Ever wonder why customer service reps are also called agents? It's because support reps are actually a lot like secret agents — they're mysterious, they fight for [customer] justice, and they have their own special lingo. Are they actually secret agents? We'll never tell. But we will let you in on the special vocabulary support agents share. So next time you want to lead that double life, check out this handy Glossary of Customer Service Terms. Now you can
fight crime resolve customer issues with flair.
Clashing reps? Two agents enter, only one leaves? Nope — this is what happens when another agent is viewing and/or updating the same ticket. Having a helpdesk solution in place helps you avoid agent collision and prevent duplication from inadvertent simultaneous ticket updates.
This is your customer service home screen, or what your agents see when they log in. The agent console lets you access settings and manage tickets.
Application program interface (API)
A set of tools and protocols for building and customizing software applications. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.
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.
Not the creepy-crawly things... This term refers to issues with the product that require a little help from engineering to fix the code.
A physical location where an organization handles a high volume of customer and other telephone calls, usually with some amount of computer automation. More common today, though, are contact centers, featuring multi-channel support, rather than just telephony.
A priority level assigned to a case to determine urgency and how quickly it should be addressed by a rep.
Computer-telephony integration (CTI)
This refers to 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. "Please listen as our menu items have changed…" Wah, wah.
A central point in a company from which all customer contacts are managed. Contact centers typically include a call center, plus resources for other types of customer contact as well, like email, social media, postal mail, web inquiries, in-store, and online chats.
The sum of all the individual customer touchpoints a company has with a customer over the lifecycle of their relationship.
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)
An e-service that allows people to 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.
Customer Support/Service Agent (CSA)
A person whose role is to provide friendly service to internal and external customers. Evokes [rare] comparisons to 007. Also known as a customer service rep.
Customer Success Manager (CSM)
A person whose role is to provide proactive support to help customers optimize the use of a product or service. While this benefits the customer, it also helps the company with retention and optimization.
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.
An online or physical place where a customer can access help for a specific problem. A helpdesk can be as simple as one person with a phone number, or a more complex team of people using software to analyze, resolve, and track the issues.
Issue tracking system (ITS)
A software application that allows a company to follow the progress of every problem until it's resolved. Issues (which can be anything from customer questions to technical bugs) can be tracked by priority, owner, or a customized criteria.
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."
Sometimes we all need a little help. That's where outsourcing comes in – Engaging a third-party vendor to provide support for your customers on your behalf.
The running list of open tickets and cases that need attention from a customer support agent.
Service level agreement (SLA)
An agreement describing the services a provider furnishes a customer within a given time period.
Software Development Kit (SDK)
A programming package that let you develop applications for a specific platform. An SDK usually includes an API, plus various programming tools and documentation. Desk.com, for example, offers a mobile SDK which lets you to embed a support module (with helpdesk browsing, ticket creation, and live chat) right into your native app.
Content that contains information on how to do something or how to solve an issue usually via a KB. Need some exemplars? Check out ours over at Desk.com
A support channel is a way that customers reach out to you to get help. It could be email, phone, chat, web form, or even Facebook and Twitter.
Different levels of support which have differing services, options, and price points.
A web page where customers can log in to create cases, view their case history and find solutions, used a self-service tool.
The time a support agent spends talking to a customer to handle an issue over the phone. Fast talk times are generally desirable —but fast talk time averages accompanied by poor first call resolution rates are a sign that customer calls are not being answered correctly.
Time to resolution
The amount of time between the time the case is created and the time of the most recent resolution. This calculates on cases resolved during the time period specified in your report, no matter when they were created.
Every impression a customer has of an organization. Touchpoints take place via advertising, product use, email, website, social media, and more. The sum of all touchpoints creates the customer experience.
The process of systematically trying to get to the root cause of an issue in order to solve it.
Term used when a user or customer has made a mistake; the problem is user-driven, not product-driven.
I'm smiling at you because it's a nice thing to do.
Got a handle on these essential #CustServ terms and lingo? Great — Bookmark this customer service dictionary for future reference (and check out this customer service dictionary infographic)!