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.
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Base Staff. Also called Seated Agents. The minimum
number of agents required to achieve service level and response
time objectives for given period of time. Seated agent calculations
assume that agents will be ñin their seatsî for the entire period
of time. Therefore, schedules need to add in extra people to accommodate
breaks, absenteeism and other factors that will keep agents from
the phones. See Rostered Staff Factor.
Basic Rate Interface (BRI). One of two
basic levels of ISDN service. A BRI line provides two bearer channels
for voice and data and one channel for signaling (commonly expressed
as 2B+D). See Primary Rate Interface (PRI) and Integrated Services
Beep Tone. An audible notification that
a call has arrived (also called Zip Tone). Beep tone can also refer
to the audible notification that a call is being monitored.
Benchmark. Historically, a term referred
to as a standardized task to test the capabilities of devices against
each other. In quality terms, benchmarking is comparing products,
services and processes with those of other organizations, to identify
new ideas and improvement opportunities.
Best in Class. A benchmarking term to
identify organizations that outperform all others in a specified
Blockage. Callers blocked from entering
a queue. See Blocked Call.
Blocked Call. A call that cannot be connected
immediately because A) no circuit is available at the time the call
arrives, or B) the ACD is programmed to block calls from entering
the queue when the queue backs up beyond a defined threshold.
Busy Hour. A telephone traffic engineering
term, referring to the hour of time in which a trunk group carries
the most traffic during the day. The average busy hour reflects
the average over a period of days, such as two weeks. Busy Hour
has little use for incoming call centers, which require more specific
resource calculation methodologies.
Call. Also called Transaction and Customer
Contact. A term referring to telephone calls, video calls, Web calls
and other types of contacts.
Call Blending. Combining traditionally
separate inbound and outbound agent groups into one group of agents
responsible for handling both inbound and outbound contacts. A system
that is capable of call blending automatically puts agents who are
making outbound calls into the inbound mode and vice versa, as necessitated
by the incoming call load.
Call By Call Routing. The process of
routing each call to the optimum destination according to real-time
conditions. See Percent Allocation and Network Inter-flow.
Call Center. An umbrella term that generally
refers to reservations centers, help desks, information lines or
customer service centers, regardless of how they are organized or
what types of transactions they handle. The term is being challenged
by many, because calls are just one type of transaction and the
word center doesnÍt accurately depict the many multi-site environments.
Call Control Variables. The set of criteria
the ACD uses to process calls. Examples include routing criteria,
overflow parameters, recorded announcements and timing thresholds.
Call Detail Recording. Data on each call,
captured and stored by the ACD. Can include trunk used, time in
queue, call duration, agent who handled the call, number dialed
(for outgoing), and other information.
Call Forcing. An ACD feature that automatically
delivers calls to agents who are available and ready to take calls.
They hear a notification that the call has arrived (e.g. a beep
tone), but do not have to press a button to answer the call.
Call Load. Also referred to as Work Load.
Call Load is the product of (Average Talk Time + Average After-Call
Work) x call volume, for a given period.
Caller ID. See Automatic Number Identification.
Caller-Entered Digits (CED). Digits callers
enter using their telephone keypads. The ACD, VRU, or network can
prompt for CEDs.
Calling Line Identity (CLI). See Automatic
Calls In Queue. A real-time report that
refers to the number of calls received by the ACD system but not
yet connected to an agent.
Carrier. A company that provides telecommunications
circuits. Carriers include both local telephone companies and long
Cause-and-Effect Diagram. A tool to assist
in root cause identification, developed by Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa.
CD-ROM. Compact Disc Read Only Memory.
These discs hold as much as 660 megabytes of memory.
Central Office (CO). Can refer to either
a telephone company switching center or the type of telephone switch
used in a telephone company switching center. The local central
office receives calls from within the local area and either routes
them locally or passes them to an inter-exchange carrier (IXC).
On the receiving end, the local central office receives calls that
originated in other areas, from the IXC.
Centum Call Seconds (CCS). 100 call seconds,
a unit of telephone traffic measurement. The first C is the Roman
numeral for 100. 1 hour = 1 Erlang = 60 minutes = 36 CCS.
Chief Information Officer (CIO). A typical
title for the highest ranking executive responsible for an organization's
Circuit. A transmission path between
two points in a network.
Client/Server Architecture. A network
of computers that share capabilities and devices.
Collateral Duties. Non-phone tasks (e.g.,
data entry) that are flexible, and can be scheduled for periods
when call load is slow.
Common Causes. Causes of variation that
are inherent to a process over time. They cause the rhythmic, common
variations in the system of causes, and they affect every outcome
of the process and everyone working in the process. See Special
Compliance. See Adherence to Schedule.
Computer Simulation. A computer technique
to predict the outcome of various events in the future, given many
variables. When there are many variables, simulation is often the
only way to reasonably predict the outcome.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI).
The software, hardware and programming necessary to integrate computers
and telephones so they can work together seamlessly and intelligently.
Conditional Routing. The capability of
the ACD to route calls based on current conditions. It is based
on "if-then" programming statements. For example, "if the number
of calls in agent group 1 exceeds 10 and there are at least 2 available
agents in group two, then route the calls to group two."
Continuous Improvement. The ongoing improvement
Control Chart. A control chart sifts
out (identifies) two types of variation in a process, common causes
and special causes. See Common Causes and Special Causes.
Controlled Busies. The capability of
the ACD to generate busy signals when the queue backs up beyond
a programmable threshold.
Cost Center. An accounting term that
refers to a department or function in the organization that does
not generate profit. See Profit Center.
Cost of Delay. The money you pay to queue
callers, assuming you have toll-free service.
Cost Per Call. Total costs (fixed and
variable) divided by total calls for a given period of time.
Customer Contact. See Call.