Contact Center Glossary

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.

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

A

Contact Center Abandon - An inbound contact that cuts off communication while waiting to be connected or transferred. In outbound contacts, this refers to when the predictive dialer ends communication because the system or agent was unable to connect.

Account Contact Management - The process of collecting and managing specific information identifying a customer account.

ACD (Automatic Contact Distributor) - A specialized omnichannel routing engine that distributes inbound contacts to a self-service channel or to agents based on customer need and agent skill set, ensuring that customer requests are independently resolved or elevated to qualified agents in the most efficient manner.

ActiveX Controls - A feature set within a web page that allows for interactive functionality.

AI Chat - AI chat refers to systems that utilize artificial intelligence to facilitate and simulate engaging conversations between humans and machines.

AI for Business - Artificial intelligence (AI) that is infused throughout an organization so that all key stakeholders - from employees to customers - can benefit from smarter technology.

Advanced Call Center Technologies - Modern technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and omnichannel services, that has transformed communication and how call centers deliver customer service.

Agent - A front-office contact center employee, also known as a customer service representative, who interacts directly with customers through inbound or outbound communications (voice, digital or omnichannel). An agent may assist with issues such as placing orders, resolving issues, providing basic technical support, and answering policy questions.

Contact Center Agent Coaching - A quality or performance management activity in which agents receive feedback, examples and activities to help them improve or expand their skillset.

Agent Desktop - A software application or set of applications that provide contact center agents with all the information and tools they need to perform their customer-facing job functions.

Contact Center Agent Experience - The experience (or satisfaction level) of a contact center agent resulting from customer interactions, workforce engagement, their work tools, supervisors, schedule flexibiity, and operational efficiency. It can be improved through coaching, gamification, training, technology, real-time support, AI solutions, and workforce optimization.

Agent Occupancy - The percentage of time agents are actively engaged in handling interactions relative to their total time logged in to a workforce management system or otherwise registered as working.

Agent Reports - A performance report providing statistical insights related to an individual agent's average handle time, unavailable time, call log, etc.

Contact Center Agent Self-Evaluations - A quality management activity, also known as a self-assessment, in which agents evaluate and score their own interactions using the same form and criteria that a manager or another evaluator would use.

Agent Utilization - A workforce management metric that indicates agent productivity.

Analog - The process of taking audio signals, like voice, and translating them into electronic pulses.

Contact Center Analytics - Tools that analyze data points, make correlations, reveal insights, and report on trends to help a contact center or business improve operations.

Application - Software designed to be interacted with by an end user, enabling them to accomplish specific tasks. Contact center applications can enable the identification, routing, analysis and tracking of interactions, as well as workforce and performance management.

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 algorithms, data analysis, and programming to perform actions, identify patterns, and predict issues with minimal human intervention. AI can adapt to new information or other input, enabling the ongoing execution of tasks with varying levels of complexity and autonomy.

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 also: Predictive Dialer.

Automated Outbound Calling - A process that call centers use to increase agent efficiency when making outbound calls.

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 a 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).

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) - Technology that processes and responds to spoken language commands. See also: Natural Language Understanding, Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

Automation - Technology designed to perform actions or take over processes performed by humans, in order to boost efficiency and reliability, and empower customers with self-service.

Avatars - An element of gamification; a graphical representation of an agent for digital platforms. Avatars can sometimes be customized by users to reflect a characteristic or persona.

AHT - A standard call center metric used to measure the average length of time it takes to complete a transaction, from start to finish.

Average Hold Time (AHLDT) - A standard call center metric used to measure the average amount of time customers spend on hold during interactions with the contact center.

B

Back Office Optimization - Streamlining back-office workforce functions for maximum efficiency and optimal alignment with front-office services in the contact center to improve customer experience and agent experience. See also: Workforce Optimization (WFO).

Banking CX - The collective efforts aimed at making every customer feel valued during their interactions with a bank. It encompasses the perceptions and experiences accumulated throughout the customer's journey.

Blended Agent - A contact center agent who handles inbound and/or outbound customer interactions across multiple voice, web, and digital channels.

Bot - Software that automates tasks that humans would otherwise perform. See also: Chatbot.

Bulk Text Messaging - A marketing strategy that involves creating and sending out a text message to a large list of people.

Contact Center Business Optimization - Improving the efficiency, productivity, and performance of a contact center, with the aim of ensuring its success as a business.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) - Contracting out specific operations, generally non-core business functions, to a third-party provider, known as the business process outsourcer. These functions may include tasks such as customer service, accounting, human resources, and IT support.

Business-to-Business (B2B) - Marketplace transactions between businesses.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C) - Marketplace transactions between businesses and consumers.

Byte - A unit of data that is eight binary digits long, used by most computers to represent a character such as a letter, number, or symbol.

Call Barging - An ACD function that facilitates the switch to a three-way conference, so that a contact center manager can join an existing call or a digital interaction to assist the agent and improve the customer experience.

Bulk SMS Sender - A bulk SMS sender is an application that allows users to send out text blasts to communicate to customers.

C

Cost Per Call - Cost per call (CPC) is a metric used in contact centers to measure the average cost incurred for handling a single customer phone call.

Call Detail Report (CDR) - A call detail report is a comprehensive report on every contact managed by a platform.

Contact Center ISO - ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization in the contact center context.

21st Century Integrated Digital Experience - A set of standards established by the US federal government to improve citizen digital experience with government services. The 21st Century IDEA was signed into law in 2018 as part of the Modernizing Government Technology Act.

Call Center (Hosted Inbound Call Center, Outbound Call Center) - A physical or virtual department or operation in which a large volume of inbound and/or outbound calls is handled on behalf of an organizational division (e.g., Customer Service, Sales, Support). See also: Contact Center.

Call center agent scorecard - A tool for measuring and monitoring quality assurance (QA) and performance metrics for individual agents.

Call center agent software - Technology, often called the agent desktop or agent workspace, that brings together system capabilities, applications and processes for call center agents.

Call center agent utilization - The ratio of an agent's productivity to their capacity.

Call center coaching - A quality management activity providing contact center agents with feedback, examples, performance assessments, and best-practice activities to help improve the skillset needed for their role.

Call Center CRM (Call Center Customer Relationship Management) - Technology that provides call center employees with access to customer data and interaction information, in order to further personalize the customer experience. See also: Contact Center CRM.

Call Center Data - Any type of data stored in a call center or a contact center, including customer account details, agent performance records, and other information.

Call Center Management - The policies, procedures, and tools used to manage operations, employees, and interactions within a call center. See also: Contact Center Management.

Outsourcing Call Center - The practice of using a third-party provider's services to manage a company's customer service or support calls. This allows the company to focus on its core operations while benefiting from the expertise and cost savings of a specialized call center.

Call Center Reporting - The tracking and presentation of key performance indicators (KPIs) and selected metrics regarding call center activities and individual call center agent performance.

Call center service level - Call center efficiency in handling incoming calls from customers or clients, represented as a percentage of incoming calls answered within a specified target timeframe. It is a key performance indicator for service level adherence and workforce management.

Call center software - A collection of applications that support customer service operations.

Call Center Workforce Planning - The process of forecasting staffing needs based on anticipated volume or other business drivers, then ensuring everything is in place to hire, train, schedule, and manage the required agent team. See Contact Center Workforce Management (WFM).

Call Distribution - When a volume of calls is dispersed by an ACD during a given time period.

Call Flow - The conversational flow of a contact center agent’s script or how a call is routed within a call distribution system.

Logs - Also referred to as log files, these are records that document details, typically time stamps, related to what took place within a computer system.

Call recorder - Contact center technology that records customer phone calls and may also capture concurrent agent desktop activity.

Call Recording - The act of recording a telephone call or other audio source through an automated system in compliance with rules and regulations. Calls can then be monitored for the purposes of quality management, agent performance evaluation, and workforce management.

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-up time. See also: Average Handle Time (AHT).

Call Volume - The number of calls or contacts made or received during a given time period.

Caller - The calling party, or customer, with whom your contact center system or agent interacts.

Capacity Planning - The process of determining how to deploy workforce resources most effectively to support customer demand, currently and as much as five years into the future. This can include assigning employees based on their skills, capabilities, and preferences.

CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) - A complete, unified, cloud-native contact center platform offered on a subscription basis.

Central Office - A site that houses major telecommunication devices and network access facilities for storage and operation.

Channels - Various voice and digital communication mediums that facilitate customer interactions in a contact center. See also: Omnichannel Contact Center, Omnichannel Routing.

Chat - A digital messaging application built into an organization's contact center platform, and launched from the organization's website or the customer's mobile device, which allows a customer to communicate and receive service quickly and easily.

AI Chatbot - An AI-enabled bot capable of communicating with human customers to deliver efficient service across digital channels.

Citizen Customer Experience - Interactions and experiences members of the public have when engaging with government agencies and services. This includes all touchpoints, such as online portals, call centers, in-person services, and other channels of engagement.

Closed-loop Action - A voice of the customer (VOC) term that refers to the act of following up with customers who have provided either extremely positive or negative feedback.

Closed-loop Feedback - The process of acting on direct or indirect customer input collected from sources such as customer surveys, contact center interactions, and social media comments.

Closed-loop Survey - A tool within a closed-loop feedback process for proactively collecting customer input.

Cloud Call Center - A call center in which the technology used for its activities is hosted in the cloud and supported by a third-party vendor. See also: Cloud Contact Center.

Cloud Contact Center - A contact center in which the technology used for its activities, including voice and digital interactions, is hosted in the cloud and supported by a third-party vendor. See also: Cloud Call Center.

Cloud Contact Center Platform - A complete, unified, cloud-native system that supports multichannel or omnichannel communication between customers and agents (or self-service systems) in a manner that optimizes customer experience and agent experience.

Co-browse - A solution that enables an agent and customer to simultaneously navigate the same webpage during a voice or digital interaction.

Compliance - Abiding by or conforming to rules, regulations, or laws. The term can also refer to agent adherence to their schedules.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) - The integration of a phone system and a computer system. CTI monitoring and control can be run from an on-premises server or made available through the cloud.

Contact Center - A physical or virtual department or operation for handling inbound and/or outbound communications between customers and agents (or self-service systems) across multiple voice and digital channels (typically for organizational divisions such as Customer Service, Sales, or Support). See also: Call Center.

Contact Center Administrator - The individual responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a contact center.

Contact Center Agent Workspace - A digital platform integrating multiple communication channels and support tools into a single, unified interface, enabling agents to offer seamless and efficient customer service.

Contact Center Architecture - An integrated framework of software and hardware components used to manage customer service and support operations.

Contact Center Campaigns - Campaigns promoting products and services through various channels such as email, voice, SMS, and web platforms.

Contact Center CRM (Contact Center Customer Relationship Management) - Technology that provides contact center employees with access to customer data and interaction information, in order to further personalize the customer experience. See also: Call Center CRM.

Contact Center for Government - A centralized customer service operation for government agencies that handles a wide range of inquiries and requests from citizens and the general public, using various channels such as phone, email, chat, and social media.

Contact Center Management - The policies, procedures, and tools used to manage operations, employees, and interactions within a contact center, with an emphasis on customer experience across all voice and digital channels. See also: Call Center Management.

Contact Center Software - A collection of applications that automate key contact center processes.

Contact Center VoIP - A communication channel based on an IP standard that transmits voice and data on the same network. VoIP does not require a dedicated connection throughout an entire call and is often seen as a more efficient alternative to circuit-switched networks.

Contact Center Workforce Optimization - A strategy to improve multichannel or omnichannel customer and agent experiences using workforce management software. These software tools can include AI-enabled forecasting, scheduling, quality management, performance management, coaching, analytics, or reporting applications. See also: Workforce Optimization (WFO).

Contact Center Workforce Planning - The process of forecasting staffing needs based on anticipated volume or other business drivers, then ensuring everything is in place to hire, train, schedule, and manage the required agent team. See Workforce Management (WFM).

Contact Disposition - User-defined statuses that can be assigned to completed interactions either by an agent or by the system.

Context - A combination of identifying factors about a customer -including user identity and environmental and process-based information - that contribute to insights enabling an organization to deliver an optimal customer experience.

Cost Per Experience (CPE) - In the contact center, this refers to the cost of each customer interaction.

Client Resource Management (CRM) - The strategies, practices, and technologies that organizations employ to manage, analyze, and improve interactions with current and potential customers, providing value to both the customer and the company. See also: Contact Center CRM.

Cross-sell - When a sales representative suggests to a customer that they would benefit from the purchase of an additional product or service.

CT Connect - A technology that allows computer applications to monitor and control telephone calls.

CTI Server - Software that supports a computer telephony integration (CTI) platform; although the term is often used in reference to both the software and the hardware on which it is loaded.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) - A measure of how efficient a company's sales and marketing efforts are at acquiring new customers.

Customer Care - How a business treats its customers throughout the duration of the relationship.

Customer Communications - Interactions between customers and businesses using various channels spanning digital and in-person touchpoints.

Customer Effort Score (CES) - A measurement of how much effort a customer expends in getting their issue resolved, purchasing a product, etc.

Customer Engagement - A framework connecting multiple systems, processes, and stakeholders together to optimally engage customers across their customer journey.

Customer Experience (CX) - The perception a customer has of a brand based on a collection of interactions, including marketing campaigns, product use, social media presence, customer service contacts, and more.

Customer Experience BPO - Outsourcing customer service functions to a third-party provider. This can include services such as inbound and outbound call handling, email and chat support, social media management, and other customer-facing activities aimed at improving the overall customer experience.

Customer Experience Chatbots - Digital entities that assist customers using self-service channels by simulating human interactions.

Customer Experience Financial Services - The overall perception that customers have of their interactions with a financial service provider.

Customer Experience for Government - All interactions and experiences that private individuals have when engaging with government services. This includes all touchpoints such as online portals, call centers, in-person services, and other channels of engagement.

customer journey - A customer experience journey, also referred to as a customer journey, is the path a customer follows while doing business with a brand.

Customer Experience Management (CEM) - An organizational strategy designed to optimize customer experience and customer engagement.

Customer Experience Metrics - Measurements of a brand's effectiveness at shaping consumer perceptions about the business.

Customer Experience Model - A framework businesses use to control the quality of the impressions their customers have of the brand.

Customer Experience Self-Service - A collective term for self-service software, platforms, services and tools intended to enhance or streamline customer interactions with an organization. It focuses on self-service channels impacting customer experience across the full customer journey.

Customer Experience Software - A collection of contact center applications that enable organizations to provide, manage, and improve end-to-end customer service experiences.

Transforming Customer Experience - The process of fundamentally altering the impressions businesses make on their customers so that the customer experience promotes a higher opinion of the brand.

Customer feedback - Input that consumers provide to companies they do business with. It may be unsolicited - such as a customer complaint - but organizations often use structured methods to solicit and collect customer feedback.

Customer Frustration - Frustration felt by a customer as a result of a negative interaction or experience with a company.

Customer Insights - Data-driven information about consumers that informs businesses about their motivations, emotions, and preferences.

Customer intelligence - The process of collecting and analyzing information about a business's customers with the intention of identifying the best ways to interact with them, in order to strengthen relationships and increase loyalty.

Customer interaction analytics - Software that can review and assess voice recording and digital channel transcripts.

Customer Journey - Also known as customer experience journey, this term refers to the complete end-to-end series of customer interactions, touchpoints and channels a customer encounters while interacting with a company or brand. See also: customer experience journey.

Customer Journey Based Design - Voice of the customer (VOC) solutions that are aligned with the customer journey and can provide insights about the many different paths customers can take as they interact with a business.

Customer Journey Management - Strategies and software to provide seamless and consistently exceptional omnichannel customer experiences across a customer journey.

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.

Customer Journey Mapping Insurance - A visual representation that outlines and illustrates the various stages that a customer goes through when interacting with an insurance company. The map typically includes interactions during research, policy selection, purchase, claims processing, renewals, and other relevant touchpoints. Insurance customer journey maps help companies understand their customers' experiences, pain points, and opportunities for improvement, facilitating the development of strategies to enhance overall customer experience.

Customer Journey Optimization - The process of optimizing the customer journey through orchestration and management.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) - Describes the total value of a customer's relationship to an organization over a lifetime.

Customer Loyalty - The level of allegiance a consumer feels toward a business, usually characterized by a long-term relationship and the willingness to make ongoing purchases.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) - A measurement of customer satisfaction levels, reflecting how well the organization meets expectations. Typically determined through customer satisfaction surveys.

Customer Service - The support offered to customers before, during, and after their purchase.

Customer Service Message - A message that agents in a contact center environment can deliver to customers through email, SMS, chat, and voice.

Outsourcing Customer Service - The practice of delegating customer support functions to an external service provider. This provider typically handles various aspects of customer service on behalf of the company, such as inquiries, complaints, technical issues, and more, enabling the company to focus on its core business activities while still providing high-quality customer support.

contact center customer service representative - A frontline contact center employee who interacts with customers to address their questions, concerns, and complaints. They may do so using a variety of voice and digital channels.

Customer surveys - Tools organizations use to collect feedback from their customers about any number of topics. Customer surveys can take several forms, including paper-based documents that are mailed customers, digital surveys that appear after website transactions, and surveys facilitated by outbound phone agents.

CX Customer Experience - CX customer experience, typically referred to as customer experience or CX, is the opinion someone has about a business based on a collective set of impressions.

CX Software for Government - Software designed to help government agencies manage citizen interactions and improve customer experience (CX). The goal is to provide greater accessibility and usability in government digital services, streamline and automate customer service workflows, and collect and analyze data related to interactions with the public.

CXi - An acronym for customer experience interactions, which is a holistic approach to managing all customer interactions from any starting point across the entire customer journey, regardless of whether those interactions involve the contact center.

D

Digital call center - A customer service operation that provides support through digital channels such as email, chat, text (SMS), social media, and more.

Detractor - A customer who is highly dissatisfied with a business and may engage in behavior that harms the business financially.

Directed Dialog - An elementary automatic speech recognition technology that guides interaction by prompting a caller with limited phrases.

Dual Tone Multifrequency (DTMF) - A system that uses audio tones to represent digits on a keypad.

Dashboard - A display of real-time communication, KPI reporting, or historical information on a screen for easy viewing by contact center employees.

Database - An application that stores, organizes, and structures data consistently for easy access and efficient analysis.

Decibel (dB) - A unit of measurement indicating the intensity of a sound.

Dialer - Technology for automating the dialing of outbound phone calls or the sending of mass digital communications. Dialers range from basic to sophisticated in their features and functionality. See also: Auto Dialer, Predictive Dialer.

Digital - The representation or transmission of data expressed in binary code.

Direct Inward Dialing (DID) - A local network service that transmits a unique set of identifying digits to the contact center.

Dialed Number Interaction Services (DNIS) - A set of digits indicating the phone number a call has reached.

Digital Patient Interactions - The exchange of medical information and communication between patients and healthcare providers through electronic means, such as electronic health records, telemedicine, or secure messaging. These interactions use digital technology to facilitate more convenient, efficient, and accessible healthcare.

Digital Retail Customer Experience - The overall experience that customers have when interacting with a retailer's digital channels. The goal of most digital retail CX initiatives is to provide a seamless, personalized, and convenient shopping experience, which increases customer engagement and loyalty, and ultimately drives sales.

Direct Dialer - Direct dialer software is a type of computer program that automates the process of making telephone calls.

Direct Feedback - Customer input gathered by asking consumers what they think about a brand, product, customer service interaction, or other touchpoint along the customer journey.

Digital Messaging - A digital messaging system allows remote agents to meet customers on their platforms of choice, have personal conversations and reach successful outcomes at scale.

E

Echo Cancellation - Quieting a voice channel to optimize speech recognition and natural language understanding.

Ecommerce Customer Experience Software - The set of tools and technologies used by online retailers to enhance the customer experience and satisfaction with their online shopping journey through personalization, data insights, and customer support.

Education Customer Experience - The interactions and overall experience that students, potential students or faculty have with an institution of learning, including communication, services, and support. It is a crucial aspect of higher education that can impact student satisfaction, retention, and recruitment.

Education Customer Experience Solutions - Tools, platforms, and strategies that universities and colleges can use to improve the education customer experience of their students. They are designed to help universities optimize communication, support, and services to create a positive and effective learning environment.

Education Technology - The use of technology to enhance teaching, learning, and student outcomes in education. Often abbreviated as EdTech, it encompasses a wide range of digital tools, platforms, and resources that can be used to support and enhance the learning experience.

Employee Engagement - The level at which contact center employees are engaged in their work. See also: Agent Experience.

Employee NPS (eNPS) - Also known as the Employee Net Promoter Score, it is a measurement of an employee's willingness to recommend their employer as a place to work to friends and family.

Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) - The solutions allowing an enterprise to share information in order to create value, satisfy customers and stakeholders, and increase revenue.

Escalation - The process by which a customer contact is seamlessly transferred, via omnichannel communication, to a contact center agent or supervisor for handling.

Executive Order 14058 - A mandate aimed at improving the cybersecurity of federal government networks and infrastructure, as well as protecting critical infrastructure in the private sector, through the adoption of specific requirements and provisions.

Experience Analytics - Also called customer experience analytics, it is the systematic collection and analysis of customer perceptions as they interact with various touchpoints along the customer journey.

Experience Transformation - A structured approach to optimizing customer experiences to make them satisfying, consistent, and free of friction.

F

First Contact Resolution - A metric indicating the capability of a contact center to resolve a customer's issue during their first interaction, eliminating the need for follow-up interactions and driving down the volume of incoming contacts.

Forecasting - Predicting a contact center's workload and assessing the relevent agent scheduling or staffing needs. Effective forecasting can be accomplished with a workforce optimization application. See also: Scheduling.

G

Gamification - Gamification rewards individual employees and teams for staying on task, turning the best behaviors into habits through games and challenges. Employees can win redeemable coins, collect badges or climb a leaderboard.

Grammar - In the contact center, language used in conjunction with IVR systems that require a complete list of possible spoken responses to be programmed for recognition and stored in a grammar file.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) - A computer interface enabling on-screen navigation through menus, icons, and interactive mouse or touchscreen technology.

Guest Experience - The overall impression, feelings, and perceptions that individuals have during their interaction with a particular establishment or event, such as a hotel, restaurant, or entertainment venue. This encompasses every aspect of the customer journey, including interactions with staff, the quality of products or services provided, the atmosphere, and any other elements that contribute to overall satisfaction and enjoyment.

Guest Service Experience - The specific interactions and encounters that guests have with the service providers and staff members of a hospitality establishment, such as a hotel, resort, or restaurant. This focuses on the quality of assistance, responsiveness, attentiveness, and friendliness exhibited by the staff during a guest's stay or visit. This aspect plays a significant role in shaping the overall guest experience.

H

Hardware - The on-premise, physical infrastructure of a computer or telephony system.

Hold Time - The total amount of time a contact spends in an agent-initiated hold status. See also: Average Hold Time (AHLDT).

Hosted Services - Contact center and call center services hosted by a network provider and delivered on-demand through the cloud. See also: Cloud Contact Center, Cloud Contact Center Platform.

I

Inbound Call - Inbound calls are those initiated by customers and received as incoming calls by agents who will help to resolve a problem or issue.

Inbound Call Center - A customer service primarily dedicated to handling incoming customer phone calls, playing a pivotal role in managing customer interactions and inquiries.

Independent Software Vendor (ISV) - An organization that designs and distributes software and is not owned or controlled by a hardware manufacturer, but which often produces software that is complementary to a hardware manufacturer or seller's products.

Indirect Feedback - Customer input that a business did not solicit, but which it can access for analysis.

Insurance Customer Experience - The overall collection of interactions, touchpoints, and emotions that policyholders and potential customers have while engaging with an insurance company's products, services, and support. The insurance customer experience encompasses interactions such as purchasing policies, filing claims, receiving assistance, and communicating with customer service representatives. Providing a positive insurance customer experience aims to build trust, satisfaction, and loyalty among policyholders.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) - A series of technical standards that enable digital voice, video, and data transmission services over telephone networks.

Intelligent Call Routing System - A system for forwarding or transferring calls from one number to another using natural language processing (NLP).

Interaction - The touchpoint of communication between a customer and an organization on the customer's preferred communication channel. Customers can initiate and complete self-service interactions using communication channels like IVR or chatbots. Customers and organizations can also initiate live agent interactions, in which an agent interacts directly with a customer using human communication channels like voice or video calls.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) - A voice- and call-processing system that responds to a customer's speech or to digits they enter as they interact with an automated menu. Customers may be given the option to enter a call queue, connect with an agent, complete a self-service transaction, access information, or leave a message.

Intraday Management - The workforce management process and activities for monitoring the current day's volumes and trends, and making changes to schedules accordingly.

Intraday Reforecasting - When the contact center reevaluates workforce management needs based on the day-of trending of volume, average handle time, and service levels.

IVR Surveys - Automated communications over the phone with respondents replying to survey questions.

IVR system - An automated interface that greets callers at the beginning of phone calls.

K

Knowledge Base Self Service - Using a knowledge base encourages self-service and provides while reducing agent strain by decreasing call queues.

Knowledge Management - The process and methods of collecting, organizing, managing and using all of the knowledge and information within an organization.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator) - A high-level measurement of contact center performance captured in reports and reviewed on a regular basis.

L

Leaderboards - A digital or physical display showing employees where they stand compared to their peers on important key performance indicators (KPIs).

Listening Post - In customer experience management, this term defines a point in the process when companies can identify, collect, and analyze customer feedback.

Local Area Network (LAN) - A communication network linking computers or technical devices within a limited geographic area. They are often used to send data to printers, transfer data between systems on the network, send communications between users on the network, or access wider area networks (WANs).

M

Macro Metric - The result of distilling multiple KPIs related to the health of an organization's customer relationships into a single unit of measurement.

Menu - An array of options clearly presented for selection by a customer, agent, or user on a computer screen or via a digital or voice channel.

Mobile Voice - Also referred to as voice control or voice access, this term describes technology allowing users to control their mobile devices by spoken command.

Moment of Truth - Any touchpoint along the customer journey in which a business has the potential to change a customer's perception of the business and increase or decrease the customer's loyalty as a result.

Multichannel Cloud Contact Center - A contact center powered by cloud-native software (rather than on-premises hardware) to handle inbound and outbound interactions independently across multiple communication channels. The information from an interaction on one channel is not connected or shared across other independent channels.

N

Natural Language Processing - A technological process for turning text or audio speech into encoded, structured information.

Natural Language Understanding - An AI-enabled technology that allows humans to communicate with computers and applications in normal, conversational syntax. This cognitive technology can analyze spoken words, along with elements like context and sentiment, to identify a person's intent during voice and digital interactions.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) - A metric used to measure customer perception of a brand, which can predict revenue growth or decline. It is one of the primary methods by which companies assess loyalty and predict churn. Businesses derive the score by asking customers how likely they are, on a scale of 1 to 10, to recommend the business to others. Based on their answers, customers are then organized into a series of categories. Promoters indicate a score of 9-10. Passives indicate a score of 7-8. Detractors indicate a score of 1-6.

O

OMB Circular A-11, Section 280 - A section of the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-11 that provides guidelines for federal agencies on how to manage and report on their information technology (IT) investments.

Omnichannel Cloud Contact Center - A contact center powered by cloud-native software (rather than on-premises hardware) to handle inbound and outbound interactions seamlessly across multiple, integrated communication channels. The information from a customer interaction on one channel at a single touchpoint along that customer's journey is recorded and shared across channels to identify, personalize, and contextualize future interactions with the same customer.

Omnichannel Customer Experience - The experience a customer has when interacting with an organization or brand across all voice and digital channels, before, during, and after a purchase. See also: customer experience journey.

Omnichannel Customer Journey - The complete end-to-end set of customer interactions with an organization or brand, across all voice and digital channels. See also: customer experience journey.

Omnichannel Customer Service - The personalized, tailored service offered to a customer when an organization applies context and insight gained while seamlessly interacting with the customer across multiple channels of their choice.

Omnichannel Retail Solutions - The integration of multiple sales channels and touchpoints, such as in-store, digital, mobile, and call center, to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience across all touchpoints.

Omnichannel - In customer care, the ability of customers to seamlessly move across channels within the same interaction.

Omnichannel Routing - An interaction management system that allows an organization to proactively and productively route inbound, outbound, and blended contacts across multiple voice and digital channels using applications like ACD, IVR, and AI-enabled chatbots.

Operational / Inferred / Unsolicited Feedback - Types of customer input that businesses can leverage to develop a more holistic voice of the customer (VOC).

Outbound Call Center - A business operation for making outgoing calls to customers and prospects, including for sales, collections, surveys, research, fundraising, proactive customer notifications, and more.

Outbound Call Center Compliance - Outbound call center compliance refers to the process of ensuring that your outbound call center is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

Outbound IVR - An IVR technology used to by contact centers to send proactive, personalized outbound messages. Similar to how a predictive dialer distributes outgoing calls, outbound IVR can automatically distribute outgoing messages to contacts across a variety of digital channels.

P

Patient Access - The ability of patients to obtain and use healthcare services, information, and resources. It encompasses a range of factors, including physical and financial accessibility, availability of healthcare providers, and the availability of health information and resources.

Patient Engagement - The active involvement of patients in their own healthcare, including decision-making and self-care management. The goal of patient engagement is to empower patients to take control of their health and to improve the quality and effectiveness of their care. By engaging patients in their own healthcare, healthcare providers can better understand their needs, preferences, and goals, and work together to develop personalized care plans that lead to improved health outcomes.

Patient Experience Solutions - A set of tools, strategies, and approaches aimed at improving the overall quality of healthcare delivery and the satisfaction of patients with their healthcare experience. These solutions can include, but are not limited to, patient engagement and communication technologies, patient satisfaction surveys, clinical quality improvement initiatives, patient-centered design, and staff training programs. The goal of patient experience solutions is to create a positive, seamless, and effective healthcare experience for patients, from their initial interaction with the healthcare system through to the conclusion of their care journey.

Performance Management System - An all-in-one reporting tool that offers real-time, historical, and transactional performance data for all roles.

Phone Call Tracker - A phone call tracker is an application that call centers employ to keep track of every phone call interaction between customers and agents alike.

Phoneme - The fundamental units of sound that distinguish one word from another within a particular language. Phonemes are essential in processing the automatic speech recognition that powers natural language understanding and IVR technology used by contact centers.

Phrase - A set of one or more words assigned meaning within an application. In contact centers, phrases are often associated with directed dialog in IVR systems, in which a customer interaction is guided by a menu of narrowly defined phrase options a customer can select from through speech.

Port - A connection point that allows the transfer of information between two devices or between a computer and a server over a network.

Predictive Dialer - An application used by contact centers to initiate a large volume of outbound calls at one time, using an algorithm to predict outbound agent availability and transferring any connected contacts to live agents. This maximizes the efficiency of agents who would otherwise spend time dialing a long list of individual numbers that would not result in connections.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX) - A private telephone system used by an organization to make and receive internal and external calls.

Processor - The component within a computer responsible for processing data.

Promoter - In the field of customer experience, this term refers to a loyal customer willing to recommend a brand to friends and family.

Prompt - A message that guides the customer to respond by indicating a selection, dialing a number, or speaking a phrase associated with a desired outcome.

Proxy Server - An external intermediary used to handle resource requests requiring heavy or intense processing from a server.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) - A public network to which telephones, telephony systems, ACDs, and PBXs can be connected.

Q

Quality Evaluation - A quality management activity in which another individual, typically a supervisor or someone from the QM or QA team, scores an agent interaction based on key criteria defined in a quality form.

Quality Management - The systems, processes, and strategies an organization uses to manage and improve quality. In contact centers, quality management is often associated with workforce management.

Quality Management Calibration - A quality management activity that helps ensure all evaluators are on the same page as to how they are evaluating interactions.

Quality Management Dispute - A quality management process that allows agents to dispute or contest a score they have received on a quality evaluation and explain why they disagree.

Quality Management Form - A set of questions used by evaluators to evaluate the performance of agents during interaction handling and to identify areas for improvement.

Quality Plans - A tool for quality assurance that includes sampling random interactions based on predefined filters and sending those interactions to evaluators for review.

Queue - A virtual line in which a customer waits to be connected with an agent. Call queues are the most well-known, but the rise in digital communication channels has created other virtual lines, such as chat queues.

R

Real-Time Adherence - A workforce management metric that helps pinpoint employees who are currently out of adherence with the planned schedule.

Response Rate - The proportion of survey invitations that resulted in a completed survey.

Remote Agents - Remote agents work for contact centers remotely, providing customer service outside a traditional office setting.

Retail CX Solutions - The tools, technologies, and strategies that retailers use to enhance the customer experience and improve customer satisfaction in the retail environment.

Return on Investment (ROI) - A financial ratio that measures the profitability of an actual or proposed investment.

Robotic Process Automation - A technological solution for automating repetitive, rule-based tasks using digital robots, or "bots", that replace or augment human interactions with various systems and interfaces.

S

SaaS (Software as a Service) - A licensing and delivery model in which a vendor hosts and manages software in the cloud, making it available to access via the internet for clients paying on a subscription basis.

Schedule Adherence - A workforce management metric that indicates how effectively an agent is adhering to their schedule.

Scheduling - In contact center workforce optimization and workforce management, this refers to ongoing planning of employee on-duty hours, activities, and required staff fluctuations. See also: Forecasting.

Screen Pop - A customer information screen that automatically "pops" onto an agent's dashboard at the same time an interaction is initiated with that customer. It can deliver additional customer context enabled when an organization's business systems, like its CRM database, are integrated with its contact center platform.

Screen Recording - The act of capturing activity on an agent's computer screen while they are handling an interaction for quality and coaching purposes.

Secure Payment Processing (SPC) - Secure Payment Processing (SPC) is an identification and authentication measure used to protect customer PII (Private Identifiable Information).

Self-Service Rate - A metric that describes how often customers resolve their own issues or complete their own transaction instead of speaking to a live agent.

Sentiment Analysis - AI-enabled analysis deriving information from speech and text communications across voice and digital channels, indicating the nature of an interaction or the sentiment behind the interaction.

Sentiment Score - A metric for measuring customer sentiment. It indicates the strength of customer sentiment during a given interaction with a range from 0-100, where 0 is the lowest score and 100 is the highest.

Server - A computer or program that manages access to a centralized resource or network service.

Shrinkage - A workforce management metric that refers to time in which agents are being paid, but are not available to handle interactions.

Single Pane of Glass - Single pane of glass refers to a business solution that integrates data from multiple sources and presents it in one unified visual display.

Smartphone Dialer - A smartphone dialer is a tool that call centers use to help agents maximize productivity and efficiency when making outbound calls.

SMB - An acronym for small-to-midsize businesses.

SME - An acronym for small-to-midsize enterprises.

Softphone - Technology for providing traditional phone functionality using only a computer, tablet, or mobile device and a high-speed internet connection. See also: VoIP.

Speech analytics - Also called interaction analytics, this term refers to technology leveraging artificial intelligence to understand, process, and analyze human speech.

Supervisor - The individual responsible for leading, monitoring, and training a team of contact center agents.

Switch - A device within a telephone exchange that connects calls from recipient to destination, and controls voice and data traffic across the exchange.

System Administrator - An IT role overseeing installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of software or hardware across a network.

T

T1 - A T1 line is a point-to-point, high capacity phone/data communications transmission service that connects a business customer with a telecom or internet service provider. T1 is quickly being replaced by more modern DSL and cable connections.

Talk Time - The amount of time a contact spent interacting with an agent between the initial greeting and conclusion of a conversation. It includes anything that happens during a call, including hold time and conference time. It can also include inbound time and outbound time.

Task Buttons - A graphical user interface (GUI) element that allows users to issue commands.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) - TCP establishes network data exchange standards across programs and works with IP, which defines how computers transmit data packets.

Text and Speech Analytics - Technical tools that leverage artificial intelligence, such as natural language processing, to understand human speech and use that ability to identify patterns, like high occurrences of keywords and phrases.

Touchpoint - In relation to customer experience, this term refers to any instance when a business makes an impression on a customer or prospect.

Travel Customer Experience - The sum of interactions, touchpoints, and emotions that travelers go through when engaging with various aspects of a travel journey. This encompasses everything from researching and booking travel arrangements to actual travel experiences, such as flights, accommodations, activities, and interactions with travel service providers. Travel customer experience management aims to provide a seamless and enjoyable journey for travelers, fostering positive perceptions and encouraging loyalty.

Trunk - Also called a telephone line, exchange line or circuit, this term refers to a link between two phone switching systems.

TTS (Text-to-Speech) - A voice processing system that converts text to spoken words using speech synthesis.

U

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) - A cloud-based solution that consolidates all of a business's communication needs into one solution and is hosted by a single vendor in the cloud.

Upsell - When a sales rep suggests that a customer would benefit from purchasing a comparable, but more expensive, version of the product currently being considered. See also: Cross-sell.

Utterance - A single spoken or written expression used when interacting with a conversational AI system. It can be any voice or text communication.

V

Virtual Agent - Also known as a virtual assistant, this refers to a computer program or digital avatar, often AI-driven, designed to interact with users through self-service channels and assist them in performing certain tasks or obtaining information. They simulate human conversation through text or speech interfaces.

Virtual Call Center - A single, virtual call center operation made up of multiple, geographically dispersed agents working in smaller remote facilities or directly from home.

Virtual Contact Center - A single, virtual contact center operation made up of multiple, geographically dispersed agents working in smaller remote facilities or directly from home.

Virtual Currency - Virtual coins or digital tokens specific to a gamification strategy. They are used to reward players and create an in-game economy.

Virtual Marketplace - An important element of gamification, it enables employees to redeem earned prizes and rewards that an organization chooses to make available to them.

Voice Authentication - A biometric verification of a user's voice, granting the individual authorization or access rights to a system or application.

Voice of the Customer (VOC) - A process of collection, analysis and action on customer feedback across the comprehensive customer journey, using a holistic VOC application for improving customer satisfaction, driving efficiencies, and increasing agent engagement.

Voice Platform - A platform that facilitates the development of voice applications and their integration with telephony systems used by call centers and contact centers.

Voice Response Unit - A predecessor to the more commonly known IVR, this term describes the automated telephone answering system that allows a caller to navigate through a series of prerecorded messages and menu options using buttons on a touch-tone phone.

Voice User Interface - An interface allowing users to interact with a voice application through spoken commands and phrases. It is part of the foundation on which today’s sophisticated, AI-enabled voice and speech recognition technology is built.

Voiceprint - The unique biometric identifiers of a human voice indicated on a sound spectrogram, forming the basis for voice authentication technology.

W

Wallboards - A visual overview of real-time employee, team or contact center performance. This display tool creates accountability for the employees and a quick summary of the status of the contact center.

Workflow - The series of steps and stages leading to the completion of a product or task. It may involve multiple people and systems, and is often represented visually by a flowchart.

Workflow Management (WFM) - The process of managing the series of steps and stages in a task, often involving multiple people, departments, specifications, internal and external systems, and approaches. WFM tools enable and track efficient and consistent execution of business processes and automated tasks.

Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) - An approach to workforce management intended to increase employee engagement across activities throughout the employment life cycle, such as hiring, onboarding, training, scheduling, professional development, motivational initiatives, and more.

Workforce Management (WFM) - The management, monitoring, and training of contact center employees. This includes scheduling, forecasting, and workforce optimization.

Workforce Planning - The process of forecasting staffing needs based on anticipated volume or other business drivers, then ensuring everything is in place to hire, train, schedule, and manage the required team. See Contact Center Workforce Management (WFM).

Workload Management - Real-time monitoring, reporting, and distribution of contact center workload resulting from inbound and outbound communication volume.