Glossary of technical terms and acronyms

Below is a constantly growing list of acronyms, terms, and technical jargon. Some terms and acronyms are used in different industries, fields, and technology categories.  We've done our best to organize and categorize our glossary to provide better context to the definitions. The definitions are pulled from numerous sources, sites, journals, and experts then often put into our own words. If you're looking for a specific term, in most browsers you can press Ctrl+F to get to your "Find" function, then start typing the term or acronym you seek. Check back often. We try to update weekly!

CommunicationsContact CenterAbandonment RateAbandonment Rate equates to the percentage of callers who hang up before they reach an agent. Used as an indicator of customer frustration, and possibly an indicator of understaffing or excessive wait times. A commonly used KPI in Contact Centers.
CommunicationsContact CenterAgentCall Center Agent or Contact Center Agent. Front office employees that are customer-facing and typically the primary point of customer contact within an organization.
CommunicationsContact CenterAnalyticsFor contact centers, developing a big picture understanding of customer interactions across the entire customer lifecycle is critical to providing exceptional experiences. One way to do this is through the use of call and other media analytics, which captures unstructured data from calls, recordings, emails, chat transcriptions, or other customer interactions to identify trends, patterns, and anomalies.
OtherAPIApplication Programming InterfaceA set of routines, protocols, and communications tools used in computer software programs. APIs are intended to simplify maintenance and implementation of software and often used to make integration with other programs easier. Open APIs refers to a publicly available application programming interface that allows one specific software program to communicate and interact with another, e.g. “integration”.
OtherAIArtificial IntelligenceDepending on the context of a quick internet search on AI you would get thousands of results, different answers, and opposing opinions. And, of course, plenty of doom-and-gloom scenarios from Hollywood. To help reduce any potential negative stigma we are now seeing terms like Augmented Intelligence. AI info is everywhere.

AI is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that can better understand, augment, and interact with it’s human users. AI is quickly becoming a sought after capability in numerous technology realms and categories such as: Cybersecurity, Communications, Cloud, and Contact Center just to name a few. There are also numerous subsets of AI like Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning, Neural Networks, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Predictive Analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and many more.
CommunicationsContact CenterAuto DialerAn Auto Dialer is an important tool to help with proactive customer outreach and communications. It is often a part of many outbound call centers/contact centers. An Auto Dialer automatically dials telephone numbers from a list, usually within a database, and can deliver important information through an automated message, like an appointment reminder, or can connect an available live agent once the auto-dialed call has been answered.
CommunicationsContact CenterACDAutomatic Call DistributorA function or system within typically traditional phone systems that performs four basic functions: answers incoming calls, gets information and instructions from database, determines the best way to handle the call, and sends the caller to the first available and proper agent. ACDs often have limited capabilities to route calls beyond traditional queue-based routing functionality.
CommunicationsContact CenterANIAutomatic Number IdentificationANI refers to the ability for a system, like a contact center, or other communications system, to identify and recognize an incoming customer contact based on the phone number or other medium.
OtherASRAutomatic Speech RecognitionOften found in various Contact Center, UC solutions and many other types of software. ASR is, simply put, a technology that recognizes the human voice and allows a person to interface with a computer system/software. Also see Natural Language Processing (NPL) and Natural Language Speech Recognition (NLSR).
CommunicationsContact CenterAHTAverage Handle TimeThe average amount of time an agent spends handling a customer issue. Used as a measure of agent performance and efficiency; can identify agent knowledge or lack thereof. A commonly used KPI in Contact Centers and should be measured in conjunction with FCR and QM for better assessment of an agent’s performance and therefore CX
CommunicationsContact CenterBack Office OptimizationBack-office optimization is the process of simplifying contact center tasks by streamlining and automating back office functions and aligning them with front office, customer-facing agents and workflows, thereby improving overall efficiency and customer experience.
CommunicationsContact CenterBPOBusiness Process OutsourcingBusiness Process Outsourcing, or a BPO is an organization responsible for performing a process on behalf of another business. The outsourcing is done to save on costs and/or gain in productivity. The processes, or services, can include things like payroll, accounting, data entry, IT support and helpdesk. There are even specialized healthcare BPO services. Regarding Contact Center, a BPO's only business is contact center and therefore has a workforce already trained, specialized, and experienced in the many facets of contact center life including management and other infrastructure. Specialized BPO Contact Center service can include things from general customer service and support to highly specialized IT, software, and medical services (from billing up to Registered Nurse).
CommunicationsContact CenterCall CenterA Call Center refers to a business, office, or department that is set up to handle a large volume of telephone calls, typically for taking orders, answering inquiries, customer service, or support. It is usually the central point in a business where most or all customer, or potential customer, contact is made. Often used interchangeably with the term Contact Center. The "call" in call center derives from the days when the only way for a customer to quickly reach a business, or vice versa, was via telephone. See also Contact Center
CommunicationsContact CenterCall Center CRMCall Center Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a CRM solution specifically designed for call center software that provides employees with quick and easy integrated access to customer account information in an effort to provide better and faster service. See also, CRM and Contact Center CRM.
CommunicationsContact CenterCall Center ManagementCall Center Management is the way in which organizations schedule, train, report, analyze, forecast, and otherwise manage all customer interactions, agents, and daily operations of the call center. Managing the daily operations of the call center can be modernized through use of workforce optimization solutions. See also Contact Center Management, WFO, WFM
CommunicationsContact CenterChannelsChannels refers to the different types of communication media or ways in which a customer may initiate contact with a company or vice versa. These include voice, email, chat, SMS/text, video, web forms, fax, and a constantly growing list is various social media platforms and outlets. See also Omnichannel and Multichannel.
CommunicationsContact CenterChatbotA computer program that simulates human conversation through voice commands or text chats or both. Chatbot, short for Chatterbot, is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature that can be embedded and used through many major messaging applications. Also known as Chatterbox, Talkbot, or simply Bot.

A chatbot is an automated program that attempts to interact with customers like a human would and costs very little to operate. Chatbots attend to customers at all times of the day and night and are not limited by time or a physical location. This makes its implementation appealing to many businesses that may not have the manpower or financial resources to keep employees working around the clock.
CommunicationsContact CenterCloud Call CenterA cloud-based, web-accessible Call Center software, system, and/or platform for handling customer calls and interactions. See also CCaaS, Call Center, Hosted Call Center, Hosted Contact Center.
CommunicationsContact CenterCloud Contact CenterA cloud-based, web-accessible Contact Center software, system, and/or platform for handling customer calls and interactions. See also CCaaS, Contact Center, Hosted Call Center, Hosted Contact Center
CommunicationsVoiceCPaaSCommunication Platform as a ServiceCommunication Platform as a Service, or CPaaS (pronounced 'see-pass' or 'see-pazz') A CPaaS is a cloud-based communications platform that enables businesses to add real-time communications features to their own applications without needing to build backend infrastructure and interfaces (source: A CPaaS allows developers to quickly and easily integrate voice, text, video, and other forms of real-time communications into existing applications.
CommunicationsContact CenterCTIComputer Telephony IntegrationCTI refers to technology that allows computer applications to use, control and integrate with telephony services and hardware. Usually refers to telephony functionality on a desktop computer application for example answering calls, dialing, screen-pop, and other phone controls from a users computer. May also refer to other systems or servers to integration with telephony applications.
CommunicationsContact CenterContact CenterA business, office, or department that is set up as the central point for all customer service related matters. Very similar to a Call Center, where the terms are often used interchangeably. A Contact Center can usually handle more services than a call center, specifically, more channels of communication (see Channels). The Call Center was generally, and originally, designed to handle only phone calls, where telephone calls are only one channel.

Wikipedia further defines Contact Center as a coordinated system of people, processes, technologies, and strategies that provides access to information, resources, and expertise, through appropriate channels of communication, enabling interactions that create value for the customer and organization. See also Call Center.
CommunicationsContact CenterCCaaSContact Center as a ServiceContact Center as a Service, or CCaaS, (pronounced 'see-cass') is a comprehensive contact center (or call center) solution, software, suite, and/or system that is hosted (or built natively) in "the cloud" rather than on-premise. It is most often offered on a subscription basis making the solution much more attainable for more businesses. On-premise solutions usually consist of highly sophisticated and specialized servers, networks, software, and other systems making them unattainable for many organizations needing contact center capabilities. CCaaS allows businesses of all sizes to realize the gains and efficiencies previously only available to larger organizations.
CommunicationsContact CenterContact Center CRMContact Center Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a CRM solution specifically designed for contact center software that provides employees with quick and easy integrated access to customer account information in an effort to provide better and faster service. See also, CRM and Call Center CRM.
CommunicationsContact CenterContact Center ManagementContact Center Management is the way in which organizations schedule, train, report, analyze, forecast, and otherwise manage all customer interactions, agents, and daily operations of the contact center. Managing the daily operations of the contact center can be modernized through use of workforce optimization solutions. See also Call Center Management, WFO, WFM
CommunicationsContact CenterContainer User InterfaceConsolidates Telephony & Email contacts into one desktop interface for easier management.
CommunicationsContact CenterCT ConnectComputer software that allows telephony call control and monitoring by a computer application using standard CTI link protocols. This allows call center to better handle large volumes of calls and integration with computer applications and databases. See also CTI.
CommunicationsContact CenterCESCustomer Effort ScoreA measurement focused on service interactions in contact center environments. How much effort on the customer’s part was exerted to resolve an issue. Related to and used in conjunction with First-Call Resolution (FCR). Used as a predictive measure of customer loyalty. A common KPI in contact centers. See also FCR, KPI.
CommunicationsContact CenterCXCustomer ExperienceCustomer Experience (CX) is a crucial metric of any business and especially a call center or contact center. It is made of individual customer touchpoints and contacts. The sum of all experiences a customer has with a company over the lifecycle of their relationship is called a customer journey. See also Customer Journey.
CommunicationsContact CenterCEMCustomer Experience ManagementA strategy that focuses on the operations and processes used to create a positive overall customer experience focusing on the organization, product, service, and/or brand.
CommunicationsContact CenterCustomer Experience PlatformA Customer Experience Platform is infrastructure, systems,and or software designed for the contact center that simplifies and supports the management, design, orchestration, and monitoring of the overall customer experience or customer journey.
CommunicationsContact CenterCustomer JourneyThe customer journey is the culmination of a customer’s complete experience with a company or brand including all possible touchpoints and interactions across all possible channels—including messaging, employees, processes, products or services. Single or multiple interactions can be considered a customer journey and are part of a holistic customer experience lifecycle.
CommunicationsContact CenterCustomer Journey ManagementThe purpose behind Customer Journey Management is ensuring a seamless experience every time a customer interacts with a contact center, business, or brand. The aim is to minimize the customer effort across all channels using behavioral trends and technology. Optimizing the customer journey involves mapping customer interactions in order to influence the customer’s total experience. See also Customer Journey, CX, CEM
OtherCRMCustomer Relationship ManagementA strategy used to learn more about customers needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships. CRM also refers to technology or software that manages all of an organization's information, relationships, and interactions regarding customers, clients, members, patients, vendors, suppliers, partners, etc. CRM helps businesses organize data to gain insights into the behaviors and the value of its customers. A CRM helps organizations better use resources and technology. If implemented properly, CRM will provide better customer service, make call centers more efficient, help provide information to cross sell products more effectively, better organize sales data, simplify marketing and sales processes, discover new customers, and increase customer revenues.
CommunicationsContact CenterCSATCustomer satisfactionA measurement that determines how an organization meets the expectations of its customers. How satisfied customers are with a company’s product, service, agent and/or performance. Customers are asked to rate their experience or satisfaction using a simple question or series of questions following a transaction. An important and common KPI for businesses and contact centers.
CommunicationsContact CenterDNISDialed Number Identification ServiceDNIS is a telecommunications service for organizations that identifies the originally dialed telephone number of an incoming call. DNIS is especially helpful in call centers where they may be answering calls of several different advertised telephone numbers or completely separate businesses. The DNIS information can be used for special call routing and handling.
CommunicationsDIDDirect Inward Dialinga DID is a full 10-digit telephone number assigned to an individual user, group, or department allowing callers direct access and bypassing an organization's main number, switchboard, operator, or auto attendant.
CommunicationsDTMFDual Tone Multi FrequencyDTMF signaling or signals are the sounds heard when any number or symbol is pressed on a modern mobile phone or push-button telephone dial pad, also known as Touch Tone dialing. DTMF signalling service was first made available in 1963 and was introduced as a cost effective means of connecting callers to their destination without the need for operator assistance. Pressing a button on the telephone dial pad sends a combination of two “pure tone” sounds; one high frequency and one low frequency. The specific tones essentially issues commands to other telephone equipment, networks, and switching systems.
CommunicationsContact CenterEmployee EngagementThe extent to which employees are actively engaged in their work and therefore supporting their customers. It can be an important KPI in the contact center and help drive better initiatives to improve overall human resource strategies and agent motivation, retention, performance, customer experience, and ultimately business success.
OtherERPEnterprise Resource PlanningERP is a modular software solution designed to unify essential business units, functions, and processes. Some of the modules, or core software components of an ERP, are generally finance, HR, purchasing, inventory, production, supply chain, and CRM. The key component of an ERP is a common central database of which all the modules share often making the system more efficient and accurate. An ERP allows an enterprise to integrate all of its business units thereby streamlining information, functions, and processes across the entire organization.
CommunicationsContact CenterFCRFirst-Call Resolution(or First-Contact Resolution) The ability to address the customer's needs the first time they call or contact an agent, thereby eliminating the need for the customer to follow up with a second interaction. Contact center managers carefully monitor follow-up calls because follow-up calls create an overall increased call volume which, in turn, requires more agents. In general, a contact center manager will accept an increase in talk time, as long as the first call resolution rate increases as well. Follow up calls can also be an indication of customer dissatisfaction. FCR is a common contact center KPI.
CommunicationsContact CenterGamificationCutting edge contact/call centers propose transforming the numbers and metrics from various analytics and reports into a game. This strategy is called Gamification, and contact/call center gamification has been shown to increase agent/employee engagement and improve performance. In its simplest form, contact/call center gamification merely creates competition between agents using KPIs as “points.” See also: Performance Management
CommunicationsContact CenterHosted Call CenterA cloud-based, web-accessible Call Center platform for handling customer calls and interactions. See also Hosted Services, CCaaS, Call Center, Contact Center
CommunicationsContact CenterHosted Contact CenterA cloud-based, web-accessible Contact Center platform for handling customer communications and interactions. See also Hosted Services, CCaaS, Contact Center, Call Center
CommunicationsHosted PBXSimilar in nature and often used synonymously with Hosted VoIP, although a Hosted PBX a little more specific and is a private branch exchange (PBX) phone system that's delivered as a hosted service, typically by one of the major telephone companies. Also referred to as a centrex or a virtual PBX, a hosted PBX can free companies from having to invest in the costly equipment of a complex business phone system, while still enabling the company to utilize all typical telephony features like voicemail, faxing, automated greetings, touchtone menus, conference calling, call auditing and calling logs, and more.

Hosted PBX companies handle call routing, or switching, at their own location and are responsible for managing all of the PBX equipment and software involved in the virtual PBX service. Hosted PBX services can function over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) over the Internet (hosted IP PBX via Internet telephony, or VoIP), or over a combination of the two (source: See also PBX, VoIP, Hosted VoIP, UCaaS
4. CloudHosted Services"Hosted" generally refers to a myriad of services, software applications, systems, solutions, infrastructure, or other similar functions that are housed and otherwise provided by an external service provider. The external provider may also manage some of all of the provided service. Some hosted services may host a companies existing system or solution at the service provider location. Most often the service provider uses its own infrastructure, facilities, and resources to provide the service. Hosted is very similar to and often synonymous with "cloud".
CommunicationsHosted VoIPA form of business VoIP services where the VoIP equipment, servers and services are hosted by the VoIP provider, which manages calls and routes them to and from the subscriber's existing telephony system and equipment. Hosted VoIP is also frequently referred to as managed VoIP and can save companies from the potentially expensive costs of having to invest in VoIP equipment and manage the system.

As with all VoIP (or Internet telephony) solutions, hosted VoIP services use packet-switched telephony to transmit calls over the Internet as opposed to the circuit-switched telephony used by the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) (source: Similar terms and variation may include: VoIP phone system or service, hosted phone system or service, See also VoIP, PBX, Hosted PBX, UCaaS
CommunicationsVoiceISDNIntegrated Services Digital NetworkISDN is an abbreviation that stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, an international telecommunications standard for sending voice, video, and data over digital telephone lines or normal telephone wires. ISDN supports data transfer rates of 64 Kbps (64,000 bits per second).

There are two types of ISDN:
Basic Rate Interface (BRI) -- consists of two 64-Kbps B-channels and one D-channel for transmitting control information.
Primary Rate Interface (PRI) -- consists of 23 B-channels and one D-channel (U.S.) or 30 B-channels and one D-channel (Europe) (source:
CommunicationsContact CenterIntelligent RoutingIntelligent Routing, Intelligent Call Routing, Skills-based routing, or Skills-based call routing is an advanced way of distributing or routing incoming communications from a customer and assign them to the most suitable agent, rather than simply choosing the next available agent. Agent selection can be based on a number of parameters, perhaps the simplest being the type of incoming media, or perhaps subject or type of customer if that information is known beforehand. It is an significant enhancement to the common Automatic Call Distributor found in most call centers
CommunicationsContact CenterInteractionInteractions are the way in which customers engage with an organization after selecting the communication channel of their choice. Interactions can be self-service orientated and can include navigating an IVR, leaving a voicemail, or filling out a web form to send an email. Interactions can also be human or agent oriented to include chat sessions, phone calls, or video calls.
CommunicationsContact CenterIVRInteractive Voice ResponseAn IVR is a part of a contact center or business telephone system that gives callers a menu of automated prompts. The caller then responds by pressing keys on a touch-tone telephone keypad. When an IVR is set up with voice recognition software, data can be gathered from the customer’s voice instead of touch tones. IVRs are an important part of any system and helps support the foundation of call routing and helps customers save time by having self-serve options and to get routed to right department. See also VRU.
CommunicationsContact CenterKPIKey Performance IndicatorA KPI is a measurement of performance that evaluates specific activities and demonstrates how effectively an organization achieves its objectives.

Twelve common KPIs to measure CX: Abandonment Rate, AHT, CES, CSAT, Employee Satisfaction, FCR, NPS and eNPS, QM, RT, SL, Turnover
CommunicationsContact CenterMoment of truthThe interactions between customer and company along the customer journey and often situations where a customer can form or change an opinion about a company, product, service, or brand. Each and every time a customer makes contact with an organization or its representatives can be a “moment of truth”.
CommunicationsContact CenterMultichannel"Multi" itself means many, therefore multi-channel, in this context, refers to a call center able to use multiple channels to communicate with customers. A call center able to use two or more media to communicate with customers could be considered a multi-channel contact center. Some contact centers may use separate systems that manage each media, often making the customer's interactions siloed. Many contact center solutions today are able to seamlessly manage many or perhaps all forms of media in one fully integrated solution. The term multichannel is similar to and often incorrectly used synonymously with Omnichannel. See also Channel, Omnichannel
OtherNPLNatural Language ProcessingNPL is generally considered a subset of AI, computer science, and linguistics. It is used in many technologies and especially in recent Contact Center solutions. NPL is technology that allows a computer system, program, or "machine" to properly interpret and understand human languages.and interact with human users. The spoken word vs. the written word are two distinct disciplines within NPL as each required different technologies and techniques. Recognizing what is said vs. understanding its meaning are two separate disciplines as well.
OtherNLSRNatural Language Speech RecognitionNatural Language Speech Recognition is an advanced type of speech recognition and is specific to the spoken word. NLSR attempts to not only recognize but also interpret and understand the spoken word thereby providing context and meaning. NLSR can also recognize numbers and currency amounts.
OtherNLUNatural Language UnderstandingThe ability to interpret and understand meaning and context of complex expressions, spoken or written, in a more natural, free-style manner as a human would naturally communicate.
OtherNPSNet Promoter ScoreBoth a loyalty metric and a discipline for using customer feedback to fuel profitable growth in a business. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a macro metric and has been adopted by leading companies worldwide as the standard for measuring and improving customer loyalty. NPS measures how likely a customer is to recommend a product or service and is used as a predictive measure of sales and business growth. NPS is a common business and contact center KPI. Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.
CommunicationsContact CenterOmnichannel"Omni" literally means all, therefore omni-channel, in this context, refers to a contact center able to use all channels of media to communicate with customers. Omni-channel contact centers go a significant step further and are able to track and understand the customer journey with more context able to integrate and see all possible channels a customer uses. A current or potential customer may visit a website and inquire on a product/service via webchat. Then a few days later may go back and click on a "have and agent call me" option. When the agent calls the omnichannel contact center system may be "smart" enough to connect the same agent, or at the least, share with the new calling agent all of the previous interactions of that customer. When the customer reaches out to the company again in the future, say via SMS, all information and interactions are available to the attending agent. Omnichannel solutions are generally considered far more integrated and give businesses a holistic view of the customer, and the customer a better experience.

The term multichannel is similar to but not quite the same as Omnichannel. They are often incorrectly used interchangeably. See also Channel, Multichannel
CommunicationsContact CenterOmnichannel Customer ExperienceAn omnichannel customer experience allows customers to start an interaction using one media type, for example a webchat, then transfer to another type, for example a phone call. It also gives customer the ability to pause or stop an interaction and pick back up at another time. THe overall experience is made up of all the individual touchpoints, or interactions, over a variety of channels that seamlessly connect in the businesses contact center solution.
CommunicationsContact CenterOutbound IVRAn Outbound IVR is one of multiple tools available in many contact center solutions designed for customer outreach and engagement. An Outbound IVR is considered much more advanced than a Predictive Dialer or Robocaller system. With the ability to proactively distribute communications to customers, the Outbound IVR can also use multiple media channels; voice, SMS text, email and even social media, allowing an organization to engage customers better. Based on the data available, from the organizations CRM or customer database, the Outbound IVR can determine the customer preferred medium, and even personalize the message specific to each recipient. Additionally, should the outreach be effective, where an individual recipient responds to the message, then the Outbound IVR will immediately connects and available agent, otherwise there would be no agent interaction. See also Predictive Dialer, Robocaller
CommunicationsContact CenterPerformance ManagementPerformance management is a process of ensuring that set of activities and outputs meets an organization's goals in an effective and efficient manner. Performance management can focus on the performance of an organization, a department, an employee, or the processes in place to manage particular tasks (source:

In Contact Centers, Performance Management uses sophisticated tracking, recording, and analytics tools to measure an agents performance. It depends on key performance indicators (KPIs) to better understand where the contact center process is strong and where it needs improvement. When dealing with repeated processes and similar interactions in such large volumes, it can be helpful to boil the operation down to numbers, figures, and trends.

Sophisticated contact centers will often use these KPI's and transform them to a game for its agents and is referred to as "Gamification". See also Gamification
CommunicationsContact CenterPredictive Dialing/DialerA Predictive Dialer is a system, usually part of a contact center or call center solution, designed to automatically make numerous outbound calls, without agent/user intervention, then immediately passing any successfully connected calls to an available agent. The Predictive Dialer system makes the dialing decisions based on certain algorithms and from information provided to it from the organizations CRM or other database. Predictive Dialers are generally more efficient for outbound agents and help to screen calls for voicemail, disconnected numbers, busy, and no-answers. Predictive Dialers are often used in Telemarketing organizations. See also Outbound IVR, Robocaller
CommunicationsVoicePRIPrimary Rate InterfaceA Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is digital technology for telecommunications usually connecting to a businesses PBX-type telephone system and the outside world (or PSTN). The PRI provided far greater capacity and efficiency than traditional analog lines allowing businesses up to 23 concurrent voice calls at any given time. A telecommunications provider would usually install (or have installed) a T1 circuit, the physical layer, to the businesses premises, then configure the T1 to deliver the digital PRI service.
PRI technology has been around for nearly 50-years. It was once the most widely used voice connection technology for business communications. PRI use has sharply declined in recent years due to the growing popularity of VoIP, SIP, cloud/hosted solutions, and all-in-one solutions like UCaaS. See also ISDN, PSTN, SIP
CommunicationsVoicePBXPrivate Branch ExchangeA PBX is a private, internal telephone system and/or network consisting of specialized telephone switching equipment and software most commonly used by various businesses allowing users to communicate internally with other users and externally by connecting to the PSTN. A PBX would usually allow businesses centralized administration and management, more control, and numerous features important to the business (e.g. transfer, hold, conference, etc). Companies with multiple offices would be able to connect multiple PBX systems together and create a larger unified system between offices.

PBX technology has been around for ages and was once the de facto standard for typical business telephonic communications. Despite advancements in PBX technology allowing for Unified Communications, the traditional, on premise PBX has largely been supplanted by cloud-based, hosted solutions that usually allow for far greater flexibility, scalability, and reduced cost and maintenance.
CommunicationsVoicePSTNPublic Switched Telephone NetworkThe PSTN refers to the total collection of legacy analog voice networks from any municipality, city, state, region, or country. All the traditional “landlines” of a town or region, generally using a pair of copper wires to transmit analog voice signals, would connect to a central point. That point is known as the Central Office (CO). The CO contains special circuit-based switching equipment to route and direct calls, based on the numbers dialed (think of the very old days with dozens of ladies in a room unplugging and replug wires!). The COs are also connected together and were operated by a Local Exchange Carrier (LEC). In 1996 in an antitrust judgement to break up the single original owner of all telephone services, AT&T, one of the many factors was to form numerous Local Access and Transport Areas (LATA) across the United States. Some LATAs may have a single LEC, other LATAs may have several. A call between LECs in the same LATA is called intraLATA. A call placed to a number outside of the originating LATA is call interLATA. InterLATA is the technical term for a Long Distance call. Many years since the judgement and after numerous mergers & acquisitions of LECs the previous lines of original distinction has been blurred. While much of the PSTN is still in operation today, it is certainly nothing like it used to be giving way far more efficient and newer technologies.
CommunicationsContact CenterQMQuality MonitoringIn the context of contact centers, Quality Management (QM) measures agent performance on an individual customer contact and is used to Identify agent knowledge, skills gaps, and opportunities for additional coaching and training. QM is an important and common contact center KPI.
CommunicationsContact CenterQueue / Call Queue / Call Center QueueA call queue is a common telephone system and call center system feature. A call queue may go by different names and have slightly different specific features. A call queue is a function or feature for inbound calls. Generally speaking a call queue will answer a call, play an announcement, and place the caller on hold, in a line where the caller will wait for a live person to answer "in the order received". The queued calls are distributed to the next available extension user. Some sophisticated systems can add capabilities that will announce to the waiting caller their position in line, their wait time, or even offer the caller to hold their place in line but call them back.
CommunicationsContact CenterRTResponse TimeResponse TIme (RT) is a measurement of non-real-time communications, like email, from customers answered within a specific timeframe. RT is often used as a KPI to measure a contact centers performance and responding to communications that don't have to be handled in real-time.
CommunicationsContact CenterRobocallerThe Robocaller is one of multiple customer outreach and engagement tools available on many contact center solutions. Robocallers help in distributing a message to a large volume of recipients. Typically, a Robocaller is limited to a single message. Some advanced systems may be able to use multiple media, e.g. voice and SMS text, although most Robocall solutions are limited to voice/phone. A common use of Robocallers is in an election campaign. See also Predictive Dialer, Outbound IVR
OtherRPARobotic Process AutomationRPA is an emerging subset of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is a means in which one can automate repetitive and tedious tasks allowing users to focus on higher-value work. By programming RPA software or a “robot” to capture and interpret actions normally done manually by a user the RPA can repeat those actions based on triggers, freeing up valuable time and reducing errors, especially when those actions require working with two or more separate systems or programs.
CommunicationsContact CenterScreen PopA Screen Pop is a dialog box or window that automatically "pops" up on a user/agents desktop as an incoming call is received. Screen pop can be especially helpful and efficient to agents allowing a customer record to "pop" up as that customer is calling in for whatever reason. Screen pops are accomplished by integrations between a businesses CRM or database and the telephone system or contact center solution and being able to identifying the calling party number and pulling a form from the CRM or database.
CommunicationsContact CenterSLService LevelSimilar to RT, Service Level measures a contact center accessibility, and effective workforce management, and how consistently the center achieves service level objectives throughout the day. SL is the percentage of calls answered within a specific timeframe and an important KPI to measure overall contact center performance.
CommunicationsVoiceSIPSession Initiation ProtocolSIP is distinguished by its proponents for having roots in the Internet community rather than in the telecommunications industry. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, and terminating real-time communications sessions over the internet and private IP networks that include voice, video and messaging applications. SIP is used for signaling and controlling multimedia communication sessions in various internet and IP network applications voice and video calls, in private IP telephone systems, in instant messaging, as well as mobile phone calling and messaging.

SIP connection is a marketing term for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services offered by many Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs). SIP trunking is a similar marketing term preferred for when the service is used to simplify a telecom infrastructure by sharing the carrier access circuit for voice, data, and Internet traffic while removing the need for PRI circuits. (source:
CommunicationsContact CenterSkills-Based RoutingSkills-based routing, Skills-based call routing, Intelligent Routing, or Intelligent Call Routing is an advanced way of distributing or routing incoming communications from a customer and assign them to the most suitable agent, rather than simply choosing the next available agent. Agent selection can be based on a number of parameters, perhaps the simplest being the type of incoming media, or perhaps subject or type of customer if that information is known beforehand. It is a significant enhancement to the common, and by today's standards, basic, Automatic Call Distributor found in most call center systems, software, and even many on-premise PBX systems.
CommunicationsContact CenterSoftphone ControlsSoftphone controls allow agents to control call functions and actions from a computer.Softphone controls are often embedded into Contact Center software and usually saves time for agents that simultaneously work on the phone and other desktop applications. Having phone controls embedded in the agents primary software can reduce the time it takes agents to "surf around" their computer desktop. While these types of efficiencies may only shave off fractions of a second throughout the day, multiplying that across many agents, hundreds or thousands of calls, and over time, fractions of a second adds up quickly.
SaaSSoftware as a ServiceA licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and made available over the Internet rather than the traditional "perpetual" license model; paying a larger amount upfront to own the software, having it loaded on a system or systems, paying additional recurring fees for support and maintenance, then in most cases also paying for updates and upgrades over time.
CommunicationsContact CenterSpeech EnergyThe amount of energy in an audio signal. Literally translated, it is the output level of the sound in every phonetic utterance.
CommunicationsCollaborationTeam Chat/Messaginga.k.a. Team Collaboration, Team Chat, Business Chat, Group Chat. Usually cloud-based and often coupled or included with many UCaaS and CCaaS solutions. Team chat solutions allow all users of the system an integrated corporate communication solution and shared workspace which allows far greater organization of conversations using groups, teams, channels, and rooms. Some team chat solutions offer multiple communications channels including chat/messaging, integrated voice and video, task management, file share, and more. Conversations can be private, team/group, corporate-wide, and some platforms will allow inviting outside parties as well. These platforms are said to greatly reduce the need for email, especially for internal communications, and provide constant and near instant connection with teammates making them especially helpful in modern contact centers with dispersed at-home agents and supervisors.
CommunicationsContact CenterTAPITelephony Application Programming InterfaceTAPI is a Microsoft Windows application, very similar to the more general CTI, allowing Microsoft Windows users to use, control, and integrate with telephone services on their PC.
CommunicationsUCaaSUnified Cloud CommunicationsSee UCaaS
CommunicationsUCaaSUCUnified CommunicationsUC is a system, software, process, or concept that attempts to unite and integrate multiple media of business communications (e.g. voice, video, chat, SMS/text, fax, etc) into a single intuitive platform often allowing its users to both choose their preferred medium and seamlessly switch between them. Most UC solution may also allows users to choose between their prefer device or mode allowing users to seamlessly switch between their mobile phone, deskphone, computer or web-based softphone or other compatible device. See also UCaaS, UCC
CommunicationsUCaaSUCCUnified Communications & CollaborationUnified Communications & Collaboration (UCC) piggybacks off of the definition of UC further integrating the addition of more advanced collaboration specific tools such as audio and video conferencing, virtual whiteboard, online meetings, and often business messaging tools. UCC attempts to assemble and integrate enterprise communication and collaboration tools into a single interface for both administrators and users alike. See also UC, UCaaS
CommunicationsUCaaSUCaaSUnified Communications
as a Service
Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS (pronounced 'you-cass') takes the traditional premise and/or PBX-based UC and UCC system making it available as a recurring subscription, or "as-a-Service" and hosts it in "the cloud". UCaaS solution sales have exploded in recent years quickly overtaking traditional premise-based PBX. UCaaS can afford the smallest of businesses the same communication and collaboration tools and integration capabilities previously only available to larger enterprises making what once was a large capital outlay of cash (CAPEX) a much lower recurring operational cost (OPEX). UCaaS has numerous advantages and cost savings over premise-based options. In the same manner as hosted solutions, the burden and high costs of management, maintenance, servers, systems, telecom, etc. is all on the hosted service provider instead of the business customer.

UCaaS and Hosted VoIP/PBX are often used synonymously, however to purists, there is a difference. Hosted PBX or Hosted VoIP may also refer to cloud-based or as-a-Service communications systems that are voice-only and therefore do not unify other communications media. One way to think of it might be: UCaaS is a Hosted VoIP solution, but a Hosted VoIP solution is not necessarily UCaaS. See also UC, UCC, Hosted VoIP, Hosted PBX
CommunicationsContact CenterVirtual AgentA virtual agent is a contact center capability that uses a virtual character, created through computer generation, animation, and artificial intelligence, as a customer service agent via chat bot functionality. A virtual agent may also refer to a contact center or call center customer service agent that works from a remote location outside of an organization’s physical building (source:
CommunicationsContact CenterVCCVirtual Call CenterA Virtual Call Center (or Virtual Contact Center) VCC refers to a call center or contact center solution that supports remote and geographically dispersed agents. The agents might work from home or various branch offices of the business rather than working out of a single physical location. With desired talent and employees demanding telecommuting and flexible work arrangements, a VCC can give organizations far greater flexibility hiring and retaining talent and potentially optimizing labor costs. Some opponents claim that a dispersed workforce can lead to other negative "soft costs".
CommunicationsVoiceVoIPVoice over Internet ProtocolVoice over Internet Protocol (a.k.a. Voice over IP, or VoIP) is a method of translating the human voice into packets of data enabling its transmission over IP-based data networks and the internet itself instead of or to get to the traditional PSTN. See PSTN, Hosted VoIP
CommunicationsContact CenterVRUVoice Response UnitA voice response unit (VRU) is an automated telephone answering system consisting of hardware and software that allows the caller to navigate through a series of prerecorded messages and use a menu of options through the buttons on a touch-tone telephone or through voice recognition (source: See also IVR
CommunicationsContact CenterWorkflow ManagementA workflow is a repeatable and orchestrated set of actions for any given business activity. The practice of Workflow Management is used in many businesses and is particularly important in contact centers. Workflow Management is the process of planning, mapping, and coordinating all workflows using automation tools to optimize a company’s business processes.
CommunicationsContact CenterWorkforce IntelligenceWorkforce Intelligence is a “bot” that tells employers about the behaviors of their workforce. Managers can gain insights into their team’s working habits and find solutions to increase productivity in the workplace. Workforce Intelligence drives actionable changes by providing insights that are otherwise hard to track. Insights such as how employees and agents are working, time spent on production vs. other work and personal matters, paths taken, application usage and effectiveness.
CommunicationsContact CenterWFMWorkforce ManagementWorkforce Management (WFM) is a term that encompasses all of the processes that a contact center department or business undertakes in order to have the right number of staff available at the right time.
Some of those processes include scheduling, forecasting, and skills management (source: See also WFO
CommunicationsContact CenterWFOWorkforce OptimizationWorkforce Optimization (WFO) usually refers to a contact center specific software suite and a strategy that integrates contact center technologies and processes including workforce management, quality management, business intelligence and analytics, agent engagement and customer retention, among others. WFO helps call centers to automate and orchestrate processes of various systems helping to increase overall efficiency and reduce operational costs