Application Programming Interface / API – A set of rules or specifications that serve as an interface between different software programs and facilitate their interaction.
Automatic Call Distributor / ACD – A system that processes, queues, routes, tracks and reports incoming call activity and other call statistics automatically.
Autodialer / Autodialler / Automatic Calling Unit – A system that can automatically dial telephone numbers to communicate verbal messages (see Voice Messaging / Robocall) or digital data (like SMS messages) to the called party. Autodialing systems use predictive dialer algorithms to analyze incoming audio to detect whether an answering machine or a human voice answers the call. Autodialers are important to outbound call center campaigns, like outbound telemarketing.
Blended Services – Call center services that dynamically adjust outbound dialing levels as inbound call volumes fluctuate to balance call load at a consistent level, allowing agents to receive both inbound and outbound calls simultaneously.
Call Quality Assurance – Quality assurance / QA is the systematic monitoring and evaluation of call services to ensure that minimum standards of quality are being met. In a call center, monitoring, whisper coaching, barging, conferencing and recording calls made by call center agents help ensure that agents are properly trained and customer needs are met on inbound and outbound calls. Monitoring allows a manager to listen in on an agent’s call. Whisper coaching permits a call center manager to speak in a call center agent’s ear while a call is going on without the customer hearing. Barging allows a manager to interrupt the conversation and add additional information while the agent and customer are on a call. Conferencing permits the manager and agent to be on the call simultaneously with the customer. Recording allows managers to replay calls.
Cloud Computing – Information Technology services delivered to end-users “in the cloud,” or over Internet Protocol technology infrastructure. Cloud computing offers convenient, on-demand network access to configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released using web-based tools, with minimal management effort. TelStar Hosted Services, Inc. is “Your Call Center in the Cloud!,” meaning it delivers communications as a service using internet protocol.
Communications as a Service / CaaS – An outsourcing model for offering communications services using cloud computing (see above) on a subscription basis. CaaS allows companies to avoid the capital investment required to build their call center solutions and take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of accessing contact center services through the cloud on an as-needed basis.
Computer Telephony Integration / CTI – A technology that allows telephone, email, web, fax, voice messaging, etc. and computer systems to interact.
Contact Rate – The rate at which calls placed or received are successfully connected.
Customer Relationship Management / CRM – The strategies, processes, people and technologies companies use to successfully attract, grow and retain customers profitably. As the primary interface with customer sales, service and retention, a contact center is an important part of a CRM strategy.
Direct Inward Dialing / DID / DDI – Local telephone number that calls a particular extension on a phone system.
Do Not Call / DNC List – List of telephone numbers on the U.S. National Do Not Call Registry (see below).
Hosted Contact Center / Hosted Call Center – Inbound and outbound call center services offered by a service provider, usually using cloud computing technology. A hosted contact center provides Communications as a Service, which allows companies to avoid the capital investment and IT staff required to establish a call center, is flexible and scalable, and accommodates remote agents.
Interactive Voice Response / IVR / Auto-Attendant – A system that allows a caller to make a selection or submit information using a touchtone (Dual Tone Multi-Frequency) or voice recognition telephone interface. IVRs use pre-recorded voice menus and prompts. A Hosted IVR is an IVR system hosted by an outsourced service provider.
Internet Protocol / IP – A data networking protocol for submitting and receiving data packets over the Internet.
List Management – Managing lists of telephone numbers including sorting, selecting, importing or exporting telephone number records for outbound calling campaigns.
National Do Not Call Registry – List of U.S. residential/consumer telephone numbers that have requested not to receive telemarketing calls from businesses. The registry does not apply to business telephone numbers, political organizations, non-profits, survey companies, bill collectors or companies with which the consumer has an existing relationship.
(Internet Protocol) Private Branch Exchange / (IP) PBX – An (internet protocol based) telephone system usually internal to a company that switches calls between internal phone lines, and shares external phone lines, avoiding the need for a dedicated line for each user.
Power Dialing – A system that dials calls automatically when lines are available and puts live calls through to call center agents. Power dialing without predictive dialing can, however, result in dropped calls if no agent is available.
Predictive Dialer / Predictive Dialler – A call center system that uses advanced algorithms to manage calls based on expected agent availability, screens out no-answers, busy signals, answering machines, and disconnected numbers, and delivers the call to the next available agent. Similar to an autodialer, predictive dialers also use predictive algorithms to analyze incoming audio to detect whether an answering machine or a human voice answers the call.
Premise-Based Call Center / Contact Center – Call center built on PBX (see above) equipment that is owned and operated in-house by a company. The call center owner is responsible for purchasing and maintaining the equipment and software, and upgrading this equipment and software as technology advances.
Public Switched Telephone Network / PSTN – The world’s public, circuit-switched telephone service provider network. The PSTN consists of telephone lines, fiberoptic cables, microwave transmission links, cellular networks, communications satellites, and undersea telephone cables interconnected by switching centers.
Remote Agents – Inbound or outbound call center agents that work from remote locations, such as multiple branch offices, from home, nationally or internationally. With hosted contact center solutions, these agents can log into a single system and perform as if physically working together in one call center.
Screen Pop – Precise data about an inbound or outbound caller that pops up on a call center agent’s screen along with the incoming or outgoing call, improving that call center agent’s call handling and efficiency.
Scripting – A written presentation of the verbiage that a call center agent is asked to use when answering or placing a call that is included in the agent’s screen pop or campaign information on his or her screen.
SIP – Session Initiation Protocol – An application signaling protocol that creates, modifies or terminates a session in an internet telephone call or conference.
Text-to-Speech / Speech Synthesis – Software that converts normal language text into speech. A synthesizer incorporates a model of human voice characteristics to create a synthetic but realistic “human” voice.
Unified Messaging / UM – Integration of different electronic messaging and voice communications (email, SMS, Fax, voicemail, video, etc.) technologies into a single interface, accessible from a variety of different devices, and usually stored in one system.
Virtual Call Center – A call center that operates on a hosted contact center / hosted call center model (see above), where communications are offered as a service on a subscription basis. A virtual call center can use a distributed workforce comprised of remote agents, at home agents, or agents in various decentralized office locations.
Voice Mail / Voicemail – Centralized system that captures and stores voice-based telephone messages for later retrieval, including taped or electronic messages.
Voice Messaging / Broadcast Messaging / Robocalling – Capturing and sending a voice-based message using an automated delivery system or autodialer. Broadcast Messaging allows you to send the same pre-recorded message to thousands of telephone numbers at once. IVR voice messaging lets you provide menu choices for the call recipient to call back or leave a message.
Voice over Internet Protocol / VoIP – A set of rules or specifications designed to send voice information in data form using Internet Protocol. This generally bypasses the PSTN, or public switched telephone network, and eliminates ordinary toll charges. Communications as a Service is often VoIP based.
Workforce Management Software – Software used for predicting and optimizing scheduling, staff levels, workloads, and campaign timetables of call center agents, usually for inbound call center services.