50 Important BPO Terms With Meanings You Must Know

Navigating the world of customer service can sometimes feel like decoding a complex puzzle. From dealing with different types of individuals to understanding the intricate language of support interactions, every piece plays a pivotal role in shaping exceptional customer experiences. In this blog, we'll unravel the key BPO terms with meaning that are commonly used in the customer service industry, shedding light on the language that drives seamless interactions and ensures customer satisfaction in the Canadian market. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your journey in the field, mastering these terms will empower you to provide top-notch support and elevate your customer service game.


Business Processing Outsourcers or commonly termed BPO, are organizations that provide business process operations to various clients. In this digital age, they are now known as BPM or Business Process Management companies. BPM services include payroll, human resources (HR), accounting, and customer/call center relations.

Digital Customer Experience

Digital Customer Experience Digital Customer Experience is the digital interaction and the resulting impression of a customer when interacting with a brand.

Customer Journey

Customer Journey, as the term suggests, is the complete journey and experience of a customer when interacting with a brand.


Agent Agents are the individuals who act as representatives of organizations servicing clients across industries. They often follow specific guidelines, scripts, or protocols to ensure consistency and alignment with the client's brand and standards.

Remote Agent

A remote agent is an employee who operates from a location that is not physically situated within the client's or the BPO service provider's premises. Instead, the remote agent works from a different location, often their own home or another off-site setting.

Agent Status

It is a feature that displays the availability of a call center agent before the team. The common agent statuses include:

  • Available – Ready to make inbound or outbound calls.
  • Busy – Not ready for calls.
  • On call – Agent is on an active call.
  • Away – Agent is off the workstation.
  • After call work – Agent is finishing tasks after a call.
  • Offline – Agent has not yet logged into the call center software system.

Agent Occupancy

The term denotes the time that an agent spent in handling calls and after-call work (ACW) activities.

Agent Utilization

It signifies the time that an agent spent while handling customer calls. Agent utilization is a vital metric that has a significant impact on a call center employee’s performance, customer satisfaction, and productivity rates.

Longest Available Agent

The agent who has gone the longest time without getting a call or task is the one available for the longest period. If a call comes in, it's given to this available agent.

Assisted Service

Assisted Service provides various solutions to those customers who are not able to find a solution to their query on their own by initiating an interaction with a trained associate.


Self-Service is a proactive support for customers who would want to find the solution to their problem by themselves rather than getting into an interaction with an associate.

Answer Rate

It is a parameter that monitors a call center agent’s performance. The metric is calculated by comparing the total number of calls answered against the calls received by the business.

Canned Responses

Canned Responses are predetermined, scripted responses that allow associates to respond quickly and efficiently to a customer query or grievance.

Call-By-Call Routing

Call-by-call routing means sending each call to the best place based on the real-time scenario in the call center such as agent availability. It is a way to make sure each call goes to the right person after it comes into the phone system.

Virtual Bots

Also known as a smart virtual helper, virtual representative, or chatbot, a virtual bot is like a computer program that follows a set of instructions or even uses smart computer thinking to help people automatically. It gives them information or helps them with things they need.

Call Closing

This stage involves agents using closing statements to signal the conclusion of the call in a polite way once the goal of the call is reached. An agent outlines the next steps as required or just leaves a thank you note for the call.

Call Detail Recording

In a call center, a technician maintains a digital record of all the inbound and outbound calls. The record includes information about the caller, the agent who received the calls, call duration, the time when a call was either made or received, and lots of other details like what features were used during the call and why it ended.

Calls Per Agent

Calls Per Agent The "average calls per agent" for a call center means how many calls, on average, each worker answers in a certain time. The metric helps an enterprise to know the extent of workload handled by teams, enabling them to optimize their workforce accordingly.

Skills-Based Routing

Skill-Based Routing or SBR is a tool used in an organization to effectively match and direct customer queries or grievances to the best-suited associates based on their skill sets.

Conversion Rate

In a call center, conversion rate refers to the calls that end up making a sale or are passed on to the right team who makes a successful sales pitch. A high conversion rate signifies higher revenue prospects and low operational expenditure.

First Attempt

As the term reads,it refers to the success of an agent in resolving a customer’s issue in the first call itself.

Open Ticket

When a ticket is "open," it means the customer problem isn't fixed yet, and the support team still needs to work on it. The support people can talk to customers using these tickets to ask more questions or to make sure the solution they provide makes the customer happy.

Real-Time Management

Realtime Management involves the supervisors checking the way of communication of an agent. The exercise includes things like watching how many customers get in touch and comparing it to what you expected.

Customer Experience Management

It refers to the process of gauging a customer’s reaction while interacting with agents during a call and harnessing these insights to devise process improvement plans. CEM looks at all the ways customers connect with you and figures out how to make those experiences even better.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a tool employed by an organization to effectively capture and manage interactions for both current and prospective customers.

Knowledge Management System

It is a central repository of information that can come in handy for agents for quick issue resolution. The knowledge base is a collection of articles, FAQs, troubleshooting documents, and product knowledge among others. A call center worker can use it to find answers for simple to complex customer queries. It is designed to be easy to search and use, which makes life easy for the agents.

ACD - Automatic Call Distributor

It is a phone system that receives calls and routes them to workers who are available to help. An ACD is useful during situations when a team or an agent experiences an influx of calls and is in no situation to handle additional calls. It facilitates optimal distribution of workload across the team.

ASR - Automated Speech Recognition

The technology lets you talk to a computer instead of typing. This means you do not have to use the keyboard to put in information. It simplifies and accelerates work for agents particularly during peak hours.

NPS - Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a customer satisfaction benchmark used to evaluate the chances of customers recommending the brand to their contacts. It ranges from -100 to 100, which measures both negative and positive reviews.

TPH - Transactions Per Hour

TPH or Transactions Per Hour refers to a metric that analyzes an individual or team’s transaction on a per hour basis. This is a very important performance measure.

CSAT - Customer Satisfaction Score

CSAT, otherwise known as Customer Satisfaction, is a score to measure the level of satisfaction of a customer when it comes to transactions or interactions with the brand.

AHT – Average Handling Time

AHT or Average Handle Time is a metric that is used to calculate the total average duration of a single interaction between a customer and an associate. This helps in assessing the efficiency of the associate and the organization as a whole.

IRT - Internal Response Time

It refers to the time taken by an agent to respond or handle the assigned task. IRT is a vital KPI to measure an agent’s performance. However, it does not factor in queuing delays.

IVR - Interactive Voice Response

Interactive Voice ResponseIVR, or Interactive Voice Response, is an automated telephony system, which is used to gather information about the nature of the call and direct the call to the appropriate departments.

FCR – First Call Resolution

FCR or First-Call Resolution is an important metric that is used to identify the ability of an associate to resolve customer queries or grievances in the initial call without any follow-ups or repeats.

EWT - Expected Wait Time

EWT or Expected Wait Time is the approximate waiting time, which is informed to a customer before they are connected to an associate.

Wrap Time & ACW - After Call Work

Wrap Time or Wrap-up time is the amount of time taken by an associate in completing ACW or After Call Work, the documentation process for each interaction, once the interaction has been concluded.

CES - Customer Effort Score

It is a measurement of the effort that a customer had to put in during an interaction with a call center agent. The lesser the effort the more is the ease to do business with the organization that the contact center represents.

DNIS – Dialed Number Identification Service

It is a service rendered by a telecom enterprise that helps a call center enterprise identify the number of the caller. The prior information is vital to facilitate a personalized interaction with the customer.

CCS – Centum Call Seconds

It is a vital KPI measuring the quantity of calls managed by an agent during a specified timeframe. The calculation involves taking the overall time an agent spends on calls, deducting instances of break time and unoccupied time, then dividing the result by 60 and subsequently multiplying by 100.

HCLI – Calling Line Identity

It refers to the information that identifies the caller's phone number or line when making an outbound call. This identification is commonly displayed on the recipient's phone or system, allowing them to recognize the caller before answering the call. HCLI helps call centers manage and route calls efficiently by providing essential information about the origin of the call, enabling better customer service and call handling.

ABT - Abandoned Before Threshold

Interactions that are disconnected before the elapse of the predetermined time of 10 seconds are referred to as calls abandoned before threshold.

ASA - Average Speed of Answer

The term denotes the average time a call center agent takes to answer an incoming call. It is considered as a metric to track the waiting time of a caller in a queue, not factoring in the time taken to navigate through an IVR system.

LTV - Customer Lifetime Value

This parameter measures the profitability of a customer during their association with an enterprise. Companies use revenue and cost of acquisition along with other variables (depending on their business) to calculate the CLV of customers.

AOV - Average Order Value

The metric calculates the average total of orders placed by a customer over calls within a specific time period.

Escalation Plan

Call escalation, sometimes referred to as escalation call or supervisor escalation, is when a customer requests a senior representative to intervene and resolve their issue. Escalations can create a state of urgency requiring both human and procedural resources to be in place to deal with it.

Live Chat

Live Chat Live chat, also known as live support, is a call center concept that revolutionizes how businesses engage with visitors on their webpages. When a webpage offers a live chat feature, users can seamlessly start a chat. Skilled representatives or efficient chatbots promptly address inquiries, forging instant connections. This dynamic system taps into the company's CRM platform, leveraging historic customer data to furnish precise answers.

Lost Calls

A lost call refers to any incoming call that fails to establish a connection with an advisor or answering service. This occurs when a customer disconnects the call or when the center terminates it. Such disconnections can also be intentional or accidental, often due to a timeout caused by extended waiting for an agent.

Abandonment Rate

Abandonment rate in a call center refers to the percentage of incoming calls that are disconnected or terminated by the caller before they can connect with a live agent. This typically occurs when callers experience long wait times and decide to end the call out of frustration. Abandonment rate is calculated by dividing the number of abandoned calls by the total number of incoming calls.

Chat Channels

Chat channels are tech platforms for live customer conversations via phone, chat apps, SMS, and more. AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants are used for quick interaction and issue resolution. They redirect to human agents when necessary.

This overview of key terms in the customer service industry sheds light on the diverse aspects that define call center operations. From technology integration to agent roles and specialized systems, these terms collectively contribute to the effective functioning of call centers and their ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences.