Throughout this website and/or blog, there will be call center jargons or terms that might be foreign to you if you are new to the industry. I created this page to list all the call center jargons that you might encounter when navigating the call center world. I’m going to try to list down all the basic and common ones but this list is by no means all-inclusive. *Full blog disclaimer.
I will continue to update this page from time to time as soon as I remember something to add. I also intend to briefly explain each jargon in layman’s term (as much as I can). If you do have something to add or if you think something here is incorrect or doesn’t fit your definition, we can discuss it. Email me via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll thank you for that. 🙂
Table of Contents
- BPO: Business Process Outsourcing
- Call Center
- ACD: Automatic Call Distributor
- Account / Program
- IVR: Interactive Voice Response
- ACW: After Call Work
- Auto-in: Automatic in
- Nesting or Transition
- Production or Operations (Ops)
- AHT: Average Handling (Handle) Time
- CSAT: Customer Satisfaction
- DSAT: Dissatisfaction
- QA: Quality Assurance
- SBS: Side-by-side Call Listening
- Remote Call Monitoring
- SA: Schedule Adherence
- RTA: Real Time Analyst
- Cold Transfer
- Warm Transfer
- Sup Call
- SLA: Service Level Agreement
- KPI: Key Performance Indicators
- Night Differential
- Hazard Pay
- VTO: Voluntary Time Out
- SL: Sick Leave
- VL: Vacation Leave
- NCNS: No Call No Show
- AWOL: Absence Without Official Leave
- Team Lead
- Call Center Virgin
BPO: Business Process Outsourcing
It is when a company outsources some of its tasks or operations to another company to help increase flexibility and costs efficiency. For example, Telecom X Company asks Call Center Z to handle its customer service calls. This means that Telecom X is outsourcing that part of the business to Call Center Z.
Call centers are just one of the common examples. If a business is outsourcing operations to another country, it’s called offshore outsourcing, which is common here in the Philippines.
A call center or contact center is a centralized office (can be big or small) that caters to receiving or making huge volume of calls on behalf of a certain business. It also caters to non-voice operations such as email support, and back office or those roles that are not directly related to customer support (IT, admin works, accounting, etc).
ACD: Automatic Call Distributor
This is basically the telephone technology that distributes or routes the calls to the correct area – either a team or a department within the call center. You will receive a call based on the level of your training or what they call “skill”. You will most likely be assigned an ACD log-in or a string of numbers you will use to log-in to your phone.
When they say skill in operations term, it’s not your communication or speaking skills. It’s really the level of training you’ve received. It’s usually represented by a set of numbers. For example, if you are trained to receive calls for technical support then that’s your skill. Example, a caller will choose an option via the automated system if he/she wants help with technical stuff, and since that’s your skill, the call will be routed to you or anyone in your team with the same skill.
Similarly, if you are trained to receive escalated calls or those concerns that require complex resolutions, then a front liner will transfer a call to you when needed. Your skill is for escalations.
Another telephone technology that automatically makes calls or dials numbers for agents. Mainly used for outbound calls.
Account / Program
Big call centers have several clients. For example, Call Center WWW has 3 clients – Travel X, Telecom Y, Bank Z. So depending on the hiring need and/or your skills, you can be profiled to work for either Travel X or Bank Z. So when people ask you “what account are you in?”, you say “Travel X” or whichever account you’re in.
IVR: Interactive Voice Response
The IVR system is commonly-used by call centers to properly route customer calls to the right area or department. This is also referred to as the “automated system” or the voice recording before you even get to a real person or agent on the phone. Say — Press 1 for Tech Support, Press 2 for Loan Payments, Press 0 to speak with a telephone representative.
ACW: After Call Work
This is the time you are allowed to do admin tasks or take notes of what transpired during your call. As the term suggests, it happens after each call. Companies or accounts have set specific acceptable duration for ACW. If your ACW should only be 1 minute, then you should follow that. Some companies don’t even have ACW so you have to take a call as soon as it comes in.
This is the term used when your phone is set to Ready mode. This means that you are ready to receive or take calls, or that a call may come in anytime. This is the same term used to mean “there are no calls coming in yet” or “it’s not queuing” or there’s an idle time between calls. Example, if your log-in time is 7PM, you will hear your supervisor say “avail guys!” (meaning it’s time for you to take calls) or when you’re chatting with your seatmate, you say “wow himala, avail lagi”. 😀
“Kyoowing!” (Or Queueing – both spellings accepted) This means that you’ll run out of breath because you’re receiving calls one after the other. Busy days are usually queuing, but if you’re lucky, you’ll be assigned to an account that’s always busy. That means it’s queuing all day errday!
This means that you are the one receiving calls from the customers. Most customer service and tech support accounts are inbound.
This means that you are the one calling the customers. Most telemarketing and sales accounts are outbound.
Auto-in: Automatic in
This means that the calls are coming in automatically so you don’t have to press a button to answer (for inbound) or dial a number (for outbound). All you have to do is sit back, relax, and expect for the best. 😉
It’s just the term used to mean the production floor or the place where you are going to take calls. Say like, “when you’re already on the floor, you have to follow EOP always”.
A duration of classroom training where you have to learn soft skills, communication skills, and products/services, as well as processes. You have to pass this before you are endorsed to take calls.
Nesting or Transition
Terms vary per company. This is the period of time after classroom training when you start taking calls or you are transitioning into becoming full-fledged call center agents. You will have more time for coaching at this stage.
Production or Operations (Ops)
This is it legit! You’re now a full-fledged agent you! Congrats and may the wings of your eyeliner be always even!
English Only Policy or could also be English Only Please (not the Jennelyn-Derek movie); also not English Only Palihog. Quite simply, it means you should speak English at all times in EOP zones as directed by the client.
These are quantifiable measures of the business that are put in place to make sure business processes are properly assessed, tracked, monitored, and aligned with the business goals. Depending on where you work, your metrics may vary but the basics are usually AHT, CSAT, QA, and SA.
AHT: Average Handling (Handle) Time
This is one of the common metrics in a call center. It’s the average time an agent can complete the calls which is calculated like this: Total Talk Time + Hold Time + Wrap Time divided by the number of calls you took or made. The smaller the AHT number, the better. The more calls you take or receive, the higher the chance of getting a smaller AHT.
CSAT: Customer Satisfaction
This can have many names in different companies or accounts. But it generally refers to Customer Satisfaction Survey or CSAT survey. After your call, your customer has a chance to rate the service you provided. It could be through the automated system or through an email or text message sent to them. This is one of the most important metrics especially in customer service accounts.
When you fail a CSAT survey, it’s most of the time referred to as DSAT.
QA: Quality Assurance
This is another important metric in call centers. This generally measures the accuracy of your call – whether or not you’ve provided the right information, you followed the standard procedures, and you’ve done the right thing. This is done usually by a QA analyst or could be by a supervisor, manager, or trainer through listening to your call recordings or side-by-side listening.
SBS: Side-by-side Call Listening
This is when someone listens to you while you are taking calls live. He/she will literally be by your side listening through a Y-cord attached to your phone.
Remote Call Monitoring
It’s like wiretapping. 😉 Supervisors, QAs, or anyone use this method to covertly listen to you while you are taking calls. You won’t really know that someone’s listening to your calls unless you’re informed ahead. This is mainly for QA evaluations or call listening.
SA: Schedule Adherence
This is another common metric that’s based on how you follow your plotted schedule to a T. When you start taking calls, you will have a scheduled log-in and log-out time, breaks and lunch, sometimes training or coaching time, or any off-the-phone time.
Example, when you’re scheduled to log in by 7PM, you have to log-in at 7PM and take calls, or as some accounts allow – log in at 6:59PM. If you don’t follow your plotted schedule, you will ruin your SA. I didn’t know of anyone who had 100% SA yet. There’s usually a target set for passing rate.
It’s what you do when you offer a product with a higher value to a customer who only inquired for a basic product. In non-industry terms, say you are at Jollibee and you ordered regular fries then the cashier will tell you “How about go-large fries ma’am/sir? You just need to add 15 pesos.” Something to that effect.
It’s a term usually used by sales agents. It’s the rate or percentage of customers that take a specific action you want. For example, if you’re calling a customer to sell something and that customer ended up buying what you offered, then that is conversion.
RTA: Real Time Analyst
This is usually a team of people that tracks real-time schedules and attendance of all agents on the floor.
Graveyard shift is a term used when you are working at night. Typically, you will be logging out or going home in the morning.
This refers to the number or rate of call center agents who quit working or are dismissed in a specific period of time.
This is a type of call transfer that involves transferring the call directly to another line without waiting for someone to answer, or to transfer the call back to the queue.
This is a type of call transfer that involves transferring the call to another line and waiting for someone to answer so that you can introduce the customer to him or her.
Supervisor call or escalated call. This is when a customer wants to speak with a supervisor or when you need to transfer a call because of complex issues and resolutions. Guidelines vary per company or account.
A specialized group of agents that handle complex calls or requests that you aren’t trained for.
The first line or point of contact of the customer after the automated system. When you’re a frontliner, you will most likely be transferring calls to other departments quite often.
Bonuses for doing good! These could be performance or attendance bonus, or any type of bonus that you deserve for doing your job well.
SLA: Service Level Agreement
This is an agreement put in place between the call center and the client to make sure that the calls are handled based on what they’ve agreed upon. For example, the SLA is that all calls should be answered within 3 rings, or that an X number of calls should be taken daily or hourly.
This usually happens after a major milestone like after graduating from training or transition phase, and every year-end. Usually, you will fill out a form to self-assess your performance, then your supervisor or manager will assess your performance and rate it too. This is likely the basis of whether you will be endorsed to take calls, or whether you will receive your annual performance bonus.
KPI: Key Performance Indicators
These are measures used by a call center to track and assess performance on a daily basis.
Night Shift Differential Pay is a required-by-law additional payment to employees who work between 10PM and 6AM. Your HR Team or Payroll Team will explain about this further.
A provision for call center agents to acknowledge the fact that they are working in risky conditions (you know being a night owl and all that). Ask your HR Team, Payroll, or your supervisor for more info about this.
VTO: Voluntary Time Out
It’s when you are allowed to go home earlier than your scheduled log-out time due to low volume of calls.
SL: Sick Leave
A paid time-off you are entitled to take when you’re legit sick. Companies have different policies so check with yours first.
VL: Vacation Leave
A paid time-off you are entitled to take when you want to pursue your #travelgoals, take a vacay, or when you just want to stay home and rest. Check your company policies for details.
NCNS: No Call No Show
This is a major offense. You didn’t show up for work without calling-in, meaning your absence is not approved. It has a serious impact on SLA.
When you are absent for whatever reason, most companies will require you to call-in. This means that you have to call either the RTA Team, your supervisor, or your manager and inform them hours before shift that you can’t make it to work.
AWOL: Absence Without Official Leave
You just left without notice, without a resignation letter, or without a doubt. You’re just gone and probably off to some greener pastures. Not the best way to leave a company though. 😉
Unscheduled breaks that ruin your SA
Usually twice a day, 15 minutes each (varies per company)
One hour break. Lunch is lunch no matter what time you take it. Midnight lunch, anyone?
You; Can also be called representative, executive, customer service specialist, sales specialist, tech support specialist. Terms vary per company.
The person in-charge of your team or the immediate head of the team; can also be called supervisor, sup, suppie, or whatever you have established.
Call Center Virgin
First time to work in a call center? Then yes, this is you. 🙂
For more tips to enjoy & survive your call center lifestyle, check out my YouTube Channel – just click this link to subscribe – bit.ly/youtube-callcenterninja 😉