Call Center Glossary of Terms


A transmission path between two points in a network.

Client/Server Architecture

A network of computers that share capabilities and devices.

Collateral Duties

Non-phone tasks (e.g., data entry) that are flexible, and can be scheduled for periods when call load is slow.

Common Causes

Causes of variation that are inherent to a process over time. They cause the rhythmic, common variations in the system of causes, and they affect every outcome of the process and everyone working in the process. See Special Causes.


See Adherence to Schedule.

Computer Simulation

A computer technique to predict the outcome of various events in the future, given many variables. When there are many variables, simulation is often the only way to reasonably predict the outcome.

Computer Telephony Integration

The software, hardware and programming necessary to integrate computers and telephones so they can work together seamlessly and intelligently.

Conditional Routing

The capability of the ACD to route calls based on current conditions. It is based on "if-then" programming statements. For example, "if the number of calls in agent group 1 exceeds 10 and there are at least 2 available agents in group two, then route the calls to group two."

Continuous Improvement

The ongoing improvement of processes.

Control Chart

A control chart sifts out (identifies) two types of variation in a process, common causes and special causes. See Common Causes and Special Causes.

Controlled Busies

The capability of the ACD to generate busy signals when the queue backs up beyond a programmable threshold.

Cost center

An accounting term that refers to a department or function in the organization that does not generate profit. See Profit center.

Cost of Delay

The money you pay to queue callers, assuming you have toll-free service.

Cost Per Call

Total costs (fixed and variable) divided by total calls for a given period of time.

Customer Contact

See Call.

Database Call Handling

A CTI application, whereby the ACD works in sync with the database computer to process calls, based on information in the database. For example, a caller inputs digits into a voice processing system, the database retrieves information on that customer and then issues instructions to the ACD on how to handle the call (e.g., where to route the call, what priority the call should be given in queue, the announcements to play, etc.).

Day of Week Routing

A network service that routes calls to alternate locations, based on the day of week. There are also options for day of year and time of day routing.

Delay Announcements

Recorded announcements that encourage callers to wait for an agent to become available, remind them to have their account number ready, and provide information on access alternatives. In some systems, delay announcements are provided through recorded announcement routes (RANs).


Also called Queue Time. The time a caller spends in queue, waiting for an agent to become available. Average Delay is the same thing as Average Speed of Answer. Also see Average Delay of Delayed Calls.

Delayed Call

A call which cannot be answered immediately and is placed in queue.


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