Off Center
 
Being a writer, I like it much the words and things. I’ve always felt that it is crucial to do grammar good, to spel things corectally, and to fully understand each word that you utilization.    

During my years writing about contact centers and customer care, I’ve uncovered many inconsistencies in how people use and define certain key industry terms and concepts. For instance, some people say “service level” when they mean to say “response time”. Others say “peon” when they mean to say “agent”.  And many say “industry standard” when they mean to annoy me.

So, to help get everybody on the same page, I’ve decided to create a condensed glossary for conact center professionals. While you may already know what some or all of the below words and phrases mean, you don’t.



abandonment: The feeling a contact center manager experiences just after talking to senior management about a budget increase.

adherence to schedule: A contact center metric that measures agents’ affinity for invisibility.

agent (a.k.a. rep, CSR, associate, the artist formerly known as operator): A person – usually – who handles a variety of customer transactions via a variety of contact channels while dreaming of a variety of jobs that pay better, such as pamphleteer or migrant farm worker.

average handle time (AHT): A crucial metric embraced by the world’s leading contact centers… in 1986.

best practice: Two words that raise contact center research report prices to four figures.      

contact center: A big place with bad lighting and cramped cubicles where people wear headsets to keep their skulls intact.

contact centre:  Same as above, only located in a region where people drive on the wrong side of the road or play ice hockey in the summer.

customer satisfaction: What many callers sense after screaming a stream of obscenities as they are about to cancel their account with your company.  

e-learning: A way to train agents without having to unlock their cages.

first-call resolution (FCR): The absolute most important metric that a contact center is unable to measure.

forecast: Gloomy.

home agent: A customer care professional who has forgotten how to drive and put on pants. (See also “telecommuting”.)

IVR: An electronic prison where companies house their least valuable customers.

occupancy: The percentage of time contact center agents spend handling calls versus surfing CareerBuilder.com.

offshore outsourcing: A strategy deployed by U.S. contact center executives who want their vacations to Asia to be tax-deductible.

quality monitoring: A practice whereby a contact center spies on its agents to officially confirm that the center’s recruiting and training programs blow.

queue: The line that forms outside a contact center’s bathroom after cold pepperoni pizza has been served as the overtime snack for the third straight day.

screen pop: A martial arts move used on slow computers by impatient agents. 

self-service: A customer care approach adopted by contact centers that can’t find anybody who wants to work for them.

skills-based routing: A tool commonly used to torture workforce management teams.

speech analytics: An expensive software solution used to confirm that customers hate your company as much as agents say.

social media: A cruel trick played on contact center professionals who were just starting to get a handle on email and chat.

supervisor: An agent who has shed his or her headset though not his or her craving for customer abuse. 

telecommuting: An innovative staffing solution based on the belief that agents perform at optimum levels in their underwear. (See also “home agent”.)

Voice of the Customer (VOC):  The sound that your agents hear in their sleep regardless of the amount of therapy or medication they try.

web chat: A contact center channel through which agents can efficiently demonstrate illiteracy to up to four or five customers at once.

workforce management: A complex science involving the use of highly sophisticated technology and mathematical formulas to misjudge the number of agents you need to schedule.