Contact Center Glossary

The most common call center, contact center, customer experience, and workforce engagement management terms defined.



Abandon Call Rate

The percentage of inbound phone calls abandoned by the customer before speaking to an agent. It is calculated by dividing the number of abandoned calls by the total number of inbound calls.

Abandon Rate

The number of customers who abandon the queue after waiting for a given period of time divided by total number of contacts.


Activities are individual blocks of time that make up a full shift. For example, a typical set of activities for contact center agent can include phone, chat, meetings, lunch, and break.


The amount of time an agent works that coincides with the time they are scheduled to work, sometimes called schedule adherence. The time considered in adherence includes on-queue time, off-queue work, and activities such as meetings and training.

Advanced Contact Center Technologies

A collection of technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), that enhance the way we communicate with customers and deliver service, often used as a competitive differentiator.

After-Call Work (ACW)

The tasks that a call center agent completes after finishing an interaction with a customer, sometimes referred to as post-call processing. Tasks could include sending an email to the customer or internal department to follow up on the call, logging details about the call in a database, and scheduling follow-up actions. 


Employees who usually work in customer service or sales and handle phone calls, emails, chat, text messages, and support tickets initiated by customers. Agents are sometimes referred to as customer service representatives (CSRs).

Agent Coaching

A process and ongoing practice designed to empower agents to learn new skills, receive feedback on work, and fix problems experienced during customer interactions. Coaching is considered to be a key ingredient for improving agent performance and building customer satisfaction. 

Agent Empowerment

Agent empowerment takes engagement a step further and holds agents accountable to self-coach and correct in real-time based on coaching and learning materials shared across platforms.

Agent Engagement

Agent engagement is a term used to discuss how well solutions are engaging agents.  This can be done through self-service time off requests, shift change requests, access to performance data, access to learning materials to help self improve, etc.

Agent Escalation

A process for forwarding a customer interaction to a supervisor or a more knowledgeable agent in a contact center to assist the customer with necessary resources.

Agent Experience

The day-to-day reality a contact center agent encounters in their work as they perform the tasks associated with their job is called agent experience. It is shaped by training, technology, supervisors, schedules, customer interactions, and company policies.

Agent Occupancy

The amount of time an agent spends on contact-handling activities as a proportion of total time available. This may exclude time spent on shrinkage activities or unavailable time and is often measured at both a team and an agent level. Occupancy is also called utilization rate or agent utilization rate.

Agent Reports

A paper-based or electronic report that contains information about how a contact center agent is performing against key metrics, such as average handle time and first contact resolution. 

Agent Scorecard

An agent scorecard is an evaluation rubric or system used to measure a contact center agent’s adherence to a company’s customer service processes and procedures.

Agent Self-Evaluations

Standardized assessment for a contact center agent to use in evaluating their own interactions. The self-evaluation is usually made up of the same elements that another evaluator would use so balanced comparisons can be made.

Agent Status

The current working status of an agent, such as available (ready to take customer contacts), busy (in an interaction), unavailable (on a break), after-call work, etc.

Agent Total Registered Time

The amount of time an agent is occupied with or available to handle customer requests plus their time away for breaks, meetings, meals, training, and other activities not directly related to handling customer interactions.

Agent Utilization Rate

The percentage of time that contact center agents spend in active contact handling versus in an idle or available state.


Data and related analysis of contact center metrics to identify trends, impacts, causes, and results. These customer insights can be used to improve customer experience.


Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

Answered Call

An inbound call that is handled by a contact center agent.


Any software system, tool, or platform used in a contact center to manage, route, and handle customer calls, emails, chats, messages, and tickets. 

Application Programming Interface (API)

Software or computer code that allows two disparate computer applications to interact and communicate with each other.

Arrival Pattern

A graphical representation of the times and frequencies of inbound customer interactions derived from an analysis of past contacts, used to identify variances in contact frequency.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Software designed to perform tasks that are usually done by a human. In the contact center, artificial intelligence can be used to complete simple requests that improve the customer experience or more complex requests that create efficiencies for managing the workforce

Asynchronous Channels

Methods for delivering customer service where messaging is open-ended, can start and stop at irregular intervals, and be resumed at a later time.

Asynchronous Contacts

People using customer service messaging platforms to interact with each other without both parties needing to be concurrently active in the conversation.


Agent attrition is the rate at which agents voluntarily or involuntarily leave a support team to join another team in the company or exit the company altogether.

Automated Attendant

Technology that allows callers to be automatically transferred without human intervention, sometimes referred to as auto attendant. An automated attendant typically offers a menu system the caller can interact with to route their call to the appropriate team or department.

Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)

A device that answers and distributes incoming calls to a specific group of agents within a call center. ACDs can route callers based on the caller’s needs, telephone number, selected incoming line, or time of day.

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

Technology that converts spoken language into machine readable text.


Technology built to perform processes previously performed by humans for increased efficiency and to empower customers to self-serve.

Available Time

Time spent by a contact center agent ready and waiting to take calls, answer emails, and respond to chat messages. Also called idle time.

Availability Rate

The proportion of time an agent is actively ready to work with customers but not engaged directly with a customer, sometimes referred to as idle time or available time.

Average Call Transfer Rate

The percentage of customer calls transferred or routed to another team member, department, or queue in order to be completed or resolved.

Average Handle Time (AHT)

The average duration of an entire customer contact interaction from the time the customer initiates it until that interaction is complete. For synchronous contacts, this includes hold times, transfers, and after-call work. For example, to calculate average handle time for calls, add total talk time, total hold time and after-call work time, then divide that number by the total number of customer calls. 

Average Speed of Answer (ASA)

The average amount of time it takes agents to answer inbound customer interactions once they appear in the contact center queue.

Average Talk Time

The amount of time a contact center agent spends handling customer calls and resolving queries, not to be confused with average handle time which is longer in duration.

Average Time in Queue

Also known as the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) is the average time a call remains in the queue until an agent connects to a customer.

Average Time to Abandonment (ATA)

The average length of time that a caller waits in a queue before they abandon their call, sometimes referred to as average patience.

Average Wait Time (AWT)

This is the average amount of time over a set period that a customer spends waiting to be connected for assistance. AWT is also known as Average Speed of Answer (ASA).

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The number of customer support tickets that have yet to be addressed or resolved within a given period of time.

Blended Agent

A contact center agent who handles incoming and outgoing interactions across multiple contact center channels like voice, web, and digital.

Blocked Call

An inbound call that is blocked from entering an agent queue. Blocked calls may occur during extreme peak times in which case callers would be prompted to call again later.


Actions driven by artificial intelligence that automate portions of the customer journey at an individualized level to help contact center agents do their jobs more efficiently.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

BPO is a method of subcontracting various business operations to third-party vendors, such as a contact center.

Business-to-Business (B2B)

A type of commercial organization that sells to other enterprises or businesses, as opposed to selling to consumers.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

A type of commercial organization that sells to consumers, as opposed to selling to other enterprises or businesses.

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Calibration is a quality management process that allows multiple members of the business to score/ evaluate the same call, and then determine how aligned they are on scoring.  Feedback sessions follow to determine the correct scoring, and then the rest of the team aligns for future assessment.

Call Avoidance

The practice of avoiding taking phone calls, which could involve agents taking their phone off the hook, transferring calls to others, taking excessive breaks, or deliberately taking longer than needed to handle a particular call, is known as call avoidance.

Call Barging

The practice of dropping in on live calls to speak with the customer and the agent. 

Call Blending

The practice of enabling agents to make outgoing calls when inbound calls are slow, which includes delivering both inbound and outbound calls seamlessly to the agent.

Call Center (Call Centre)

An office staffed by agents trained to handle a large volume of inbound and outbound phone calls and inquiries, especially for taking orders and providing customer service.

Call Center Efficiency

Call center efficiency is the set of objectives that are put in place to ultimately help drive improved performance and reduce inefficiencies

Call Center Manager (Call Centre Manager)

A worker who is responsible for hiring, training, and supervising call center agents and employees. The manager sets goals, monitors challenges, and works to motivate team members to offer exceptional customer service.

Call Center Productivity

Call center productivity is a term that is looking at the total amount of work completed by a person in a designated amount of time.

Call Center Software (Call Centre Software)

Technology that increases the effectiveness and efficiency of a call center with specific focus on facilitating high-quality interactions between customers and agents.

Call Monitoring Modes

Ways for a contact center supervisor to participate in an agent’s calls with customers, including listening, whispering, barging, and recording.

Call Recording

The capture of audio and screen activity associated with agent-to-customer phone calls so that they can be stored, retrieved, and evaluated.

Call Routing

A call management feature for contact centers that allows incoming calls to be placed in a queue and then routed to a specific person or group of people based on business rules and caller criteria.

Call Script

A document that clearly lays out what a call center agent is supposed to say in response to a specific customer issue or problem.

Caller ID

A service that allows an agent to identify the area code, phone number, and location of the person calling before answering the call.


A telecommunications service provider (TSP) that enables the public to call into a contact center by telephone.


Channel, also known as a communication channel, is a method used to communicate. Common channels of communication include phone calls, emails, live chats, social messaging, website reviews, surveys, or even face-to-face conversations. 


A digital channel for providing customer service, usually enabled via a company’s website or mobile app. Chat is often a synchronous channel, but can be asynchronous depending on the complexity of the customer’s needs.


Technology that uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and speech recognition to simulate human conversations.

Churn Rate

The percentage of customers who end their relationship with a business within a given period, also referred to as attrition.

Cloud Contact Center (Cloud Contact Centre)

A cloud contact center is a contact center whose operational tools and systems for handling customer communications are hosted on remote servers instead of on-premises.

Cloud Contact Center Platform

A software platform hosted remotely, or in the cloud, that supports omnichannel communication between customers and contact center agents with features that optimize the customer experience and the agent experience.


The act of agents accessing a customer’s web browser in order to see and navigate what the customer is seeing in real-time. Co-browsing enables agents to provide better customer support and helps improve customer satisfaction.

Cold Call

Unsolicited calls placed by contact center agents to prospective customers, usually for the purpose of making a sale or introducing a product.


The percentage of time that an agent works compared to the total time he or she was scheduled.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

Technology that links computer systems with telephone systems to control how agent calls are made and received.

Contact Center (Contact Centre)

An office staffed by agents trained to handle omnichannel customer support, including telephone, email, chat, social media, and website.

Contact Center Agent

A contact center agent is a customer service or sales professional who handles customers’ needs, requests, and issues through a variety of communication channels. Their job is ultimately to enable an exceptional customer experience.

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

A cloud-based service that enables companies to use only the technology they need to operate a contact center, thereby reducing IT costs.

Contact Center Customer Relationship Management (Contact Center CRM)

A software application that contains information about customers, including purchase history and support tickets. Agents use the CRM to better serve customers through more personalized interactions and the perspective of past interactions.

Contact Center Management

Contact center management includes the processes and methods organizations use to manage the daily operations of a contact center workforce to accommodate omnichannel customer journeys.

Contact Center Reporting

Reports that convert data related to a contact center into actionable metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) based on criteria related to strategic business goals.

Contact Center Quality Assurance

A process that helps ensure customer interactions are aligned with business goals. Typically includes identifying common customer issues, improving the customer experience, and standardizing customer communications.

Contact Center Service Level

The percentage of interactions answered by agents within a specific time frame.

Contact Center Software

Software that provides businesses with the capabilities necessary to run a customer contact center, which typically enables queueing and routing, contact and resolution management, integration, and management tools.

Contact Center Workforce Optimization

The practice of ensuring agents are appropriately scheduled, trained, monitored, evaluated, rewarded, and engaged.

Contact Center Workforce Planning

Contact center workforce planning is the process of aligning strategic and operational elements of a contact center’s workforce with business objectives. This often includes team scheduling, training, and volume forecasting.

Contact Channel

The method or communication channel a customer uses to interact with a business.

Contact Disposition

Statuses that can be assigned to completed interactions by an agent manually or automatically by contact center software.

Cost Per Call (CPC)

A call center metric calculated by dividing the fully loaded cost of your contact center for a given period by the number of inbound and outbound calls handled in the same period.

Cost Per Case

The average cost per support contact, which can include fixed costs, such as office space and technology expenses, and variable costs, such as scheduled labor and unscheduled overtime. Sometimes referred to cost per contact.


Cross-selling is the process of selling a new or additional product or service to an existing customer.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

The amount of money a company spends to get a new customer. This is typically the sum of sales and marketing costs divided by the number of new customers acquired for the same period.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

A business metric that measures a product’s or service’s ease of use by customers. 

Customer Engagement

The emotional connection between a customer and a brand, which encompasses the customer’s operational, transactional, and practical relationship with the business.

Customer Experience

The experience a customer has with a brand or a business, encompassing the quality of customer care, advertising, packaging, product and service features, pricing, ease of use, ease of doing business, and reliability.

Customer Experience Management (CEM)

The practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and increase satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

Customer Feedback

Information provided by customers about their experience with a product or service, revealing their level of satisfaction. This information helps product, customer service, and marketing teams understand opportunities for improvement.

Customer Frustration

A feeling of dissatisfaction felt by a customer as a result of a negative interaction with a company, often triggered by poor products, experiences, or customer service interactions.

Customer Intelligence

The process of gathering and analyzing information derived from customer data, which in turn helps businesses understand motivations, drive growth, and improve the customer journey.

Customer Interaction Analytics

An aggregation of the data created by customers as they complete interactions or transactions with a brand.

Customer Journey

The entire experience a customer has while interacting with a brand from discovery to purchasing to service.

Customer Journey Management

The process of determining what information a customer needs in each phase of their journey of interacting with a brand.

Customer Journey Map

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer journey that tells the story of customers’ experiences with a brand across touchpoints.

Customer Journey Optimization

The process of connecting and mapping customer interactions across multiple touchpoints in order to direct or influence the experience.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

The total worth of a customer to a business over the entire duration of the relationship.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A technology for managing a company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.

Customer Retention Rate

Customer retention rate is the percentage of customers who are retained, opposite of churn

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction, or CSAT, is a business metric that indicates how satisfied a customer or group of customers is with a specific product, transaction, or interaction with a company. The metric can also be applied at the company level.

Customer Service

The support a business offers customers before and after they buy products or services, which helps them have a beneficial experience.

Customer Service Representative (CSR)

Agents within a business who interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and provide information about products and services.

Customer Surveys

A method of collecting consumer feedback that helps companies assess customer satisfaction, measure customer engagement, perform market research, and gauge expectations.

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A reporting tool that displays call center metrics and KPIs to allow managers and teams to monitor and optimize performance.


A repository for the collection, measurement, and reporting of performance metrics within a contact center, often housing call data and agent performance.

Delayed Call

An inbound customer call that remains in a queue waiting for an agent to become free to respond.

Digital Contact Center

A customer service center that provides support through email, chat, text messages, social media, and other digital channels.

Digital Channel

Digital channels are communication paths customers use to reach a business that use digital signals to make the connection. Some examples are email, chat, text messages, and social media.

Digital Communication

Digital communication is the use of online tools like email, social media messaging and texting to reach other individuals or a specific audience in order to share a message.

Digital Experience (DX)

A customer’s collective interactions with a company via multiple digital touchpoints, such as mobile device, social media, or desktop computer.

Dual-Tone Multifrequency (DTMF)

A method of signaling a desired telephone number by sending tones on a telephone line, sometimes referred to as touch-tone.

Dynamic Scheduling

Dynamic Scheduling, also known as dynamic priority scheduling, is the method software (or hardware) uses to identify how best to execute the rules to create the optimal schedule for the business taking into account the dynamic changes that occur.
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Employee Engagement

The involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.

Employee Experience (EX)

An agent’s collective perceptions about their journey through all the touchpoints at a particular company, starting with their candidacy and proceeding through their exit.

Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM)

A business strategy that leverages networked processes and activities to transform relationships between the organization, its customers, and its employees.

Erlang C Formula

An equation for calculating the number of agents needed in a contact center, given the number of calls and the desired or target service level.

Erlang Formulas

Mathematical calculations to derive the number of staff needed for a given number of calls to meet a given service level.


The process of forwarding a customer’s issue to a supervisor or more proficient agent.

Expected Wait Time (EWT)

An estimate of how long a customer will have to wait in a queue before being connected with an agent, based on incoming volume, handling time, and staffing levels.

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First Call Resolution (FCR)

A case in which a caller’s question is answered or problem is solved during the initial call so that no follow-up contacts are necessary.

First Contact Resolution

A case in which a customer’s question is answered or problem is solved during the initial interaction so that no follow-up contacts are necessary.

Forecast Accuracy

The degree to which a predicted volume of calls or contacts reflects the reality of support volume for a given period.

Forecasted Volume

Forecasted call/contact center volume is the estimation the volume of interactions that your center will receive in a given period of time.


A prediction of contact center workload and staffing requirements, based on historical data.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

An employee’s scheduled hours divided by their employer’s defined hours for a full-time work week.
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A strategy that drives motivation and creates a culture where agents continuously work to achieve the business objectives and, in turn, get rewarded and recognized.


Language used with interactive voice response systems that enables callers to speak responses into their phones to advance an interaction rather than pushing buttons on their phones.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

A visual system that allows users to interact with electronic devices primarily through icons.

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Handled Call

A call that is answered by an agent instead of being blocked or abandoned.

Handling Time

For voice channels, the combination of talk time and after-call work time. For asynchronous channels, the combination of all time spent working on an interaction until its resolution.

Historical Data

Historical data, in a broad context, is data collected about past events and circumstances pertaining to a particular subject such as contact volumes, handle time, and adherence. This information is typically used to identify patterns in the past to make better predictions for the future.

Holding Time (Hold Time)

The amount of time a caller spends in an agent-initiated hold status.

Hosted Contact Center

A communications solution hosted at a service provider’s physical location or in the cloud instead of on a company’s premises. The terms “cloud” and “hosted” are often used interchangeably.

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Idle Time

Time spent by a contact center agent ready and waiting to take customer interactions. Also called available time.


Intraday Plan – Intraday reports/intraday plans (aka interval reports) enable you to analyze what is happening in real-time at particular times of the day, and make adjustments as needed.

Inbound Contact Center

A contact center that receives incoming requests from customers, often staffed by teams who are equipped to provide customer service and support. 

Intelligent Call Router (ICR)

Technology that captures and places incoming customer calls into a queue and then routes each one to the appropriate group or agent.


The direct touchpoints a customer has with a business.

Interaction Avoidance

Any actions a contact center agent takes to avoid or delay engaging with customers via chat, email, social media, text, or phone call.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

A device that automates the retrieval and processing of information by phone using touch tone signaling or voice recognition to access information from a server. The response may be given via recorded human voice or computerized voice.


A defined period of time, usually between 5 and 30 minutes, used to break up and define the work day, enabling close analysis of productivity, forecasting, scheduling, and other contact center performance metrics.

Intraday Management

The process of monitoring the current day’s volumes and trends and making corresponding changes to workforce schedules.

Intraday Reforecasting

A business activity that allows a contact center to re-evaluate workforce management needs based on trending volume, average handle time, and service levels.

Intraday Scheduling

A method of schedule management designed to reduce the impact of unplanned events, rebalancing each day’s workload with available agents to maintain acceptable service levels.

IVR System

An automated phone system technology that allows incoming callers to access information via a voice response system without having to speak to an agent. Short for interactive voice response.

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Journey Mapping

A visual representation of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal as the customer of a business.

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Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

The most critical performance metrics in a contact center, typically measures related to productivity and customer satisfaction.

Knowledge Management System (KMS)

Technology that contains a database of knowledge and pertinent information related to handling customer interactions.
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A data visualization that shows employees where they stand compared to their peers or other teams on key performance indicators. 

Learning Management System (LMS)

A technology for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs.

Listening Post

A point in the customer service process where companies can collect and analyze direct inputs and feedback from customers as a way to confirm or disprove assumptions. 

Live Chat

A communication channel that allows customers to communicate with a contact center agent in real time, typically via mobile app or website accessed through a browser.

Load Balancing

The process of balancing customer contacts between multiple sites, queues, or agents.

Logged On

The state of being able to communicate or initiate interaction with a computer or technology system.


Records of detailed activities within a computer system, each one typically including a time stamp.

Long Term Forecast

Long-term forecasting is a method of predicting future events, trends, or conditions over a period of six months to five years.

Longest Available Agent (Longest Waiting Agent)

The agent who has been without a customer call or post-call assignment for the longest period of time, sometimes referred to as the longest waiting agent.

Lost Call

An inbound customer call that does not result in the caller being connected to an agent or answering service.
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Macro Metric

A single, distilled measure of a company’s health and indicator of whether the organization is delivering on its brand promise.


Mean absolute percentage error – MAPE is a simple and intuitive metric that expresses the forecast error as a percentage of the actual value. For example, if you forecasted 100 units and the actual demand was 120 units, the percentage error is (120-100)/120 = 16.67%. Used to determine forecast versus actual variance.


A feature of contact center software and IVR systems that allows users to easily navigate and select from a range of actions or options.

Moment of Truth

Any interaction between a customer and a business that changes the customer’s perception about the business in a meaningful way.


The practice of evaluating an agent’s interactions to assess the quality with which those interactions are handled.

Multichannel Contact Center

A contact center that allows agents to interact with customers over several communication channels, including voice, text, social media, and the web.

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Natural Language Processing

The ability of a computer program to understand human language as it is spoken and written by people.

Natural Language Understanding

A technology that allows people to interact with computers using conventional conversation.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net promoter score, also known as NPS, is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others.

Nuisance Call

An unwelcome or unwanted call that bothers or annoys the recipient.
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Occupancy Rate

The percentage of logged-in and available time that an agent spends in active contact handling versus in an idle or available state.

Omnichannel Contact Center

A contact center that allows customers to seamlessly move across channels when seeking support or service from a business.

Omnichannel Customer Experience

The experience a customer has when they engage with a business across individual touchpoints over a variety of channels that all seamlessly connect, allowing them to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the interaction on another.

Omnichannel Customer Journey

Customer interactions with a business over multiple touchpoints before, during, and after the point at which they become a customer.

Omnichannel Customer Service

Service provided to a customer across multiple channels by integrating them within a single system so the customer’s experience is comprehensive and seamless. 

Omnichannel Routing

A method of intelligently directing customer requests across a range of service channels.

Operational Efficiency

Operational efficiency is a term used to describe when processes are flowing smoothly and costs remain at a minimum.  It’s one of the highest objectives for any contact center to use WEM solutions to identify where there are bottlenecks and adjust processes.

Outbound Contact Center

A business operation that makes outgoing calls to customers and prospects for purposes related to sales, collections, surveys, research, fundraising, and notifications.

Outbound Dialing Campaign

A coordinated sequence of dialing phone lists automatically, while screening out answering machines, busy signals, and non-completed calls, to achieve a call center metric typically related to performance or sales.


The process of contracting with an outside company to handle some or all contacts with customers.
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Peak Hour Traffic (PHT)

The highest volume of traffic offered to a telecommunications system, sometimes referred to as peak traffic.

Performance Dashboards

Performance Dashboards are central dashboards that serve as a single source of the truth to display all performance related metrics.

Performance Management System

Technology for tracking the performance of employees consistently and measurably. It is also typically used to encourage, evaluate, improve, and reward employee performance at work.

Planned/Unplanned Activities

Planned activities individual blocks of time in a person’s schedule such as prescheduled such as scheduled meetings, lunches, and breaks. Unplanned activities are unscheduled events such as call outs, ad hoc meetings, or anything else that is not listed on an agent’s schedule in advance.

Power Dialer

A device used to automate the making of outbound calls and direct them to an agent only when a person answers so as to screen out answering machines and busy signals.

Predictive Dialer

A device used to automate the making outbound calls and directing them to an agent only when a person answers so as to screen out answering machines and busy signals.

Private Branch Exchange (PBX)

A private telephone exchange located on the user’s premises and connected to the public network via trunks.

Progressive Dialer

An automated dialing technique that presents contact information to a contact center agent prior to dialing the phone number.


A spoken menu option in an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

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Quality Assurance

The people, processes, and systems for monitoring customer interactions to ensure they are being handled by agents in a desired fashion, also known as quality management.

Quality Assurance Scorecard

A rubric against which an analyst, team lead, or manager scores an agent’s interactions with a customer with the intention of improving an agent’s performance.

Quality Evaluation

A quality management activity in which a supervisor or member of the QA team scores an agent interaction based on predefined criteria.

Quality Management

The people, processes, and systems a contact center uses to monitor customer interactions to ensure they are being handled by contact center agents in the desired fashion, also known as quality assurance.

Quality Management Calibration

A quality management activity that ensures evaluators are aligned in how they are evaluating agent interactions.

Quality Management Dispute

A quality management process that allows agents to contest a score they’ve received on a quality evaluation and explain the basis of their disagreement.

Quality Management Form

A set of questions used by evaluators to assess agent performance during interactions and identify opportunities for improvement.

Quality Plan

A document that specifies standards, practices, resources, specifications, and the sequence of activities relevant to a particular product, service, or process.


A group of customers who are waiting for service or support from a contact center, addressed in a prescribed order.

Queue Time

The time a customer waits for an agent to become available and handle their request.
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Real-Time Adherence (RTA)

A metric that compares an agent’s current status against scheduled work activities.

Real-Time Management

The process of proactively managing agent contacts and queues on the same day they occur to ensure contact center service levels and business targets are met.

Remote Agent

An agent physically located outside the contact center, typically connected to the center on an as-needed or scheduled basis to supply additional answering capability.

Response Time

The amount of time needed to answer a contact, serving as a gauge of how accessible your contact center is to customers and the number of agents required to maximize service efficiency.

Return on Investment

A financial metric that shows the amount gained from an investment, calculated by dividing the profit earned on an investment by the cost of the same investment.


Also known as return on investment, ROI calculates your total costs per time period (ie: month, quarter, year) and divides that by your total investment in a solution that is creating more efficiency for the business.  This will provide you the time frame to understand when the invested solution will pay for itself.


A roster schedules agents based on the specific set of skills and shift templates associated with their profile.


Rostering provides managers, team leaders and staff the ability to view their rosters anywhere, at any time.


A management feature for contact centers that allows incoming contacts to be placed in a queue and then routed to a specific person or group of people based on business rules and criteria.
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Schedule Adherence

The amount of time an agent works that coincides with the time they are scheduled to work, sometimes simply called adherence. The time considered in adherence includes on-queue time, off-queue work, and activities such as meetings and training.

Schedule Conformance

The total amount of time an agent was scheduled to work compared to the time they actually worked.

Schedule Efficiency

The measurement of how closely scheduled resources match the forecasted number of resources needed.


A workforce management activity in which agent schedules are created based on expected contact volume, as well as agent availability and skillset.

Screen Pop

Software functionality that enables a customer information screen to automatically pop onto an agent’s computer screen at the same time the agent answers a call from that customer.

Screen Recording

Software that records what is displayed on an agent’s computer monitor, detailing the visual interaction between the agent and customer.


The words and logic to be followed in the handling of a customer call to assist agents in focusing on the most important aspects of the call, sometimes referred to as a call script.


A software application that enables the user to access and use its features to address their unique needs or issues without help from an agent.

Self-Service Rate

A metric that describes how often customers resolve their own issues or complete their own transaction instead of interacting with an agent.

Sentiment Analysis

The practice of assessing customer input or feedback to determine their attitudes, emotions, and opinions about a business. The practice typically relies on natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to mine social media comments, blogs, and product reviews.


A memory-laden computer device that provides services to users, such as access to software applications.

Service Level

A speed-of-answer goal. For synchronous channels, this is typically expressed as some percentage of calls or chats to be answered within a specified number of seconds. For asynchronous channels, this is typically expressed as time to first response, or the first public reply to the customer.

Service Level Agreement

A contact center’s commitment to maintain a certain level of service, typically involving a specified percentage of handled contacts within a period of time.

Session Initiated Protocol (SIP)

A signaling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, and terminating real-time voice, video, or messaging sessions in a software application.

Shift Swap

Shift swap is the action of swapping your scheduled shift with another agent, that must be approved

Short Term Forecast

A short-term forecast gives you a glimpse of your company’s immediate future (12 months or less) and can help you make business decisions quickly.


The percentage of paid time that contact center agents are not available to handle calls, emails, chats, and other customer interactions after accounting for breaks, meetings, training time, off-phone activities, paid leave, and other activities.


Short Message/Messaging Service, commonly abbreviated as SMS, is a text messaging service component of most telephone, Internet and mobile device systems.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

A software application delivered to customers over the internet and typically billed on a monthly or yearly basis.

Staffing Requirement

Staffing requirements is the amount of staffed people that are needed in order to meet the workload demand within a preset time frame.


An employee whose role is to communicate organizational needs, oversee employee performance, provide guidance and support, and manage the relationship between team members and the organization so that each is successful.

Synchronous Channels

Any channel made up of incoming synchronous contacts. Examples of synchronous channels would be phone/voice calls, live chat, and real-time messaging.

Synchronous Contacts

A “live” interaction between two parties with both parties conversing at the same time and with a clear start and end time. Examples would include a phone call, live chat, video chat, or real-time messaging.

System Administrator

An employee who is responsible for managing, troubleshooting, licensing, and updating hardware and software systems.

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Any time a customer interacts with a business, whether through an employee, a website, an advertisement, or a software program.

Transfer Rate

The percentage of customer calls or chats transferred to another team member in order to be completed or resolved.

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Unified Desktop

The integration of a CRM system with multichannel communication, including phone, email, social, chat, and mobile on to a single agent interface.


The practice of selling a comparable, higher-end product than the one in question to an existing customer.


A contact center metric that represents the time agents are engaged with customers or waiting for incoming customer interaction as a percentage of the time for which they are compensated, excluding paid time off and any unpaid breaks.

Utilization Rate

The percentage of logged-in and available time that an agent spends in active contact handling versus in an idle or available state, sometimes referred to as agent occupancy.

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Virtual Agent

Software that uses scripted rules and artificial intelligence to provide automated service to customers.

Virtual Contact Center

A contact center supported by cloud-based software and servers, enabling agents to work remotely or from home.

Virtual Currency

Coins or other tokens issued as part of a contact center’s gamification strategy. Virtual currency is used to reward contact center agents in an in-game economy.

Virtual Marketplace

An e-commerce site where third-party sellers can make products available to consumers and fulfill orders.

Voice of the Customer (VOC)

A collection of customers’ inputs and feedback related to their requests, needs, and expectations regarding a company’s products and services. This information is often used to improve a company’s products, services, and customer experiences.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

A method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over the internet.

Voice Responsive Unit (VRU)

A device that automates the retrieval and processing of information by phone using touch tone signaling or voice recognition.


A measure of how many inbound contacts are coming into a contact center within a given period of time, typically represented in increments of a quarter-hour, hour, or day.

Volume Forecast

A prediction of the number of incoming contacts your team will receive over a given period of time.
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A visual communication tool that displays real-time information related to contact center performance. 

WFM Scheduling

WFM Scheduling is the process to determine how many people you need scheduled for a specific type of work at various times throughout the day.


A series of steps a team, product, or process goes through before it is completed, often consisting of multiple steps conducted by multiple people and systems.

Workflow Management

The orchestration of tasks that make up the work an organization does. When managed effectively, workflows make organizations more efficient, productive, and cost-effective.

Workforce Capacity Planning

Workforce capacity planning is used to convert forecasts for volume, Average Handle Time (AHT), and shrinkage into the required number of full-time equivalents (FTE’s) needed to handle a contact center’s future workload.

Workforce Engagement

A business concept that describes the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker has toward their job. Generally, engaged workers care about their performance and the performance of the company and feel that their efforts make a positive impact on customers.

Workforce Engagement Management (WEM)

Software products that help companies manage and improve contact center agent engagement.

Workforce Management (WFM)

Workforce management (WFM) is the art and science of having the right number of agents available at the right times to answer an accurately forecasted volume of incoming customer contacts at the service level standard set by a contact center while minimizing cost.

Workforce Management Scheduling

Workforce management scheduling, also known as WFM Scheduling, is the process of determining how many people you need scheduled for a specific type of work at various times throughout the day.

Workforce Metrics

Workforce metrics are data in place to measure the productivity and effectiveness of your staff. Those metrics may include average abandonment rate, percentage of interactions blocked, average time in queue, service level, average speed of answer, average handle time, average after call work time, first contact resolutions, and others.

Workforce Optimization (WFO)

A business strategy that integrates contact center technologies for customer experience to promote operational efficiency.

Workforce Planning

The process of analyzing, forecasting, and scheduling workforce supply and demand, assessing gaps, and determining interventions to ensure that a business has the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time.


Workload is a stream or queue of work that is created using rules and it is delivered to the appropriate staff to create more efficiency.

Workload Management

The process of efficiently distributing and managing work across a team of workers with similar or complementary skills.


A Workstream represents the lifecycle of an individual customer conversation, from initiation through to final resolution. It encapsulates all of the contacts to / from the customer (and potentially other parties), along with all agent and related work activities (interactions) that are involved in the resolution. It is identified and categorized based on the initial customer contact.

Wrap-Up Time

The time required by an agent after a conversation is ended to complete work that is directly associated with the contact just completed.

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