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Taking a Closer Look at Common Call Center Industry Terms

call center software


Whether you’re the call center manager for a customer service department or a third-party collector, it’s crucial that your team thoroughly understands and correctly uses industry terminology to both represent your department well and provide exceptional customer service.

Let’s refresh our memories on some commonly used call center industry terms:

Abandoned Call

Communication that ends prior to any conversation with a customer.

Abandonment Rate

Percentage of customers who disconnect before talking to an agent.

After Call Work

Time an agent spends after a conversation concludes on data entry and other tasks associated with the call.

Answer Rate

Percentage of calls being accepted by agents versus the total number of calls coming in to the facility.

Automatic Callback

Telephone feature that automatically redials when line is available after receiving busy signal.

Average Handle Time

This metric computes the average length of one customer call, including time spent talking, on hold, and on associated after call work.

Blended Agent

Call center agent who handles both inbound and outbound calls.

Bodies in Chairs

Number of agents required to handle expected call volume.

Call Center Attrition

Agent loss rate over a specified period of time.

Callback Messaging

Allows customers to leave a message for a callback while retaining their spot in the queue.

Call Monitoring

Listening and recording calls for quality assurance.


Online program that simulates conversation with a live agent.

Chief Customer Officer

Performs customer research and creates metrics for all aspects of the customer experience.

Collaborative Browsing

When call center agent takes charge of customer’s browser. Usually done for technical support.

Cross-media Queuing

Technology used to route all incoming traffic in the same manner. Used for e-mails, instant messages, web submissions, phone calls, fax, or interactive voice response communication.

Data Mining

Process of determining customer trends to increase future sales.

Envelope Scheduling

Scheduling excess agents above the number of forecasted calls to handle other duties.

Fast Clear Down

When a customer hangs up after notification of a delay.

First Call Resolution

Solving a customer’s problem on the first interaction.

Incremental Value Analysis

Produces metrics that determine the relative value of every call center agent.

Issue Tracking System

Software that follows, analyzes, and reports every call center issue until resolution.

Longest Delay in Queue (LDQ)

Amount of time a customer will wait to talk to someone before hanging up.

Outbound Call

Telephone call going to potential customers from a call center agent. Common applications for outbound calls include sales and market research.

Predictive Dialer

Automatic dialing system that calls a list of pre-selected numbers, eliminating busy signals, answering machines, numbers not in service, and no-answers. Also predicts when a call center agent will be available to handle another call.

Schedule Adherence

Means of tracking call center agents time worked vs. time scheduled. Robust systems track everything from attendance to bathroom and scheduled breaks.

Screen Pop

Computer Telephony Integration feature that shows caller information upon connection. Provides call center agent with basic facts to begin a conversation.


Measures amount of time lost to non-work activities, such as training, illness, holidays, lunch, breaks, and vacation.

Skill-based Routing

Directs calls to agents with the appropriate skills to best handle the issue. Commonly guides customers to press #1 for sales, #2 for technical support, and so on.

Virtual Agent

This is a chatterbot application that simulates a live customer service agent on a company’s website. Also referred to as an intelligent virtual agent or v (virtual) rep.

Web Self-service

Offers both customers and employees the ability to solve common problems and tasks easily through a company’s website, thus eliminating the need for conversation with a live person.

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