DSC Tech Library
Glossary of Terms
This section of our technical library presents information relating to Call Center technology and Best Practices plus software and products.
Since the Company's inception in 1978, DSC has specialized in the development of communications software and systems. Beginning with our CRM and call center applications, DSC has developed computer telephony integration software and PC based phone systems. These products have been developed to run on a wide variety of telecom computer systems and environments.
The following article relates to call center technology or customer service best practices and techniques.
] [ B-C ] [ D-H
] [ I-M ] [ N-R
] [ S-V ] [ W-Z
Abandoned Call. Also called a Lost Call. The
caller hangs up before reaching an agent.
Activity Codes. See Wrap-Up Codes.
Adherence To Schedule. A general term
that refers to how well agents adhere to their schedules. Can include
both a) how much time they were available to take calls during their
shifts, including the time spent handling calls and the time spent
waiting for calls to arrive (also called Availability), and b) when
they were available to take calls (also called Compliance or Adherence).
See Real-Time Adherence Software and Occupancy.
After-Call Work (ACW). Also called Wrap-up
and Post Call Processing (PCP). Work that is necessitated by and
immediately follows an inbound transaction. Often includes entering
data, filling out forms and making outbound calls necessary to complete
the transaction. The agent is unavailable to receive another inbound
call while in this mode.
Agent. The person who handles incoming
or outgoing calls. Also referred to as customer service representative
(CSR), telephone sales or service representative (TSR), rep, associate,
consultant, engineer, operator, technician, account executive, team
member, customer service professional, staff member, attendant and
specialist. Did we miss any?
Agents. See Average Number of Agents.
Agent Group. Also called Split, Gate,
Queue or Skills Group. A collection of agents that share a common
set of skills, such as being able to handle customer complaints.
Agent Out Call. An outbound call placed
by an agent.
Agent Status. The mode an agent is in
(Talk Time, After-Call Work, Unavailable, etc.).
All Trunks Busy (ATB). When all trunks
are busy in a specified trunk group. Generally, reports indicate
how many times all trunks were busy, and how much total time all
trunks were busy. What they don't reveal is how many callers got
busy signals when all trunks were busy.
Analog. Telephone transmission or switching
that is not digital. Signals are analogous to the original signal.
Announcement. A recorded verbal message
played to callers.
Answer Supervision. The signal sent by
the ACD or other device to the local or long distance carrier to
accept a call. ThatÍs when billing for either the caller or the
call center will begin, if long distance charges apply.
Answered Call. When referring to an agent
group, a call counted as answered when it reaches an agent.
Application Based Routing and Reporting.
The ACD capability to route and track transactions by type of call,
or application (e.g., sales, service, etc.), versus the traditional
method of routing and tracking by trunk group and agent group.
Architecture. The basic design of a system.
Determines how the components work together, system capacity, upgradeability,
and the ability to integrate with other systems.
Audiotex. A voice processing capability
that enables callers to automatically access pre-recorded announcements.
See Voice Processing.
Auto Available. An ACD feature whereby
the ACD is programmed to automatically put agents into Available
after they finish Talk Time and disconnect calls. If they need to
go into After-Call Work, they have to manually put themselves there.
See Auto Wrap-up.
Auto Greeting. Agent's pre-recorded greeting
that plays automatically when a call arrives.
Auto Wrap-up. An ACD feature whereby
the ACD is programmed to automatically put agents into After-Call
Work after they finish Talk Time and disconnect calls. When they
have completed any After-Call Work required, they put themselves
back into Available. See Auto Available.
Automated Attendant. A voice processing
capability that automates the attendant function. The system prompts
callers to respond to choices (e.g., press one for this, two for
that") and then coordinates with the ACD to send calls to specific
destinations. This function can reside in an on-site system or in
Automatic Call Distributor (ACD). The
specialized telephone system used in incoming call centers. It is
a programmable device that automatically answers calls, queues calls,
distributes calls to agents, plays delay announcements to callers
and provides real-time and historical reports on these activities.
May be a stand-alone system, or ACD capability built into a CO,
network or PBX.
Automatic Call Sequencer (ACS). A simple
system that is less sophisticated than an ACD, but provides some
Automatic Number Identification (ANI).
A telephone network feature that passes the number of the phone
the caller is using to the call center, real-time. ANI may arrive
over the D channel of an ISDN PRI circuit (out of band signaling),
or before the first ring on a single line (inband signaling). ANI
is delivered from long distance companies. Caller ID is the local
phone company version of ANI, and is delivered inband. ANI is a
North American term, and Calling Line Identification (CLI) is an
alternative term used elsewhere.
Auxiliary Work State. An agent work state
that is typically not associated with handling telephone calls.
When agents are in an auxiliary mode, they will not receive inbound
Availability. See Adherence to Schedule.
Available State. Agents who are signed
on to the ACD and waiting for calls to arrive.
Available Time. The total time that an
agent or agent group waited for calls to arrive, for a given time
Average Delay. See Average Speed of Answer.
Average Delay of Delayed Calls. The average
delay of calls that are delayed. It is the total Delay for all calls
divided by the number of calls that had to wait in queue. See Average
Speed of Answer.
Average Handle Time (AHT). The sum of
Average Talk Time and Average After-Call Work for a specified time
Average Holding Time on Trunks (AHT).
The average time inbound transactions occupy the trunks. It is:
(Talk Time + Delay Time)/Calls Received. AHT is also an acronym
for Average Handling Time, which has a different meaning.
Average Number of Agents. The average
number of agents logged into a group for a specified time period.
Average Speed of Answer (ASA). Also called
Average Delay. The average delay of all calls. It is total Delay
divided by total number of calls. See Average Delay of Delayed Calls.
Average Time to Abandonment. The average
time that callers wait in queue before abandoning. The calculation
considers only the calls that abandon.