Contact Center Acronyms  call center definitions

1. The acronym is first - followed by what it stands for. 

2. [In these brackets] Is the department or area that you will likely come across the acronym. 

3. The bullet points add a little more detail to help with your understanding.

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# - Hashtag [General Business] [Operations]

  • Commonly used in social media applications like Twitter and Instagram when customer talk about their dealings with Companies whom they do business with.
  • They “#” allow commonly used words to be grouped together and to take on a special meaning, thought or thread.
  • A person can mention the great service she received from a company and create a theme by creating a “hashtag” around the event.
  • Example: I received great service from my local XYZ company Agent today. Thanks much.
  • With a hashtag:  Wonderful Agent at XYZ Company #greatservice.

ABS - Absent | Absence | Absenteeism [Operations]

  • This is the amount of time that an agent or group of agents are away from their scheduled shift.   
  • The time is expressed in hours or a percentage of the total time scheduled in a given day/week/month.
  • “ABS last month was up by 3% to a total of 7%.  This was primarily caused by a number of Agents who had the flu.”

ACD - Automatic Call Distribution [Telecom]

  • A device, connected to or a part of your Telecommunication environment that evenly distributes incoming calls to your group of call center agents.
  • ACD’s can handle many different que’s and agent groups.
  • See this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfJ1XscLEYs

ACW - After Call Work [Operations]

  • Also known as “wrap-up” or “wrap” time.
  • This is time that an Agent will use to complete notes or fill in data about the call they were just on.
  • It is time, usually measured in seconds.
  • It is also time that is part of AHT, as it is considered part of the total call time.
  • ACW has also been known to be a time where agents will seek some rest before they take their next call.

AHA - At Home Agent [Operations]

  • This would be a call center agent who works from their own home.
  • Telecommunications services such as a VPN would hook up an Agent to the main office. This would allow them to receive and place calls while staying connected to their Team Leader or Supervisor.

AHT - Average Handle Time [Operations]

  • Expressed in seconds or minutes, this number is an average of all the calls taken by an Agent or group of Agents over a period of time (day, week or month).
  • “Our AHT was up 18 seconds this week compared to last week.  Anyone have an idea what caused that?”

AHT - Average Hold Time [Operations]

  • Expressed in seconds or minutes, this number is an average of all the time that an Agent has placed the customer on hold.
  • An Agent may put a customer on hold 1, 2 or more times during a single call. Each of these hold times are added together to get the total hold time for the call.
  • The total of all the hold times are then divided by the number of calls that the Agents or group of Agents took in a given a period of time (day, week or month).
  • In many circumstances, hold time is an indication of bad processes, bad procedures or poor Agent training.  
  • Customers usually prefer minimal hold times.

ANI - Automatic Number Identification [Telecom]

  • A feature of the telecommunications network that allows the electronic sharing of the callers telephone number with machines or various types of displays.

AS - Automated Survey [IT]

  • Some technologies allow for the automatic generation of a customer survey.  Think the purchase of a product online, an overnight stay in a hotel or a visit to your bank branch.
  • At times, it is important for Call Center Agents to know what events trigger a survey, as customers may inquire why they received such a survey.

ASA - Average Speed of Answer [Operations]

  • The average amount of time (in seconds, we hope) that a customer waits for her call to be answered by an Agent.
  • Add up all the wait time and divide that by the number of calls answered in a given time period (hour, day, week, month, quarter).
  • Best to separate out different queues or lines of business to get a truer sense of the wait time.
  • If the customer has to select options on an IVR, always measure the wait time after their last selection.

ASP - Application Service Provider

ATAAverage Time to Abandon [Operations]

  • Let’s say you run a Contact Center that customers call to get a competitive service or product from. Think overnight courier or pizza chain.
  • And like all Contact Centers, it gets busy at times and customers might not want to wait on the line too long before they hang up and call your competitor. Knowing how long customers will wait before calling your competition can be very important to your revenue.
  • ATA stats can be retrieved from the PBX or ACD.
  • Remember one day does not make a trend.  Study the numbers for different patterns. The day of week and time of day will have an impact.  Continuously review the numbers over many months and seasons as customer habits will change.  

ATB - All Trunks Busy [Telecom]

  • A small call center may only support 50 telephone lines coming into their call center. If 50 or more customers are on the line or calling in, the 51st person will receive a busy signal. When this occurs all the available telephone lines (also known as ‘trunks’) coming into the call center will be busy and you will have an ATB situation on your hands.
  • Depending on the type business you run, say a sales program. Having any ATB time could mean lost business.   Monitor this metric to ensure you are best serving your customers.

ATR - Attrition [Operations]

  • This is the number of Agents who have left the business in the last week or month.
  • Usually expressed as a percentage.   
  • “6 Agents have left the company of the 125 we started with this month.  Our ATR is 4.8% for the month.”

ATT - Average Talk Time [Operations]

  • Measured mostly in minutes, this metric will tell an organization how long, on average, Agents talk to customers.
  • This is a good metric to monitor especially if you change processes or procedures. If your talk time goes us all of a sudden you may need to investigate cause as longer ATT is more costly to your organization and it may impact the service to your customers.

AWT - After Work Time [Operations]

  • This is the time, usually measured in seconds that an Agent will use to add notes to a customer's file, open a ticket, complete a required process. Basically something that needs to be done at the end of each call.
  • If can be misused.  Agents may use AWT to give themselves a bit of extra before they start their next call.  This will happen more often in busy Contact Centers where there are calls always on hold.

B to B - Business to Business [General Business]

  • Usually refers to the type of calls that are transacted within the Contact Center.
  • A business calls another business about a product or service.
  • Example: Insurance company is calling their telecommunications supplier about a data circuit this is out.

B to C - Business to Consumer [General Business]

  • Usually refers to the type of calls that are transacted within the Contact Center.
  • A consumer will call a business that supplies him/her with a product or service.
  • Example: A Father calls his mobile company to inquire about updating his accounts data allowance, now that his 16 year old daughter has a new mobile phone.

CBT - Computer Based Training [Training]

  • Pretty much as it says.  It is a method of training your Agents by using computer programs instead of instructor lead training.
  • This can be an efficient way to train certain aspects of an Agent’s job, but not the entire job.
  • At the end of the day, your Agents will be talking to humans, so make sure they have some human based training and interaction skills required to best serve your customers.

CCR - Customer Controlled Routing [Telecom]

  • It is the routing of a telephone call based on a customer's selection of the service or information they want to receive.
  • Example: Customer calls their mobile phone provider. The customer may have to choose the language they want to communicate in (English, Spanish, French), the department they wish to connect to (billing, tech support, sales, service) and identify the type of customer they are (business or private).  
  • The choices the customer makes defines how the call is routed through the Telephone system to the IVR and finally into the ACD queue where it will wait for an agent to answer. 

CCS - Centum Call Seconds [Telecom] [Workforce Management]

  • If you work outside of the Telecom or Work Force Management team, I doubt you will ever here this acronym or really care what it stands from, but know that it is an important part of the Contact Center business because it helps the Telecom folks engineer the correct number of telephone lines to support the Call Center telephone traffic.
  • Here is a good link for CCS:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call-second
  • Erlang is related to CCS. Follow this link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlang_(unit)  

CDR - Call Detail Recording [Telecom]

  • Telephone systems such as PBX’s and some ACD’s have the ability to capture all the data associated with telephone calls that come in or go out of the system.  
  • This feature captures all aspects of the call. Digits dialed, duration, hold time, start time, end time to name a few elements.
  • CDR data can be used for analysis in the Contact Centers operation or used for data reporting.

CED - Customer Entered Digits [Telecom]

CHAT - Chat [IT]

  • A type of service in Contact Center’s.  
  • Companies use a web based system to allow customers to have a one on one text based message exchange with an Agent.  This is called a Chat program.

CIS - Customer Information System

  • Typically an application where the main feature is a database that holds information about all the customers of the company.
  • CIS and CRM may be used interchangeably.
  • From a Contact Center prospective, the CIS is the place that you can get all of your customer's information.

CLID - Calling Line Identification [Telecom]

  • This is a telecommunication feature that permits the telephone number of the customer calling to be displayed on a telephone or a computer screen of the Agent receiving the call.
  • CRM systems use CLID to automatically present the customer’s account information to an Agent once the call connects.  This save time on the Agent's part by not having to ask the customer their account information then type it into their CRM system to retrieve it. All of that takes time and it is open to data entry errors on the Agent’s part.  

CO - Central Office [Telecom]

  • In true definition of the CO, it is the telephone office that services a specific group of 10,000 telephone lines.  My telephone number is 416.566.0911.  The CO that services my telephone is the “566” CO. So my CO serves telephone numbers between 416.566.0000 and 416.566.9999.
  • CO has become a bit of a generic term in that “CO” is now referred to the place where your telephone lines come from.  You might hear this in the Contact Center from time to time. “It looks like the CO is down, that is why we are not getting calls.” or “How many lines do we have going to the CO?”

COPC - Customer Operations Performance Centre (inc.) [General Business]

  • Is a for profit organization that helps companies, who run contact centers, put in best practices to ensure cost efficient operations.
  • They provide Call Center Consulting and Training services.
  • Here is a link to their web site: http://www.copc.com

CPC - Cost per Call [Finance] [Operations]

  • CPC is calculated by taking the cost to run a call center queue or line of business and dividing that cost by the number of calls and/or E-mail/Chat handled in a particular time period such as a day or week or month.
  • It is very important to define what makes up the cost portion of the equation. Some may include only Agent cost. Others may include Agents, Team Leaders, Supervisors, facilities, IT equipment, etc. Make sure you know what costs are involved and be consistent in measuring the same costs when you quote your CPC.

CPH - Calls per Hour (Version 1) [Operations]

  • This is the average number of calls that an Agent will handle in a given 60-minute period.
  • You can average many agents in the same hour.  Example:  24 Agents handled a total of 255 calls in the last hour.  Therefore, their CPH is 10.6 (255/24).
  • Or you can average 1 Agent over a week.  Example:  Sally handled 512 calls last week. Sally worked 40 hours last week.  So Sally’s CPH is 12.8 (512/40) for the week.

CPH - Contacts per Hour (Version 2) [Operations]

  • This is the average number of contacts that an e-care (e-mail or chat) Agent will handle in a given 60 minute period.
  • You can average many agents in the same hour.  Example:  24 Agents handled a total of 255 contacts in the last hour.  Therefore their CPH is 10.6 (255/24).
  • Or you can average 1 Agent over a week.  Example:  Sally handled  653 chats last week. Sally worked 40 hours last week.  So Sally’s CPH is 16.3 (653/40) for the week.

CPH - Cost per Hour (Version 3) [Operations]

  • If you jumped into a taxi and told the driver to take you across town, it would be clear by the meter how much it would cost you to be in that taxi as you reached your destination.
  • Stand in the middle of your contact center at the busiest time of the day and look around at all the costs.  See the Agents, the lights, the computers, the telephone service, the cleaning staff, the Trainers, the Supervisors, etc, etc. Add all of that up and the stuff you can’t see (hint, the cost of rent) and you can get an idea of your Cost per Hour.
  • CPH = What is the total cost to run your contact center for one hour.  For a number of different business reasons, you may not want to add in everything, but always declare what costs you have included and excluded.  

CPM - Cost per Minute [Finance] [Operations]

  • CPM is calculated by taking the costs of running a call center queue or line of business and dividing that cost by the total number of minutes that were logged or billed by all the Agents who were logged in to the queue.
  • The minutes that you divide the costs by are those that the agents logged while in the queue.  Think of this as the time in minutes that you paid from them to be on the phone and/or in on the e-care (e-mail or chat) queues.  
  • It is very important to define what makes up the cost portion of the equation. Some may include only Agent cost. Others may include Agents, Team Leaders, Supervisors, facilities, IT equipment, etc. Make sure you know what costs are involved and be consistent in measuring the same costs when you quote CPM.

CPE - Customer Premises Equipment [Telecom]

CRM - Customer Relationship Management

  • This is a broad term that is often applied to many different processes and systems that support the management of the company's relationship with its customers.
  • CRM systems are computer applications that help to manage, organize and present customer data. Agents use these systems when they talk or interact with those customers.

CSAT - Customer Satisfaction [Operations] [Quality]

  • From coffee shops to airports, organizations what to know how satisfied their customers are to ensure continued patronage of their businesses.  
  • Companies create processes or surveys (paper or electronic) that will help them determine customer’s satisfaction with their product or service.
  • The results from the surveys are collected into a report. The data is analyzed and presented to all key stakeholders within the company. They will monitor, change or improve the activities or products that are generating less than desired CSAT scores.

CSR - Customer Sales / Service Representative [Operations]

  • Another name for a Contact Center Agent

CTI - Computer Telephony Integration [IT]

DN - Dialed Number [Telecom]

DNC - Do Not Call [Operations]

  • In North America, the public complained about the abuse, disruption and general annoyance that telemarketing companies created for them. As a result of these complaints, a do not call database was established in the United States and Canada.
  • Many regulations and processes were established to ensure customers who did not want to be called were appropriately placed on the DNC list. Telemarketers had to incorporate processes into their operations to ensure that they followed the DNC rules & regulations.
  • Fines and penalties are now in place should companies and telemarketers violate the DNC rules.  
  • Unfortunately, many foreign (to North America) telemarketers ignore the Do Not Call list by dialing from countries such as Pakistan, knowing that regulators in North America are unlikely to impact their operation.

DNIS - Dialed Number Identification Service [Telecom]

DRP - Disaster Recovery Plan / Program [General Business]

  • Your Contact Center may need to close because of weather, civil evacuation, fire, public unrest, prolonged utility failure, local health reasons, etc.
  • Whatever the cause, it is good to have a plan on what you would do should you be faced with the inability to continue business in your current location. Test that plan once a year.
  • Your plans details should be equivalent to the importance of your Contact Center to the company and your customers.

DSAT - Dissatisfaction [Operations] [Quality]

DTMF - Dual Tone Multifrequency [Telecom]

  • In the, dare we say, olden days when touch tone phones were in place, the telephone system recognized the button or number you were pushing by the two tones that were emitted as key was pressed.
  • Each number from 1 - 0 had a unique dual tone.  
  • In our ever increasing computerized world, DTMF will be phased out. But you will still hear a tone when you dial on your mobile phone, but the tone you will hear is not true DTMF. That tone is only to confirm to you that you pressed a button.   

Ecare - Electronic Care [Operations]

  • This usually refers to the team of Agents who manage all of the electronic communications with customers.  
  • The Ecare team will manage the Chat, Email and Social Media interactions.

E-mail - Electronic Mail [IT]

  • The one application that killed the fax machines.

ERMS - Email Response Management System [Operations]

FCR - First Call Resolution [Operations]

  • This is the act of resolving a customer's inquiry in 1 contact.
  • Contact Centers know that a large number of calls, emails or chats they have with customers do not get resolved on the very first interaction. There are many reasons for this, such as the Agent training was not adequate, the Customer didn’t like the answer they got or the information was not available at the time. There can be many other reasons.  
  • Due to the cost to service repeated requests and the impact on customer satisfaction, Contact Centers implement an FCR measure to track how well they do against this metric.
  • Here is a way to measure FCR:
    • Total number of customers who only contacted you once in 7 Days DIVIDED BY Total Number of Calls Answered in the same 7 Day period.  (expressed as a %)
  • There is no standard timeframe that works for all Contact Centers.  Best bet is to sample all available customer data to see when they do call you back and use that as your benchmark.  
  • Here is video for more information on FCR.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQYVGDkP-8Y     

FTE - Full Time Equivalent [Operations]

  • This refers to a Contact Centers staff and the hours that they work in a week.
  • The term FTE originated from the WFM teams. When they did their calculations on the workforce needed to handle all of the forecasted contacts, they would come back to the business with a FTE or a “heads” number.  The Operations team would then decide on whether or not they would put in Full time staff (FTE’s) or Part time staff to satisfy the workforce requirements.

FX - Foreign Exchange [Telecom]

GHE - Go Home Early [Operations]

  • When a Contact Center wants to reduce staffing hours and costs, usually due too lower than expected call volumes, the Management will offer GHE.
  • This will allow Agents the opportunity to end their shift and yes, Go Home Early.
  • This is typically done on a volunteer basis as Agents will give up their scheduled work hours and their pay to leave early.

GOS - Grade of Service [Telecom]

IDP - Inter-Day Plan [Workforce Management] [Operations]

  • If your Contact Center is large enough to have a Workforce Management team, then it is possible that they will produce a daily plan (sometimes called an IDP) to schedule the staff.
  • This IDP will take into account near real time change or factors such as weather, higher ABS, unexpected training, town hall meetings and other types of events that will impact the service level to your customers. Thus an IDP will require staff to work different or longer hours to cover the impact on the center.     
  • So when such an event is forecasted, the WFM team will produce a daily IDP to account for the expected changes.

IM - Instant Message [Operations]

  • This term will be most mentioned in the Chat department of the Contact Center. IM’s are considered short text messages from a number of different social media or computer based applications. These applications allow a customer to communicate with the Contact Center or the business in question.
  • Skype™, Twitter™, Hangouts™, iMessage™ are examples of IM applications.      

IP - Internet Protocol [Telecom]


IP - Intellectual Property [Knowledge]  

  • Intellectual property (IP) is a term for any intangible asset -- something proprietary that doesn't exist as a physical thing but has value to your company, business or team.
  • Examples of IP include designs, concepts, software, inventions, trade secrets, formulas and brand names.
  • People are now using the term loosely in regards to a person's intelligence and value to the organization.  You might hear “we can’t afford to lose David; he has a lot of IP about this business”.

ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network [Telecom]

IT - Information Technology [IT]

  • All things computer related. Hardware, Software, Terminals, devices.  The department that looks after these issues.
  • The “IT department”.  “Did you call IT when the systems went down?”. He is in the IT department.

IVR - Interactive Voice Response [Telecom]

  • An IVR can be that message prompt or series of questions that you hear when you call about an issue with your mobile phone. Example: “press 1 for service, press 2 for support…” When you press 2, the IVR routes your call to the support queue for answering.
  • An IVR can also be more elaborate and use natural language prompts and questions to get you the information you seek. Example: “Thank for calling Global airlines, our Automated response system is here to help you. Please state your question…” to which you would ask about changing a flight that you had booked. The system would then attempt to complete your request.
  • This video should assist you in understanding more about IVR’s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJjWLxY1tK8

IXC - Interexchange Carrier [Telecom]

KMS - Knowledge Management System [Training]

KPI - Key Performance Indicator(s) [Operations]

  • Every contact center ever built has a key purpose, it’s reason for existing. One might handle auto insurance claims, another handles shopping catalogue orders, another to take pizza orders.
  • In each case the contact center has important objectives to complete which are often called KPI’s.
  • The pizza contact center, wants to 1. answer calls quickly, wants to 2. ensure the order is correct and probably wants 3. the agents to sell extra drinks, or larger size and additional toppings.
  • So the Contact Center’s management team sets up KPI’s to track the centers progress towards these stated goals. 1. Service Level to track how fast calls are being answered, 2. customer complaints per 1000 calls answered and finally 3. upsell revenue by the agents.
  • Every contact center has or should have some form of KPI’s     

LAN - Local Area Network [IT]

LEC - Local Exchange Carrier [Telecom]

LMS - Learning Management System [Training]

  • An LMS system is a computer based software application that administers, tracks, documents and reports on students who take online or electronic training and courses.
  • These types of systems are great when you need all your agents to take an annual compliance course. Unfortunately, some companies think Agents can do all of their training online and never interact with a live trainer.  Not sure that is the right way to train Agents who will be dealing with complex issues while handling challenging customers.
  • Can be a great tool to track and encourage the learning progress of your Agents.

MAC - Moves, Adds and Changes [Telecom]

  • Refers to the work associated with moving, adding or changing the Telephone sets in the Contact Center or the business in general.
  • As employees move to different departments or get different responsibilities, their telephones sets and related features also change.  
  • The processes and work related to all of the above is called MAC or MAC’s

M/P - Manned over Paid [Operations] [Finance]

  • This is an important calculation if you care about or are concerned about the cost and effectiveness of your Contact Center.
  • In a perfect Contact Center world, Agents would be paid for only the time that they are handling customer issues.  But that is seldom the case, so this metric helps you understand how close, or far away you are from that perfect world.
  • A typical Agent may get 8 hours of pay for one day of work. That is the PAID time in the equation.
  • But how many of the 8 hours were spent handling or waiting for customer calls, Email or Chats?  MANNED time is the 8 hours minus time spent on breaks, in coaching sessions, attending meetings, time in training, time lost due to system issues or break abuse and other similar factors.
  • Your M/P should be about 85% (6.8 hours working / 8.0 hours paid)

MSA - Master Service Agreement [Operations] [Finance]

MTD - Month to Date [Operations] [Reporting]

  • You will see this acronym mostly in reports about one metric or another, such as absence, handle time or attrition.
  • Contact Centers like to compare performance on a monthly basis.  
  • Remember, MTD metrics are more volatile in the early part of the month as there is less data to compare. A MTD metric becomes more reliable as you pass the middle of the month and a metric starts to establish itself.

NCC - Network Control or Command Center [Telecom] [IT]

NNX - Network Number Exchange [Telecom]

NPA - Numbering Plan Area [Telecom]

OATS - Owner's Actions and Timelines [General Business]

OCC - Occupancy [Operations]

  • This is the percent of time that an Agent is engaged with a Customer on a call or handling an E-mail or Chat against the total time measured, such as an hour.
  • Think of it this way. Take an Agent’s working hour (60 minutes) and minus out the minutes they were idle or waiting for the next call or contact.   Let’s say they we idle for 12 minutes and working for 48 minutes in the hour. In that case their Occupancy is 80% (48/60).
  • OCC is very important to a Contact Center.  Please watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ7irRWL0is

OT - Overtime [Operations] [Finance]

  • The extra time that an Agent or employee works over their scheduled shift time.

PABX - Private Automatic Branch Exchange [Telecom]

  • See PBX

PBXPrivate Branch Exchange [Telecom]

  • This is a telephone system that a company will purchase to connect their staff to other staff in the organization and also to connect them to the outside world via telecommunication lines.
  • PBX’s have many features such as voice mail, basic IVR’s and telephone options such as redial, hold, conference calls, etc.   
  • Some PBX’s can be equipped with an ACD, but it is usually a separate piece of equipment.  PBX’s can be connected to ACD’s to ease communication between the Contact Center and the company’s other employees.

PD - Predictive Dialer [Telecom]

P4P - Pay for Performance [Operations] [Finance]

  • A Contact Center can use an incentive plan to drive better performance from their agents.
  • For example, if an Agent’s quality score exceeds 95% of the desired criteria and their AHT is below 600 seconds, he or she may get a monetary reward at the end of the month.
  • This would be called a P4P plan.

PRI - Primary Rate Interface [Telecom]

PSTN - Public Switched Telephone Network [Telecom]

PUC - Public Utility Commission [Utilities] [Telecom]

QBR - Quarterly Business Review [General Business]

  • A QBR is an opportunity for the Contact Center leadership team to review its performance over the last quarter, talk about challenges that occurred and the opportunities that exist.   
  • QBR’s also take time to discuss what will happen in the next quarter and to lay out plans to improve the operation.
  • QBR’s should review KPI’s, discuss training and quality initiatives and any people or performance matters that can impact the Contact Center.
  • QBR’s should be aligned around a company's fiscal year. If the fiscal year starts in January, then the 1st QBR should take place sometime in the first half of April or whenever the quarterly results are available.

QUE -  Queue [Telecom] [Operations]

RAN - Recorded Announcement [Telecom]

RFI - Request for Information [General Business]

  • When a company is interested in Contact Center products or services, it will issue an RFI to companies and individuals whom they think can provide such products or services.
  • Companies that seek Contact Center services from 3rd party outsourcers will issue an RFI that will have questions on physical location(s), experience of personnel, training methods, quality assurance guidelines, hiring profiles,  performance history, market experience, recruiting timelines and other important matters.
  • The RFI will refrain from asking for pricing or capacity information as this is typically the first stage the information-gathering process.
  • RFI’s can be as simple as one page with a few questions or they could be a very elaborate document hundreds of pages in length. It all depends on what the company is looking for.
  • Supplies or responders are usually given 2 weeks to a month to respond to an RFI.

RFP - Request for Proposal [General Business]

  • Consider the RFI (see above) as the first step in purchasing contact center products or services. The RFP is the second step and potentially the last step.
  • Some companies who responded to the original RFI will have been eliminated from the RFP process due to the fact that they may not offer a particular type of product or scale of service the purchasing company was looking for.
  • Once the purchasing company has decided on what product and services it is looking for, it will go back to a smaller selection of companies to ask them to quote on the particular product or service they want. In this RFP phase, the company will have very specific requests associated with what it wants to purchase.
  • RFP responses will typically contain pricing information, outline people who will be assigned to the effort, locations where the work would be performed and timelines to start the project.  
  • Depending on the complexity of the request, RFP responders will typically have between 3 weeks & 2 months to complete their response.

RFQ - Request for Quote [General Business]

RPC - Revenue per Call [Operations] [Finance]

RPH - Revenue per Hour [Finance] [Operations]

SA - Schedule Adherence [Operations]

  • This refers to an Agent’s ability to work as close to the actual shift start and stop times they were scheduled to work.
  • If an Agent is scheduled to start work at 8:00 am, take their first break at 10:30 am, come back to work at 10:45 am, go for lunch at 12:30 pm, come back from lunch at 1:00 pm, etc, etc, you want them to work as close to these times as they can.  It is important to the Work Force Management team to have accurate staffing in the Contact Center.
  • You can measure and report on the number of events missed or the time in minutes +/- from the event time. There are usually 8 events (start of shift, start of break, end of break, start of lunch, etc.) in a normal shift.  Determine what metric best fits your Contact Center needs.
  • Can also be called SC.  see “SC”

SC - Schedule Compliance [Operations]

  • This refers to an Agent’s ability to work the total shift time they are scheduled to work.
  • There are 3 things to consider. 1) Customers calls don’t always end on the specific time an Agent starts their break or ends their shift. 2) Agents need to take their scheduled  breaks throughout the day and 3) Agents don’t always work the hours they were scheduled to work. Sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less.
  • If an Agent’s working shift totals 7.5 hours for a day or 37.5 hours a week. You should measure and report on their compliance to work the hours expected.  If they work just 7 hours a day, then their compliance would be calculated as 7.0/7.5 and reported at 93.3% compliance.
  • Can also be called SA. see “SA”

SD - Standard Deviation [Reporting]

SOW - Statement of Work [IT] [Operations] [Quality] [Training]

  • This is an agreement between the business and a Contact Center that is doing work for the business.

SLA - Service Level Agreement [Operations]

SVL - Service Level [Operations]

  • SVL is usually defined as the length of time it takes a Contact Center to answer inbound calls/chats or emails.
  • SVL is usually expressed as a percentage of all the calls answered within a specified period of time. For example, 80% of the calls today were answered within 30 seconds. This means the Contact Centers SLA was 80%.
  • Service levels can be reported in various increments of time. Usually 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, a day, a week and a month.
  • It is important to study times of the day or periods of the week in which SVL is lower-than-expected to ensure adjustments to staffing take place.
  • Most companies want to provide a consistent level of service, regardless if their customers call on a Monday morning or a Saturday evening.

TAPI - Telephony Application Programming Interface [IT]

  • Simply put this is a software application that allows a computer or someone at a computer screen to control certain aspect of a telephone, such as hanging up a call, transferring, conference calling, etc.
  • It saves an Agent from physically touching the telephone handset (or even having one) on their desk when dealing with a customer's call.
  • The Agent can click a button on the screen to place the call on hold, while they look up information.  Or if the customer has called into the wrong group, say support when they needed sales, the Agent can again click a button on the screen to automatically transfer without error or delay.

TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol [IT] [Telecom]

Telecom - Telecommunications [Telecom]

TPV - Third Party Verification [Operations]

  • Many times when a Contact Center is making a sale of a product or service to a customer, a 3rd party, a supervisor type, in the Contact Center is required to verify the sale.
  • The 3rd party ensures that all of the processes and procedures were followed to complete the sale.

TSF - Telephone Service Factor [Operations]

TSR - Telephone Sales OR Service Representative [Operations]

  • Another name for Contact Center Agent.
  • Could also be called CSR - Customer Service Representative.

VoIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol [Telecom]

  • The PSTN (see above) was the only way that you could place or receive a telephone call in the past. But with the invention of the internet (and other digital networks) technologies were developed that allowed the human voice to be digitized and placed on public data networks, such as the internet.
  • Think of VoIP this way. Picture a flowing river.  That is the data network such as the internet. Now picture a bunch of yellow rubber ducks going down the river.  Each one of those ducks represents a digitized portion of your call heading towards the person you are talking to. That is VoIP in the simplest of ways.
  • Skype™ is probably the most well-known VoIP application in use today.  It uses VoIP technologies to connect two Skype users from nearly any two points in the world that have access to the internet.      
  • Contact Centers use this technology to consolidate costs and optimize their voice and data networks.

VQ - Virtual Queuing [Telecom] [Operations]

VR - Voice Recognition [IT] [Operations]

VRU - Voice Response Unit [Telecom]

WAH - Work at Home [Operations]

  • Usually refers to Contact Center Agents who work from their own homes as opposed to travel to a Contact Center to take calls or handle E-mail or Chat.

WAN - Wide Area Network [IT]

WFM - Workforce Management [Operations]

  • The process of WFM is to understand past trends and to interpret those trends so that the call center agents are scheduled in the most efficient way possible to handle all of your projected customer contacts. Trends include, call arrival patterns, volume by day of week, hour of day, AHT, ABS, call drivers and marketing initiatives to name just a few.     
  • The WFM team can comprise of a planner, a scheduler, a real time analyst and a reporting analyst. Depending on the size of your call center, these functions maybe handled by one person or by a dedicated staff of trained and experienced individuals.
  • WFM is both an art and a science.  The person who leads your WFM team should be engaged and knowledgeable about all aspects of your business in order to do his or her job effectively.     
  • A well run WFM team can have tremendous and positive impacts on budgets and customer service. 
  • A poorly run WFM team can have a tremendous and negative impact on both budgets and customer service. 

YOY - Year over Year [Finance]

  • You are going to see this acronym in some kind of report comparing the same number from different years.
  • Maybe your Contact Center has been working on improving its absenteeism rate. In 2015 the ABS rate was 12.5%.  In 2016 it was 10.7%. In that case, ABS has had a 16.8% decrease YOY.
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