Call Center Glossary of Terms

Full-Time Equivalent

A term used in scheduling and budgeting, whereby the number of scheduled hours is divided by the hours in a full work week. The hours of several part time agents may add up to one FTE.


See Agent Group.


A server dedicated to providing access to a network.

Grade of Service

The probability that a call will not be connected to a system because all trunks are busy. Grade of service is often expressed as "p.01" meaning 1% of calls will be "blocked." Sometimes, grade of service is used interchangeably with service level, but the two terms have different meanings. See Service Level.

Handled Calls

The number of calls received and handled by agents or peripheral equipment. Handled calls does not include calls that abandon or receive busy signals.

Handling Time

The time an agent spends in Talk Time and After-Call Work, handling a transaction. Handling Time can also refer to the time it takes for a machine to process a transaction.

Help Desk

A term that generally refers to a call center set up to handle queries about product installation, usage or problems. The term is most often used in the context of computer software and hardware support centers.

Historical Reports

Reports that track call center and agent performance over a period of time. Historical reports are generated by ACDs, third party ACD software packages, and peripherals such as VRUs and Call Detail Recording Systems. The amount of history that a system can store varies by system.

Holding Time

See Average Holding Time on Trunks.

Home Agent

See Telecommuting


A process whereby documents are scanned into a system and stored electronically.

Immutable Law

A law of nature that is fundamental, and not changeable (e.g., the law of gravity). In an inbound call center, the fact that occupancy goes up when service level goes down, is an immutable law.

Incoming Call center Management

The art of having the right number of skilled people and supporting resources in place at the right times to handle an accurately forecasted workload, at service level and with quality.

Incremental Revenue (Value) Analysis

A methodology that estimates the value (cost and revenue) of adding or subtracting an agent.

Index Factor

In forecasting, a proportion used as a multiplier to adjust another number.

Integrated Services Digital Network

A set of international standards for telephone transmission. ISDN provides an end-to-end digital network, out-of-band signaling, and greater bandwidth than older telephone services. The two standard levels of ISDN are Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI). See Basic Rate Interface and Primary Rate Interface.

Inter Exchange Carrier

A long-distance telephone company.

Interactive Voice Response

See Voice Response Unit.


See overflow.

Internal Help Desk

A group that supports other internal agent groups, e.g. for complex or escalated calls.


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