Tue. May 21st, 2024

Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology

Hello readers,

Table of Contents

If you are a call center industry leader or professional in BPO or customer service industry then it’s important to be familiar with certain terms and abbreviations commonly used during call center operations.

In today’s blog, I have collected common terms and abbreviations used in call centers or BPOs very often and will explain them to the best of my knowledge.

Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology
Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology

In short, we will discuss “Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology “. 

This dictionary is not just to enhance knowledge. During leadership interviews, recruiters often ask for explanations of keywords and abbreviations embedded in this dictionary. So keep that perspective in mind too.

Without further ado let’s start today’s topic “Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology” 

For ease of understanding, I have sorted this dictionary alphabetically from A to Z and have collected (up to) the top 10 keywords for a specific letter. So if you want to search for any keyword or scroll through an abbreviation, just keep in mind the chronology.

Let’s start with

Letter ” A” :

Abandoned rate :

As the name implies it indicates the number of calls that are disconnected after waiting in the queue before it connected to the agent.

Incall Center for the precise calculation of abandoned calls, there is a threshold decided by every client in agreement which is mostly in seconds.

Click to read the full article on ” What is Abandoned rate in Call Center ?”

ACW (After Call Work): 

ACW is one of the comment terms used in the Call Center. ACW also known as “Wrap Time” is calculated based on the time taken by an agent to write the logs and dispose of the call/ chat after ending the call with a customer.

AHT (Average Handling Time): 

Key metrics in the Call Center and calculated by the time taken by an agent to complete a call or chat from greeting to disposing to ready for the next call. AHT includes talk time, Hold Time, and wrap time.

APR ( Agent Productivity Report ):

As the name implies APR is a report prepared to track an agent’s performance and activity that consists of the agent’s metric performance AHT, ACW, Number of Calls etc.

Attrition :

Attrition is the count of agents leaving an organization for various reasons such as a Better salary hike, other opportunities, retirement, being asked to leave by the company, etc. Attrition can be categorized into 2 types :

    Voluntary Attrition when an employee willingly quits the job for any reason.

    In Voluntary Attrition when an employee was asked to leave by the organization due to poor performance, policy avoidance, etc.

Avg. Talk Time :

This is the measure of time taken by an agent on a phone call with the customer. While calculating average talk time we do not include, hold time and after-call work.

Letter “B” :

Back Office:

The back office is a sub-function in a BPO or Call center that is not directly involved with customers but resolves customer query, through tickets or emails.

BAU ( Business Process Outsourcing) :

BAU term commonly refers to normal operations without major changes or disruptions.

BCP ( Business Continuity Plan) :

BCP is a backup plan that outlines certain procedures and protocols to avoid any hinderance in operations during and after a disruption or disaster.

Blended Process:

When a call center handles both voice and chat communication simultaneously, it’s called a Blended process. Click the below link to read the full article on the What is Blended process in Call Center?

BPO ( Business Process Outsourcing) :

BPO, commonly known as a call center, is a process of outsourcing a business to a third-party call center.

B2B :

B2B stands for Business to Business which means when a call center handles communication between 2 businesses or enterprises through inbound, outbound or chat.

B2C :

B2C stands for Business to Customer which means when a call center handles communication between business and customer via phone call , chat, message, or email.

Letter “C” :

Call Center  :

The Call Center is a hub that offers inbound /outbound calls, email, and chat platforms to handle customer queries and resolve them with the help of customer care representatives. Call Center term is often used interchangeably with the term “BPO”.

Call Center Metrics:

Call Center metrics also known as KPIs ( Key Performance Indicators) are pre-defined targets for a call center to achieve.

Call Handling Time:

Time taken to handle a call from greeting to end the call. Also known as AHT  (Average Handling Time)

Call/ Chat Volume :

Number of Calls/Chat received by a call center in a day/hour or a specific time.

Chat Bot:

A computer program designed to provide information to customers mostly canned responses. Chatbots work like virtual agents.

Chat Process:

A non voice process , in which a customer interacts with a call center expert with the help of chat mode.

Churn rate:

A measure that indicates how many times a customer’s number has been dialed to establish contact.

Cold Calling :

The process of calling a random customer for lead generation, especially in the sales process.

Collection Process:

A Call Center process deals in the Collection of Bills ( Telephone, E-commerce, broadband, etc.)

CRM ( Customer Relationship Management) :

Software that documents customer-agent interactions and their historical logs.

Cross Selling :

A sales technique to suggest customer-related products of similar price range to increase sales.

CSAT ( Customer Satisfaction )

A measure of how well a customer is satisfied with a brand’s product or services. Read the full blog on CSAT vs NPS

Letter “D” :


The dashboard is generally called a One View performance snapshot based on a graphical interface that provides real-time or summarized information about call center performance metrics and statistics.

Dead air:

Dead air is a quality parameter. During the call if there is an undesirable silence from the agent’s end which can lead to customer frustration, described as dead air.

Dialer :

A machine that throws calls to call center agents at the desired pace is known as a dialer. Often dialers can be categorized into 3 parts: Predictive, Preview, and Progressive.

Read the full article on call center dialer 

Disposition Code :

The call/Chat Category describes the main subject of the call or the reason for the call.

Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology ….. continued…….

Letter “E” :

Empathy :

An important quality parameter comes under soft skills and  shows one ability to put themselves into the customer’s problem

Erlang C :

Named after a mathematical A.K. Erlang, Erlang C is a mathematical formula to calculate the required manpower as per the given call volume.

Letter “F” :

FCR ( First Call Resolution) :

An important Call center metric that is calculated based on the resolution provided to the customer on the first call or chat. Generally, High FCR means High CSAT.

Forecasting :

In Call Center Forecasting term is used to predict call volume, roster, and manpower requirements based on historical data analysis.

FRT ( First Response Time):

Time taken by the agent between call/chat landing and greeting the customer. FRT target may vary from 5 secs – 30 secs ) or depends to the nature of the process.


FTE is an abbreviation of Full Time Employee. The FTE term is primarily used to define agent who works full time job in a call center. Generally used to calculate billing and invoices.

Letter “G” :

Ghost Call/ Chat :

Chats or Calls that are disconnected before they land to a real-time agent, probably due to a technical issue.

Graveyard Shift:

When a shift is not general /daytime as per the operational timezone of a country that is often referred to as a Grievance Shift. These shifts start often in the night and end in the morning.

Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology
Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology

Letter “H” :

Hold Time :

The time duration between the call or chat, where a customer was intentionally asked to wait by an agent to get the precise information.

Hot Transfer :

The call was transferred to a different agent without any prior notification, customer introduction or without any reason of the call.

Letter “I” :

Inbound Call Center :

A Call Center designed to handle incoming calls from a customer is known as an Inbound Call Center

Idle Time:

The time duration when the agent is available to handle the call but not receiving the call due to low call volume or some technical issue.

Issue Resolution :

A Call center metric, which shows the number of customer complaints or issues resolved by a call center agent.

IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) :

An automated machine that responds to a customer and redirects him to the right queue for quicker issue resolution.

Letter “J” :

Jargon :

Encrypted language used in the Call Center with specific departments or groups of people to streamline communication

Letter “K” :

KMS ( Knowledge Management System) :

A platform or library for knowledge base articles, scripts or training manuals.

KPI ( Key Performance Indicator) :

KPIs or Metrics are certain parameters in a call center that demonstrate how effectively a call center is achieving the contracted targets.

Letter “L” :

LOB ( Line of Business) :

In Call Centers, the LOB term is commonly used to describe the specific process that is responsible for handling certain types of customer inquiries

L1/ L2 Support :

Level 1 or Level 2 support is primarily a hierarchy grid for supporting customers and  resolving their’ queries

Letter “M” :


Please refer to Call Center Metrics above.

MIS ( Management Information System):

MIS in a call center is a department that prepares daily performance reports and other ad-hoc reports requested by the ops or leadership team.

Letter “N” :

NPS ( Net Promotor Score) :

NPS is an important metric for every brand which denotes the market credibility of a company. In Call Center NPS and CSAT are two of the most important metrics for assessing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Letter “O” :

Occupancy :

Occupancy can be understood as an internal call center metric, that is calculated based on the time agents occupied in the system doing productive work.

Onshore / Offshore Call Center:

A Call Center located in the same country and providing customer services to local customers is known as On Shore Call Center on the other hand a call center serving customers outside of their country is known as Offshore Call Center

Operations Department :

The department that is responsible for driver performance, revenue, people management, and call center metrics is known as the Operations Department. Undoubtedly Operations department plays a pivotal role in call center

Read more: Role of Operations Department in Call Center

Outboud  Call Center:

Call Center that is set up to outcall customers primarily for sales, lead generation, retention or collection, etc.

Letter “P” :

PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) :

A program to improve the bottom quartile agents in a call enter.

PKT ( Product Knowledge Test) :

Test Conducted by the Quality and Training team at regular intervals to gauge agents’ product knowledge.

PRI ( Primary Rate Interface) :

In layman’s language, PRIs are lines connected to dialers and these lines contain phone numbers to connect with customers.

Predictive Dialer :

Type of a dialer that dials the customer’s number automatically and if the customer picks up the call, it connects the line with a live call center agent.

Progressive Dialer :

Automatic dialer which allows a call center agent to hear the dial and ring sound of a customer. Mostly used with “not contactable” cases.

Preview Dialer :

Dialer allows an agent to review a customer’s account before the agent is ready to dial the number manually.

Letter “Q” :

Quality Evaluator /Auditor :

An individual in the quality team, who audits the chat and calls and shares the feedback with agents

Quick Reference Guide:

A training manual or guide contains the troubleshooting steps and other helpful material for agents to resolve the issue with the customer.

Letter “R” :

Response Time :

The time taken by an agent to respond to a customer’s message is generally calculated on average.

Retention Process:

A Call Center process handles retention cases for clients, especially with telecom clients.

RNR (Rewards and Recognition) :

Program to appreciate top-performing employees and motivate other employees to perform better. Click on the below link to read full blog

Why RNR is important for Call Center

RNP (Rewards and Penalty):

A grid describes the rewards and penalty clause of a call center for achieving or not achieving the Call center metrics.

RTM (Real Time Monitoring) :

A tool that allows managers and leaders to keep track of agents’ activity during and after the call.

Letter “S” :

Shift Adherence :

A measure that ensures compliance of agents sticking to their shift schedules.

Shrinkage :

Shrinkage can be defined as the absence of agents for a particular shift or day due to reasons like planned leaves, sick leave, no-call no-show, etc.

If the agent has notified the leader about his absence and the leader has approved that it will be counted as planned shrinkage, rest of the cases come under unplanned shrinkage

SLA (Service Level Agreement ):

A contract between the service provider (Client) and Call Center to achieve certain Key Performance Indicators

Soft Skills :

An integral part of the Quality process and can be defined as essential interpersonal abilities for effective customer service in a call center.

Letter “T” :

Tech Support:

Tech support is a process of providing technical support to the customer for any specific product via phone.

Team Leader :

Also known as TL or Floor Supervisor, is an individual responsible for driving team performance on various metrics.

Transfer Rate :

Call/ Chat Transferred from one queue to another queue.

Letter “U” :

Up Selling :

Sales Technique, suggesting higher-priced alternatives to customers during sales interactions.

User Experience (UX):

The overall experience a customer has when using a company’s products. or customer support services.

Utilization :

An internal metric that demonstrates how much time the agent was available during working hours, includes idle time as well.

Letter “V” :

Vendor Management :

A process of managing relationships with a 3rd party commonly known as a call center, known as Vendor Management.

Voice Process:

The process in which the interaction mode between the customer and a call center agent is a voice channel is called the voice process. Voice Processes can be of Inbound and Outbound.

Letter “W” :

Warm Transfer :

Call /Chat Transferred to another agent with proper reason for customer’s call and remaining on call till the call gets transferred completely.

WFM  :

WFM is an abbreviation for Work Force Management. A team that is dedicatedly aligned in forecasting the call volume, and preparing analysis reports for a call center.

Wrap Time :

Please refer to  ACW in this article

Letter “Z” :

ZTP ( Zero Tolerance Policy) :

Call Center policy is designed to take strict measures against any inappropriate actions and behaviors by the employees which may lead to termination of an employee.


So readers,

I hope you like this comprehensive article on “Call Center and BPO Dictionary and Terminology”. If you have any questions or suggestions you can reach me via callcentertalks26@gmail.com

For jobs and interview materials check out these links :

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@jobsearchguru4u

Instagram Page:- https://www.instagram.com/jobsearchguru4u/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jobsearchguru4u/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *