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July 06, 2012

BPO – Call Centre Jargon, Jargon, Jargon

       Call centres  are  littered  with  buzzwords,  jargon  and  abbreviations.  There  are  lots  of  three  letter 
       acronyms or TLAs used in call centres. 

1.      3-2-1 (Idea Generation Technique): Used to gather information from several people in a short space of time. Focused on identifying immediate solutions to a specific issue.

2.      ACW - After Call Work:  A period of time immediately after contact with the customer is completed and any supplementary work is undertaken by the Agent, in relation to that interaction.

3.      AHT (Average Handling Time): The amount of time it takes an Agent to deal with all aspects of a call – includes talk time plus after call work

4.      Agent: The person who receives and makes customer telephone calls. May also deal with customer correspondence and customer e-mails. Also known as Customer Advisor or Customer Representative.

5.      Agent Status: The Agent status at a particular point in time e.g. wait, talk, wrap, idle, unavailable.

6.      ACD Automatic Call Distributor: The telephone system that takes all the calls either coming into (or going out) of a centre and directs each call to the right person or team to answer, queuing the calls where necessary. The ACD system can handle multiple telephone numbers coming into the centre, and produces a range of Management Information reports about the call traffic and the agents handling those calls.

7.      ANI - Automatic Number Identification: A feature of the telephony network to capture a callers identifying telephony number.

8.      Automated Speech Recognition: A solution to automate some or all parts of a customer call. It allows the caller to interact with your call centre, using their natural language, without the involvement of an Agent. Speech recognition can be applied to some or even all parts of a call, particularly where the information that you collect is in a standard form.

9.      Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) : The type of telephone system used in most call centres. Sometimes called a call centre it is used to queue callers and distribute the calls to agents. It usually includes the ability to generate statistics. Manufacturers include Aspect, Avaya (used to be called Lucent), Cisco, Nortel and Rockwell. It may be a dedicated telephone system or part of an office telephone system.

10.  Average Speed Of Answer: The average time (typically in seconds) for calls to be answered in the call centre. This needs to be treated carefully since it deals with the arithmetic mean. For example if 9 calls were answered immediately and at a very busy period one call waited for 10 minutes to be answered - it would treat the average speed of answer at one minute - even though 90% of calls were answered immediately.

11.  Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) : Taking a business task and getting another company to deliver it. This term is typically used to mean moving call centres and other business functions to India and other lower cost countries.

12.  Call Avoidance: A proactive strategy to reduce the number of unwanted or low value calls-for example failure avoidance by eliminating repeat calls; or call automation through self-service.

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  1. Its amazing post. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. keep posting such an interesting things

  2. Great and simple post you shared. Business Process Outsourcing has such a mythology about it, but it really is just making a common sense! Thanks for pointing that in your post.