City of Albuquerque
Glossary of CRM Terms
A call that has been offered to a communications network or telephone system
but which is terminated by the person origi
nating the call before it is answered by the person or CSR
ACD (Automatic Call Distributor):
A specialized telephone system designed for handling many
incoming and/or outgoing calls. An ACD performs 4 major functions.
It will deliver the call
to the appropriate CSR.
It will look in its database to see what to do with that call.
It will recognize and answer an incoming call.
It will send the call to a particular Split/skill or VRU.
The term automatic call distributor comes from distributing the
calls in some logical pattern to a group
of CSRs. The pattern could be uniform (everyone getting the same number of calls), top
hunts starting from the 1
CSR) or specialty routing, whereby calls are routed to specific CSRs based
on their skill
ACDs also produce management information that is critical in the staffing of a call center. This
information centers on three areas:
Deciphering the arrival of incoming calls (when, how many, which lines, from where, etc.)
How many callers were pu
t on hold, asked to wait and didn’t
Information on the origin of the call.
A Customer Service Representative that is a member of an inbound, outbound, skills
based or programmable ACD group.
BASED CALL ROUTING
: In addition to t
he traditional methods of routing and
tracking calls by trunk and agent (CSR) group, most ACDs can route and track calls by application.
An application is a type of call (sales v service for example).
ACD CONDITIONAL ROUTING:
The ability of an ACD to monit
or various parameters within the call
center and to intelligently route calls based on these parameters. Parameters could include volume
levels of calls in Split/skill, number of CSRs available in designated CSR groups or the length of the
An active call is any call that is not in hold status or in split/skill. An active call
includes the establishment/connection of the call as well as the talk time.
American Disability Act. This law outlines facility design guidelines for
ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line):
A relatively new form of service being offered by
Bell Companies. ADSL uses existing copper wires in conjunction with ADSL modems at both the
subscriber end and the central office to send hi
speed digital signals back and forth.
Customer Service Representative
who perform tasks such as answering the telephone,
making outbound calls, handling Internet transactions and other CSR level tasks.
A call center CSR who, b
y pushing a button/buttons on their telephone,
signals the ACD that they are available/not available to receive calls.
AIN (Advanced Intelligent Network):
Term used by both IXCs and Bell companies in describing
their network architecture. The interpretatio
n of AIN generally refers to the ability to route calls on a
per call basis using criteria different than simply finding a logical path to complete the call. Also, the
originator of the call can inject information to the call that will affect its terminati
A method of transmitting voice, video and data signals in which the
transmitted signal replicates the original signal.
ANI (Automatic Number Identification):
A feature of signaling system 7 that allows the calling
ne number to be transmitted to the called party. ANI delivery is usually associated with
free numbers and is limited to the billing telephone number delivery.
ASA (Average Speed of Answer):
How long the average caller has to wait before speaking to a
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This is the most popular coding
method for small computers to convert letters, numbers and punctuation into digital form. Once
converted, other computers and communication devices can und
erstand ASCII characters.
ATM (Asynchronous Transmission Mode):
A method of transmission that is based on cell switched
technology. All broadband transmissions (be they voice, video or data) are divided into a series of
cells (53 bytes per cell) and routed
across a network consisting of links connected by ATM switches.
The advantage of ATM is the ability to handle voice, data and video transmissions uniformly. The cell
based network allows the constant bit rate needs of voice with the variable rate services
of the data
A gradual, natural reduction of CSRs over a year. For example, on January 1 there
were 100 CSRs and on December 31 there were 90. The annual attrition would be 10%.
A code that needs to be entered by a us
er to gain access to a system or
service. If the caller is making a call from a restricted line the PBX will prompt the user for an
authorization code. If one is given the call will go through, if not the call will be denied.
An ACD feature w
hereby the ACD is automatically programmed to put the CSR
into after call work after they finish their call and disconnect calls. When they finish the after call work
they place themselves into Available status.
The delay between the time a
call is answered by the ACD and the time it is
answered by a person. This typically includes time for an initial recorded announcement and time
spent in split/skill.
AVERAGE HANDLE TIME
: The period of time an employee is occupied with a call. This is the s
of talk time and after call work time.
AVERAGE SPEED OF ANSWER:
How many seconds it takes for an operator/CSR, on average, to
answer a call.
Management activities which, when compared and contrasted to similar
activities, are deemed to b
e providing the greatest value. In most cases, these practices would benefit
the organization if shared across the enterprise and in some cases require reinforcement or slight
enhancement. Examples of these activities may be technology, facilities, process
procedures, communications practices and policies.
A CSR who answers both incoming calls and places outgoing calls. A
controversial philosophy due to the different skills needed for each type of call handling.
BLENDED CALL CENTE
A call center that employs blended Agents / CSRs.
An Internet connection that is much faster than a modem dial
Connection can be via DSL, Cable, or LAN.
The complete scope of a construction project.
hour of the day (or week or month) during which the telephone system carries the
most traffic. An important concept in traffic engineering, the idea is to configure the system with
enough capacity to carry the “busy hour” traffic so there will be no proble
m with all the other hours. In
reality, few companies configure their systems to carry all the traffic at the busy hour. Rather, they
figure what percent of busies they can live with during the busy hour (2%, 5%, etc.) and engineer to
The concept of connecting to the long distance network without using the Local Exchange
Carrier (in most cases a Bell Company). This is done for cost reasons, diversity reasons or both.
: Standardizing the interpretations of quantitative measuri
ng instruments such as the
call monitoring form. The process involves gathering management, training and quality personnel to
observe the same telephone call and to individually complete a call evaluation. This weekly
performed process provides opportunity
to consistently interpret observations and resolve confusion
of what is and what is not acceptable behavior.
A group of agents / CSRs that handle incoming and or outgoing phone calls. Call
Centers can in a single facility (location), multipl
e locations, or virtual (see virtual call center).
CALL CENTER BUDGET:
A financial document, which illustrates the expenditures of a call center
and compares planned and actual performance. The budget is normally broken down into monthly
increments and is
comprised of a series of line item expenses. Ideal call center budgets include
capital, variable and fixed expenses. Capital may include furniture, equipment and technology. Fixed
may include rent, utilities, security. Variable may include forecasts, perso
nnel, fringe benefits, taxes,
vacations, and holidays. In some forms, there are also budgeted revenue plans.
CALL CENTER TENETS:
Understanding the implications of process design in the dynamic
environment of a call center. Management activities in a call c
enter are interdependent and therefore
require documenting the relationship that each activity has on each other and the operation as a
whole. This includes responsibility to continuously improve the process in the most efficient and
effective manner by pe
rforming root cause analysis and developing action plans.
Activities normally found within a call center include:
Physical Plant Maintenance
Voice and Data Technology
Service Level Objectives
Individual Performance Metrics
Hiring and Recruiting
Training and Development
Quality Monitoring and Evaluation
Budget (revenue and cost)
CALL COMPLETION RATE:
The ratio of successfully completed calls to the total number
The general requirements that a CSR follows in handling a call. These requirements
are usually found on a Call Monitoring Form.
A diagram of important call components that illustrates a natural flow of conversation
between the CSR and the calling customer
from greeting to close. The component breakdown
includes: building rapport, identifying needs, processing needs, providing information, cross
CALL MIX SURVEY:
Quantifying the types of transa
ctions/calls and their frequency, as a
percentage, for the purpose of interpreting Average Handle Time. (Talk Time plus After Call Work)
CALL MONITORING FORM:
A document developed and introduced by the training department, with
completion and administratio
n of the form handled by Supervisors and Quality Assurance personnel.
The purpose of the form is to identify specific behaviors such as Identifying self/company, controlling
call, clarifying needs, using judgment, responding, bridging to sales, fact findin
objections, offering additional help, requesting hold permission, branding and closing.
CALL PICKUP GROUP:
All the phones in an area that can be answered by each other with the
entering of one or two digits.
CALL SETUP TIME:
The amount of tim
e it takes for a circuit switched call to be established. Call
setup time includes dialing, wait time and time for the call to move between local central offices and
the long distance network. A client does not pay for call setup time but excessive call se
tup time can
A plan that provides a call center agent / CSR with one or more potential
promotion paths to positions of greater responsibility and /or technical knowledge.
The documentation of the interaction that
an agent / CRS has with someone who contacts
them. Can also be called a Service Request.
: One hundred call seconds or one hundred seconds of telephone conversation. One hour of
telephone traffic is equal to 36 CCS (60x60=3600 divided by 100 =36)
A business telephone service offered by a local telephone company from a local central
office. Centrex is sold to business customers as a cost efficient alternative to buying their own PBX,
saving valuable square footage and providing a seamless way t
o receive all of the latest system
A leading application used by local municipalities (Cities / Counties) to manage
animal care departments.
Committed Information Rate:
A frame relay term referring to the maximum transmission spe
over a link to the frame relay network. Customers can exceed the CIR although the excess data can
be surcharged or be susceptible to being discarded. For example, a customer with a CIR of 16Kbs
would be guaranteed that 16Kbs would be delivered but any s
peed in excess of that (e.g., a 56kbs
connection) would be allowed but not guaranteed.
The act of setting up and keeping a circuit open for use between two or more
users. The way traditional voice calls are made.
Companies who intend to compete with the
incumbent local exchange carriers (Bells, GTE, etc.) to provide local exchange service. ISPs, Cable
TV companies are two of the potential CLEC breeding grounds.
A means of referring
to a system where the workload is split between desktop
PCs (workstations or “clients”) and one or more larger computers (“servers”) joined together on a
Local Area Network.
Clients are devices that request information on a local area network. A fa
ncy way of saying
a PC on a LAN.
Regularly scheduled feedback sessions, usually held at least
monthly, which outline performance over the previous period in regard to productivity and quality.
Sessions normally include one
ne discussion of self
assessment. Call observations, ACD
reports, training issues, goal setting and action plans.
Often referred to as spontaneous feedback, whereby immediate response to
performance is given to individuals. This may i
nclude positive reinforcement or counseling,
whichever warrants immediate attention.
Referring to the local, state, federal, and fire codes regulating the occupancy of a facility.
The areas within a facility that are shared by tenants
, such as a lobby, rest
rooms, elevators, etc.
Reducing the bandwidth or number of bits needed to encode information. Done
typically by eliminating long strings of identical bits or bits that do not change in sampling intervals,
(chest of a p
erson in a videoconference for example). Compression saves transmission capacity and
can be financially beneficial to customers if they are willing to brave the potential quality issues.
COMPUTER BASED TRAINING (CBT):
Interactive, multimedia, computer cour
seware used by
individual learners at a self
directed pace to master job related material. Courses include tutorials
and simulations to assist in learning and applying information. Training is self
directed (See Self
Directed Learning) thereby allowing l
earners to bookmark their activities to return at a later time.
Early versions were limited to text and graphics, which learners read and were then tested on for
comprehension. Current training includes recording, voice management, coaching feedback, v
audio, etc. that create an entertaining, stimulating means of presenting information to guarantee
retention. Progress and scores are recorded for mastery, certification, grade elevation and
COMPUTER TELEPHONY INTEGRATION (CTI):
A term for
connecting a computer to a telephone
switch (PBX or ACD) and having the computer issue appropriate data to be used with the call. The
goal is to add productivity to the telephone call, enabling the purpose of the call to be achieved more
most common utilization of CTI is to add “screen pop” information about the caller to
CSR desktops as the call is delivered to them. This information is relevant to the call and enables the
CSR to process the call more expeditiously.
l center that also handles multi
channel communications, such as email,
FAX, and Internet chat sessions.
Refers to the skills, knowledge and experience a CSR is required to have to
be a candidate.
Customer Support Representative
In ISDN interface, the D channel carries control signals and customer call data.
Also known as a “leased line”, a dedicated line provides a constant transmission
path between point A and point B.
nnouncements given to incoming callers stating that
they are being delayed and placed in split/skill. Some announcements provide information, request
information and inform callers as to how long (approximately) they will remain in split/skill.
e computer’s working environment. The screen layout, menu bar and icons combine to
be the “desktop.”
CONNECT SYSTEM (DACS):
A specialized type of high
speed data channel
switch. As opposed to voice switches, which configure transmission paths
as a result of dialing
instructions, a DACS is given specific instructions to connect one line to another. These instructions
are made irrespective of any calls that may go over the system.
A network in which the information is encoded an
d sent as a series of ones
and zeros rather than as a continuous varying wave, as in analog networks.
The act of consulting a database for information. Used extensively by long distance carriers in
providing features associated with Advanced Intellige
nt Networks and especially with toll
DIRECT INWARD DIALING (DID):
The ability to dial inside a company and reach individuals without
going through an attendant.
A means to affect redundancy for a customer network. There are variou
s forms of
diversity. Entry diversity is having separate cables enter the building. The local loop connection is
provided through multiple, non
adjacent cable pairs in separate cables. Also, there is Central Office
diversity where the local loops terminate
to different central offices. Finally, Carrier Diversity allows
the customer to connect to multiple carrier POPs.
DNIS: Dialed Number Identification Service:
A feature of toll
free service that provides the number
the caller dialed to reach the PBX/ACD an
d associated CTI interface. This feature is especially
valuable for service bureaus that need to answer calls for many different customers with the same
CSRs and need a way to differentiate the callers and access the appropriate script.
e of a separate headset, plugged directly into CSR telephone sets to hear
both sides of conversations, observe transactions, take notes and ask questions of the CSRs.
Digital Service Level. A hierarchy of digital trunk speeds used to classify c
lines and trunks. Also referred to as T
1 or T
0 is a channel that carries 64,000 BPS. DS
1.544 MBPS and DS
3 is 44.736 MBPS, equivalent of 28 DS
DTMF (Dual Tone Multi
Tech talk for touch
A computer terminal with no processing or no programming capabilities. As such,
it derives all its power from the computer to which it is attached; typically over a local hardwire line or
a phone line. Dumb terminals are inexpensive and typically used for
simple data entry and data
Routing that adjusts automatically to changes in network topology or traffic.
European equivalent to DS
1 in North America. Slightly more capacity than DS
2.048 Mbps or 30 c
hannels instead of the North American 24 channel standard.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange):
A series of standards that provide computer
exchange of business documents from different companies over telephone lines. Forward thinking
re beginning to require their vendors to offer EDI for receipt of orders, payment of
EIGHT HUNDRED SERVICE:
The first NXX set aside for calls to be billed automatically to the called
party. See Toll
Free service for more details.
store and forward” service that transmits text messages from one computer terminal/PC
to another terminal/PC. A message sent is stored in the recipient’s “mailbox” until that person logs
onto the system. At that point, the message is delivered. Rapidly b
ecoming the de facto way to
communicate in many organizations. Fast, economical and widely accepted.
What those funny little symbols :
) in e
mail are called.
IBM invented this meaning of enterprise, i.e., the whole corpora
enterprise network includes LANs, WANs, local trunks, etc.
A mathematical way of making predictions about randomly arriving telephone
calls based on known information such as average call duration. Often used to determine the numb
of trunks needed to handle the number of calls arriving to provide a desired grade of service.
Data term used to describe a damaged packet of information.
A leading GIS application used to map latitude / longitude coordinates. Can map a st
address or an intersection.
A type of local area network used to connect computers, printers, servers, etc. within a
building or campus environment. Ethernet operates over twisted wire and coaxial cable at speeds up
to 10 MBPS, 100 MBPS, and
1 GBPS. The guiding principal for Ethernet transmission is “listen
before you speak”. It is a first come, first served system that will allow any device on the LAN to send
information. If there is a “collision”; (two devices sending at once), the Ethernet
will jam the network.
Then, after a short period of time, the sending begins again, though hopefully not simultaneously.
Defined procedure, which documents an outgoing interview with a CSR that
discloses reasons and motivations for leaving
The physical surroundings of the call center.
Equipment, which allows printed material to be sent through the switched
telephone system and printed out on a distant machine. Piece parts in a fax machine are scanne
decoders and modems. Essentially, a fax is two machines; one to send and one to receive, housed in
one. The better fax machines also have memory to store faxes for the inevitable situation where the
paper runs out.
FAST PACKET SERVICES:
An umbrella ter
m incorporating Frame Relay and ATM.
FAX ON DEMAND:
A means of ordering fax documents from a distant machine by entering digits
corresponding to the desired fax. A combination of fax and voice processing technology.
A computer that sits on a LA
N and receives incoming faxes. The server stores these
faxes and distributes them to locations on the LAN.
Federal Communications Commission
Furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The way of the future for network construction. Ability
to transmit data in much greater
amounts (though no faster) than copper wire. Specifically, modulated beams of light are sent over thin
strands of glass. These modulated beams of light can carry enormous amounts of data.
A device on a LAN that
“serves” files to everyone on the LAN. It can be the
gatekeeper for e
mail messages, applications such as word processing and spreadsheets and has
the capability, if not robust enough, to be a bottleneck.
FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEM
: The systems in place that
detect and abate fire in the facility,
including alarms, sprinklers, Halon, etc.
A combination of hardware and software that limits the exposure of a group of
computers to the outside world. Most common application is from a LAN to the Internet.
: The block drawing of the call center space, showing physical layout and furniture
: The total square footage per floor in a facility.
Using historical data from the ACD to predict what will happen in the futu
re. A key
factor in determining the appropriate number of CSRs to be deployed in a call center or across
FOREIGN EXCHANGE SERVICE (FX LINE):
Used to provide local telephone service from a central
office, which is outside the subscriber’s
exchange area. Often used to give the appearance of a local
presence when, in reality, there is none. An alternative to toll
free service though not nearly as
A form of data transmission where packets of data, called frames, are sent
telecommunications networks. These packets of data can vary in size. They are sent without error
checking and their frame relay is protocol independent. The combination of these two factors allows
these packets (called “frames”) to be sent through
the network faster than older x.25 transmissions.
Frame relay also uses the concept of a shared network where frames of information are sent, held if
needed in the network (also called buffering), read and sent to the destination location. Frame relay is
ideally suited for LAN to LAN traffic whose characteristics are bursty traffic and multiple destinations.
The areas within a call center that are shared by departments, such as break
rooms, conference rooms, etc.
Generally a d
driven device that provides electricity to a facility in the event of
commercial power failure.
Graphical Information System (e.g. ESRI)
GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE (GUI):
Any interface that substitutes graphics for characters.
t page that is seen when users connect to a World Wide Web site. Typically, it
is a “welcome” page that gives guidance to all the material contained on the web site as well as
directions for accessing it.
A computer attached to a network pro
viding computing services, databases
access and other specific programs germane to the particular organization.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language):
The authoring software language used on the World Wide
Web. HTML is used for creating WWW pages.
integral part of the Web, hypertext allows a user to move non
linked ideas. In English, hypertext is the blue text on web pages that will transport you to a further
explanation/pursuit relating to its meaning.
ling consisting of tones, usually MF tones that are carried along the
same circuit that is being set up for the call. Most IXCs offer in
band signaling and provide ANI
service with it. The alternative and some would say better, method of providing ANI is w
Band signaling, where the information travels along a separate path using the D channel in an ISDN
INTELLIGENT PERIPHERAL (IP):
The other IP. A network system, generally a computer, which
allows the exchange of information between the
user and the network. All network routing prompts
utilize an Intelligent Peripheral to absorb the information and dispatch the routing instructions.
Some examples of uses of Intelligent Peripherals to provide services are the following:
A message is stored in the LD carrier’s network that can be played when a toll
free number is dialed. This message contains information generated by the subscriber to be heard by
Call Prompting: When a caller reaches a toll
free number, they a
re given a menu from which they are
asked to give a response (generally push 1, 2, etc.) From that response, a translation number is sent
by the IP to the carrier to send that call to a particular destination.
IP functions can be programmed by the subscrib
er in conjunction with their LD carrier.
INTERACTIVE VOICE RESPONSE UNIT (IVR or VRU):
A computer, essentially, that utilizes remote
tone telephones as its keyboard for entering information. IVRs use prerecorded or synthesized
voice for offering opti
ons and information to the callers. Based upon the information requested, an
IVR will deliver pre
recorded factoids or deliver calls to a specified CSR or CSR groups on an ACD.
IVRs allow individuals to access information in an organization’s database and
to receive that
information either verbally, via a touch
tone telephone or on a PC via the Internet. By allowing
repetitive and/or routine inbound calls to be routed to IVRs, companies can greatly enhance and
maximize the efficiency of their staff.
CHANGE CARRIERS (IXC):
Companies that are allowed to provide telecommunications
services between LATAs.
INTERNET PROTOCOL (IP):
Part of TCP/IP. Describes the software that tracks the Internet address
of nodes, routes outgoing messages and recognizes incomi
The world’s largest computer network and even this definition can trivialize it. The core of
the Internet is many large computer networks linked together via T
3 and faster OC
1 and OC
links. Information passes along this netw
ork in a packet switched manner utilizing Transmission
Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). This protocol allows diverse architectures and hardware
to communicate with each other. To many, the Internet is equivalent to the World Wide Web, which is
actually an application on the Internet. Almost every reasonably sized commercial entity has a
presence on the World Wide Web and, in conjunction with e
mail has changed the way business is
conducted around the world.
Essentially a private Intern
et. A private network environment built around Internet
technologies and standards. Through passcodes, a corporation can emulate the World Wide Web. By
using a Web server the user is able to access specific locations germane to the company’s operation.
s could include job postings, product specs, etc.
A device that can dial up and combine multiple lower speed circuits into a
virtual broadband circuit.
Each host computer on the Internet has a unique identifier allowing it
to receive traffic.
This numeric identifier is its address.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network):
A two flavored offering. ISDN Basic Rate Interface
(BRI) comes at 144,000 BPS and is a residential offering that is just now making headway in the
etplace. ISDN BRI offers two voice channels (B channels) and an information channel (D
channel). The bandwidth available for each call plus the excess bandwidth available for information
services allows for numerous features. In addition, an ISDN line can
cruise the Internet at speeds far
surpassing any normal line and can be used for limited motion video. ISDN PRI is sold at 1, 544, 000
BPS and is utilized by businesses for many of the same features (caller identification, DNIS, dynamic
n) on a larger scale. PRI has 23 B channels and 1 D channel.
A set of generic standards that provide quality assurance requirements and quality
A programming language from Sun Microsystems that is designed primarily f
software for the World Wide Web.
Documents developed to communicate a general description of a specific job
and include areas such as; title, grade, roles and responsibilities, duties and required experience.
to indices commonly found in a call center such as Calls Offered, Calls
Answered, Talk Time, After Call Work Time, Average Handle Time, Occupancy, Average Speed of
Answer, Service Level, Abandoned Rates, Dials, Attempts, Completes.
Refers to r
atios created to track productivity and associated activities for forecasting.
Examples include calls per account/DDA, calls per hour, calls per sale, sales per hour, cost per call,
revenue per call or any set of values where there is believed to be an ass
LAN (Local Area Network):
A short distance data communications network used to link together
computers, printers and other peripheral devices with some form of standard control.
The rate that is charged per square foot for the space occup
Service lease includes
lease rate plus utilities and janitorial.
LEAST COST ROUTING:
A telephone system feature that automatically chooses the lowest cost
telephone line to complete a call placed from the system. Possibly becoming a dinosaur fea
most LD companies now offer flat rate pricing.
The practice of splitting communication into two or more routes. This enables
communications to be faster and more reliable. Load balancing can be done in a PBX to allocate
tably between separate cabinets, thus reducing the number of calls that need to traverse
The physical wires that run from the subscriber PBX to the telephone company
LOCAL NUMBER PORTABILITY (LNP):
, the ability of a customer to “take” their
telephone number with them as they change local telephone companies or move to a new LATA. Not
yet here but, when it arrives, will be a very big deal.
A powerful computer, almost always linked to a lar
ge set of peripheral devices and
used in a multipurpose environment. It contains hundreds of megabytes of memory and hundreds of
gigabytes of disk storage. It serves literally hundreds of terminals.
A network of dedicated lines that connect e
ach and every site. A fully meshed
network (all sites connected by a dedicated link to all other sites) insures high availability of efficient
transmission between sites. The downside of a meshed network is its high cost. Virtual networks are
the choice for connecting dispersed, geographic locations.
The standard of measurement used to illustrate CSR performance, i.e. attendance,
schedule adherence, documented call handling behavior, productivity (calls per hour, sales per call,
er call), talk time, after call work time, accuracy, etc.
Software, invisible to the users, that takes two or more different applications and
makes them compatible. Most often utilized between telephony and computer applications.
process of describing and accounting for the known qualities in the core
competencies. Means used to validate the core competencies of a CSR.
Short for Modulator/Demodulator. Pieces of equipment that convert digital signals to analog
and vice versa.
In most cases, when using the Public Switched Telephone Network, even though the
backbone may be digital, the local loop is almost always analog. A modem converts the digital output
from a computer into analog signals that the PSTN understands. At the dis
tant end, the modem
converts the analog signal from the local loop into the digital language of the computer. Different
types of modems can be used for dial
up connections, DSL, or cable.
To transmit two or more signals over a single channel. T
he method by which
compression takes place.
A circuit connecting three or more locations.
Background music heard when a caller is on hold or in split/skill. Also, can be
advertised messages as well as music or whatever e
lse the company wants to pipe in.
NETWORK CALL DISTRIBUTION:
At one time a Sprint feature offering but now has a more generic
meaning. Software in the network that, via connections to ACD locations, can monitor the CSR status
at each location. Then, as a c
all is presented from the network to the NCD software, the call will be
routed to the most appropriate location based upon predetermined variables.
A computer with very limited power primarily used to access the Internet.
The concept of having multiple ways of moving information around the
network. This can be in the form of access diversity, carrier diversity and carrier redundancy.
NETWORK OPERATIONS CENTER:
The place where the corporate network is monitored and
ed as needed.
A network that is configured so that any failure can automatically result
in a rerouting of traffic via alternate paths, so that there is no, or very minimal, disruption.
In the telephony world, how calls travel f
rom origination to destination. A network links
locations. A computer network links terminals, servers, printers, peripherals, etc. Networks can be
worldwide or can be campus wide LANs.
digit code that identifies the local central office. N re
presents any digit from 2 to 9 and X
is any digit. As the central offices have become more intelligent and, as the numbering plan is
beginning to be exhausted, there are some local exchanges that have 1 or 0 included in the second
an Area. Also known as area codes. Used to be that the second number could
not be 0 or 1 but, with the changes in switching technology, area codes can now be NXX like.
Presently applies to toll
free numbers, soon will apply to local num
well; number portability refers to the ability to “take a number with you” regardless of carrier or
(CSRs) Quantifying the actual usage of CSR time versus the maximum amount of
time available. A CSR’s occupied time i
s that period (during a defined interval such as a 1/2 hour),
when they are talking on the phone
the after call work time for the immediately preceding call.
The occupancy is illustrated in a percentage. For example, the combined time for talking and
work for a half
hour period is 1620 seconds, therefore the occupancy is 90%. (1620/1800)
Original Equipment Manufacturer
The maker of the equipment marketed by another vendor.
A call that is received by the ACD. The call is th
en either answered or abandoned.
When referring to a customer’s network (either virtual or private), a call in which
either a portion or all of the call travels the public switched network.
The periods of time after the business
day when carriers offer discounted rates. Usually
this is between 7 PM and 7 AM on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.
ON LINE HELP:
Series of screens, which allow CSRs to seek answers to questions
Telephone calls that are transmitted entire
ly on a customer’s network, either virtual or
Known simply as fiber in telecom world. Ideal transmission medium inasmuch as
there is enormous bandwidth, minimal transmission and almost no cross talk from adjacent fibers.
is abundantly available.
OSI (OSI MODEL):
The agreed upon standards that allow different systems to communicate with
each other. The model is broken out into layers that describe the required processes for
communications. The layers are as follows:
1: The physical layer dealing with the electrical and manual means of sending information. The
railroad track, as an analogy.
Layer 2: The Data Link layer. This layer deals with the procedures and protocols for sending the
information. The connecting of th
e railroad tracks together.
Layer 3: The network layer determines how data is transmitted between computers. The boxcars, in
the railroad analogy.
Layer 4: The transport layer manages how end
end delivery of information will take place within
n networks. In the analogy, the cargo inside the boxcars.
7 are specific to the applications being transmitted over the data railroad.
Signaling that is separate from the channel carrying the information.
The D channel in an
A term for a bundle of data. Packets consist of headers (information about the destination,
address of sender, synchronization information, etc.) text, (the actual information being sent) and
trailer (the end of the packet with error
detection and correction bits.
Sending data in packets through a network. In packet switching, the session
is broken down into small packets of information. Each packet has an address encoded in it. Think of
the packet switching network
as an enormous post office (much more efficient than the US Postal
Service) that handles millions of packets and ships them to their destination. They may (and probably
will) arrive at their destination via a different route but it will still get there. Th
is delay in arrival is what
makes packetized voice less than desirable. When the packets arrive at their destination, they are
reassembled into chronological order and delivered to the computer. Packet switching technology is
at the heart of frame relay se
rvice. Faster packet delivery and fixed packet length are the precursors
to voice over IP.
The wall partition between workstations.
Private Branch Exchange. The telephone system that a business utilizes. As opposed to
Centrex, the PBX is a mi
niature telephone central office that a customer can own. There are
numerous manufacturers of PBXs with the leading ones being Avaya, Lucent, Nortel and Siemens.
PBXs can incorporate numerous telephone features including automated attendant, voice mail and
can integrate ACD functionality into them.
The hour when the number of calls coming into the call center is at its highest level.
The part of a business day when the cost of making a telephone call is at its height. Generally
from 7 AM to
A LAN in which every node has equal access to the network and can
send and receive information at any time without having to wait for permission from a control node.
POINT OF PRESENCE:
A physical location where a long distance
carrier interfaces with the network
of the local exchange company.
A method of analyzing the number of trunks needed by customers to handle their calls.
The major difference between Erlang and Poisson is that Erlang presumes that blocked calls
appear and Poisson has them redialing continually until they get through. Thus, Erlang analysis
will come up with fewer trunks needed than Poisson.
A single, web
based entry point to content relevant to users inside (employee) and outside
The display of pages within this entry point may be based on who you are
and can often be personalized by the individual. Characteristics of a portal may include (and are not
Signing on once only to use any of the applicati
ons to which you have access
The ability to perform comprehensive searches throughout the portal
Collaboration capabilities (such as instant messaging, team work places, etc.)
Security based on what role you have in the City as well as who you are
ctory capabilities to quickly locate people and resources
The ability to notify people via email and other technologies
Strong user assistance and training capabilities
The ability to quickly add and maintain content
Good workflow capabilities
itive, consistent and user
consists of one or more pages.
Pages can consist of static, unchanging web
content (e.g. a welcome message), or they can consist of dynamic page areas called "portlets".
Portlets can functio
n a little like mini
windows within the web page in that they can be:
Updated independently of each other and the page
Closed, minimized or otherwise customized (if security permissions allow this)
Portlets can contain content that is dynamically rendere
d such as:
Content tailored to your role and preferences
News and information
Small applications (e.g. calculator, currency converter etc)
Refers to the way the post office charges for postage, i.e., one rate for
delivery anywhere in
the US. It is the most predominant pricing plan being used today by
interexchange carriers. One flat charge per minute regardless of termination as long as it is in the US.
Computers, by using algorithms and information about the numbe
r of CSRs
available, number of trunks, etc. dial telephone numbers and pass along a call to a CSR after the call
has been placed and a human has answered it. Good predictive dialers filter out answering
machines, busies, network busies, et al to increase t
he efficiency of the telemarketers.
As opposed to predictive dialing where the call is given to the CSR after they
are connected, preview dialing allows the CSR to see the called party’s pertinent data on their
computer screen before the
call is made. The CSR scans the information and usually hits enter to
begin the calling process. Preview dialing allows for a more informed CSR while predictive dialing
allows for more calls per CSR.
PRIMARY RATE INTERFACE:
ISDN equivalent of a T
23 B channels and one D channel
are delivered to the customer.
Something that will only work with one vendor’s system.
A procedure for adding order to the transfer of data. Protocol is a specific set of rules
that needs to be fo
llowed so that the transmission of information can be understood by two or more
In England, to wait on line. In telephony, a series of calls waiting for connection to a
line or CSR. How many calls are in split/skill is a direct result
of how many CSRs are working and
how many calls have been placed to the call center number.
RBOC (Regional Bell Operating Company):
Also known as Baby Bells.
Training that reinforces or enhances information, knowledge, skills and/or
techniques previously covered. (e.g., although already taught, customer service skills, PC navigation,
banking principles, etc. which were introduced in new hire training, may need to be reinforced
periodically during a CSR’s tenure.)
erm used to refer to the number or percentage of CSRs required to
compensate for absences in the work schedule.
REMOTE CALL FORWARDING (RCF):
An offering from the LECs that works like this. A number that
exists solely in the central office is publicized by
a company as a “local number”. Customers call that
number and the call is forwarded to a different number in a different central office. It is an alternative
free service but not practical from a cost standpoint at any significant volume. The prim
reason for RCF is perception; companies want their customers to think they are local when, in fact,
they are not.
The long distance company responsible for a customer’s toll
free number. There is a
one to one relationship between toll
mber and resp org.
The time it takes for a system to react to a given input. For a CSR, response time
might be the time between a keystroke and the appearance on the screen of the desired information.
The dreaded “the computers are slow toda
y” is the euphemism for slow response time.
RFI (Request for Information):
A general notification to specific vendors that a company may be
interested in certain items and would like all pertinent information regarding same.
RFP (Request for Proposal):
next step. A specific document, defining requirements for certain
products and/or services including cost, time frame for implementation and detailed descriptions of
the appropriate products and services.
XX; (Registered Jacks):
The connections (plugs)
for telephone equipment. There are many
varieties of jacks and each fits a specific need.
The old phones where you put your finger in the circle and spun the dial. Anathema
to a call center with a VRU.
An interface between two networ
ks. Routers find the best route between networks.
Routers can provide network management capabilities such as load balancing, communication
priority and trouble shooting tools. Routers can be protocol independent or dependent. Independent
routers find the
destination device without any help from the communicating computers and, as such,
do not need to understand the language the computers are using. Protocol dependent routers rely on
the end stations (computers) to tell the routers where the destination is
and then the routers find the
best way to get there.
A series of steps (instructions) that specify the treatment for a specific call. These
steps can include VRU, announcements and CSR groups.
SCOPE OF WORK:
Document developed to outline va
rious phases of the work that will be
performed. Examples include site visitations, interview agendas, schedules, types of analysis
(reports, costs, revenue), determining leveraging opportunities (facility, technology, resources),
conducting staffing simul
ations, defining best practices, analyzing technology impact, determining
facility requirements, formulating implementation plans.
SCP (Service Control Point):
The SCP is a database that translates and delivers additional routing
information for toll
numbers. SCPs will also be involved when Local Number Portability has
evolved into a viable option.
The popular name for the occurrence of customer information appearing on the
computer screen of a CSR as the call that relates to this informati
on is delivered to them.
A program that returns a list of Web sites that match a user entered criteria. They
are not browsers but they are almost as essential.
SELF DIRECTED LEARNING
: Instruction that is precipitated by the learner, who work
of a facilitator and interacts directly with courseware, in written, interactive, audio, etc. format. The
learner can stop and start instruction as time allows and can return to summaries to be refreshed on
previously covered material. Comp
letion or mastery of material usually depends on individual test
results, which are recorded and reviewed by a designated party.
SELF DIRECTED LEARNING LABS: Quiet
areas, equipped with PCs and multi media training
courseware, where individual CBT learning
can occur. These areas usually cluster two
workstation environments where verbal responses to interactive courseware will not be disruptive to
others. Call Center library material is usually housed in the same general area.
A server is a s
hared computer, usually a powerful computer, on a Local Area Network. The
server can coordinate printing, control access to e
mail, fax and other shared services.
SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY:
The method by which companies deliver their services, such as
call center with inbound calls, outbound calls, Internet, kiosks, mail, fax, local retail, catalog sales.
SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT (SLA):
Lateral Agreements established through a formal
negotiation with users and providers of services. The SLA is
a signed agreement between parties,
which carefully specifies the desired objectives and provides a process for guiding and managing
expectations. Sample elements include: products and services provided, manner in which products
and services will be deli
vered, quality standards to be achieved, measurement criteria, two way
accountability, reporting criteria, negotiated cost of delivery, criteria for service evaluation, basis for
improving service levels, and standardized methods for communicating service
Goals that companies establish in call center environments, for the
answering and handling of incoming calls. For example, a service objective may be that 80% of all
calls to the center are answered in 30 seconds or less.
The documentation of the interaction that an agent / CRS has with someone
who contacts them. Normally refers to some work or action that must be taken to satisfy the request.
The practice of monitoring calls recei
ved by a call center CSR while
sitting alongside them. The person monitoring the calls listens in via a separate headset, which is
plugged into the CSR’s phone by way of a double jack arrangement.
SINGLE NUMBER SERVICE:
A local RBOC offering, in some local
es, which works in much the
same manner as advanced toll
free routing service. A call comes into a local number, which sends
the calling party information to a SCP that matches up the calling number with the closest location of
the business represented by
the called number. The SCP sends the local translation number (in most
cases the billing telephone number) of the closest location and the call is routed there. The most
famous of these applications has been by Pizza Hut and Dominos in certain locations.
In call centers, the practice of routing incoming calls based on the type
of service required, enabling calls to match up with CSRs who possess certain skills or have special
A national database of all toll
ee numbers maintained by a private third party.
Originally developed by BellCore and then handed off to Lockheed.
IBM’s computer network architecture.
SONET (Synchronous Optical Network):
A very high speed, fiber optic backbone. SONET is
loyed in a redundant manner, so that if one fiber is damaged or cut, another fiber can
instantly be made available.
The ability for a system to take a spoken command and respond to it.
Speech recognition systems are made up of input dev
ices, voice boards that perform analog to digital
conversions, and a signal
processing module that takes the digitized samples and converts them into
patterns. These patterns are matched up against patterns that are stored models based on language,
cs and dictionaries.
A LAN topology where the end points on a network is connected to a common
central switch by point
An Internet term in which the text of an article or piece of information becomes visible
e screen as it is received over the telephone line. It takes graphics longer to transmit, which is
why, when reading an article over the Internet; the article is available to be read before the
accompanying picture is received.
STUTTER DIAL TONE:
n dial tone that is given by the local telephone company to notify
the subscriber that they have messages in their voice mailboxes. PBXs do the same thing for their
In a phone call, supervision begins when a called party has answered th
e call and
ends when the called party hangs up.
A digital transmission link with a capacity of 1.5444 MBPS. The standard for connecting
customer locations with long distance networks. Many features associated with operational efficiency
such as DNIS a
nd ANI are possible only with digital connections such as T
1 or T
3 (28 T
TAPI (Telephone Application Programming Interface):
A set of functions that allows Windows
applications to work with telephones, both single and multi
In call centers, these applications
allow Windows to be compatible with applications such as predictive dialing, call routing and queuing.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The de facto protocol for the Internet. While
TCP/IP are ju
st two in the family of Internet protocols they have become the definition for Internet
protocol. It is the most popular protocol due to:
Most complete network protocol available.
Refers to tracking variable activity such as key indices and ratios for
the purpose of quantifying the activity within the call center and providing a means to create a
The period of time a CSR is employed. Usually referred to as
an average across all CSRs,
i.e. the average is 2 years.
A protocol converter that adapts PCs, workstations and other equipment to
be compatible with ISDN.
An application that allows a PC to emulate the operation of a
terminal (logical question is why?).
A client is another name for a PC on a LAN. A thin client is a PC with very little in the
way of computing power. It is inexpensive and probably lacks a hard drive, modem, CD
serial port. The t
hin client is totally dependent on the server to which it connects. Thin clients that are
connected to the Internet will contain a modem.
A type of LAN. In a token ring network a terminal or workstation must receive a
supervisory frame, or toke
n, before it can begin transmitting. The entire bandwidth of the LAN is
available to the device while it has the token. The topology of a token ring network is a circle or star
type setup. The token is passed along the ring until the device that wishes to
transmit seizes it.
Formerly known as 800 services, this offering, in its basic form, is giving a
subscriber the capability to automatically reverse the billing on a telephone call. Toll
Free service has
evolved into a cornerstone of cal
l center operations. Toll
Free numbers can be 800, 888, 877, and
866. In addition to the basic reversing of the charges that are inherent to toll
free services, the
following features are associated with toll
Time of day routing: Allows calls
, placed to a single toll
free number, to be routed to different
terminating locations based upon the time of day that the call was placed. Similar “time” features are
day of week and day of year routing.
Percentage Routing: Allows calls to be routed to tw
o or more terminating locations based on a
percentage predetermined by the subscriber to the toll
Origination Routing: Allows calls to be routed to two or more terminating locations based upon the
geographic origin of the call.
ing: Allows a subscriber to store alternate routing plans in a carrier’s network to invoke
when circumstances call for a change in business operations. Generally used for emergency
situations and often referred to as disaster recovery.
DNIS (Dialed Number
Identification Service): An offering where more than one toll
(usually up to 10) can be terminated over a dedicated channel. Used frequently by service bureaus to
be able to answer each incoming call with a tailored response.
iguration of a network. How it looks.
The science of determining how many trunks are needed, how much
communications equipment and, consequently, how many people will be needed to answer the calls
coming in. Erlang and Poisson are the
two most utilized mathematical programs for traffic
Changes made by the telephone network to the dialed number that allow it to pass
through the network to its final destination along with any additional intelligence that has bee
assigned to that call. All toll
free calls go through a translation as the 8XX exchanges do not, in
themselves, determine a terminating address.
More than one trunk that acts in like manner. In other words, if a call is placed and
trunk 1 in
the group is busy, trunk 2 will automatically be seized to place the call. The inverse for toll
free calling works the same way.
A communication line between two switching systems. Usually between a PBX and the
telephone company or interexchange co
Telephone Server Applications Programming Interface
Similar to TAPI, this interface was
developed by AT&T.
TWO WAY TRUNK:
A trunk that can both make and receive calls.
Uniform Call Distributor
A device to allocate incoming calls to CSRs.
Not nearly as useful as
an ACD, a UCD can only allocate calls uniformly.
A Call Center Representative who can receive calls and also place calls.
Controversial concept since it is acknowledged that there are different skills involved in r
inquires and placing calls generally sales calls.
An operating system, complex and powerful, for computers to run data processing and
telephone systems. UNIX allows multi
tasking and multi
user capabilities and is a very flexible
Training that “upgrades” or elevates CSR, supervisor, etc. knowledge by
introducing information not previously covered. (e.g., IRA, Escheatable Funds and 1099 information
may not be covered in new hire training but would be intro
duced as peak periods for those topics
approached. CSRs who receive this training for the first time would experience it as “upgrade”
training. Those who had received it the previous year would experience the refresher course as
Interruptible Power Supply: This
unit provides protected power under normal conditions
and backup power in the event of primary electrical failure.
USOC (Universal Service Order Code):
RBOC telephonese, whose acronyms mean nothing to
RTUAL CALL CENTER / CONTACT CENTER:
Refers to a call center or contact center that does
not maintain a single facility. Agents / CSRs work from many locations or from their homes and have
calls/emails etc. routed to them as if they were in a single facili
A communications link that transmits information between two locations that
operates as if it were a leased or dedicated line for the duration of the call. When the call is
completed, the circuit disappears as well. Virtual circuits ar
e significantly cheaper than dedicated
circuits and are the reason that Virtual Private Networks are so popular.
Available on telephone equipment and through LEC vertical feature offerings, Voice
mail is a system that allows you to set up a voi
ce mailbox to receive, listen to, edit and forward voice
messages. Both a tremendous efficiency tool and a bane to businesses when it is abused. A service
offering that often sparks emotions in users, positively and negatively.
VOICE OVER IP (VOIP):
s of transmitting voice telephone calls over the Internet. Still in its
infancy, but with tremendous potential. Voice calls are packetized and sent over the Internet where
the computer modem converts them to analog and speech. As the packet network gets fa
delays in speech transmission will be less noticeable and the cost benefits will be more enticing.
VOICE RESPONSE UNIT (VRU):
WIDE AREA NETWORK (WAN):
A data network that connects LANs between buildings and/or
The operating system for personal computers that is the de facto standard for PCs.
Variations include 95, 98(for PCs) and NT (for PCs in an office environment or PCs that require a lot
of computing power).
A diagram illustrating the manner in w
hich a CSR’s work is performed. Can the CSR
complete the transaction while remaining at their station in minimal time?
Quantifying the type, frequency and duration of an activity or transaction, i.e. type of
call, volume, talk
time and after cal
l work time.
The time between calls when a CSR concludes the previous call transaction.
WWW (World Wide Web):
The info highway of the Internet.
The de facto data packet transmission protocol.
The mail standard by which disparate e
l systems can exchange messages.