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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A chart that graphically depicts the relationship between two variables.
Schedule Compliance. See Adherence to
Scheduling Exception. When an agent is
involved in an activity outside of the normal, planned schedule.
Screen Monitoring. A system capability
that enables a supervisor or manager to remotely monitor the activity
on agents' computer terminals.
Screen Pop. A CTI capability. Callers'
records are automatically retrieved (based on ANI or digits entered
into the VRU) and delivered to agents, along with the calls.
Screen Refresh. The rate at which real-time
information is updated on a display (e.g. every 5 to 15 seconds).
Note, screen refresh does not correlate with the time-frame used
for real-time calculations. See Real-Time Data.
Seated Agents. See Base Staff.
Service Bureau. A company that handles
inbound or outbound calls for another organization.
Service Level Agreement. Performance
objectives reached by consensus between the user and the provider
of a service, or between an outsourcer and an organization. A service
level agreement specifies a variety of performance standards that
may or may not include "service level." See Service Level.
Service Level. Also called Telephone
Service Factor, or TSF. The percentage of incoming calls that are
answered within a specified threshold: "X% of calls answered in
Y seconds." See Response Time.
Service Observing. See Monitoring.
Shrink Factor. See Rostered Staff Factor.
Silent Monitoring. See Monitoring.
Skill Group. See Agent Group.
Skill-Based Routing. An ACD capability
that matches a caller's specific needs with an agent that has the
skills to handle that call, on a real-time basis.
Smooth Call Arrival. Calls that arrive
evenly across a period of time. Virtually non-existent in incoming
Special Causes. Variation in a process
caused by special circumstances. See Common Causes.
Speech Recognition. The capability of
a voice processing system to decipher spoken words and phrases.
Split. See Agent Group.
Supervisor Monitor. Computer monitors
that enable supervisors to monitor the call handling statistics
of their supervisory groups or teams.
Supervisor. The person who has front-line
responsibility for a group of agents. Typical ratios are one supervisor
to every 10-15 agents. However, help desks can have one supervisor
for every 5 people, and some reservations centers have one supervisor
for every 30 or 40 agents. Generally, supervisors are equipped with
special telephones and computer terminals that enable them to monitor
T1 Circuit. A high speed digital circuit
used for voice, data or video, with a bandwidth of 1.544 megabits
per second. T1 circuits offer the equivalent of twenty-four (24)
analog voice trunks.
Talk Time. The time an agent spends with
a caller during a transaction. Includes everything from "hello"
Telecommuting. Using telecommunications
to work from home or other locations instead of at the organization's
Telephone Service Factor. See Service
Telephony Applications Programming Interface
(TAPI). CTI protocol developed by Microsoft and Intel.
Telephony Services Application Programming
Interface (TSAPI). CTI protocol developed by Novell and AT&T.
Threshold. The point at which an action,
change or process takes place.
Tie line. A private circuit that connects
two ACDS or PBXs across a wide area.
Toll-Free Service. Enables callers to
reach a call center out of the local calling area without incurring
charges. 800 and 888 service is toll-free. In some countries, there
are also other variations of toll-free service. For example, with
0345 or 0645 services in the United Kingdom, callers are charged
local rates and the call center pays for the long distance charges.
Touchtone. A trademark of AT&T. See Dual-Tone
Traffic Control Center. See Network Control
Transaction. See Call.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
(TCP/IP). The protocols that govern the exchange of sequential
data. TCP/IP was designed by the U.S. Department of Defense to link
dissimilar computers across many kinds of networks. It has since
become a common standard for commercial equipment and applications.
True Calls Per Hour. Actual calls an
individual or group handled divided by occupancy for that period
Trunk. Also called a Line, Exchange Line
or Circuit. A telephone circuit linking two switching systems.
Trunk Group. A collection of trunks associated
with a single peripheral and usually used for a common purpose.
Trunk Load. The load that trunks carry.
Includes both Delay and Talk Time.
Trunks Idle. The number of trunks in
a trunk group that are non-busy.
Trunks in Service. The number of trunks
in the trunk group that are functional.
Unavailable Work State. An agent work
state used to identify a mode not associated with handling telephone
Uniform Call Distributor (UCD). A simple
system that distributes calls to a group of agents and provides
some reports. A UCD is not as sophisticated as an ACD.
Universal Agent. Refers to either A)
An agent who can handle all types of incoming calls or B) An agent
who can handle both inbound and outbound calls.
Virtual Call Center. A distributed call
center that acts as a single site for call handling and reporting
Visible Queue. When callers know how
long the queue that they just entered is, and how fast it is moving
(e.g., they hear a system announcement that relays the expected
wait time). See Invisible Queue.
Voice Processing. A blanket term that
refers to any combination of voice processing technologies, including
Voice Mail, Automated Attendant, Audiotex, Voice Response Unit (VRU)
Voice Response Unit (VRU). Also called
Interactive Voice Response Unit (IVR) or Audio Response Unit (ARU).
A VRU responds to caller entered digits or speech recognition in
much the same way that a conventional computer responds to keystrokes
or clicks of a mouse. When the VRU is integrated with database computers,
callers can interact with databases to check current information
(e.g., account balances) and complete transactions (e.g. make transfers
between accounts). See Voice Processing.