Contact Center and Customer Experience Glossary

Contact Center Glossary of Terms


ACD – An automated call distribution system (ACD) is a telephony software system that answers and distributes incoming calls to a specific group of terminals or agents within an organization.

Agent – The person tasked to respond to customer calls in a contact or call center. Can be referred to as a Customer Service Representative (CSR) or a contact center agent.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Intelligence demonstrated by machines, unlike the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals, which involves consciousness and emotionality. The ideal characteristic of artificial intelligence is its ability to rationalize and take actions that have the best chance of achieving a specific goal.

Auto Dialer – A software that automatically dials many telephone numbers from a contact center database. Once the call has been answered, the Auto Dialer plays a recorded message or connects the call to a live agent.

Automatic Callback – A telephony feature that permits a customer who gets a busy signal to instruct the system to establish the connection when the line becomes available. The Callback feature can create phone queues so that customers don’t have to go through extended wait times to connect with an agent.

Average Handling Time (AHT) – Average Handle Time is the average customer interaction duration from initiation start to end.


Back-Office Optimization –The process of automating and streamlining back-office workforce functions with front-office services to improve customer and agent experiences.

Business Optimization –The process of identifying, measuring and implementing efficiency and productivity methods to increase performance and become more cost effective.


Call Center – A centralised center used for receiving and transmitting a large volume of incoming and outgoing customer telephone enquiries handled by live agents. See also: Contact Center.

Call Center Management – How organizations manage daily contact center operations – including workforce scheduling and forecasting, employee training, reporting and customer interaction analytics.

Call Center Workforce Optimization – A business strategy that integrates contact center technologies for customer experience to promote operational efficiency.

Call Center Workforce Planning – The process of forecasting staffing needs based on business drivers, such as anticipated volume, in order to hire, train, schedule and manage agents.

Call Time – The average length of time an agent is on an individual call with a customer. See also: Average Handling Time (AHT)

Call Distribution – The volume of calls distributed to agents during a given time period.

Call Volume – The number of calls made or received per second.

Caller – The customer with whom your call center/contact center system or agent interacts.

CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) – A complete, unified, cloud native contact center solution offered on a subscription basis.

Channels – Communication mediums that facilitate customer interactions in a contact center. Channels include voice, chat, chatbot, voicebot, email, text (SMS), social media.

Chat Messages – A digital message that allows a customer to quickly and easily communicate with an agent online.

Cloud-based Contact Center – A contact center powered by cloud native software (rather than on-premises hardware) to handle inbound and outbound customer interactions across multiple voice and digital channels.

Contact Center – An operation that supports inbound and/or outbound communication between customers and agents across multiple voice, digital and self-service channels for the purpose of customer service and sales. See also: Call Center.

Contact Center Agent – Front-line customer service employee that interacts directly with customers and assists with issues related to products and services.

Contact Center Management – The management tool to deliver consistent customer experiences across all channels.

Contact Center Workforce Optimization – A strategy to improve multichannel or omnichannel customer and agent experiences through the use of workforce management software.

Contact Center Workforce Planning – The process of forecasting staffing needs based on business drivers, such as anticipated volume, in order to hire, train, schedule and manage agents.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the combination of practices, strategies and technologies used to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. CRM systems compile customer data across different channels between the customer and the company, and can give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns.

Customer Engagement – The ongoing relationship a customer has with an organization based on relevant, personalized experiences and the anticipation of the customer’s evolving needs.

Customer Experience (CX) – The experience resulting from a customer’s interaction on any channel and at any touchpoint of the customer journey.
Customer Experience Management (CEM) – A contact center strategy designed to optimize customer experience and customer engagement.

Customer Journey – The customer’s full set of experiences (single or multiple interactions) when interacting with an organization. It documents the complete lifecycle from first interaction to last.

Customer Journey Management – Customer journey management uses the latest behavioral trends, strategies and software to provide seamless and consistent omnichannel customer experiences across a customer journey.

Customer Journey Optimization – The process of optimizing the customer journey through mapping and management across multiple touchpoints.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT or C-SAT) – The customer satisfaction level measured by how well the organization meets customer expectations.

Customer Service – The support offered to customers before, during, and after their purchase of products or services.



Employee Engagement – The extent to which contact center employees are engaged in their work and supporting customers. A key driver of
motivation, retention, performance, customer experience, and business success.


First Contact Resolution (FCR) – Metric indicating the contact center’s ability to resolve a customer issue during the first interaction, eliminating the need for follow-up interactions. Also referred to First Call Resolution.



Hardware – Physical infrastructure of a software or telephony system. See also: On-premises contact center

Hosted Contact Center – A customer experience solution where contact center software is installed or hosted by an off-site service provider, serving to reduce business costs and allows users to rapidly adapt to evolving needs. See also: Cloud-based contact center


Inbound Contact Center – Receives incoming calls from customers, typically monitored by support teams as calls tend to be from existing customers with issues or questions.

Interactions – Communication touchpoint between a customer and contact center.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – An automated self-service telephone information system that responds to digits entered by a customer via a touchtone phone. When set up with voice recognition software, data can be gathered through voice instead of touch tone.



Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – A one or more metrics used for performance measurement. KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages.



Multichannel Cloud Contact Center – Contact center software that is on the cloud, and not on-premises, manage inbound and outbound customer interactions across communication channels (such as voice, chat, email, social media).


Natural Language Speech Recognition (NLSR) – An advanced form of speech recognition (SR) used to recognize words and phrases, and can interpret and assign meaning to the speech it recognizes. NLSR can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, reduce agent workload, labor costs, and increase contact center productivity and profits.

Natural Language Understanding (NLU) – AI-enabled technology that allows humans to interact with computers in normal, conversational syntax. This cognitive technology allows computers to analyze spoken words along with elements like context and sentiment to derive, or understand, a person’s intent during communication.

NPS (Net Promoter® Score) – Metric used to measure customer perception of a brand and can predict revenue growth or decline. It is one of the primary methods by which companies assess loyalty and predict churn. Businesses derive the score by asking customers how likely they are, on a scale of 1 to 10, to recommend the business to others.


Omnichannel Contact Center – Allow customers to seamlessly connect with the contact center using the communication channel of their choice, including self-service options. Customers can switch channels without ever having to re-explain their issue.

Omnichannel Customer Experience – The personalized experience a customer has when their individual interactions with an organization are seamlessly connected and tracked across multiple communication channels.

Omnichannel Customer Journey – Complete set of end-to-end customer experiences when interacting with an organization across channels.

Omnichannel Customer Service – Personalized customer service achieved from seamlessly interacting with the customer across multiple channels.
On-premises contact center: A configuration of a contact center’s communication hardware, software, and infrastructure stored and operated within the place of business.

Outbound Contact Center – The Contact center makes a large volume of outgoing calls and other interactions for sales, fundraising, or similar business campaigns.

Outbound Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – Used by contact centers to send proactive, personalized outbound communications to customers. Outbound IVR automatically distributes outgoing messages to contacts across multiple channels.


Predictive Dialing – Application used by contact centers to initiate a large volume of outbound calls at one time, using an algorithm to predict outbound agent availability and transferring customers to live agents. This maximizes efficiency of agents who would otherwise spend a large amount of time dialing a long list of individual numbers that would not result in connections.


Queue – A queue is a virtual line in which a customer waits to be connected with an agent (chat queue) or other digital communication channels, such as chat (chat queue).


Return On Investment (ROI) – Return on investment is the value of an investment expressed as a percentage of funds invested to generate a gain.


Screen Pop – Information screen automatically displayed (pops) onto an agent’s dashboard, at the time of a customer interaction. When a CRM is integrated with a contact center platform, it can deliver customer data and information that enables a better customer experience.

System Administrator – Person responsible for the maintenance, configuration, installation, and operation of computer systems (including servers, and software/hardware troubleshooting across a network).


Touchpoint – Any moment across the customer journey when a customer comes into contact with the contact center. This can be a live agent or digital channel.



Virtual Contact Center (VCC) – A contact center with agents dispersed across multiple geographical locations – working from home or various offices, but are connected via virtual contact center software.

Voice over IP (VoIP) – Method and group of technologies based on an IP standard that transmits voice and data on the same network. It delivers voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet.


Workflow Management – The management of internal and external workflow systems and approaches. Workflow management monitors a defined sequence of tasks and processes, arranged as a workflow application.

Workforce Management – The management, monitoring, and training of agents within the contact center. This includes scheduling, forecasting, and workforce optimization initiatives. It maximizes performance levels and competency for an organization.

Workforce Optimization (WFO) – A strategy used to improve multichannel or omnichannel customer and agent experiences via workforce management software.

Workforce Planning – Process used to analyze and forecast an organization’s workforce and prepare for future staffing needs. Proper workforce planning ensures that the organization fulfills its strategic objectives.


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