Contact Centre Glossary

An overview of the vocabulary used in the call centre, contact centre, and customer service industries


This contact centre glossary explains the most common terminologies used in call centres. Furthermore, it defines metrics, as well as terms related to customer experience.


There is a comprehensive list of important terminology that every contact centre team needs to understand in order to communicate effectively. It is important to note that the definitions provided in each index provide clarity as to what a particular industry-specific term means.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) – refers to the field of computer science dedicated to creating systems and machines that can perform tasks requiring human-like intelligence, such as problem-solving, learning, and decision-making.

Automatic Call Distributors (ACD) – are telephony systems that intelligently route incoming calls to the most appropriate customer service agents or employees based on predefined criteria, such as skillset or availability.

Average Handle Time (AHT) – is the metric used to gauge the average duration it takes to complete a customer interaction, encompassing the call itself and any associated tasks or follow-up activities.

ANI, or Automatic Number Identification – is a technology that allows telephone systems to automatically identify and display the calling phone number to the recipient, helping businesses and individuals screen and manage incoming calls more effectively.

ASA (Average Speed of Answer)  – A metric in contact centres that measures the average time it takes for calls to be answered by agents after being placed in the queue, reflecting the efficiency of call handling.

Auto Dialer  – An outbound contact centre uses this technology to automate the process of making calls. There are dialers that are capable of offering advanced functionality, scripting, and reporting.

Automation  – The use of technology and software to perform tasks and processes with minimal human intervention, aiming to streamline operations and improve efficiency.


Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)  – Third-party providers are contracted to perform specific operations. Business Process Outsourcing refers to the third-party provider.


Call Centre Management – Operations, employee interactions, policies, and procedures that manage call centre employees, operations, and tools.

Call Centre Team Leader – A call centre team leader, also known as a contact centre team leader or supervisor, is a professional responsible for managing and supervising a team of call centre agents, ensuring their performance, aligning with organizational goals, and handling various administrative and coaching tasks.

Cloud Call Centre – A customer service operation that utilizes cloud-based technology and infrastructure to manage incoming and outgoing calls and interactions with customers.

Cloud Contact Centre – It can handle inbound and outbound customer interactions across multiple means of communication (such as voice, digital, and messaging) thanks to cloud-native software, instead of on-premise hardware.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)–  is a technology that enables the seamless integration of computer systems and telephony systems, allowing for features like caller identification and call routing within software applications.

Contact Centre (What is a) – An operation that allows customers to communicate with agents (or self-service systems) across multiple voice, digital, and chat channels, typically for sales, support, or customer service.

Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) – is a cloud-based platform that provides businesses with the necessary tools and infrastructure to set up and manage their customer contact centers, offering scalability and flexibility in customer service operations.

Contact Centre Management – The processes an organization uses to manage its call centre workforce and software to provide consistently exceptional customer service.

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) CSAT is a metric used to measure customer satisfaction with a company’s products, services, or interactions, typically expressed as a numerical score or rating based on customer feedback.

Customer Effort Score (CES) – A metric used in the contact centre and customer service industry to measure the ease with which customers can resolve their issues or achieve their goals when interacting with a company or its services.

Customer Intelligence – In customer intelligence, information about a business’s customers is collected and analyzed in order to determine how to engage them in order to strengthen relationships and increase loyalty.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Customer data and interaction information can be accessed by call centre employees to further personalize the customer experience.

Customer Service Representative (CSR) – A contact centre employee who is responsible for providing support to customers when interacting with them.

Customer Service Strategy –  A customer service strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines an organization’s approach to delivering exceptional customer experiences, encompassing objectives, methods, and resources for achieving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

CX (Customer Experience) CX refers to the overall perception and interaction that a customer has with a brand or business throughout their entire journey, encompassing every touchpoint and aspect of the customer-business relationship.


Dashboard – An easy way for contact centre employees to view real-time communication, KPI reports, or historical information.

Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) – is a technology that uses combinations of two distinct audio frequencies to enable users to input data, such as phone numbers or commands, via a telephone keypad or touch-tone interface.


Employee Attrition – Often referred to as staff turnover or employee churn, is the rate at which employees voluntarily leave a company and need to be replaced by new hires. It’s a crucial metric for organizations to monitor as high attrition rates can impact productivity and performance.

Erlang Calculator – A mathematical tool used in contact centres to determine staffing requirements based on call volume and service level objectives.



GOS (Grade of Service) – A metric used in contact centers to measure the percentage of incoming calls that are answered within a specified time frame, indicating service quality and efficiency.


Hosted Services – An on-demand contact centre or call centre service that is hosted by a network provider.


Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – What is it – Incoming calls can be handled by either responding to the digits entered by the customer or using their speech. As a result, IVR enables customers to access information easily, complete transactions quickly and easily, and leave messages without requiring assistance from an agent by means of an automated menu as well as enabling them to enter a queue, connect with an agent, or to complete a self-service interaction on their own.



KMS (Knowledge Management System) – A centralized platform used in contact centres and customer service organizations to store, organize, and access information and knowledge resources, facilitating efficient support and problem-solving.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) – Reports that track and review the performance of contact centres at a high level.


Leave Without Pay (LWOP) – refers to a temporary unpaid leave of absence that employees can take from their job for various personal reasons.

Local Area Network (LAN) – A computer network that connects devices within a limited geographical area, such as a home, office, or building, enabling the sharing of resources, data, and communication among connected devices.



NPS (Net Promoter Score) – A metric used in the contact centre and customer service industry to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction by asking a simple question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”


Omnichannel Cloud Contact Centre – A cloud-based contact center that handles inbound and outbound interactions seamlessly across multiple, integrated channels, rather than using on-premise hardware. To identify, personalize, and contextualize future interactions with a customer, information from one channel is recorded and shared across channels during a customer interaction.

Outbound Call Centre – A call centre or contact centre is responsible for handling a high volume of outgoing calls. These calls are usually aimed at generating sales, fundraising, or other campaigns suited to the business.


PBX (Private Branch Exchange) – A telephone system within an organization that enables internal communication and manages incoming and outgoing calls without relying on a public telecommunications network.

Penalty Rates – in the Australian workplace are higher pay rates granted to employees for working during weekends, public holidays, or outside regular working hours.

Predictive Dialler – A software or device that automatically dials a list of phone numbers and connects answered calls to available agents, optimizing call center efficiency by minimizing idle time and increasing the number of successful connections.



RDO (Rostered Day Off) – A scheduled day off from work that is planned in advance as part of an employee’s regular work schedule..


Short Calls Short calls in a contact centre refer to customer interactions with a duration of less than 10 seconds, often caused by agents answering calls but immediately disconnecting, impacting customer experience and statistics.

Softphone – With the use of a high-speed internet connection and a computer, tablet, or mobile device, users are able to perform traditional phone functions.

Speech analytics – As well as being known as interaction analytics, speech analytics is a technology that uses artificial intelligence to understand, process, and analyze human speech by combining it with natural language processing.





Workforce Optimisation (WFO) – Through workforce management software, customers and agents can experience improved multichannel or omnichannel experiences. As part of these software tools, you can forecast, schedule, manage quality, manage performance, coach, analyze, or report with AI.

Workforce Management (WFM) – Workforce Management refers to the processes and strategies implemented by organizations to effectively optimize and maximize the productivity, efficiency, and scheduling of their workforce, encompassing activities such as forecasting, scheduling, task assignment, and performance tracking.




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