Call Centers and Telemarketing Glossary - Compare International Companies and Quotes for Inbound and Outbound Services
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Call Centers & Telemarketing Glossary

The multi-billion dollar call center and telemarketing industries have a large variety of terms and abbreviations. Below is a list of a few terms you will often find when you outsource these services. Once you're clear on the industry lingo, use our convenient form to begin your search and receive up to 5 free quotes from telemarketing and call centre companies around the world!

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ABA : Abandonment Rate : a measurement of callers who disconnect before connecting with the agent or outbound announcement. Also referred to as a Lost Call. The abandon rate is the percentage of calls that are abandoned compared to calls received.

Acquisition Cost : the cost to acquire a new customer.

ACW : After Contact Work : work that is done after hanging up a call such as finishing forms, updating a database, entering call notes or sending information. Also referred to as Wrap-up and Post Call Processing (PCP). During this time the agent is not available to accept a new inbound call or make the next outbound call.

ADE : Automated Dialling Equipment : in most B2B campaigns, this equipment is needed only when call lists exceed 10000 records.

AHT : Average Handle Time : The total of the Average Talk Time and Average After Contact Work for a designated time period.

ASA : Average Speed of Answer : the total delay time divided by the total of all calls. Also referred to as Average Time to Answer (ATA).

ASR : Automatic Speech Recognition : technology that converts voice signals into text.

ATA : American Telemarketing Association or Australian Telemarketing Association

ATT : Average Talk Time

Attrition Rates : measurement of people leaving a company or becoming less useful.

AUX : Auxiliary Time

Blended Agent : a contact center agent who performs both inbound and outbound duties.

Blockage or Blocked Call : calls that are blocked from entering a queue, perhaps because all lines are busy or there is a technical error.

BPO : Business Process Outsourcing : using external service providers to free up a company's time and energy for their core business. Typical BPO functions are financial and administration (F&A) processes, human resources (HR) functions, call centre and customer service activities, accounting and payroll. Subsets of this industry are Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO).

Call Center or Call Centre : a hub of sales, telemarketing, customer service, administration, management, measured performance and technological coordination. Staff handle a high volume of inbound and (or) outbound phone calls.

Calls in Queue : calls waiting to be handled.

Cold Call : an outbound call an agent makes to speak to a potential customer who has not requested any information or may be unaware of the company's product or service.

Contact Center or Contact Centre : a business that can perform call center functions along with additional forms of communication such as faxes, letters, live chat and email.

Contacts per Agent : a measurement of agent productivity.

Conversion Rates : a measurement of agent success, usually between prospects and sales.

CPC : Cost Per Contact : the sum of all costs for running the call center for a specified time period divided by the number of calls handled in the call center for the same period. This would include all calls for all reasons whether handled by an agent or technology, such as IVR.

CPH: Calls Per Hour : the average number of calls that an agent handles per hour. This figure is equal to the total calls handled during a working shift divided by the total time (in hours) logged in a system.

CPO: Cost Per Order : (Sales Per Hour times Average Value of Sale) minus (Average Hourly Rate divided by Contact per Hour)

Data Scrubbing or Data Cleansing : a process which scrapes through a database to remove information which is either untimely or inappropriate. People who register themselves on a DNS list need to be removed from call lists, and data cleansing accomplishes this tasks. Neglecting to scrub data can lead to costly fines and a bad reputation.

DN : Dialed Number

DNC : Do Not Call or Do Not Contact : individuals or companies on this list have specified that they do not want to receive cold calls.

DNS : Do Not Solicit : individuals or companies on this list have specified that they do not want to receive any forms of advertising or marketing that they have not previously expressed an interest in or given permission to be contacted.

FCC : Federal Communications Commission : U.S. government agency that supervises, licenses, and controls electronic and electromagnetic transmission standards.

FCR : First Contact Resolution

FTC : Federal Trade Commission

HT : Hold Time : the total length of calls during the busiest hour divided by the total number of calls.

IT : Idle Time

Inbound Calls : calls made by customers to your help desk or call center. Inbound services include customer care, technical support or message taking.

IVR : Interactive Voice Response : technology that speaks to the incoming caller and gives them a list of menu items to choose from which directs their call or performs database lookups.

LDQ : Longest Delay In Queue : a worst-case scenario figure that measures the longest time a caller waited before being handled.

OCC : Occupancy : calculated as a percentage of time that an agent spends actively working.

Outbound Calls : calls made by agents from your call center to your customers, employees or other business partners.

Predictive Dialing : technology used for inbound and outbound purposes to automatically connect calls to agents.

RT : Response Time : the amount of time it takes from when the caller dials into the contact center to the time they are connected with the appropriate agent.

SLA : Service Level Agreement : a contract that defines the levels of service expected. Typical service level agreements include the number of calls made or answered within a specified time period.

TR : Transfer Rate

TT: Talk Time : the total number of seconds the caller was connected to an agent.

Telemarketer : a person who acts as the voice of a company, working either internally within the company whose products or services he is selling, or in a call center, contact centre or virtual call center. This person can initiate or receive calls.

Virtual Call Center or VPA : Virtual Personal Assistant: geographically separated groups of sales agents or customer service representatives who act as one unit even though they are all sitting anywhere in the world to perform various duties such as lead generation, appointment setting, telesales, market research and customer support.

VoIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol : technology that allows voice phone calls to be sent via the internet.

Web Enabled Software : web-based interface to a company's products and services that can support features like online chats, Voice Over IP, web callbacks, collaborative browsing and e-mail automation.

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