Contact Center Terminology, Part III

Contact Center Terminology, Part III

This the final part in the initial installment of what could very well turn out to be the definitive guide to common contact center terminology. (Part I, is here and Part II is here) If we missed anything or you have any thoughts on the definitions that we’ve provided, please feel free to weigh in by commenting below.

9. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
KPI or key performance indicator is a measurable data point that represents how effectively a company or individual is achieving or contributing to the success of key business objectives. A KPI goal for a call center might be might be to decrease AHT (from Part I) by 30 seconds on a particular campaign. A KPI goal for a customer service agent might be to decrease their personal AHT by 60 seconds to contribute to the larger company goal.

10. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score or NPS, measures customer loyalty and is considered a good predictor of business revenue and growth. In a nutshell, it measures how likely a customer is to recommend a product or service to someone else. It is roughly calculated by subtracting the dissatisfied (a detractor) from the satisfied (a promoter) and scored -100 to +100.

If we were to do a quick NPS checkup right now, it would look like this:

Respondents who score 0-6 are considered “detractors”, 7-8 are “passives” and 9-10 are “promoters”.

11. Occupancy
Occupancy is the percentage of time that contact center agents spend handling incoming requests against the total amount of time their are in “ready” status.

12. Outlier Management
Outlier management is a nice way of saying, “what the heck are we going to do with the under-performers?”  Typically the bottom 20 percent fall into a “outlier” category on any given metric and there are a variety of approaches management can take to address the issues. These range from mentoring to training to disciplinary action and everything in between.

13. Queue (Q)
Customers who call a contact center are placed in a queue while they wait to speak with a live agent. It is similar to waiting in line at an amusement park, a call queue is a “waiting line” of customers, organized by campaign and prioritized by the order the calls were received.

14. Service Levels/Service Level Agreement (SL/SLA)
A service level agreement (SLA) is a contractual agreement between a client and contact center that defines the level of service required by an inbound campaign. A typical SLA with a call center states that x percentage of calls will be handled in x number of seconds. (ie: 80%/60 seconds)

Service levels (SL) are one of the primary metrics that contact center managers monitor throughout the day. A 90 percent SL means that 90 percent of the inbound calls are being handled within the agreed to SLA.

15. Shrinkage (Shrink)
There are two types of shrink: internal and external. For the layman, internal shrink is when staff spend too much time goofing around; external shrink happens when people call in sick or late.  There are numerous other reasons for both but the point is that shrinkage can seriously hurt a business unless it is planned for and managed.

For example, let’s say a pizza joint determines it needs ten people to work ten hours each to provide adequate service for the number of orders forecast. If history shows that 2 will call in sick (external shrink) and 2 still need to be trained how to use the cash register for half their shift (internal shrink), then the pizza place is looking at an anticipated 30 percent shrink for that day.

It can therefore be concluded that the manager should schedule 13 people to cover the ten, ten hour shifts.

16. Workforce Management (WFM)
Workforce Management, as it applies to a BPO contact center, encompasses all the activities needed to maintain a productive workforce capable of providing the service levels promised to the client. These include scheduling, forecasting, performance management, real-time management, time-keeping and attendance.

And that concludes our three-part examination of some of the most common terms floating around contact centers these days. However, contact center terminology is an ever-evolving area and if the comments and feedback we receive warrant it, we will certainly revisit it again in the future.

Back to:
Part II
Part I

Contact Center Terminology, Part II

Every industry has its own jargon or language or buzzwords or lingo. The contact center industry is no different and this series is designed to help folks who are either new to the industry or who are trying to set up or retain their own BPO contact center. If you missed Contact Center Terminology Part I, you can find it here.

5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM is short for customer relationship management and it is typically used in the context of an application. (IE: “ customer service agents are well versed in a wide variety of CRM apps including Limelight, Konnektive, etc…).

CRMs are also a database, analytics and customer-centric tool companies use to manage customer records. A good CRM will keep records and analytics on everything from fullfillment operations to contact center activities to order processing (and much more).

6. First Call Resolution (FCR)
First call resolution is when a customer’s questions are completely addressed the very first time he/she reaches out to a contact center. This is’s bread and butter and it is considered a platinum benchmark by which all customer support companies and departments are measured. FCR not only decreases costs to the client but it creates a level of customer service that ensures  people are not only satisfied with their experience but that they buy from you again and again, tell all their friends about your products and – if they are predisposed to writing online reviews – write only positive, glowing things about your company.

7.  Full-time Employee (FTE)
A full-time employee refers to customer service agent whose combined work hours in a week equal the number of hours a business consider full-time. This is used in the context of capacity planning and forecasting. For example, your account manager might say to you, “Yes, sir, we’ve scheduled 9 FTEs over the holiday weekend to handle your calls and make sure the service level goals are met.”

8. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
An IVR is a telephony menu system that identifies, segments and routes calls to the most appropriate agent or group of agents within a business unit.

(Continue on to Part III)

(Back to Part I)

Contact Center Terminology, Part I

If you have ever been around a subject matter expert, they’ve likely dropped a word or acronym you’ve never heard of. The contact center world is filled with these! To help you , we’ve put together a glossary of common contact center terminology. This is designed to make it easier to speak the language and understand how this business works.

1. Automatic call distribution (ACD)
ACD or automatic call distribution (or distributor) is software that queues and routes incoming phone calls. A key role of an ACD is producing intelligence for a contact center and an understanding of opportunities for performance management improvements.

2. Average speed to Answer (ASA)
Average speed to answer, or ASA, is the measurement of how quickly your contact center responds to an incoming request – whether it’s a call or a chat or an email – from a customer. (ex: the call center handled 9000 calls today with an ASA of 48 seconds)

3. Average Handle Time (AHT)
Talk time + wrap-time = handle time. The average handle time for a contact center agent is the total time spent talking on calls divided by the total number of calls for a specified time period. (ex: 500 minutes / 40 calls = 12.5 minute AHT) This metric is especially important for customers  who pay by the minute. Internally, most clients on this type of plan require a 6-8 minute AHT but it really is dependent on the requirements of each campaign.

4. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
Business process outsourcing is the contracting of a business task, such as customer service or HR, to a third-party provider. Usually, BPO is implemented as a cost-saving measure for tasks that a company requires but can be done more efficiently through outsourcing.

Continue to Part II…