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CX Glossary of Terms

Are you new to the industry or just trying to keep up with the latest customer experience (CX) terms and definitions? Here is Odigo’s glossary of contact centre, call centre and customer experience vocabulary, terminology and abbreviations.

A

Abandoned call

An incoming call in which a caller hangs up before reaching an agent.

Abandon rate

The percentage of incoming calls which are dropped before a caller reaches an agent.

ACD

See Automatic call distributor

ACT

See Average call time

After call rate

See Wrap-up time

Agent

In CX, an agent is an employee who communicates directly with customers. Also
referred to as a customer service representative, or simply representative.

Agent console

The graphical user interface (GUI) software used by agents to manage customer interactions.

Agent experience (AX)

How an agent feels at work. AX encompasses factors including working environment, equipment, team support and types of tasks.

Agent occupancy

The percentage of time agents are actively engaged with customers (on calls,
writing to customers, etc.) compared to their total time logged in. Agent occupancy is a useful workplace management metric.

Agent utilisation

The ratio of work produced over work capacity. Commonly used as a workplace management metric.

AHLDT

See Average hold time

AI

See Artificial intelligence

Algorithm

A set of instructions entered into a program to carry out a specific task.

Ambassador

Any agent who interacts with clients, remotely or in the field, and who embodies the values of the brand he or she represents. An ambassador ensures that he or she provides each customer with a unique experience.

Analytics

The systematic analysis of data or statistics.

ANI

See Automatic number identification

API

See Application programming interface

Application programming interface (API)

APIs are software intermediaries that allow two
applications to communicate with each other.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

The ability of a computer program or machine to think, learn and mimic human actions and behaviour.

ASR

See Automatic speech recognition

Attrition

See Churn rate

Augmented agent

An agent with heightened capacity to see, understand and react to customers and deliver enhanced customer experience thanks to cutting-edge tools and advanced technology.

Augmented reality

Technology that presents computer-generated, virtual images to a user in the real world.

Automatic call distributor (ACD)

An automated system for distributing phone calls to agents.


Automatic callback

A technology that provides callers with an alternative to waiting on hold for
an agent. Automatic callback enables a contact centre to return a call to a customer when an agent becomes available, or at a later date/time of the customer’s choosing.

Automatic number identification (ANI)

A tool that transmits a caller’s phone number for quicker customer identification. Also referred to as calling line identification (CLID) or caller ID (CID).

Automatic speech recognition (ASR)

Technologies that enable analysis of the human voice and its transformation into structured data that can be used by an information system. ASR allows tools such as callbots to “understand” spoken language.

Automation

The use of equipment or computer programs to accomplish predictable tasks without human assistance.

Average call time (ACT)

Also known as average handle time (AHT), the average amount of time an agent spends talking to a customer.

Average handle time

See Average call time

Average hold time (AHLDT)

The average amount of time customers spend on hold.

AX

See Agent experience

B

Bot

An AI-driven program that communicates through voice (voicebot), text (chatbot) or over the phone (callbot).

C

Call barging

Call barging enables a supervisor to join live calls to speak with both a caller and an agent. It helps supervisors take a more active role in quality management (QM) and agent coaching.

Call center

An office that handles large volumes of calls for an organisation.

Callbot

A specialised voicebot that handles phone calls and is capable of executing more
complex tasks, but within the limited parameter of the phone channel.

Call deflection

The rerouting of a call to a different channel, often to a self-service option.

Call scripting

Call scripting equips agents with a branching conversation model that guides them through predictable interactions with customers.

Call whispering

Prompting agents with key messages just before a call begins. Call whispering is often used to remind an agent of a targeted marketing campaign, call to action or other specific information which an organisation wants the agent to communicate to a caller.

CCaaS

See Contact Centre as a Service

Channel

A medium of communication, such as phone, email, text or social messaging.

Channel-less communication

When multiple communication channels are linked into one smooth conversation, making the channels used unimportant. Channel-less communication provides a simpler and more convenient experience for customers.

Chatbot

An AI-driven program for greeting people, qualifying requests and providing written solutions as a form of self-service. 

Churn rate

also known as attrition rate, turnover rate: The annual rate of employees that leave an organisation.

Cloud

A network of Internet-based servers that store and manage data. Organisations often turn to the cloud to reduce in-house infrastructure costs and increase flexibility.

Cloud computing

Storing and accessing data and programs via the Internet. Cloud computing has been growing increasingly popular as a strategy for reducing costs, increasing agility and providing access to a greater range of services.

French Data Protection Authority (CNIL)

The French regulatory body which oversees data privacy laws.

Compliance

Following a rule or order.

Contact centre

An updated term for call centre. While call centre implies the phone channel, a contact channel reflects the fact that agents are responding to requests from a variety of contact channels such as email, chat, social messaging, website, app and phone.

Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS)

A cloud-based software deployment model that provides an organisation with the customer experience capabilities of a traditional contact centre. CCaaS solutions provide services according to the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

Contact centre reporting

The process of creating reports from the data generated by a contact centre’s systems, usually accessible through the Automatic Call Distributor (ACD). Reports typically consist of such information as agent status, agent activity and call detail records.

Contact centre workforce optimisation

An integrated set of processes that a contact centre uses to optimise employee productivity

Contextual routing

Using data to connect customers to the agent best suited to resolve their issue, based on a specific customer’s situation and type of request.

Conversational user interface

A set of tools that enable a computer to emulate a conversation with people. If a computer can be controlled through speech, it is using a conversational user interface.

Corpus

An organised and standardised dataset comprising a group of requests made by one customer. Each corpus is linked to a reason (eg, booking a room, trouble logging in, etc.) thus creating coherence and enabling a channel-less experience.

CRC

(Customer relationship centre): See Contact centre

CRM

See Customer relationship management

CS

See Customer service

CSAT

See Customer satisfaction

Customer 360-degree view

(or 360-degree customer view): A comprehensive display of customer data, typically including such information as interaction history, transaction history, AI-driven recommendations and insights along with any other data a contact centre determines is needed to enable more personalised customer experience.

Customer care

One step beyond customer service, customer care seeks to build a connection with customers and make them feel valued. Customer care often spans multiple interactions with a customer.

Customer effort score (CES)

A metric based on the amount of effort a customer expends to resolve his or her issue.

Customer engagement

The sum of a customer’s interactions and experiences. Strong customer engagement is likely to lead to better experience, increase customer loyalty and encourage more opportunities for future business.

Customer experience (CX)

How a customer feels when dealing with an organisation; it is the result of one or many interactions over a period of time.

Customer feedback management

A strategy that encompasses the process of soliciting customer feedback, analysing responses and using them to inform decision making.

Customer journey

The path of sequential steps a customer experiences each time he or she interacts with a company (for example, contacting the company).

Customer relationship management (CRM)

The strategies used to manage a customer’s relationship with a company, or a tool that operationalises those strategies. A CRM often involves data management and analysis tools.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

A key performance indicator (KPI) that tracks the level of satisfaction customers have for a company’s products and/ or services. It is an important measurement of a brand’s overall performance with its customer base.

Customer service (CS)

The assistance and support provided by a company to people who buy their products or use their services. CS is a crucial factor in determining a customer’s CX.

CX

See Customer experience

D

Dashboard

A display of relevant KPI information, customer data and actions to be taken, available to agents and supervisors. Dashboards both benefit and encourage analytics and can be used on any device an agent or supervisor chooses.

Data

Facts and statistics obtained for reference or analysis.

Data analytics

The science of analysing raw data as a means of drawing conclusions and forming predictions.

Data centre

A dedicated space to house IT and networking equipment for collecting, storing and managing data

Data-driven approach

A strategy based on data analysis and interpretation.

Data lake

A repository that loosely stores all structured and unstructured data.

Data mining

The process of analysing pre existing databases in order to generate new information.

Data tagging

Organising information by associating data with tags or keywords.

Data warehouse

A repository that stores a wide range of data in a more systematic manner than a data lake.

Dialog management

A dialogue manager uses information extracted through natural language understanding (NLU) to direct dialogue scenarios between a conversational agent (bot) and an end-user. It monitors the current state of a conversation and dynamically adapts it to the context.

DTMF

Dual-tone multi-frequency, also known as VF (voice frequency) signalling. The combination of frequencies used for conventional fixed telephony.

Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP)

The Dutch regulatory body which oversees data privacy laws.

E

Emotion detection

A key aspect of sentiment analysis, emotion detection uses AI to recognise a customer’s emotions.

ETL

See Extract, transform, load

Extract, transform, load (ETL)

The process of reading data from a source, converting it to a
digestible form, and entering it into the target database.

F

FCR

See First contact resolution

Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI)

The German regulatory body which oversees data privacy laws.

First contact resolution (FCR)

When a customer’s question or issue is resolved after a single interaction. FCR measurements are crucial as they enable contact centres to monitor the quality of answers (not just quantitative KPIs) thereby aligning customer experience and agent performance.

G

Gamification

The application of typical aspects of playing games (scoring points, competition) to encourage engagement.

GDPR

See General Data Protection Regulation

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

A European regulation that covers data and privacy rights.

Graphical user interface (GUI)

The computer interface visible to users, enabling navigation through intuitive means such as menus, icons and interactive mouse or touchscreen technology. Without a GUI, a computer would only be navigable through written commands.

GUI

See Graphical user interface

H

Hardware

The physical infrastructure of a computer system. The alternative to cloud solutions is on-site hardware.

Hold time

The total amount of time a caller spends waiting for an agent.

I

IA

See Intelligent automation

IM

Instant messaging. The sending of text messages, usually short and in rapid sequence. Text
messages and chatbots employ instant messaging technology.

Inbound call centre

A call centre that receives calls (as opposed to an outbound call centre, which initiates calls)

Information Commissioner’s Office

The UK regulatory body that oversees data privacy laws.

Intelligent automation (IA)

A combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and AI that drives digital transformations to achieve end-to-end business process automation by adopting tasks traditionally done by humans.

Intelligent routing

A more advanced form of skill-based routing that brings in additional data, such as the customer’s history, products they use, etc.

Intent detection

Central to natural language processing (NLP), intent detection uses AI to determine a customer’s reason for calling. Intent detection aids in routing and may also provide useful information to agents.

Interaction flow designer

Makes automation easier by enabling planners to use natural
language to automate approvals, tasks and notifications as well as to record operations without coding.

Interactive voice response (IVR)

Technology that enables humans to interact with a computer-operated phone system through voice. In CX, an IVR is the first thing a caller hears upon reaching a contact centre, consisting of a series of options plus a routing mechanism that directs his or her call.

IoT

Internet of things; the network of interconnected devices embedded with software and technology that collect and exchange data. In CX, IoT allows companies to gather data from their products in order to analyse their use and enhance users’ experience.

IS

Information system. An integrated set of components for collecting, storing and processing data and for providing information, knowledge and digital products.

ISO-27001

 An international standard on how to manage information security.

ISO-9001

An international standard that specifies requirements for quality management systems.

IVR

See Interactive voice response

J

Journey mapping

A step-by-step visualisation of the process a customer goes through to accomplish a goal. In CX, journey mapping is used to trace a customer’s path from their first contact with a contact centre to the resolution of their issue.

K

Key performance indicator (KPI)

 A metric used to measure performance and evaluate the success of an activity, individual or organisation.

Knowledge base

A set of data or knowledge enabling a bot or human agent to reply or ask for additional information.

KPI

 See Key performance indicator

M

Machine learning (ML)

A key component of AI that enables systems to automatically and independently learn and improve from experience.

Middleware bot

A bot that is not a channel, but an application server capable of supporting interaction channels and developing comprehensive web services with an information system’s reference bases.

ML

See Machine learning

Multichannel

See Multimodal communication

Multimodal communication

Communication allowing for multiple channels or possible interaction modes for an end-user in a customer relationship service. Omnichannel and channel-less are forms of multimodal communication.

N

Natural language understanding (NLU)

A subset of natural language processing that focuses on machine reading comprehension.

Natural language processing (NLP)

An AI process that turns text or audio speech into encoded, structured information. NLP lays the groundwork for technologies such as speech recognition, dialogue management, speech synthesis and natural language understanding (NLU).

Net promoter score (NPS)

The percentage of customers who say they would be likely to recommend a company to others. NPS is a common metric used to discern customer satisfaction.

NLP

see Natural language processing

NLU

See Natural language understanding

NPS

See Net promoter score

O

Omnichannel

The integration of different means of communication (face to face, email, phone, text, social messaging), giving customers more freedom in the way they contact a company.

Omnichannel bot

A conversational agent, or bot, that is not channel-specific. Odigo is a market leader in offering a bot that delivers chatbot, voicebot and callbot options.

Outbound call center

A call centre that initiates calls (as opposed to an inbound call centre, which receives calls).

Outbound campaign

A marketing campaign that utilises outbound calls, texts, emails or other channels to proactively reach customers.

P

Preview dialling

In an outbound campaign, preview dialling presents an agent with customer information before a call is made. Preview dialling is often considered the optimal mode of outbound calling in terms of agent experience and customer experience, as agents have time to prepare for interactions.

Privacy

The right to keep personal information secret.

Progressive dialling

In an outbound campaign, progressive dialling connects an agent to a customer the moment a customer answers a call. While cheaper than preview dialling, progressive dialling can have a detrimental effect on agent and customer experiences, as agents have minimal time to prepare for interactions.

Q

QM

See Quality management

Quality management (QM)

The activities involved in maintaining the quality of goods or services. In contact centres, QM ensures that agents’ performances are consistent and effective. QM enables planning, monitoring and coaching opportunities.

Quality monitoring

The practice of observing and measuring agents’ performance levels.

R

Robotic process automation (RPA)

Technology that allows the configuration of computer
software to imitate human actions. In CX, RPA features bots that learn an agent’s behaviour and reproduce some of the agent’s tasks.

ROI

Return on investment.

Routing

1. Moving data from a source to a destination
2. Connecting a customer to an agent.

RPA

See Robotic process automation

S

SaaS

See Software as a Service

Security

In IT, security refers mainly to protection against data theft, including theft of personal information and confidential materials, as well as protection against malicious software such as viruses, malware, etc.

Self-service operations

Methods that allow customers to complete tasks on their own with an AI-driven program.

Sentiment analysis

The identification of emotional states by AI. In CX, sentiment analysis is used to help route requests and provide information for agents.

Skill-based routing

The routing of calls to the agent with the most relevant skills, as opposed to the next available agent. Skill-based routing helps resolve issues more efficiently.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

A software licensing and delivery model based on subscription. A SaaS vendor hosts and manages software in the cloud and makes it available to customers via the internet. Organisations often turn to SaaS to reduce costs and increase agility.

Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD)

The Spanish regulatory body which oversees data privacy laws.

Speech analytics

The use of AI to analyse speech. In CX, speech analytics is used to analyse recorded calls to gather customer information and improve communication.

Speech-to-text

A technology enabling the transcription of a sound file into text.

Storage

In IT, the place or the ability to keep data.

STT

See Speech to text

Supervisor

he manager responsible for leading a team of customer service agents.

Supervisor escalation

The referral of a query from an agent to a supervisor for more specialised attention.

Symmetry of attention

A dual focus on the experience of both agents and customers (AX and CX). Symmetry of attention is promoted as a means of increasing the quality of service and benefiting agents and customers.

T

Touchpoint

Any moment across a customer journey in which a company or brand has the potential to make a positive or negative impression on the customer.

TTS

Text-to-speech. A technology enabling a text to be turned into speech.

Turnover

See Churn rate

U

User experience

The way a person feels towards a product while using it. User experience is
influenced by such factors as usability (is a product easy to use), learning curve (is it quick to learn), etc.

User interface

The set of tools that enable people to interact with computers. A user interface typically consists of a keyboard, mouse or touchpad, and a graphical user interface (GUI).

UX

See User experience

V

Voicebot

An automated program for greeting, qualifying and providing self-service in the form of voice assistance available on smartphones and smart speakers.

W

Wait time

The total amount of time a caller spends waiting for an agent to answer a call. Wait time occurs with an initial call and when a caller is transferred to a new agent.

WebRTC

Web Real-Time Communications is a powerful API that enables browser-to-browser telecommunication over the internet via audio, video, and P2P file sharing web apps. Powerful and simple to use, It is quickly becoming the technology of choice for real-time streaming.

Widget

A customisable tool that provides information or simple functionalities in a compact space. Some uses of widgets in CX include chatbot interfaces for customers and embedded interactive widgets in an agent’s console.

Workforce management (WFM) solution

An integrated set of processes that a company uses to optimise employee productivity.

Workforce optimisation

The performance elevation of agents and contact centres often via QM and WFM solutions. A broad concept, it explains any advancement that leads to more efficient contact centre operations.

Wrap-up time

The time an agent spends working on tasks connected to a call after the call has been completed.

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