A bite-sized breakdown of typical contact center terminology
When you're working in a fast-paced contact center environment where time is precious, it makes sense to use a set of special words that are going to help speed up communication and keep productivity levels running high - but what are they?
After all, it's all very well having a set of acronyms at hand to maximize efficiency, but if nobody knows the meaning of these words, then they're going to cause much more harm than good.
We've compiled a list of some acronyms commonly used within the contact center to help you out.
ACD - Automatical Call Distributor
Contact centers use an automatic call distributor (ACD) to automatically route calls to specific agents based on customer data, an agent's skillset, times of day or IVR selection, to ensure the right person always answers the call.
ACW - After Call Work
After a call is completed, there are tasks that the agent needs to go through, like saving notes and dispositioning the call. These tasks are known as after call work (ACW).
AHT - Average Handle Time
Average handling time (AHT) describes the average period of time in which an agent takes to handle or resolve a customer's call. It's used for monitoring agent performance and ensuring that customer issues are resolved within the expected duration - no longer, no less,
ANI - Automatic Number Identification
Automatic Number Identification (ANI) lets agents see the incoming call number as basic caller ID. ANI can also route callers by location and match them to existing contacts.
API - Application Programming Interface
An application programming interface (API) is a software "go-between" that acts like a behind the scenes guide to make it easier to connect two applications.
ASR - Automatic Speech Recognition
With automatic speech recognition (ASR), contact centers can quickly route customer calls to the right agent without human intervention by using computers to analyze the customer's speech. This way, agents are no longer required to operate the front-end switchboard and calls are routed faster at less cost.
BC/DR - Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery
Whenever disaster strikes, the contact center will have a business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan in place to minimize damage and disruption to productivity.
BPO - Business Process Outsourcing
Business process outsourcing (BPO) is a term used to describe when a contact center outsources operations or responsibilities to third party service providers, typically cloud service providers.
CRM - Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a fundamental component of any contact center and is used to manage the relationship and interactions between existing and potential customers in order to improve business relationships.
CSAT - Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a measure of how happy a customer is with a product, service or interaction with a company. It can be determined with a simple survey.
CTI - Computer Telephony Integration
Computer telephony integration (CTI) is a type of software used by contact centers to connect their CRM to their telephone system to increase agent productivity, enhance collaboration, aid efficiency and help businesses deliver a higher quality of service to their customers.
DID - Direct Inward Dialing
Direct inward dialing (DID) is a feature that enables contact centers to assign a personal number to each employee without requiring a separate telephone line. This way, it's much easier to separate and efficiently manage telephony traffic. Some countries use the term direct dial-in (DDI) instead.
DMS - Document Management System
For contact centers that receive a large number of incoming emails, a document management system (DMS) opens and scans each message, and then sorts them for electronic distribution. This way, a task that would take a considerable amount of time if it was done manually can be completed in minutes.
DNIS - Dialed Number Identification Service
Where ANI identifies the incoming call number, dialed number identification service (DNIS) does the opposite - it tells you which number was called. This is helpful for call centers that have multiple numbers that ring the same lines, like different service numbers for each product their company sells.
EWT - Expected Wait Time
When placed on hold a customer will be given an expected wait time (EWT) to let them know how long it will be before an agent is available to take their call.
FCR - First Call Resolution
First call resolution (FCR) is a metric used in contact centers to monitor the quality of service customers receive from agents by measuring how many times their issue was resolved in the first point of contact with the business.
IVR - Interactive Voice Response
Much like voice recognition, contact centers use an interactive voice response (IVR) system to route customers through to the necessary agent or department by asking them to choose from a menu of options or enter information, using their phone keypad.
NPS - Net Promoter Score
The net promoter score (NPS) is a loyalty measurement of how likely a customer is to recommend your company, product or service to a friend. Using a single survey question with a 1-10 scale, customers are grouped into a category: promoter, passive, or detractor. The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
QM - Quality Monitoring
In order to ensure that contact centers are continuously providing the best possible experience for their customers, quality monitoring (QM) is carried out in various forms to monitor agent performance.
SBR - Skill-Based Routing
Skill-based routing (SBR) is an intelligent call routing system that will automatically direct customers with a specific problem to agents with the skills needed to resolve that issue in the fastest possible time, without having to escalate the call any further.
TAPI - Telephony Application Programming Interface
A telephony application programming interface (TAPI) is an API that enables computer telephony integration. It puts call controls in the hands of an application so it can interact with a phone system.
TSAPI - Telephony Server Application Programming Interface
Similar to TAPI, a telephony service application programming interface (TSAPI) is also an API that makes it easier for CTI solutions to integrate telephony and computer systems, except it is server-based.
WFO - Work Force Optimization
Time is money in contact centers and work force optimization (WFO) is a strategy used to ensure that productivity levels remain high and no precious seconds are wasted. Examples of WFO include automating processes, data visibility, compliance on legislation and resolving business problems related to staff.
About John Woods
John Woods is an experienced copywriter, communications enthusiast, blogger, SEO master and all-round tech nerd that specializes within the fields of computer telephony integration (CTI), cloud computing, unified communications and artificial intelligence (AI). He has written for some of the UK’s most reputable business comms publications including UC Today, the world’s leading unified communications & collaboration publication, and Denwa Communications (now Solar Communications), a leading managed service cloud provider and Mitel Gold Solutions Partner. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Leeds Metropolitan University. His work has been published on No Jitter and Customer Contact Central, and he has won recent writing awards from the 2018 Customer Contact Central MVP Awards – 2nd place winner in the call monitoring category and honorable mention in the multichannel and omnichannel category. In his spare time, John enjoys travelling around Central and South America.