Home > Blog

Call Center Acronyms: The Definitive Glossary

call center acronyms - wooden tiles with letters strewn about on a table

As one of the largest call center operators in North America, AnswerNet team members are routinely asked by both prospective clients and experienced call center users what some of the call center acronyms in our space mean.

We have answered these questions so many times, we thought the industry could benefit from the most comprehensive list of call center acronyms that has ever been compiled.

Save this glossary as a go-to reference because it is a near certainty it is just a matter of time before you come across an acronym you are not familiar with. By the way, if you think we may have left off one of your favorite acronyms, please send us an email with the details so we can add it to our list.

Many of these terms can be found at Dictionary.com.

Call Center Acronyms

Scan through the following list of call center acronyms and familiarize yourself with them. It takes time, but once you enroll in services, these call center acronyms will easily become second nature.

ACD – Automatic Call Distributor: This is a specialized phone system that handles incoming (or inbound) calls. The Automatic Call Distributor recognizes and answers the calls and checks in the database, and routes them to the most appropriate agent. An important role of ACD is to produce management information that tracks both calls and agent performance.

ACW – After Call Work: is the average amount of time an agent takes to wrap-up a call.

AHT – Average Handling Time: This is measured right from the time an agent begins the interaction with the customer, including the hold time, talk time, and related tasks that follow the entire transaction.

ANI  Automatic Number Identification: Automatic Number Identification (ANI) lets agents see the incoming call number as basic caller ID. ANI can also route callers by location and match them to existing contacts.

API – Application Program Interface: is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. In the contact center environment, they are often used to provide agents with information from several different databases in one application.

ASA – Average Speed of Answer: The amount of time it takes a call center agent to answer a phone call from a customer.

ASP – Application Service Provider: is a company that provides software applications to customers over the Internet, otherwise known as “software as a service” (SaaS).

ASR – Automatic Speech Recognition: is software that allows contact centers to quickly route customer calls to the right agent without human intervention by using computers to analyze the customer’s speech. This way, agents are no longer required to operate the front-end switchboard and calls are routed faster at less cost.

ATA – Average Time of Abandonment: is the average length of time that a caller will stay in a queue before they hang up the call.

BC/DR – Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery: are plans and practices put into place that support an organization. Whenever disaster strikes, the contact center will have a business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan in place to minimize damage and disruption to productivity.

BPO – Business Process Outsourcing: is a term used to describe when a contact center outsources operations or responsibilities to third party service providers, typically cloud service providers.

BCP – Business Continuity Planning: is planning for all possible scenarios to ensure your call center can continue in the midst of an unexpected issue or event.

BI – Business Intelligence: is a combination of analytics, data mining, data visualization, data tools and infrastructure to help call centers to make more data-driven decisions and improve agent efficiency and the customer experience.

BIC – Best-in-Class: is a superior product or call center within a specific market.

BUQS – Blended Universal Queue System: is a combination of email, chat, and other data enabling universal queuing along with call blending.

CCR – Customer Controlled Routing: is the process of customizing customer experience by routing incoming calls to specific agents trained to address the customer’s specific issue.

CDR – Call Detail Record: is a data record that documents the details of a telephone call or other telecommunications transaction (text message) that passes through that facility or device.

CED – Caller Entered Digits: are any digits callers enter using their telephone keypads. 

CEM – Customer Experience Management: are procedures adopted by a company to track the interactions between a customer and the call center agents.

CIS – Customer Information System: is the system containing all data pertaining to all customer premises, including addresses, billing determinants and historical data.

CLI – Calling Line Identity: is a software used to match a customer’s number and their previous call records.

CMS – Call Management System: is a system that helps identify the customers’ needs, improving customer interactions, customizing contacts, sales approaches, and automation to provide optimum service to each type of customer.

CSA – Customer Service Agent: the customer service agent that engages directly with customers via phone, chat, email, or another platform.

CSAT – Customer Satisfaction: is a score that indicates how satisfied a customer is with a specific product, transaction, or interaction with a company. The term “CSAT” is most often used in the context of a “CSAT score,” which describes a numerical measure of customer satisfaction.

CSR – Customer Service Representative: is anyone who interacts with customers. They handle complaints, process orders, and provide information about an organization’s products and services.

CTI – Computer Telephony Integration: is the ability to automatically combine voice and data at the agent desktop. It is also known as screen pop – when customer details appear automatically on an agent’s screen at the same time a call is attended. Such technologies help call center agents do their job more effectively, and in turn, create happier customers.

DID – Direct Inward Dialing: is a telephone service that allows a phone number to ring through directly to a specific phone within the organization instead of going to a menu or a queue and needing to dial an extension.

DMS – Document Management System: is the system which holds each and every customer’s document needed to properly handle a customer’s needs.

DNIS – Dialed Number Identification Service: identifies the originally dialed telephone number of an inbound call. 

DPC – Dollars Per Call: This is specific to those agents that work in the collections environment. DPC is referred to as dollars collected per call.

DSL – Digital Subscriber Line: uses existing telephone lines to transport high-bandwidth data, such as multimedia and video, to service subscribers.

EAI – Enterprise Application Integration: is the use of software and computer systems’ architectural principles to integrate a set of enterprise computer applications.

ERMS – Email Response Management System: is a set of programs that automatically handles email messages and attachments according to user-defined rules.

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning: is the integrated management of call center business processes, often in real time and mediated by software and technology.

ESAT – Employee Satisfaction: Believe it or not, ESAT is a very important call center acronym. Attrition is important to BPOs. Understanding their employee satisfaction rates help keep their attrition numbers intact.

EWT – Expected Wait Time: is the predicted amount of time an interaction has to wait in a queue before being answered.

FCR – First Call Resolution: is a way to identify the customer’s issue the first time they contact a call center agent. It is a metric that monitors the quality of service that customers are receiving by counting the number of times their issues get resolved on the first point of contact. Providing an ideal caller experience will ensure the customer keeps coming back to engage with your business.

FCRR – First Call Resolution Rate: is a popular call center metric that measures the percentage of calls where the customer problem, question, or need was resolved the first time they called.

FTE – Full Time Equivalent: is equal to the number of total scheduled person hours divided by the number of hours per week which constitute a full-time person. For example, FTE may consist of several part-time individuals whose combined work hours in a week equal the full-time person.

GOS – Grade of Service: is a metric that measures the percentage of calls or customer interactions answered within a given time period. It’s typically used to help call centers determine the amount of staff they need to provide an exceptional level of service.

INS – Intelligent Network Service: helps to distribute calls to multiple destinations present in a virtual call center network.

ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network: is a circuit-switched telephone network system that provides access to packet switched networks that allows digital transmission of voice and data. 

ISP – Internet Service Provider: is the industry term for the company that is able to provide you with access to the Internet.

IVR – Interactive Voice Response: is a telephony menu system that enables the dial pad for identification, segmentation, and routing of callers to the most appropriate agent within your team.

IXC – Interexchange Carrier: is a legal term for a telecommunication company. It is defined as any carrier that provides services across multiple local access and transport areas.

KB – A Knowledge Base: is a published collection of documentation that typically includes answers to frequently asked questions, how-to guides, and troubleshooting instructions.

KM – Knowledge Management: is a system used to manage, create, share, and use knowledge and other types of information within a company.

KPI – Key Performance Indicator: is a piece or type of data used to measure performance within a company or call center.

LOA – Least Occupied Agent: is the agent with the lowest occupancy rate, which is the ratio between the time the agent has been busy compared to the agent’s total time available.

LAN – Local Area Network: is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus, or office building.

MIA – Most Idle Agent: is a call center agent who is available and ready to take calls.

MMR – Multimedia Routing: is technology that allows for the creation of routing workflows for all media. This provides a consistent routing experience across all channels (SMS, email, video, etc).

NCP – Next Call Prevention: refers to avoiding another call from a customer by satisfying their needs on the first call. This metric is also used to gauge a CSR’s ability to predict future needs through fact-finding.

NSP – Network Service Provider: is a loyalty measurement of how likely a customer is to recommend your company, product, or service to a friend. Using a single survey question with a 1-10 scale, customers are grouped into a category: promoter, passive, or detractor. The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

OAM – Operations, Administration, and Maintenance: are the processes, activities, tools, and standards involved with operating, administering, managing, and maintaining a contact center system. 

OJT – On the Job Training: is training that teaches a paid employee the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job and is provided while they are engaged in productive work.

OPA – Off Phone Activity: is any task, responsibility, or activity completed by a call center agent that does not involve being on the phone or handling communication from customers.

OSI – Open System Interconnector: provides a standard for different computer systems to be able to communicate with each other.

PABX – Private Automatic Branch Exchange: is a telephone network that is owned, operated, and used within a single organization. 

PCP – Post Call Processing: is the duration of time spent between two successive calls and includes the time that a call center agent takes to perform the post call formalities like filling out necessary forms and notating customer records.

PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network: is inclusive of the world’s circuit-switched telephone networks that are operated by national, regional, or local telephony operators. It consists of telephone lines, fiber optic cables, cellular networks, communications satellites, and undersea telephone cables, all interconnected by switching centers, which allows most telephones to communicate with each other. 

QA – Quality Assurance: is the process of measuring the overall performance of agents and then using that data to determine if the level of service meets customer expectations. The data gathered is used to make improvements to processes in an effort to optimize the customer experience.

QM – Quality Monitoring: In order to ensure that contact centers are continuously providing the best possible experience for their customers, quality monitoring (QM) is carried out in various forms to monitor agent performance.

QoS – Quality of Service: is inclusive of any process or protocol that monitors data traffic to ensure that certain streams of data are prioritized to provide a guaranteed level of service to customers. For example, voice data streams are often prioritized in call centers in order to provide callers and agents with a crystal-clear connection.

RFI – Request for Information: is a preliminary informative document requested by companies that have no prior experience with a product or software and need to gain an understanding of the range of options available to them.

RFP – Request for Proposal: is a document that requests vendors to propose solutions to a customer’s problems or business requirements. An RFP typically follows an RFI.

RNA – Ring No Answer: is the duration an initiated call rings at the destination before being classified as a ‘No Answer.’

ROI – Return on Investment: is a performance measurement used to evaluate the amount of return on a particular investment relative to the investment’s cost.

SaaS – Software as a Service: is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. Cloud Contact Center software is a perfect example of SaaS.

SA – Speech Analytics: is the process of analyzing recorded calls to gather customer information to improve communication and future interaction.

SCB – Skill-Based Routing: is a strategy used by call centers to route customers to the best agent based on customer voice response (VRU).

SBR – Skill-Based Routing: is an intelligent call routing system that will automatically direct customers with a specific problem to agents with the skills needed to resolve that issue in the fastest possible time, without having to escalate the call any further.

SFA – Sales Force Automation: is a system designed to improve sales productivity by automating various sales processes like making calls, sending emails, leaving messaging, or noting interaction details in CRM tools.

SIP – Session Initiation Protocol: is a signaling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, and terminating real-time sessions that include voice, video, and messaging applications.

SL – Service Level: is a measurement tied to customer service satisfaction and quality of an agent. Their service level is found by the percentage of calls answered within a targeted measurement of time.

SLA – Service Level Agreement: is the level of service you expect from a vendor, laying out the metrics by which service is measured, as well as remedies or penalties should agreed-on service levels not be achieved. 

TAPI – Telephony Application Programming Interface: is an API that enables computer telephony integration. It puts call controls in the hands of an application so it can interact with a phone system.

TSAPI – Telephony Server Application Programming Interface: Similar to TAPI, a telephony service application programming interface (TSAPI) is also an API that makes it easier for CTI solutions to integrate telephony and computer systems, except it is server-based.

TCO – Total Cost of Ownership: includes the purchase price of a particular system, software, hardware, asset, plus operating costs over the asset’s lifespan. 

TTS – Text to Speech: is a form of speech synthesis used to create a spoken version of the text in an electronic document.

UC – Unified Communications: is the integration of enterprise communication services such as instant messaging, voice (including IP telephony), audio, and web & video conferencing with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail and SMS).

UCD – Uniform Call Distributor: is the system that automatically delivers each incoming call to the next available agent’s line through rotation of lines rather than always starting at the first agent/line in a group of agents/lines.

VOC – Voice of the Customer: Customer service feedback, survey response, and insights.

VoIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol: is a technology that delivers voice communication and multimedia sessions (such as video) over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

VPN – Virtual Private Network: extends a private network across a public network and allows users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. 

VRU – Voice Response Unit: is an interactive technology that allows humans to communicate with computers, either through voice or dual-tone multifrequency.

WAN – Wide Area Network: is a computer network in which computers are connected when distanced a half mile or more.

WFM – Workforce Management: is a combination of processes that maximizes performance levels and competency for an organization. Work Force works directly to optimize productivity of employees, forecasting labor and agent needs, as well as creating and managing agent schedules to accomplish required tasks and call volume.

WFO – Workforce Optimization: is used by call centers to improve workforce management. It integrates business performance considerations with workforce management and involves automating processes, data visibility, compliance on legislation, and solving business problems related to staffing.

Upgrade Your Business with Call Center Services Today!

Just because you now have the definition of the most common call center acronyms, it does not mean you have the information needed to select the right call center. With nearly 25 years of experience, AnswerNet has the expertise, personnel, and bandwidth to help you achieve the ROI on your call center investment.  

AnswerNet offers inboundoutboundautomated, and BPO (another of the call center acronyms) call center services providing you with a wide range of service and technology options to fit any business model.

Contact us today to speak with one of our experts who will walk you through the many options to choose from to assure you have the exact program for your needs.