Abandoned Calls - In outbound teleservices, a call initiated by a predictive dialer that is
disconnected when no agent is available. In inbound teleservices, abandoned calls are ones that
are terminated by the caller before a representative answers.
Application Service Provider (ASP) - Also known as "apps-on-tap," an ASP is a company that
offers access to software and/or network applications, typically via an Internet connection. ASP
services provide an attractive option to companies wishing to minimize up front costs and reduce
internal support requirements.
Auto attendant - A computer system or program that is capable of independently responding to
customer's needs and questions without human intervention. Auto attendants (see also
Interactive Voice Response Systems/IVR's and Voice Response Units/VRU's), can be integrated
with ACD's, other call handling systems and databases. Today's more sophisticated menus allow
callers to interact using speaker independent speech recognition technology along with
traditional touch-tone options.
Automated dialer - A computer program or machine responsible for making phone calls for a
telephone representative by using a list of phone numbers previously provided by a list broker.
Automatic Call Distributor - An Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) is a call center systems
resource that processes, distributes, tracks and reports incoming call activity. Depending on
systems features and defined business rules, ACD systems can perform a wide variety of tasks in
the contact center including queuing of calls, routing of calls, tracking and reporting of call
statistics and other key management functions.
Automatic Number Identification (ANI) - The telephone network feature that allows the
transmission of the ten-digit area code and telephone number of the originating telephone to the
receiving telephone line. Telephone lines and handsets subscribing to "Caller I.D." are able to
view the ANI of the calling party.
Benchmarking - A benchmark is a standard that provides a measuring-stick for relative
performance. Benchmarking is critical to formulating a knowledge-based plan of action to
Blended center - A call center that conducts programs that process both inbound and outbound
call activity at the same agent station/desktop.
Bonding requirements - Some states have enacted laws requiring that telemarketing firms post
surety bonds in order to do business within the state boundaries. The bond provides the state
with assets that can be claimed in the event of fraud.
Contact center/call Center - A facility designed to support customers using the telephone as well
as other contact channels. A contact center may receive inbound calls, make outbound calls,
receive or send email, white mail, fax or support chat, VOIP or other communication mediums
employed by customers or prospects.
Caller ID - An electronic, telephone related device that allows individuals to identify callers
before answering the telephone. When a telephone rings, an electronic display registers the
caller's name and phone number. Individuals often use caller id to screen their calls.
Close - a statement that ends the sales-pitch and asks the customer to purchase the product
Closed sale rate - The number of sales finalized as a result of telemarketing efforts. A
telemarketing company may report the rate on an individual or company level.
Closed-ended question - A closed-ended question is a question which allows only a yes, no, or
another either/or option provided by the questioner.
Coaching - In teleservices, coaching is the process of providing instruction, direction, feedback
and support to agents in order to improve performance and results.
Common carrier - A telephone service provider.
Company-specific do not call lists - Company-specific do not call lists contain the names of
people who have asked not to be contacted by telephone by specific companies. Under the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, most companies doing business over the phone are
required to keep such lists and honor the customer's request.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) - The software, interfaces, and processes used to
integrate telephone and computer networks in order to provide a more efficient and seamless
customer interaction and reporting mechanism.
Confirmation - The confirmation is the point in a sales presentation when the representative
completes the sale and confirms the payment type, length of the commitment, and the address of
Contact Conversion Rate - the ratio of successful calls (whether a completed sale, survey, or
follow up call) to the total number of contacts expressed as a percentage. See also: List
CSR - Customer Service Representatives (CSR) answer consumer questions and resolve customer
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - The strategies, processes, people and technologies
used by companies to successfully attract and retain customers for maximum corporate growth
and profit. CRM initiatives are designed with the goal of meeting customer expectations and
needs in order to achieve maximum customer lifetime value and return to the enterprise. As a
primary sales, service and retention touch point for many companies, the Contact Center is a
critical component of a successful CRM strategy.
Data mining - Data mining entails analyzing information for previously undiscovered
correlations between two markets. Data mining connections can be made through associations
(baseball fans also watch football), sequences (buying wood and then buying paint), forecasting
(based on patterns found), and clustering (grouping information in a new way).
Email management services/software - A company or software that helps its clients sort,
manage, and respond to email communications.
Fulfillment services - A company that provides facilities, systems, and personnel to process mail,
package products, or perform other customer requests for a marketer. Fulfillment services
companies may be stand-alone providers or may provide integrated services including call
center, database, list or other marketing support services.
Handsets - Handsets are traditionally thought of as the telephone receivers one holds in their
hand. While still hand-held, new models may possess full Internet access and video display, as
well as traditional functions.
Headsets - Hardware for hands-free telephone use consisting of a set of earphones and a
microphone suspended from one of the earpieces so that the microphone sits in front of the
mouth. It serves the same purpose as a telephone receiver.
Inbound center - A contact center that receives and processes inbound transactions. Inbound
centers may handle traditional telephone activity as well as email, chat, white mail and other
functions for sales, service, retention, research, data collection or other applications.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) - A software application, enables users enter data on a
telephone keypad or input information by voice. The software can then process the input and
route the caller to the appropriate extension. IVR can be used for specific information lookup, call
forwarding, polls, and simple order entry transactions.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) - A company that provides other companies with the equipment
and information they need to access the Web. ISPs may host websites and/or supply the
necessary telecommunication lines.
Internet telephony - Internet telephony is the use of the Internet in place of the traditional
telephone company infrastructure and rate structure to exchange telephone information.
IXC - Inter-exchange carriers (IXC) are telephone companies that provide connections from local
exchanges in one geographic region to local exchanges in different areas.
LAN/WAN - A Local Area Network (LAN) is a group of computers and related devices that are
connected to each other so that information can be easily accessed on all computers. Computers
in a LAN generally share a single processor or server and are found in smaller, localized areas
(such as one floor of an office building). A Wide Area Network (WAN) is very similar to a LAN
except that it is dispersed over a much larger geographical area. Because it is spread over a larger
area, it requires telecommunication technology to make the connection possible.
Lead generation - In either inbound or outbound teleservices, the process of gathering
information from a prospect or customer in order to qualify and score the opportunity for future
follow-up. Subsequent follow-ups may be conducted via face-to-face, telephone, e-mail, mail or
List brokers - List brokers are companies and individuals that research and provide for the sale
and/or rental of marketing lists.
List Conversion Rate - the ratio of total successful calls to the total number of records in a given
list. See also: Contact Conversion Rate
List managers - List managers are companies and individuals who compile, update, manage and
rent information including names, addresses, phone numbers and other data for use by direct
marketers, teleservices marketers and others wishing to prospect to those names or update
databases. Lists are typically segmented by business and consumer listings and compiled
through a variety of sources. Vertical lists are those compiled from a specific industry or source
where the source is disclosed. Compiled lists are those assembled from a variety of sources (often
public information) where the specific source is not known. Telephone data append and other
services are provided by list management companies and telephone data providers.
List seeding - List seeding is a way of checking delivery and detecting unauthorized list usage by
adding false names to the mailing or calling list.
Live-chat - A method of responding to customer's questions and needs in-real time through the
use of recent internet "chat" technology. Customer service representatives respond directly to
customers through the use of online computer chat software.
Local Exchange Carrier (LEC), ILEC, and CLEC - A LEC is simply a telephone company that
provides service to a local calling area. An ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier) is a telephone
company that provided local service prior to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Competitive
Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) have come into existence since the Telecommunications Act of
1996. CLECs attempt to compete with pre-existing LECs by using their own switches and
Long distance reseller - A company that purchases blocks of long-distance telephone service in
bulk at a reduced price and then sells the long-distance to consumers at a rate below that which
they would normally pay.
Monitoring - Monitoring is a quality function used within contact centers to assure quality
communications, coach and counsel telephone agents and identify opportunities for operating
and marketing improvements.
Multilingual teleservices - Multilingual teleservices describe a teleservices company that offers
services in various languages. Such services enable companies to serve a broader market or target
a specific ethnic group that might otherwise be beyond reach.
No rebuttal laws - If a consumer states that they are not interested in the product or service as
offered, the seller must discontinue the call. Off shore call centers - A call center that uses
personnel and/or a location found outside of the United States.
On hold service - Music and announcements provided for the enjoyment and/or information of
customers who are waiting to be attended to by the next available telephone representative. "On
hold service" can be purchased by a company wishing to provide that service to its customers.
Open-ended question - An open-ended question allows for more than just a one or two word
Outbound center - An outbound center conducts outgoing telephone calls and may be engaged
in a variety of functions including sales, research, fundraising, appointment setting, collections or
PBX/ IP-PBX - A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is an internal telephone system within a
company that switches calls between internal lines while allowing all users to share a certain
number of external phone lines. The primary role of the PBX is to save the cost of requiring a
separate telephone line for each user.
Permission to continue laws - This law states that a sales representative may only continue a
sales presentation if the prospect gives permission, or otherwise shows strong interest in what is
being sold. Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Dakota are currently the only
states with permission to continue laws (as of 10/2001).
Predictive dialer - A predictive dialer is an outbound call processing system designed to
maintain a high level of utilization and cost efficiency in the contact center. The dialer
automatically calls a list of telephone numbers, screens the unnecessary calls such as answering
machines and busy signals, and then connects a waiting representative with the customer.
Qualifiers - Qualifiers are questions used in a sales presentation, which are designed to capture
information from a prospect to assist the sales agent in presenting appropriate information and
closing a sale.
Quality assurance/ control representative - In the teleservice industry, an individual engaged in
the process of listening, scoring and reporting on call interactions. The quality process is
designed to assure that the manner in which calls are conducted is in compliance with the
established guidelines of the program and other established legal and ethical requirements.
Registration requirements - States have a variety of laws, which may require telemarketing
companies to formally register with the state before conducting business in that state. Different
states maintain different regulations and requirements with some requiring the posting of a bond
and/or paying a registration fee.
Remote agents - A remote agent is someone who works outside of the actual office or call center
while maintaining real time telephone and computer access to information required to process
contacts (i.e. phone calls, email, etc.).
Retention rate - In teleservices human resource management terms; the percentage of a
company's employees that remain with the company during the course of a year. Conversely, the
churn or turnover rate is the percentage of employees who will leave within the course of a year.
Sales channel - A sales channel is the avenue through which a company or representative
completes transactions with consumers. Channels include the telephone, the Internet (web sites,
e-mail, web-chat), mail response and face-to-face interaction.
Sales per hour - Sales per hour is the average number of sales a caller makes in an hour. To find
sales per hour, divide total sales by calling hours. The Sales per hour number is one of the key
metrics used in the measurement of an agent's success as well as the overall success of a sales
Script/Call Guide - In either inbound or outbound teleservices, a script or call guide refers to the
written presentation or outline of the verbiage a representative uses in conversation with a
customer or prospect. Call Guides may be designed in such a way as to be delivered verbatim,
semi-verbatim, bulleted or free form depending on a company's business philosophy or program
Simultaneous voice and data - A telecommunication line that allows spoken information and
electronic data to be transmitted through the same line at the same time. A Digital Subscriber
Line (DSL) is a simultaneous voice and data line.
Site selection - Site selection is the process by which a company analyzes the merits of
prospective locations in which the company potentially intends to locate a branch or
headquarters. Relevant factors include an area's average education level, availability of labor,
market wage prices, proximity to large cities, and access to high-speed technological equipment,
Speech recognition - A machine or software capable of recognizing spoken language. The
machine or software may take the spoken language and translate it into written text, or follow the
spoken instructions to perform other functions.
Talk time - In either inbound or outbound, talk time represents the average amount of time the
representative spends on the phone either handling a customer inquiry or making a presentation.
Telco - Short for "telephone company." The term Telco may include a local phone company or a
long distance phone provider.
Telecommuting - Telecommuting uses telecommunication technology such as the Internet to
work outside of the traditional workplace. An individual may be on a company's payroll, but
perform his or her duties from the home.
Telephone Data Provider - A company that provides a variety of telephone data services such as
telephone append, real time telephone append, demographic append and other services for
inbound and outbound teleservices companies wishing to better target or qualify customers.
Telephony - Transmitting voice or digital information between two parties by using the
telephone or telephone-related technology.
Teleservices Provider - Teleservices providers are companies that provide teleservices, whether
those services include telemarketing (inbound or outbound) or customer service. Many provide
custom teleservices-that is, they operate call centers on behalf of other companies.
Third party verification - After a representative completes certain transactions the caller is
transferred to a separate entity (normally outside the company) to verify the transaction.
TSR (Telesales Representative) - A TSR uses the telephone or telephone related technology to
contact potential customers and make sales.
Turnover rate - Turnover (or churn) rate is the rate at which employees enter and leave a
company. The more loyal employees are to a firm, the lower the turnover rate. A 100 percent
turnover rate from year to year means that as many people left the company as were hired.
Unified messaging - Unified messaging, also known as unified messaging systems and UMS,
enables a user to access voice, fax, and text messages via one single email or telephone account.
Unified queues - Lines, or queues, are created to funnel calls into the call center and distribute
them based on given criteria (such as chronological order or customer priority). Unified queuing
means to queue all calls, regardless of the line through which they came, in one manner.
Virtual call centers - A virtual call center is made possible by telecommunication and Internet
technology. Virtual call center employees use the Internet to work from their own homes or de-
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) - VoIP is a term used for a set of facilities designed to
manage the delivery of voice information using Internet Protocol. In general, this means sending
voice information in inconspicuous digital form rather than in the traditional circuit-committed
protocols of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). A major advantage of VoIP and
Internet telephony is that it eliminates ordinary toll charges.
Web callback - Web callback is a feature that enables a consumer visiting a company's website to
schedule a time at which a company sales or service representative can call back. The consumer
also leaves a phone number and, sometimes, the reason for the appointment. The representative
then calls at the allotted time, when both parties are prepared.
Web-collaboration/ Cooperative Browsing - An Internet-related technology that enables a sales
or service representative to assist a customer in using a website. While a customer is chatting
with an online representative, the representative can temporarily manipulate the customer's web
browser to display requested items or information.
Web-Enabled center - A call center is web-enabled if it can conduct business, be it customer
service or sales, through various Internet features. Such features include correspondence via e-
mail, cooperative browsing, and live web chat wherein call center representatives answer various
questions for consumers online in real time.
Workforce scheduling/Management software - In order to best serve their companies, their
clients, and their agents, contact center managers must effectively balance several factors, some of
which include optimal staff levels, anticipated workloads, campaign timetables, resource
availability and technological capability, all while considering elements such as agent preferences
and unexpected absences. Due to the challenges involved with tracking these factors, managers
rely upon management software programs designed to track resources and respond to changes.