Like any department, customer service has distinct terms to know and metrics to track. Whether you’re a seasoned service rep or just getting started, here are 10 customer service terms to know and love. (And if you’re a real go-getter, you can download the Service Rep’s Guide to Acronyms infographic or visit our #CustServ Dictionary to learn more.)
Average handle time (AHT)
The average time an agent takes to handle and resolve a case from end to end. AHT is measured from the customer's initiation of the call or ticket and includes any hold time, talk time, and related tasks.
Computer-telephony integration (CTI)
Using computers to manage telephone calls. When you call a business, for example, and hear a computerized list of options to direct your phone call to the right department.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
A measure of the degree to which a product or service meets the customer's expectations. (Or more simply put: A way to measure how happy your customers are.)
Customer self-service (CSS)
A service that lets people use technology to access information and perform routine tasks without the assistance of a customer service rep. CSS gives users 24-hour immediate access to information via Support Centers, portals, in-app messaging, and more.
End of life policy (EOL)
Less morbid than it sounds, this is a term used when a product is at the end of its useful life. When that happens (and a vendor stops selling it), customer service must decide when to stop supporting it.
First contact resolution (FCR)
Properly addressing the customer's need the first time he or she makes contact, eliminating the need for the customer to follow up with a second contact. High FCRs rule; low FCRs drool.
Key performance indicator (KPI)
Measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a team is achieving its objectives. In other words, KPIs are data-driven goals.
Knowledge base (KB)
A central repository for information. For customer service purposes, this is usually an online database of answers and information on a particular product or service. Knowledge bases are “self service,” meaning customers can search for and find answers on their own, without the help of an agent or rep.
Net promoter score (NPS)
This is the same concept as CSAT, but concentrates specifically on whether or not the customer would recommend you to a friend. A basic calculation is to take the percentage of customers who are “promoters” and subtract the percentage who are "detractors."
Service level agreement (SLA)
An agreement describing the services a provider furnishes a customer within a given time period.