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Usage of Call Center Acronyms

Call centers use numerous acronyms to define and measure the relationship between customers and customer service representatives, also known as call center agents. When a customer makes a phone connection, the call center's software begins a sequence of shuttling the customer to the correct destination via automatic call distribution on a first-come, first-served basis. The ACD software may also relay automated messages to customers to inform them of delays or promotional information while they are on hold waiting for a representative.

Average Speed of Answer

Once an incoming call enters the ACD, the calculation for the average speed of answer begins. The average speed of answer is measured in seconds and is the time that a call enters the ACD to the time that a representative answers the call. Call center managers use ASA as a way to measure service from the perspective of the customer. Over time, an average ASA is calculated. The downside of ASA is that if the majority of calls get answered in a very short time, a small sample of calls that took a long time to answer will distort the average. For example, if 95 calls out of 100 were answered in thirty seconds and five calls took 55 seconds, the average speed of answer would be 31.2 seconds, one point two seconds more than it took to answer the majority of the calls.

Interactive Voice Response

Hearing the voice of an automated attendant telling you how to navigate a company's customer service options is common. Interactive voice response or IVR, is the technology behind this type of automated navigation and allows customers to press a button on their telephone or provide voice prompts. In addition to providing information on how to reach the correct department to address customer needs, IVR software can also provide customers with solutions to common problems. This allows a company to provide service without taking the time of a customer service representative.

Related Terms

One of the most commonly used metrics in the call center industry is the service level. It measures the percentage of calls answered within a specific time. Service level is measured by two numbers, a percentage and a time. For example, an 85/30 service level means that 85 percent of calls were answered within 30 seconds. Call centers set service level targets based on their needs and staffing. Another term used in call centers is abandoned call. Sometimes before a call reaches a CSR, the customer hangs up or gets disconnected. The percentage of abandoned calls is added to the service level metric so a metric of 85/30/ < 4 would mean that 85 percent of calls were answered within 30 seconds with 4 percent of calls being abandoned.

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