Capacity Model – agent capability to handle more than one interaction at a time, by either filling gaps in text conversations, such as chat or SMS, or overriding one interaction with another, such as interrupting e-mail processing with an incoming voice call.
  • Agent Capacity Model In a multi-media contact center, a method to determine agent’s availability to handle an interaction that takes into account how much capacity is occupied by a single interaction of each media type, how much spare capacity the agents must have to be delivered an interaction of any given media type, and relative priority of media types.
  • Agent State A real-time condition of an agent that determines his availability to handle service interactions. For states that indicate unavailability, agent state also provides a specific reason
  • ANI – (Automatic Number Identification) is a telephone company service providing calling party with a number of calling party. Often used instead of “calling party number”.
  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA) – the key performance indicator of inbound call center performance. It reflects average time a customer has to wait in queue until their call is answered. Usually measured agains a target metric value. See also Service Level. One of the ways to maintain target ASA is with correctly predicted staffing. Calculate staffing online at specific average speed of answer with the Contact Center Calculator.
  • Audio Treatment A pre-recorded audio message that the system plays to the listener in a specific situation, for example, while a call is waiting in queue or on hold.
  • Automatic Campaign Also known as IVR campaign, a type of campaign where the system automatically dials numbers from the associated calling lists, monitors call progress, and connects successful (answered) call attempts to a pre-recorded IVR message. Agents are not involved in campaigns of this type.
  • Auxiliary Skill A skill that is not directly associated with any of configured services, but may be necessary for a complete description of a service request. For example, a customer may request a service in a specific language. In this case, in addition to the default service skill, a language skill is defined and assigned it to the agents who can provide the requested service in this language.
  • Beep Tone – A tone that plays periodically during a call to remind the parties that the call is being recorded. It may also be used as an alert to an agent that a call is about to be presented.
  • BPO Business Process Outsourcer. A company that performs contact center tasks for other organizations.
  • BPO Client A company that outsources its contact center operations to a BPO.
  • Busy An agent state indicating that the agent is unavailable to accept service interactions because he is currently already handling one or more service interactions (e.g., a call or a maximum number of chats). For inbound service interactions, this state is assigned from the moment the interaction is accepted and until it is terminated or transferred. For outbound service interaction, it is assigned when the interaction is initiated, i.e., for calls it includes the dialing phase.
  • Calendar A set of days, defined as days of the week and/or specific dates of the year, when a contact center service has the same hours of operation. A set of calendars with specified hours of operation form a schedule of a contact center service.
  • Call A voice interaction.
  • Call Center vs. Contact Center – Typically, a call center is focused on processing telephone calls, whereas a contact center expands on this to handle engagement channels beyond the telephone, such as web chat, social media, online video, etc.
  • Callback An automated outbound call made upon customer’s request. Can be part of the voice callback function.
  • Call Recording A telephone conversation recorded and stored in a digital audio file format. Used for QM and compliance purposes.
  • Calling List A list that contains destination data for campaigns. One list can be used in many different campaigns. Each list record typically contains information about a single customer, and includes customer’s name, at least one telephone number, and other information specific to the campaign purpose. For example, lists used in a satisfaction survey campaign may include information about products purchased by the customers.
  • Campaign A type of service where contact center proactively initiates interactions with customers for a specific reason, such as survey or telemarketing, using destination data in the associated calling list(s).
  • Capacity Model See Agent Capacity Model
  • Case An instance of customer service that is created to track all communications related to a specific customer issue (request, order, complaint, problem, etc.), is maintained while the issue is being worked on, and closed when it is resolved. In a general sense, a case may involve multiple communications via different media channels. In release 3.7, cases are used to track email communications only. See also email thread.
  • Chat A web interaction involving real-time exchange of text messages.
  • Chat Scenario Entry A scenario entry for chats.
  • Cloud-based Contact Center – A Software-as-a-Service model of providing contact center technology, where a technology provider hosts and manages the call center hardware and software on behalf of its customers, who access the platform remote, over the Internet or private line service.
  • Consultation An auxiliary call made with respect to a primary call while the primary call is waiting on hold
  • CPA Call Progress Analysis. The process of automatic detection of the result of a call attempt via analysis of the audio signals during call setup. Used in predictive outbound calling campaigns.
  • CPA Recording Audio signals exchanged during the setup phase of an outbound call recorded and stored in a digital audio file format. Used for analysis of CPA accuracy in predictive outbound campaigns.
  • Data Directed Call Routing – The use of caller-provided information, collected either via touch-tone or voice recognition, to perform a data dip on a database to help determine where to route the call.
  • Dial-In Scenario Entry A scenario entry for calls.
  • Dial-out Entry An association between a prefix of a dialed outside telephone number and a service.
  • DID Direct Inward Dialing. A feature of a private telephone network allowing an outside caller to reach a certain extension directly by dialing a full telephone number dedicated to that extension, as opposed to using an operator, an IVR, or an automatic call distributor.
  • Disposition A recorded result of an interaction attempt. A disposition may indicate that the requested service was provided or suggest a specific reason for why it was not provided. Dispositions are stored in interaction records, and can be used in reports and custom queries for evaluation of service quality and efficiency.
  • DNC List A Do-Not-Call List. A list that contains phone numbers that may not be dialed during a campaign. Page 6 of 12 ServicePattern 3.9 Glossary Term Description
  • DND Do Not Disturb. A presence status indicating that the user does not wish to be contacted at the moment.
  • DNIS – (Dialed Number Identification Service) is a telephone company service providing called party with a number that was dialed by calling party. Often used as a shorthand for called party number.
  • DTMF Dual-tone multi-frequency. Telephone touch-tones: an in-band signaling method that allows transmission of numeric information (numbers from 0 to 9 as well as symbols # and *) from telephones to other communication devices, such as IVR.
  • Email An interaction via electronic mail. An inbound email interaction includes an original email sent from a customer to a business and the first meaningful response. (Autoacknowledgment is not considered a meaningful response.) Any subsequent follow-up email sent by the agent is considered an outbound email interaction within the same email thread. Any subsequent email with the same subject sent by the customer is considered a new inbound email interaction within the same email thread.
  • Email Thread A group of emails related to the same case. Enterprise The traditional contact center architecture where both the technology platform and contact center resources belong to, and managed by, the same organization.
  • Erlang – A unit of measurement in telecommunications systems to quantify offered or carried call load on circuits or telephone switching equipment. Named after Agner Krarup Erlang.
  • EWT Estimated Wait Time. A real-time interaction metric indicating the time that a service interaction is likely to spend in queue before being distributed to an agent. Can be used to determine interaction processing steps and/or provided to waiting parties via IVR prompts.
  • Extension A telephone destination within a private telephone network. An extension is identified by a number, which is unique only within the private network.
  • Grade of Service – A unit of measurement intended to quantify the probability of an individual call being blocked when presented to a circuit group.
  • Handled Call – A call presented to an agent an answered. Contrast with Abandoned Call.
  • Handle Time – The total time of the call from the beginning, through the conversation, past disconnect and including any agent wrap-up time to disposition the call, record notes, etc.
  • Hardphone A hardphone is a telephony device designed specifically for handling telephone calls. Unlike softphones, whose extensions are defined by users who are currently logged on, hardphones have their own extension numbers permanently assigned to them.
  • HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. A US law which, in particular, enforces a set of security measures related to electronic heath care transactions.
  • HOP See Hours of Operation.
  • Hours of Operation A combination of calendars, with hours of operation specified for each. Schedules are typically associated with services and are used to determine at any moment of any day of the year whether such services are open for business.
  • Inbound Interaction An interaction initiated by an outside party. In contact centers, most of such interactions are initiated by customers seeking specific contact center services.
  • Interaction A communication session between two or more parties involving one or more media types. ServicePattern currently supports processing of interactions of the following media types: call, SMS, email, and chat.
  • Interaction Attempt An action of initiating an interaction. An interaction attempt may or may not result in an interaction depending on the condition of system resources and the status of the destination party.
  • Interaction Record A database entry containing details of a single interaction, such as its start time and duration, requested service, and participants. Used for reporting and QM purposes.
  • Internal Interaction An interaction between two extensions.
  • IVR Interactive Voice Response. A technologyfor automation of common or frequently performed telephone transactions by means of a computer application interacting with a human through the use of pre-recorded voice prompts and DTMF tones of the phone keypad. Typically used for service selection, data collection, announcements, and self-service(more …).
  • IVR Campaign See Automatic Campaign.
  • KB See Knowledge Base.
  • Knowledge Base A repository of articles that help agents quickly find answers to customer inquiries and improve response times via using pre-defined/approved text in text-based communications.
  • List A list of destinations that should or should not be contacted during a campaign. See Calling List and DNC List for more information.
  • Multi-tenant See SaaS.
  • Mobile Interaction A service interaction where the customer communicates with the contact center via a mobile application residing on his smartphone.
  • Mobile/Web Scenario Entry A scenario entry for mobile interactions.
  • Nailed Connection A physical phone connection established during one call and used for handling of subsequent calls within an agent’s login session. This capability can be useful, for example, for home-based agents who wish to use their regular (PSTN) phone lines for voice delivery while using their agent desktop applications for call and agent state control. Not Ready An agent state indicating that the agent is unavailable to accept service interactions because he is on a break or occupied with other tasks. This state may also be applied automatically by the system, e.g., upon login or in no-answer condition.
  • Not Ready Reason An optional modifier of the standard Not Ready state that may indicate more precisely the reason for an agent to be in that state, e.g., no-answer, mandatory after-call break, lunch, or team meeting.
  • Outbound Interaction An interaction initiated from an extension to an outside telephone number. In contact centers, such interactions are typically made either to offer services to customers or for consultations related to inbound interactions.
  • PCI-DSS Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. An information security standard for organizations that handle branded payment cards from the major card companies such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
  • Predictive Campaign A type of campaign where the system automatically dials numbers from the associated calling lists, monitors call progress, and connects successful (answered) call attempts to available agents. The dialing rate is adjusted in real-time to achieve maximum agent occupancy based on prediction for percentage of answered calls relative to all attempted calls.
  • Predictive Dialer – a software or hardware device that monitors agent call duration and connect history to algorithmically dial two or more telephone lines in advance of an agent being available, to ensure that at least one line has connected to a real person and is presented to the call center agent.
  • Presence Indication of user’s current availability and willingness to communicate. Unlike Agent State, presence (1) applies to all types of users and (2) does not affect system’s ability to deliver interactions to those users.
  • Preview Campaign A type of campaign where the calling records from associated lists are submitted to the agents participating in the campaign. The agents review record information, manually dial destination numbers, and monitor call progress.
  • Privilege A user’s permission to access specific functionality within the ServicePattern solution, e.g., to generate and view reports.
  • Push A method of email distribution where incoming emails are delivered by the system directly to agents’ desktops based on the agents’ skill set and availability (i.e., in the same way as calls and chats).
  • Pull A method of email distribution where incoming emails are delivered by the system to a service queue, from which the agents are expected to retrieve them for processing manually.
  • QM Quality management (aka Quality Monitoring). The process of recording and storing of agents’ conversations and chats with customers and subsequent evaluation of agents’ work based on reviewing such call recordings and chat transcripts.
  • Queue – a series of calls lined up, typically in chronological order of arrival, waiting for an available agent. Typically callers hear recorded ‘on hold’ music, or pre-recorded messages. In some cases, they may hear a message telling them their estimated wait time as well.
  • Ready An agent state indicating that the agent is available to accept service interactions.
  • Recording See Call Recording.
  • Remote Agent – an agent that works in a location away from the primary contact center physical location. They may work from their home, or from a satellite office. In modern call centers, they often connect to the primary contact center over the Internet.
  • Requested Skill Combination A combination of skills, with the minimal acceptable level specified for each skill, which is necessary in order to deliver a requested service.
  • Rich Contact Experience – a number of contact center features to improve communication with connected customers using company web site or mobile app, resulting in increase in customer satisfaction and cost savings
  • Ringing A desktop function of alerting an agent of an incoming interaction. Also an agent state indicating that the agent is unavailable to accept service interactions because one service interaction is already being delivered to him.
  • Role A combination of privileges usually reflecting a certain personnel function or position within a contact center organization.
  • RTP Real-time transport protocol. A data transfer protocol that provides end-to-end delivery services over IP networks for data with real-time characteristics, such as interactive audio and video. RTP is widely used in combination with SIP in modern VoIP systems and networks.
  • SaaS Software as a Service. A multi-tenant architecture where a single physical software installation, usually managed by a service provider, is used to serve multiple independent contact centers or tenants.
  • Scenario A script that defines logic of automated processing of interactions satisfying some specific criteria, e.g., inbound interactions arriving at a specific access point.
  • Scenario Entry An association between an access point and a scenario.
  • Scheduled Callback – a set time in the future for an agent to call a contact, typically as a follow-up to a previous engagement.
  • Self-service A type of service that can be provided without agent involvement, i.e., entirely via an IVR application with TTS functions, for example, customer’s current account balance.
  • Service A specific reason for customers to initiate an interaction with a contact center, or, in case of outbound dialing, for a contact center to initiate an interaction with a customer. Services play the key role in design of interaction processing logic, evaluation of contact center efficiency, and workforce management.
  • Service Level Threshold See Service Level.
  • Service Interaction An interaction between a customer and a contact center initiated in order to get, or to offer, a service.
  • Service Level – a key performance indicator for an inbound contact center. Reflects a share of queued calls answered before a target threshold. Usually displayed as percentage and a threshold value: 80%/20sec. See also ASA.  One of the ways to maintain service level is with correctly predicted staffing. Calculate staffing online at specific service level with the Call Center Calculator.
  • Service Skill A default skill directly associated with a configured service. Service skills can be automatically assigned to the agents who are members of teams associated with corresponding services.
  • Short-abandoned call A call that is abandoned within a service level threshold. SIP Session Initiation Protocol. A signaling protocol for controlling communication sessions such as telephone calls over IP networks. SIP is widely used in modern VoIP systems and networks.
  • Skill A qualification necessary to carry out specific tasks associated with fulfillment of one or more services.
  • Skills Based Routing – logic that evaluates the context or transaction history of a customer or prospect, and uses that information to route a call or web chat (or a session via another engagement channel) to an agent best equipped to support the caller.
  • Skill Group A set of related skills. For example, each skill in a language skill group can represent the ability to provide services in a specific language.
  • Skill Level A relative measure of agent’s expertise in an assigned skill.
  • Skill Match A condition where an agent possesses all skills in a requested skill combination, with levels that are equal or higher than the levels of the corresponding skills in the requested skill combination.
  • SL See Service Level.
  • SLA Service Level Agreement – A commitment to provide service at preset Service Level.
  • SMS Short Message Service, a text messaging service component of mobile communication networks. In ServicePattern, SMS refers to a media type for text message exchange between agents and customers, where text messages are handled as chat sessions on the agent side and delivered to customers via SMS services of mobile communication networks.
  • Softphone A software application for handling telephone calls using the networking and sound processing capabilities of a general purpose computer. In VoIP systems, a softphone application is associated with a user at the moment of login, and is identified by the user’s name and extension number for the duration of the login session.
  • Static Entry A telephone number of the public telephone network that appears in the directory of the agent desktop application. Usually these are the numbers that are frequently called by contact center agents, e.g., for consultation purposes.
  • Supervisor A user who monitors and controls agents’ performance in real time.
  • Team A group of users with similar functions within a contact center organization. A team of agents is organized for optimal workforce management (i.e., training, scheduling, real-time supervision, reporting). If an agent team includes agents with similar qualifications, it may be associated with one or more services, which simplifies the process of assignment of the corresponding service skills to such agents.
  • Tenant In a multi-tenant operation, a client organization whose contact center operations are enabled by a technology platform of a service provider. In an enterprise operation, the term tenant is equivalent to the term contact center.
  • Thread See Email Thread
  • Trunk An interface between a private and a public telephone network.
  • Trunk Hold Time – a unit of measurement that quantifies how long a trunk is occupied by a call from the moment the call arrives, through engagement, and until it is disconnected.
  • TTS Text-to-Speech. A function of converting text messages into speech. Used in selfservice IVR applications. Can also be used in regular IVR applications to create temporary voice prompts at the test stage before replacing them with recorded voice talent in a production-ready application version.
  • Unattended call A call attempt made within a predictive campaign that is answered by a customer but cannot be connected to an agent within a compliance time (2 seconds in the USA). Some countries regulate percentage of unattended calls and/or what happens to a call when it is unattended. Note that FCC refers to such calls as abandoned. In ServicePattern the term abandoned is used to refer to calls that are terminated by customers before they are answered by agents.
  • Unavailable Time – a measurement of the time an agent is not able to engagement with contacts due to scheduled breaks, meals, after call work, or other activities.
  • User A person who may need access to any functionality of ServicePattern for any reason. Usually this includes all contact center agents and supervisors, as well as all contact center managers, administrators, and scenario developers who may need to use ServicePattern user-facing applications to perform their tasks. The exact set of functionality available to a particular user within any application is defined by the role(s) assigned to this user in the system configuration.
  • Virtual Contact Center – a contact center where all agents are not necessarily physically located in the same building – they may be at satellite offices, or working from home – but work on a common contact center platform as if they were. a.k.a. Virtual Call Center
  • Virtual Queue – a capability of ACD to let customer go and do other things instead of actively waiting for an agent to become available. Bright Pattern implements this for voice and in-app customer support, and this capability is inherently present in SMS and social messngers.
  • Voice Callback A contact center feature that offers calling customers an option of requesting a callback instead of staying online while waiting for an agent response. The decision can be made based on the current estimated wait time in queue. If the callback option is selected, the original inbound call will be disconnected while the position of this call in the service queue is preserved. The callback is made when it is the caller’s “turn” to be routed to an agent.
  • Voice Signature Use of customer’s voice, by way of recording answers to a pre-defined set of questions, as a legal signature with respect to a policy or contract discussed on the call.
  • VoIP Voice Over Internet Protocol. A set of technologies for delivery of voice and multimedia communications over IP networks. See also SIP.
  • VS See Voice Signature.
  • VRU – (Voice Response Unit) is a complete or part of hardware implementation of IVR.
  • Wrap-Up Time – Time that a contact center agent requires after they disconnect from a call and before they are ready to accept the next call. Typically this time is spent recording information pertaining to the engagement. Contributes to Handle Time.
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