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100 Must Know Call Center Terminologies

The call center industry is growing and expanding like anything in the past few years. This has increased the awareness about call centers and software used to run seamless operations in this industry. A call center solution is usually used to handle communication and various other operations to efficiently run a call center or customer care center business. This software is available as a GUI based solution, still, there are multiple jargons associated with this system and industry. In this article, we are going to explore the top 100 call center terminologies.

We are going to cover all majorly used terminologies associated with a call center software solution and this industry to give a glossary or complete vocabulary. It will serve as your ultimate call center dictionary.


1. Agent

Call center agent is a commonly used word and therefore, this glossary starts with it. He is a representative of the call center that communicates directly with customers or prospective customers. Most of the time he is on the call and having conversations and in the remaining time, he would be completing administration jobs, dispositions, training, etc.

2. Abandoned Call

When a customer disconnects the call before an agent actually answers the call and greets the client, it is called an abandoned call. In both inbound and outbound centers, customers abandoned the call for various reasons such as the unavailability of an agent, too long waiting time, network issues, connection errors, etc. In outbound centers, the calls are often abandoned while predictive dialing is used.

3. After Call Work

Once the call is completed, an agent needs to take care of certain jobs such as putting disposition in the disposition box, making some entries in the CRM system, etc. All these jobs are called After call work (ACW).

4. Auxiliary Time

When an agent has logged into the dialer, but it is not attending calls, it is called auxiliary time. This time is often invested in attending training, meetings, taking breaks, etc.

5. Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)

It is one of the most commonly used call center terminologies and automation features available in contact center software. It automatically distributes incoming calls to appropriate agents. A single system can have more than one automatic call distributor rule.

6. Auto Dialer

It automatically dials the phone number from the lead list. It automated outbound calling campaigns. A system can have multiple auto dialers.

7. Automated Callback

The system automatically calls back the customer as per the requested time by pushing the number to the call center dialer hopper. It does not need agents to remember the time and make a callback. The scheduling will be 100% automatic.

8. Average Call Handling Time

It is the metric used to evaluate the average time agents take in a call center to handle a call. This time includes the complete time spent handling a single call from the client. This includes the time since the agent picks up the call to complete after call work. This includes talk time, hold time, and disposition job.

9. Average Call Answer Rate

It shows the ratio of the total number of calls answered by agents compared to the total number of calls received by a call center.

10. Average Talk Time

An agent manages various jobs during his shift, but his main job is to have conversations with clients or prospective customers. Thus, average talk time KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is used to measure how much actual time is spent by an agent talking to clients. To find this time spent in the queue, after call work, hold time, etc. gets subtracted, and only talk time is measured.

11. Average Call Drop Ratio

Customers are likely to hang up calls even while having a discussion or while in a conversation with an agent. This is called call dropping. An average call drop ratio identifies average clients that dropped calls before having a conclusion of the call. This can happen due to various reasons like network or technical issues, too long call hold time, lack of skills in agents, high irritation level in clients, and more.

12. Average Call Value

It is one of the call center terminologies that help in assigning monetary values and identifying revenue generation or profit making. The total revenue generated by the call center gets divided into a total number of calls attended. This comes up with a single value for each call, which is referred to as a call per value or average call value.

13. Average Hold Time (AHT)

This KPI identifies the average time spent by customers on hold and waiting for an agent to respond to their questions. The time spent in the call queue is also counted in the hold time. Moreover, the time customers spend on hold while agents look for the resolution is also considered in this KPI. Too high call hold time can lead to high dissatisfaction among clients.

14. Average Speed of Answer (ASA)

It shows the average time agents take in answering a call. Once the call is assigned to an agent, the agent takes some time to utter the first word of greeting. This is the time an agent took to answer a call. This speed is referred to as the speed of the answer.

15. Auto Attendant

As the name suggests, it automatically attends all incoming calls. It can play a greeting prompt and even put music on hold or assign a call queue to the caller to keep him engaged and connect with the right agent.

16. Automated Call Sequencer

This is an advanced feature available in a contact center solution. This feature can identify the average time it would take to connect with an agent based on the current call queue. This will be played during the call hold time to give a hint of how long the call hold time will be for a customer. Some call center solutions also give the option to schedule a callback.

17. Automatic Number Identification (ANI)

It defines the number of callers in real time and shows it to the agent. In simple words, it shows the caller ID to the agent in real time. This information can be used for call mapping to the right call center location or agent.

18. Application Programming Interface (API)

It is one of the most technical call center terminologies. It creates a bridge between two different software solutions. It defines a set of procedures, functionalities, and tools that characterizes how different components work in a harmony. The APIs also get used to adding some features of another software solution into the call center system.

19. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

The ability of a machine to identify a word or phrase in a spoken language is called speech recognition. The whole process is automatic, which is why it is called automatic speech recognition. 


20. Business Continuity Plan

It is an important business document, which defines the major risks lurking in the business and can cause major or minor losses to the business. The business continuity plan also defines the best practices and standards that a call center must follow to continue running and growing without causing any negative impact on business.

21. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

When a company contracts a call center to process the operations to leverage outsourcing advantages, this is called business process outsourcing. A company that offers offshore business processing services is called a BPO.

22. Business Intelligence

This is one of the call center terminologies that have gone popular after the massive intervention of artificial intelligence in the call center industry. Business intelligence is a process of using data analytics tools to identify patterns in data to generate intelligent standards to run a business.

23. Blended calling campaigns

Usually, a call center either runs an inbound or outbound calling campaign. When it uses blended calling, the agent would receive both types of campaigns. This type of campaign is called a blended campaign. The agents that take blended calls are known as blended agents.

24. Base Staff

The staff that will be available during the working hours at minimum is called base staff for optimal operations. For example, if a call center has 100 agents and 80 are the base staff, then at any given time, there will be 80 agents operating in the call center. Even when some agents are absent, on break, or have not joined the shift, the base staff would be available and actively working.

25. Blended call center solution

A call center software solution that supports a blended calling mechanism along with or without inbound and outbound calling is called a blended call center solution.

26. Blocked Calls

When a call is blocked from reaching an agent, then it is called a blocked call. A call can get blocked for several reasons such as the trunk being filled, the queue limit being over, or other technical or system issues.

27. Busy Study

It is the number or detailed report sent by the carrier to the call center to show the percentage of calls that could not get connected for certain reasons such as the line or carrier being busy.


28. Call Routing

Routing a call means traversing a call to the right destination. In general, an inbound call gets routed. It can be routed to an extension, call queue, another IVR, voicemail, etc.

29. Callback

It is a process of calling back a customer that has requested to get connected at a certain point in time. The callback might be requested by the client during an outbound call to an agent. In this case, the agent would schedule a callback manually by adding details to the contact center software. Unlike that, it might be an automated callback scheduled by the dialer itself at the request of a customer waiting in the call queue.

30. Call Avoidance

When an agent intentionally avoids calls by putting off the IP Phone receiver or by using any other technology in the Softphone. This can hamper multiple KPIs as the customers cannot reach the agents.

31. Call Detail Reports (CDR)

This is a complete and basic report available in each call center dialer solution. It logs and represents details of each call in a tabular report format. This may include call start and end time, caller ID, type of call, customer details, call duration, and more. The CDR format may vary from one call center software provider to another.

32. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

It is another crucial system used in call centers. The main objective of using a CRM system is to manage more detailed information about customers to enhance lead nurturing campaigns. Many contact center solutions allow integration of a CRM system or offer an inbuilt mini CRM system to let agents use the customer information during live calls to provide personalized customer information.

33. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

It is the process of connecting your telecommunication system with a business or call center database and using the telecommunication system via a computer.

34. Call Management System (CMS)

It is a complete system to manage different types, inbound, outbound, and blended, calls and track the performance in real time and historically.

35. Calibration 

This is an evolutionary process to map the accuracy of customer satisfaction goals of customers with the performance of the agent and the quality of service delivered to customers.

36. Call Center Software

It is a complete platform with an array of features that empowers call centers to function accurately and meet different business goals.

37. Cloud Call Center Solution

A call center dialer solution hosted on any of the cloud platforms is known as a cloud call center solution. It empowers the concept of work from home agents and remote call centers.

38. Call Controls

A system gives access to an array of CTI features to agents during a live call, which is referred to as call controls. Some of the common call controls available to agents during a live call are call mute and un-mute, call hold and retrieve, call transfer, hang up, and more.

39. Call Recording

It is another feature available in the software for call centers. It lets call centers record calls for quality assurance and training purposes. It saves the call recording files in the system or on the cloud, which can be later downloaded or played within the system for quality check.

40. Call Queues

When agents are occupied on other calls and not available to take the call, then the system puts the customer in the waiting line. This waiting line is called a call queue.

41. Call Forwarding

The system allows call centers to make configurations to forward a call dialed on a particular number or extension to another number of extensions. This process is called call forwarding.

42. Call Transfer

When an agent transfers an ongoing call to another agent or supervisor, this process is called call transfer. Call center dialer software supports attended and blind call transfers. In the attended transfer, the recipient agent or supervisor is informed that the call is getting transferred to him or her. In the blind transfer, the agent simply transfers the call without informing the other party.

43. Customer Satisfaction Rate (CSAT)

This is a vital KPI that measures how many customers are happy with the delivered service and satisfied with the given solution. Usually, it is defined based on the ratings collected from customers after the completion of an ongoing call.


44. Dashboard

It is the first screen for supervisors and admin, which shows the value of major metrics. It displays different performance indicators of agents, systems, call centers, etc. Different call center solutions can have different values on the dashboard.

45. Disposition

It is the process followed in the after call work by an agent. The agent indicates the conclusion or status of the call in disposition.

46. Direct Inward Dialing (DID)

It is a direct dial in number that connects the caller directly to the intended recipient without staying in the queue or dialing an extension.

47. Do not Call (DNC) list

It is a system wide or campaign wide list of phone numbers that indicate the numbers that need to be skipped during auto dialing. The customers might have opted for the DNC list and should not be contacted for a specific interval or permanently. 


48. Escalation Plan

It is a documented plan that defines how to handle an escalated call. Usually, when a call cannot be handled by an agent and needs to be escalated to the supervisor or the customer explicitly demands to talk to the supervisor, it is called an escalated call. The escalation plan defines the guidelines for both agents and supervisors to handle escalated calls professionally.

49. Expected Wait Time (EWT)

It is an average wait time a customer needs to hold on to get connected with the agent. It is calculated with the formula of dividing the value of the multiplication of position in the call queue by the average call handle time with the value of the total number of active agents.


50. First Call Resolution (FCR)

When a customer receives the resolution to their query within the first call, it is called first call resolution. If you are using an omnichannel contact center software solution, it is also referred to as a first contact resolution as any mode of communication may get used.

51. First Response Time (FRT)

It is a performance indicator that indicates how long a call center agent takes to first respond once the customer puts his concern or query forward for resolution.


52. Grade of Service

This metric defines the possibility of getting a call blocked because of a technical issue in the circuit or because it is busy.


53. Handled calls 

It is an individual and overall performance indicator, which calculates how many calls out of received calls are handled by the agents.

54. Healthcare call center

A call center that exclusively processes business operations and handles campaigns in the healthcare industry is called a healthcare call center.

55. Helpdesk 

When a call center is set up to manage technical support requests of clients, it is a help desk. A help desk call center solution will have added features to support managing technical requests and tickets.

56. HIPAA Compliant 

When a system or call center follows the policies defined by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, it is called a HIPAA compliant system or call center. If you want to operate in the healthcare industry, it is a must to follow HIPAA compliance in order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of sensitive patient data.

57. Hit rate

The number of successful calls out of a total number of calls is called the hit rate of that agent or campaign.

58. Historic Reports

The tabular or graphical representation of major KPIs based on historic data is called historic reports. These reports are used for evaluation of performance in a specific time and to make the required business decisions.


59. Inbound call center

When a call center handles only incoming calls, it is referred to as an inbound call center.

60. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System

It is one of the most traditional call center terminologies as it is associated with the most conventional features of the software for call centers. IVR is a system that lets the caller interact with a menu of voice prompts and take the required action or get a resolution to the query without actually getting connected to an agent. It is a self serving feature.

61. Idle Time

The time when an agent sits idle waiting for the next call or task and doing nothing is called idle time.


62. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Each call center has some predefined performance metrics that get evaluated from time to time to measure the success and efficiency of operations and individuals. The major performance indicators monitored by a call center are referred to as key performance indicators.

63. Knowledge Base

A call center system includes a feature or module that provides instructions and guidelines to effectively manage customers and protocols, plus, efficiently using software, tools, etc. for agents and supervisors. It is called a knowledge base.


64. Level Zero Solvable

It signifies the number of calls that are resolved by the agent or a supervisor, but that could have been resolved by an IVR or an FAQ section on the website.

65. Lifetime Value

It indicates the revenue generated by a customer from the day he or she has become a paid customer till today.

66. Live Statistics

It shows the real time value of major performance indicators. The live statistics can show values related to the system, software, trunks, agents, campaigns, calls, etc. to let supervisors ensure everything is operating as per the predefined efficiency level.

67. Live Monitoring

A contact center system provides various features to let admin or supervisors monitor performance in real time such as live reports, live dashboards, barge-in feature, etc. When a supervisor monitors major performance indicators in real time, this process is referred to as live monitoring.

68. Load Balancing

Technically, it is the process of handling massive call volume that can bring the system down by adding an additional server, database, call queue, etc. In a call center, the excess call volume is swapped from agent call queues to supervisors to balance the peak hours and manage the load.

69. Longest Waiting Agent

It signifies the agent that has been waiting for the longest for the next call.

70. Longest Idle Agent

It indicates the agent that has been sitting idle and doing nothing for the longest.


71. Manual Dialer

A contact center system will have a phone alike dialpad feature that lets agents manually dial and connect a number to have a conversation. It is called a manual dialer and is used when the number is not stored in the lead list.

72. Multilingual call center software

When a system supports more than one language, it is called a multilingual call center software solution.

73. Multi currency support

When a call center has payment processing options from a business or technical perspective and it supports multiple currency types, it is a system that supports a multi currency supported platform.

74. Multi tenant call center solution 

A call center platform that supports tenant support is called a multi tenant call center solution. Using a single software solution, multiple software instances can be created and each of them can be used as an individual yet centrally controlled contact center solution


75. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

It is one of the vital performance indicators, which showcases the probability of getting promoted or referred to the network of an existing customer. The high NPS defines a high performing call center.


76. Occupancy Rate

It indicates the duration for which the agent was occupied in handling calls or doing after call work versus the time agent was logged in to the system.

77. Outbound call center

A call center that handles only outgoing calls is referred to as an outbound call center.

78. Omnichannel Call Center Solution

A solution for call centers that supports unified aka all communication channels within the software is called an omnichannel call center solution. The communication channels include voice calls, video calls, SMS, email, fax, social media, WhatsApp, help desk, and more.


79. Peak Hours

The hours of the day when a call center receives maximum call volume are called peak hours.

80. Predictive dialer

It is an auto dialer feature available in the software. It can predict the ratio of calls that need to be dialed to connect with a human vs. when the agent will complete the ongoing call. The predictive dialer is the most advanced auto dialing system.

81. Progressive dialer

It is another auto dialer that dials the phone numbers automatically from the lead list in a progressive manner.

82. Preview dialer

This auto dialer shows a preview of the lead to be contacted before the automated dialing of the phone number. The agent gets an opportunity to accept or skip the lead.

83. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

When a call center or business uses call center software as a platform and offers it to other businesses for revenue generation, this business model is called PaaS. The multi tenant call center solution is used to run the PaaS model.


84. Quality of Service (QoS)

It indicates the rate of performance accuracy and services delivered by agents, systems, protocols, etc. to deliver an excellent customer experience with their services.

85. Quality of Call (QoC)

It defines the overall quality of each call, which is ideally defined by the efficiency of handling a call by an agent with a professional and polite conversation. 


86. Random Call Distribution

It is a type of automatic call distribution strategy available in the system to route calls to different agents or call queues. It randomly assigns incoming calls to different agents and queues.

87. Round Robin Call Routing

It is another automatic call distribution strategy, which assigns calls to agents or queues on a first in, first out basis aka in a sequence from queue 1 to queue N.

88. Real Time Reports

The modern call center solutions add an additional segment of reports, which update all major KPIs in real time to show live values of each KPI and take instant action to improve performance.

89. Remote Agent

When an agent adopts work from home or work from anywhere model with the help of a cloud contact center solution, it is called a remote agent.

90. Redial 

When an auto dialer cannot connect with the lead in the first attempt and it retries to connect with that lead by redialing the number, it is called redial.

91. Rest Day Overtime (RDOT)

When an agent works on a day off or holiday as overtime, it is referred to as rest day overtime. 


92. Script

It is an easy to scan, written document that gives instructions and guidelines to agents to handle and lead each conversation in an unformed and systematic manner.

93. Service Level Agreement (SLA)

It defines a legal document or agreement that entails the service provider meeting the predefined benchmark of service.

94. Skill based routing

It is an auto call distribution feature, which routes the incoming call of a client to the most skilled agent.

95. Sticky Agent

This auto call distribution feature routes an incoming call of a customer to the same agent every time. As it sticks to the same agent, it is called a sticky agent.

96. Software as a Service (SaaS)

When a call center dialer system is used to provide service to other call centers or businesses, this model is called SaaS. A multi tenant contact center solution is used to run the SaaS model.


97. Text to Speech Converter 

Some call center solutions support the conversion of written text into a voice prompt to use in an IVR or voice broadcasting. This feature is called text to speech converter.


98. Unified Communication System

The platform that supports the use of all popular communication channels within a single system is called a unified communication system. An omnichannel contact center solution is a unified communication system. 


99. Voicemail to email

Some contact center solutions support voicemails for agents. That means clients can leave a voicemail message, which is received by the agents and can be listened to. The voicemail to email feature sends the voicemail message to the email.

100. Voice analysis tool

This is available in an AI call center solution, which analyzes various factors of voice for quality assurance such as sentiments, the pace of voice, silence detection, etc. The voice values of both client and agent can be evaluated with this tool for performance evaluation.


These are the top 100 terminologies associated with the call center industry. Some of them might sound like jargon to you, but we have tried to make it simplified for you to understand each important phrase associated with the contact center. If you have any questions or want to share your thoughts, feel free to contact us.

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