PDF- Organizing and Managing the Call -CALL CENTRES / BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING (BPOs - Call Center - BPO Terminology


Abandoned Call : Also called a Lost Call

The caller hangs up before reaching an agent

Adherence to Schedule : A general term that refers to how well agents adhere to their schedules

It includes

including the time spent handling calls and time spent waiting for calls to arrive (availability) and b) the amount of time an agent was available to take calls 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),

customer service professional,

Agent Group : Also called Split,

Queue or Skills Group

A group 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,


Answer Supervision : The signal sent by the ACD or other device to the local or long distance carrier to accept a call

That is when billing for either the caller or the call centre 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

Audiotex : A voice processing capability that enables callers to automatically access pre-recorded announcements

Auto Wrap-up : An ACD feature whereby the program automatically put agents into “After-Call Work” after they finish “talk time” and disconnect calls

Automated Attendant : A voice processing capability that automates the attendant function

The system prompts callers to respond to choices (e

two for support) and then coordinates with the ACD to send callers to specific destinations

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) : The underlying factor for any call centre application

ACD offers a method for distributing incoming calls efficiently and equitably among available agents

With ACD,

incoming calls can be directed to the first idle or most idle agent within a group of agents

Agents in an ACD environment are assigned to a hunt group,

a group of agents handling the same types of calls

A hunt group is especially useful when you expect a high number of calls to a particular phone number

A hunt group might consist of people trained to handle calls on specific topics

Automatic Number Identification (ANI) : A telephone network feature that passes the number of the phone the caller is using to the call

ANI is delivered from long distance companies

Caller ID is the local phone company version of ANI

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 calls

Average Delay of Delayed Calls : The total delay for all calls divided by the number of calls that had to wait in queue

Average Handle Time (AHT) : The sum of the Average Talk Time and Average After-Call Work for a specified time period

Average Holding Time on Trunks (AHT) : The average time inbound transactions occupy the trunks for

(Talk Time + Delay Time)/Calls Received

AHT is also an acronym for Average Handling Time,

Average Speed of Answer (ASA) : Also called Average Delay

The total Delay divided by total number of calls

Average Time to Abandonment : The average time those callers wait in queue before abandoning

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 in their seats for the entire period of time


schedules need to add in extra people to accommodate breaks,

absenteeism and other factors that will keep agents from the phones

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

Blockage : Callers blocked from entering a queue

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,

Busy Hour has little use for incoming call centres,

which require more specific resource calculation methodologies

Call Blending : Combines 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

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

but do not have to press a button to answer the call

Call Vectoring : A versatile method of routing incoming calls that can be combined with automatic call distribution for improved efficiency

A Call Vector is a series of call-processing steps (such as providing ringing tones,

and queuing calls) that define how calls are handled and routed

The steps,

determine the type of processing those specific calls will undergo

Vector commands may direct calls to onpremises or off-premises destinations,

or to a specific call treatment such as an announcement,

With combinations of different vector commands,

incoming callers can be treated differently depending on the time/day,

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

Centum Call Seconds (CCS) : 100 call seconds,

a unit of telephone traffic measurement

The first C is the Roman numeral for 100

Collateral Duties : Non-phone tasks (e

data entry) that are flexible,

and can be scheduled for periods when call load is slow

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,

and then route the calls to group two

" Controlled Busies : The capability of the ACD to generate busy signals when the queue backs up beyond a programmable threshold

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

Database Call Handling : An application,

whereby the ACD works in sync with the database computer to process calls,

based on information in the database

For example,

a caller inputs digits into a voice processing system,

the database retrieves information on that customer and then issues instructions to the ACD on how to handle the call (e

what priority the call should be given in queue,

Delay : Also called Queue Time- the time a caller spends in queue,

waiting for an agent to become available

Average Delay is the same thing as Average Speed of Answer

Delay Announcements : Recorded announcements that encourage callers to wait for an agent to become available,

remind them to have their account number ready,

and provide information on access alternatives

In some systems,

delay announcements are provided through recorded announcement routes (RANs)

Dialled Number Identification Service (DNIS) : A string of digits that the telephone network passes to the ACD,

to indicate which number the caller dialled

The ACD can then process and report on that type of call according to userdefined criteria

One trunk group can have many DNIS numbers

Dual-Tone Multifrequency (DTMF) : A signalling system that sends pairs of audio frequencies to represent digits on a telephone keypad

It is often used interchangeably with the term Touchtone (an AT&T trademark)

Dynamic Answer : An ACD feature that automatically reconfigures the number of rings before the system answers calls,

based on real-time queue information

Since costs don't begin until the ACD answers calls,

this feature can save callers or the call centre money when long distance charges apply

Envelope Strategy : A strategy whereby enough agents are scheduled for the day or week to handle both the inbound call load and other types of work

Priorities are based on the inbound call load

When call load is heavy,

some agents are reassigned to work that is not as time-sensitive

Erlang : An Erlang is a number between 0 and 1 that indicates how busy a telephone facility is over a period of time

An Erlang of 1 applied to a particular telephone circuit would indicate busy 100% of the time

An Erlang can be applied to the group of lines in a telephone trunk line or to the traffic in a telephone call centre

Erlang B : A formula developed by A


widely used to determine the number of trunks required to handle a known calling load during a one hour period

The formula assumes that if callers get busy signals,

never to retry (lost calls cleared)

Since some callers retry,

Erlang B can underestimate trunks required


Erlang B is generally accurate in situations with few busy signals

Erlang C : Calculates predicted waiting times (delay) based on three things: the number of servers (reps)

the number of people waiting to be served (callers)

and the average amount of time it takes to serve each person

It can also predict the resources required to keep waiting times within targeted limits

Erlang C assumes no lost calls or busy signals,

so it has a tendency to overestimate staff required


K : A Danish engineer who worked for the Copenhagen Telephone Company in the early 1900s and developed Erlang B,

Erlang C and other telephone traffic engineering formulas

Error Rate : Either the number of defective transactions or the number of defective steps in a transaction

Escalation Plan : A plan that specifies actions to be taken when the queue begins to build beyond acceptable levels

Fast Clear Down : A caller who hangs up immediately when they hear a delay announcement

Fax on Demand : A system that enables callers to request documents,

The selected documents are delivered to the fax numbers they specify

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) : A term used in scheduling and budgeting,

whereby the number of scheduled hours is divided by the hours in a full work week

The hours of several part time agents may add up to one FTE

Grade of Service : The probability that a call will not be connected to a system because all trunks are busy

Grade of service is often expressed as "p


grade of service is used interchangeably with service level,

but the two terms have different meanings

Handled Calls : The number of calls received and handled by agents or peripheral equipment

It does not include calls that abandon or receive busy signals

Handling Time : The time an agent spends in Talk Time and After-Call Work,

Handling Time can also refer to the time it takes for a machine to process a transaction

Help Desk : A term that generally refers to a call centre set up to handle queries about product installation,

The term is most often used in the context of computer software and hardware support centres

Scheduling Exception : When an agent is involved in an activity outside of the normal,

Screen Monitoring : A system capability that enables a supervisor or manager to remotely monitor the activity on agents' computer terminals

Service Level : Also called Telephone Service Factor,

The percentage of incoming calls that are answered within a specified threshold: "X% of calls answered in Y seconds

" 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

" Smooth Call Arrival : Calls that arrive evenly across a period of time

Virtually non-existent in incoming environments

Special Causes : Variation in a process caused by special circumstances

Speech Recognition : The capability of a voice processing system to decipher spoken words and phrases

Supervisor : The person who has front-line responsibility for a group of agents

Typical ratios are one supervisor to every 10-15 agents


help desks can have one supervisor for every 5 people,

and some reservations centres have one supervisor for every 30 or 40 agents


supervisors are equipped with special telephones and computer terminals that enable them to monitor agent activities

Supervisor Monitor : Computer monitors that enable supervisors to monitor the call handling statistics of their supervisory groups or teams

T1 Circuit : A high speed digital circuit used for voice,

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" to "goodbye

" Threshold : The point at which an action,

Tie line : A private circuit that connects two ACDs or PBXs across a wide area

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) : The protocols that govern the exchange of sequential data

TCP/IP was designed by the U

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 of time

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

Universal Agent : An agent who can handle all types of incoming calls or an agent who can handle both inbound and outbound calls Virtual Call Centre : A distributed call centre that acts as a single site for call handling and reporting purposes

Visible Queue : Is when callers know how long the queue that they just entered is,

they hear a system announcement that relays the expected wait time)

Voice Processing : A blanket term that refers to any combination of voice processing technologies,

Automated Attendant,


Voice Response Unit (VRU) and Faxback

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

account balances) and complete transactions (e

make transfers between accounts)

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