Frequently Used Industry Terms
An industry standard that suggests a minimum of 120 days between successive telemarketing attempts to the same individual.
An Abandoned call is one in which the caller dials into the call center but hangs up or is disconnected before being handled by an operator. Abandon Eliminator, through the use of ANI, will attempt to make an outbound call to this caller.
The rate of inbound calls that result in the caller hanging up before an agent is available to respond.
A marketing promotion that generally requires multiple contacts over time to secure an order and requires that the notes from each contact be made available on future contact attempts.
A machine that receives incoming phone calls and routes them to the proper TSR or IVRU station.
Auto-dialing machines that play a prerecorded message to anyone who picks up the phone without the intervention of a live agent.
Telephone trunks can be assigned to a trunk group. Call switching platforms equipped with an All Trunks Busy Event can now look at each trunk group and, if call trunks within a group are busy, generates a system event. This can be used to alert management about potential trunk problems.
A service feature in which the directory number or equipment number of a calling station is automatically obtained. ANI can be used in message accounting and tracking telephone calls. Essentially, ANI is a code that provides the billing number of the line or trunk that originated a telephone call. ANI may also be used to identify a calling party and may be used as a call back number.
An answering service is a business that is designed to answer incoming telephone calls for its customers. Answering services can handle incoming phone calls, email and chat requests and other types of customer-facing communications.
Assessment Forms and QA (Quality Assurance) forms are a set of standardized questions, parameters and/or criteria that best summarize the type of data that an organization hopes to capture about a particular process. Data collected from Assessment forms can then be compiled and reviewed to analyze trends in service, efficiency and more.
Auto Answer is a mechanism used by Telephone Answering and Call Center Services to place an incoming call into a queue until it can be processed by an available agent. The auto answer will allow the call to be rapidly “answered” by an automated attendant so that the dialing customer will feel that they are being handled in a timely fashion. Queues can then provide the caller with information pertinent to their call or simple music on hold.
Call-answering machines that allow callers to route their own call to the correct person without the intervention of a live agent.
An Auto Call Gateway application allows call dialouts to be automatically initiated on a scheduled basis. Auto Call Gateway allows these dialouts to be fed into a call switching platform from external sources such as a database or other applications.
Call Distribution is the process of arranging how and when calls go to operators and operator stations. With Infinity’s Call Distribution capabilities, you can create a customized call distribution structure tailored to meet the needs of your clients and still get the maximum benefits from your operators and equipment.
Auto-Connect is a client feature that prioritizes selected clients so that their calls are automatically connected to operators. No keys need to be pressed. The operator simply hears a beep before the call is connected.
Automated Call Distribution (ACD) is a workforce management process that allows incoming client calls to be routed to a pre-selected group of agents or remote work staff. Call routing patterns can be customized to suit client and business needs.
This feature combines the power of the custom status phrases and greetings with paging to provide automated paging services that can be accomplished without involving an operator.
Marketing business products to business enterprises for use in business situations.
An optional payment method that involves sending out an invoice and a series of reminders, if necessary, to secure payment for the product or service ordered.
A TSR who has been trained to move back and forth between inbound and outbound calls in such a way that each handled may be either inbound or outbound depending upon what is occurring in the telecenter at that point in time (See also universal agent).
Some call switching platforms can now support a telephone interface to emergency call box systems, which sends in-band signaling to tell the system of the ID of the call box.
A call center is a business that is designed to handle large volumes of inbound customer inquiries. These inquiries can be received in the form of phone calls, emails, chat requests and other forms of customer-facing communications. Call centers typically provide order entry, customer service and help desk support. Other call centers also include outbound telemarketing as part of their service offering.
Call Reassign Time allows you to set the total number of rings that a call makes to an operator before it is returned to general queue distribution.
This is a powerful directory database that allows sites to create up to 2000 directories, each with custom layouts. Some call switching platforms provide the directory information to users on the Local Area Network as well as the intranet or Internet via the web application interface. Users who access the web directory can initate pages or e- mails from the directory interface after they have located their selected party.
Call Switching platforms with Internal Chat contain an instant messaging system that allows operators and supervisors to communicate in real time via text chat messages. This allows operators to communicate without leaving their workstations or disconnecting from a call.
A Call Switching Overflow feature recognizes when operators are overburdened with calls and assists with call distribution. When additional operators log in, Infinity automatically permits additional call traffic with no need to manually change the Overflow threshold.
Call Switching Overflow can distribute calls to an External Host if a call center is too overburdened to handle call traffic. Calls are routed to the External Host via a “Day or Night” client number.
Call Transfer (also known as Call Patching) is the process by which a Telephone Answering Service agent answers an incoming call and then “transfers” or “patches” the call thru to another line. The agent can facilitate the transfer process and provide a “warm” transfer in which the call is announced by the agent to the receiving party prior to them accepting the call.
A website button that customers can click on to request contact with a live agent.
A post sale, order-verification process that involves calling customers back on the phone, usually 12 to 24 hours later, to verify the authenticity of the order and the accuracy of the data collected.
Technology that uses the ANI of the caller to display the caller’s phone number of a called party’s phone.
Client Call Limit is the ability to set a limit to the total number of calls that can be received by one client simultaneously. This prevents busy clients from tying up trunk lines for other callers.
Each client can have a customized Text Message Form with front and back pages.
Call Center clients may listen to any live operator calls on their account by placing a phone call into the Infinity call switching platform. When the client calls in, Infinity searches for live calls in real time that match the client’s account and automatically audits the calls, one at a time, rotating to the next call every 10 seconds. Client’s have selective listening ability by using DTMF tones to control call rollovers.
An advertising medium in which a number of different marketers share the cost of sending out a direct mail piece.
When a code call comes into a call switching platform, the system can be set up to provide a pop-up alert message to all operators. This alert ensures that all operators are aware that a code call has arrived and has been assigned to an operator.
Making a phone call to a prospect that has not indicated prior interest and has not been exposed to other targeted advertising media, such as direct mail, prior to the call.
A list compiled from publicly available sources such as driver’s license records or telephone directories.
The Conference Moderator has the ability to add, delete and control all parties involved in a conference.
Participating in or maintaining a discussion usually between two or more parties supported by computer or telecommunications technology.
A second test conducted to establish the validity of an initial test The size of a confirming retest is often double (but never more than 10 times) the quantity of names and orders in the original test.
A measure of the ability to reach people on the phone over a fixed period of time It is often measured in leads used per hour (LUPH).
A term used to describe the fact that telephones, computers, televisions, and other consumer appliances will be blending together into one appliance in the future.
Orders taken (sales) divided by the total leads used (TLU) It is measured as a percentage and is usually the critical measure of performance for telemarketing campaigns, especially those where the compensation is organized around a PI rate (cost per order) rather than an hourly rate.
A promotion that offers a product similar in nature and compatible with a product that the customer already owns.
An inbound agent whose primary responsibility is to handle customer service/support calls CSRs generally do not handle order taking except on a customer-demand basis.
The linking of the computer and the telephone so that the voice and data portions of the communication come together to assist the caller and the agent in securing a successful outcome to the call.
Custom Message Delivery provides power and flexibility, allowing you to increase your revenue and increase your efficiency through expanded message dispatching options. Messages can be delivered via email, fax, mail, text-to-cell, pager, or Web-based portal.
Outgoing faxes can be appended with customized fax coverpages.
Outgoing faxes can be sent in single or double column format.
The person with the authority to make a buying decision.
A telecenter environment where the TSRs are assigned to work on only one client program. They continue to work on that program exclusively for as long as the campaign remains active. There are varying degrees of dedication The highest level of dedication would not only have the TSRs dedicated to a single campaign, but also would have the rest of the telecenter management and staff similarly dedicated. The goal in this case would be to have no other programs running simultaneously in the telecenter.
Demonstration calls made by trainers and supervisors for the purpose of demonstrating proper call techniques to TSRs.
Some call switching platforms can integrate with many of the major PBXs on the market utilizing Digital Phone Emulation cards from Intel. The Digital Phone Emulation cards allow Infinity to perform all call- processing functions that an individual using a digital telephone set connected to the PBX would be able to perform.
A Check In line is set up for a client and the voice announcer greets clients, describes the number of messages, and offers other check-in options. Thus, some clients will never have to talk to an operator to pick up their messages. (Transferring to an operator is always one of the check-in options and is necessary to pick up text messages.)
The process of recovering from an incident that caused an interruption of normal telemarketing activities.
Technology that recognizes which phone number the caller has dialed to reach the telecenter, thereby allowing the TSR to know in advance which promotion the caller is responding to.
Requirements under the TCPA and Telephone Sales Rule that require marketers to maintain lists of customers who have asked not to be called in the future and to purge those records from future telemarketing campaigns.
Advertising for a product or service using television as the medium Responders typically are asked to call a toll-free phone number to place an order or receive additional information.
The Editing Specials Archive saves a copy of a Special that has been edited and keeps the original intact for record-keeping.
Names of customers who have registered the purchase of a product by sending that information to the manufacturer via e-mail or the Internet.
Some call switching platforms can now be configured to utilize a new Enhanced Hold feature. The Enhanced Hold feature allows you to: Average Time to Answer Announcement, Repeating Custom Auto-Answer, Custom Auto-Answer Greeting, Exit to Voicemail, Exit to Another Client
The ability to control time-sensitive, sometimes temporary, information with call control software so that call center agents can act on critical information in a timely manner.
The Client Answer Phrase has been extended from 38 to 76 characters.
The Fax on Demand feature allows callers to dial into a call switching platform and request a specific document be faxed to them, perhaps a marketing piece or a registration form. A Directory of Documents provides a list all documents that might be requested. A limit can be set on how many documents can be requested per telephone call. Systems can also be configured to allow recipients to revert fax deliveries to alternate fax numbers. Agents can also be enlisted to assist the process by answering an inbound call and then automatically forwarding a stored fax on the system.
This feature allows for a fax to be emailed as a PDF file provided Adobe Acrobat is installed on the computer.
Each individual record is always the same number of overall positions in length, regardless of how many positions are actually populated with data.
Data records in which each piece of data starts in the same position regardless of how long the previous data components are (Example: The name always starts in position 1 and there are 30 positions available to record the name The address always starts at position 31 and also runs for 30 positions even if the name only uses 15 of the 30 available positions).
An offer that includes an opportunity for the customer to try out the product or service for a predetermined period before the sale becomes final and the customer is expected to make a final purchase decision.
Customers who have a history of ordering and then returning a product or service.
The process of delivering the product or service to the customer.
An agency or business unit that handles the processing, shipping, billing, and collecting of a direct-sold order.
Technology that uses computer icons that allows users to move from one page of data to another by simply clicking.
An offer that asks the customer to make a final purchase decision without the possibility of return unless the product or service is defective.
Some call switching platforms can includes a Holiday setting to allow controlling whether recurring jobs should be executed on Holidays or not.
Technology that allows a TSR to transfer a customer call to another person, usually with all of the data as well as the voice portion of the communication intact.
Names of customers or prospects that have just been added to a list (usually within the last three months).
Names of customers and prospects from a company’s own database.
The language used to build Web pages.
Telemarketing discipline that involves having TSRs respond to calls initiated by a customer/prospect.
Call-outcome category for individuals who are determined to be inappropriate prospects for a particular promotion.
Technology that allows inbound callers to interact with a computer by pressing the number and symbol keys on their telephone.
The process of identifying prospects for a specific product or service.
The process of qualifying suspected prospects for a product or service while generating sufficient interest to warrant a follow-up contact.
A Lead Rotator service is generally provided by a call center and is one in which incoming calls are distributed evenly amongst any one of several recipients. A typical example might be one in which an organization that is generating multiple inbound sales queries hires the Lead Rotator services of a call center to ensure that no single sales agent within their group receives more sales queries than any other agent.
The percentage of all inbound calls that will be answered within a predetermined amount of time In essence it is a measure of the promptness of response to the inbound call.
A condition that occurs when a list is mailed or called too frequently, which results in many of the prospects on the list declining during multiple contact attempts.
A telemarketing metric that measures the percentage of the list universe that has achieved a final resolution.
The process of selecting names from a larger inventory to use for a specific campaign.
A live answer is a situation in which an actual human being answers incoming telephone calls in order to process caller requests. Live answer is different than an auto attendant which is a computer program that assists people in self-directing their calls.
A telemarketing metric that is used to measure the contact rate of a program A used lead is one that has achieved a final resolution, meaning it will not be returned to the telecenter for another contact attempt.
Usually refers to the date on which a direct mail piece was delivered to the post office for deliver to the customer/prospect.
Written reports that evaluate how TSRs are handling phone calls from both a quality and a productivity standpoint.
A list of people maintained by the DMA who have asked to be removed from as many direct mail lists as possible.
A call switching platform can play music on hold either upon answering client calls and queuing them, or while a caller is on hold awaiting a call transfer or additional operator assistance. This feature can be customized for the system.
A database available to marketers that will update the records of people who have recently changed their mailing address.
Some call switching platforms will proactively track an on-call representative at the appropriate phone numbers programmed into the system. All the while, the calling party is kept aware of call progress through a series of informative prompts.
On Time Verification and Check-in Services are generally provided by a call center and provide a method of tracking incoming calls, providing a date and time stamp and confirming that a call from a particular location is received at a pre-specified time. A typical example of such a service would be an organization with multiple branches or locations. This organization will hire a call center’s Management Check-in Service to allow them the ability to ensure that branch location personnel are on-time and ready to open for business.
The On Call Scheduler by Amtelco is a Web Services feature that allows call center customers to access their on-call information over a web-based connection, greatly streamlining the time required to keep schedules up-to-date. A typical customer on-call schedule might indicate specific information about how and when to relay incoming call information and to whom.
A marketing promotion that involves only one shipment of a product or service.
Online Appointment Scheduling is a web-hosted software application that allows multiple parties to log in to a schedule and book appointments. Online appointment scheduling applications have a real-time advantage and are designed with custom specifications in mind such as appointments per hour, type and length of appointments.
The preconfigured dial command allows an operator to initiate a digital page and immediately move on to another task. It also allows an operator to initiate a voice page and immediately move on to another task. When the voice page is initiated, the call switching system will remove the call from the screen and will complete the voice page in the background.
An opportunity for customers to request that their names not be shared with other companies for marketing purposes.
The full cost to acquire an order.
Telemarketing discipline that involves TSRs proactively contacting potential prospects and customers from a pre-selected list using the telephone as the mode of communication.
A list of prospects that comes form either another company’s house file or a compiled list.
A company that can provide services such as telemarketing, fulfillment, or database management on a contract basis.
Pager Services are provided by a Telephone Answering Service and are the means by which incoming phone calls are answered then message information is retrieved and delivered to a customer on a pager or other wireless device. Pager Services can vary greatly and are defined by the demands of the customer in terms of how they need their messages processed and how frequently they must have them delivered.
A call switching platform can be programmed to answer a client’s calls with a pre-recorded operator’s voice (either generic male/female or operator specific). This eliminates the possibility of mistakes during answer and ensures 100% accuracy with every answer.
A synonym for working on a PI basis where you pay a negotiated commission for orders received in good order at your fulfillment center.
A person who intercepts calls made to a decision maker for the purpose of qualifying their importance and relevance to the needs of the decision maker and the business enterprise.
Computer that networks TSR work stations with open telephone lines for the purpose of timing outbound calls and thereby keeping unproductive time between phone calls to a minimum.
A product or service that is positioned as a free gift within the context of an offer - some premium-enhanced offers require payment for the product or service before the premium may be kept on a no-charge basis.
A slang term that refers to customers who respond to an offer only because they want the premium; these customers have no intention of keeping and paying for the preview product.
A test that measures the response to an offer with different price points as the only variable.
Technology that intercepts call that do not have ANIs attached and asks callers to identify themselves before the call rings at the called party’s location.
A quality management strategy that is more focused on customer reactions and attempts to provide insight on how programs can be improved for the mutual benefit of the client, telecenter, and customer.
A marketing strategy that recognizes the need for the buyer and seller to build a relationship of mutual trust and respect over a period of time before the buyer can be expected to say yes to the offer.
The process of listening to and evaluating telemarketing phone calls without being noticed by either the TSR or the customer on the other end of the phone.
An offer structure that attempts to renew a subscription or continuity membership.
A list that has been generated by previous response to a direct marketing offer.
A measure of productivity that is often used interchangeably with conversion rate, but can also be used to mean the number of orders divided by the entire universe of names available, not just the leads used.
The designation that is applied to an order when the customer decides to return the order to the seller for a credit or refund.
A “Revert-to-Operator” is a voicemail service that is configured to reroute an incoming call to an outside number. A typical use of a Revert-to-Operator is one in which a company has their calls forwarded to voicemail. When the caller arrives at the voicemail service they are given an option to leave a message or be routed to another number which can direct them to a “Live Operator” who will further handle their request.
A widely recognized matrix used to segment lists and make predictions as to which parts will be most responsive to future offers.
The Ring Count control can be used to control when calls are assigned to an operator. This feature can be designated with day and night behaviors.
An offer structure that allows customers to try out a product with the assurance that they can return it with no further risk or obligation if it does not suit their needs.
A training technique that involves TSRs and trainers acting out the parts of callers and customers for the purpose of gaining comfort with the dialogue associated with the script.
The process of calling the remaining names from a list universe after the initial test has proved successful.
Marketing influences that are connected with the season of the year during which the promotion is being run.
The process of splitting a list into smaller subsets with the expectation that each segment will have a slightly different response rate.
A telecenter environment where the TSRs may be asked to handle calls for a small group (two to six) of different programs.
Business listings for multiple people within the same organization where the calls are routed through one main phone number.
A telecenter environment where the TSRs may handle calls for 10, 20, 30, or more different programs at a time, never knowing from which of the programs the next call will be.
A numerical coding system devised by the government to classify businesses by the nature of the business activity.
An offer that allows the customer to try out the product or service without obligation before making a final purchase decision (See also hard offer).
A telemarketing formula that measures the number of orders divided by the amount of time (in hours) that it took to generate them. This is a prime productivity formula for hourly based compensation telemarketing programs It is not important in a PH-based compensation program.
This is the process of determining how many people are required on the phones to maintain the established service levels or to achieve the programs sales goals.
Status Greetings allow each site create custom statuses for each account. Each status can also have a voice greeting associated with it to inform callers of the current status.
Names that are withdrawn from the calling or mailing inventories either because they have asked to be removed from the promotion lists or because they have recently received another offer from the same company. These names need to be “rested” before they can be promoted to again.
A System Database Backup can create a system-wide backup to ensure that critical account information is not lost in the event of an outage.
System forms have utility for a range of clients with similar text messaging needs. Other System Forms could be designed for sales orders or other such specialized messaging.
The process of creating an audio record of the conversion between a TSR and a customer once the customer has said yes to the offer and the TSR is delivering the dialogue from the confirmation section of the script.
The first federal law designed to regulate the activities of legitimate telemarketing organizations.
The business of using the telephone to establish a direct one-to-one communication between a seller and a buyer for the purpose of moving goods or services from a producer to a customer.
Federal legislation designed to protect consumers from telemarketers who use deceptive sales practices.
Regulations written by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to implement the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Protection Act of 1994.
An outcome designation for used leads that are determined to be either wrong or disconnected phone numbers.
A term coined by Bob Doscher (as far as we know) that is used to describe the convergence of televisions, telephones, and the Internet.
A list maintained by the DMA of people who have asked to be removed from as many outbound telemarketing lists as possible.
The process of teaching people to accomplish a task of speaking with callers in such a way that the goals of the program can be achieved.
A batch of orders that are being delivered to a fulfillment center for processing that will lead to product or service delivery.
A person employed for the purpose of making or receiving calls from prospects and/or customers.
When a job fails in UltraComm, the optional UltraComm Communications Server, a prompt is sent to the operator initiating the task and a log file is created on the telephony server detailing the failed job.
UltraComm is a PC-based message management and delivery system. UltraComm includes 1 to 12 ports (expandable to 24). Messages can be inbound and outbound fax and email. UltraComm supports an Access-based reporting package. UltraComm can be used in conjunction with a call center’s Infinity call switching system and allows call center agents to have immediate access to message delivery status.
UltraTalk uses text-to-speech to deliver messages over the phone.
Ultratalk Directory Assistance-assists customer who needs to call in and be connected to another member of the organization. Callers can dial in, scroll through the Directory Listing and choose the phone number and be connected.
Ultratalk Message Reader-Read text messages to callers, Secure Delivery (security code prompt) and Unsecure Delivery (reads when answered)
Part of the terms and conditions of an offer that guarantees satisfaction regardless of circumstances. This is usually an indispensable component of any outbound telemarketing offer.
Unified Reports and Unified Reporting is a method by which a call center can offer complete call details and call statistics to its customers through a single easy-to-use interface.
A Unified Reports Scheduler allows reports to be run automatically at predefined times.
A TSR who has been trained on both inbound and outbound telemarketing programs but is assigned to work on one or the other for extended periods of time Unlike a blended agent, this person will not be expected to move back and forth between inbound and outbound with each call.
An offer structure most often associated with computer software promotions where customers that bought previous versions are contacted with an offer for the newest version.
An offer structure that allows the TSR to offer a customer an additional product once the customer has said yes to the primary offer.
An after-call quality management process that sends all of the orders generated by the TSRs to a separate staff for the purpose of verifying authenticity of the orders along with the accuracy of the data collected.
When referring to a call center or answering service setting, a virtual environment is a created, simulated location made available by means of a computer or a computer network.
A voice logger is a mechanism or program used to record audio information from telephones, radios, microphones, and other sources for storage on a computer hard drive or removable media. Recordings can be made in 'vox' mode, which is voice-activated, or "non-vox" mode, in which the recording is continuous.
The Voice Prompts are all of the pre-recorded instructions and "snip-its" that are put together and played to instruct or inform the caller over the phone. This feature can have multi-lingual ability.
The transcription feature allows voice messages to be alpha paged with the help of an operator. Transcribing consists of an operator listening to a voice message and typing it into an alpha paging message form. Transcription client files can be set to be displayed to an operator automatically or be fetched manually.
A technology that allows the caller to make free long distance calls over the Internet rather than via standard telephone company switches and lines The only cost associated with these VOIP calls is the regular monthly ISP access charge.
Web Callback is a Web Services feature that allows a customer to place a clickable icon on their Web site(s) which, when clicked, will allow the person browsing such a site to enter a name, telephone number and preferred time to receive a call (either right away or at a later time). This request is immediately relayed back to a call center’s Infinity system, is placed in queue and is processed by the first available operator as a callback request. A call center agent then schedules that call and at the appropriate time delivers the request to the inquirer.
Web Chat is a Web Services feature that allows a Call Center Agent to engage in an interactive, two-way text-based chat session with a web-browsing customer. Chat sessions can then be documented electronically and instantly emailed back to the customer. Additionally, services like this can often be paired with other Web Services features such as Web Push.
The Web Portal is a suite of applications that provide a browser-based interface to many of the Amtelco Infinity system databases. Applications can be run separately. End-users can access a wide variety of information about their Telephone Answering Service account and can effectively make changes and updates.
Web Push is a Web Services feature that allows a call center agent to pass requested documentation to a browsing customer. Generally, this is a function of “Web Chat.” Call center agents can “push” pages directly to a customer.
Web Response is a Web Services feature that allows a call center to quickly respond to its customers incoming email. Emails are re-routed or copied to a call center facility and are then placed in queue and processed by the first available agent. This feature allows individuals and businesses to offload or outsource their email processing needs to a call center facility.
A quality standard for telemarketing that has a zero tolerance for complaints.