To an outside observer, the world of modern customer service may seem confusing. Specialists in the field seem to talk in a completely different language; it’s easy to become intimidated by all of the unfamiliar terms and jargon. Even experienced customer service agents can sometimes be caught off-guard by an unfamiliar term. We prepared this handy reference to collect and explain all of the commonly used terms and their definitions to help you navigate the customer service landscape with minimal trouble.
Terms and definitions
- 24/7 support
- What is 24/7 support?
24/7 support refers to a brand providing non-stop customer service. It’s usually achieved through a simple shift system, outsourcing servicing to several teams in different time zones or a combination of human agents and chatbots.
- Account Authorization
- What is an account authorization?
An account authorization is access given to external apps, allowing them to control social media pages or accounts. This is used, for instance, to allow third-party applications to post on a given profile. From a customer service standpoint, this mechanism allows a single tool to present messages from multiple social media platforms, for instance.
- Who is an agent?
An agent is a representative of a company or brand, responsible for responding to customer enquiries. They handle complaints, inform the customers about products and services, manage orders, and more.
- Agent Performance Report
- What is an agent performance report?
An agent performance report provides information about how well a customer service representative performed in the selected time period.
- Agent View
- What is an agent view?
An agent view is usually a listing of tickets assigned to a given customer service representative.
- AI Suggested Answers
- What are AI suggested answer?
An AI suggested answer is a suggested response to a customer enquiry, selected using an AI algorithm. These algorithms often use machine learning and NLP to recognise customer intent. They are used to shorten the response time and to increase the effectiveness of agents.
- Automated Routing
- What is automated routing?
Automated routing is a method of assigning open tickets to specific agents based on parameters such as priority, topic, or channel. It’s a common way to optimise a customer service pipeline. Automate routing can have a major positive impact on the customer experience.
- What is automation?
Automation is the process of creating sequences of processes handled by algorithms and machines rather than human agents. This results in faster turnaround time and a more positive experience for users.
- What is an auto-reply?
An auto-reply is an automatic, pre-written message sent to anyone who contacts a given channel.
- Average Revenue per Account
- What is average revenue per account?
Average revenue per account is the average revenue generated by each account, measured over a certain period of time – usually a year. It is used for financial forecasting and ROI measurement.
- Average Resolution Time
- What is an average resolution time?
An average resolution time is the average time it takes a customer service agent or team to resolve a customer case, measured from the ticket submission until its status is marked as “resolved”.
- Black Friday
- What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is an informal holiday, taking place the day after Thanksgiving. It marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, when many retailers offer significant discounts.
- Business Process Outsourcing
- What is business process outsourcing?
Business process outsourcing is the practice of contracting a third party to take care of a company’s core activities, for instance accounting, customer service, human resources or IT services.
- Call Center
- What is a call center?
A call center is an office created to receive and transmit a large volume of phone inquiries and provide customer support over the phone.
- Canned Response
- What is a canned response?
A canned response is a predefined response to a commonly asked question. Canned responses allow agents to quickly answer the most common enquiries.
- What is chat?
Chat is the generic term used for any online, real-time, text-based communication between two or more people. It’s a common way of offering customer service through websites and social media.
- What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program created to simulate a conversation, especially online. In customer service, they are used to answer the most commonly asked questions and perform simple services (such as checking an account balance) without the involvement of a human agent.
- Chat Response Time
- What is chat response time?
The chat response time is the average time needed for a customer service agent to reply to a customer request sent through an instant messaging service..
- What is churn?
Churn is a metric used to evaluate business performance. It is a percentage of users or subscribers who stop using a product or a service within a given time period. One of the key roles of customer service is to prevent churn with a proactive approach and a focus on customer satisfaction.
- Communication Channel
- What is a communication channel?
A communication channel is a way customers can contact a company or an organization. There are voice and text-based channels such as email, chat, social media, messaging apps, and many more.
- Community Forum
- What is a community forum?
A community forum is an online space where users chat about products or services. There are officially moderated forums, where companies engage with customers and capitalize on users helping other users. It is advised to have customer representatives present on unofficial forums, or at least monitoring them.
- What is a complaint?
A complaint is a negative opinion about a product or a service, sent directly to a company or brand, or posted on social media.
- What is a conversation?
A conversation is any communication between a brand or a company and its customers.
- Conversational AI
- What is a conversational AI?
A conversational AI is a chatbot utilising messaging and voice communication apps. They are used to automate common customer service processes.
- What is CRM?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a term used to refer to a combination of strategies, processes, technologies, and tools used to manage interactions with customers, as well as specialised software designed for this task.
- What is cross-selling?
Cross-selling is an action of offering products of services from a different brand or company to existing customers.
- Customer Acquisition
- What is customer acquisition?
Customer acquisition is the process of attracting new customers to a company. Customers are acquired through the combined efforts of marketing and sales departments.
- Customer Journey
- What is a customer journey?
A customer journey is a map or a graph of every experience and interactions that customers have with a company or a brand.
- Customer Journey Mapping
- What is customer journey mapping?
Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of all the interactions customers have with a brand or a company. It usually involves departments such as marketing, sales, customer service, and product.
- Customer Lifecycle Marketing
- What is customer lifecycle marketing?
Customer lifecycle marketing is a business approach to marketing and sales that focuses on making every touchpoint between a brand and a customer profitable. A customer lifecycle consists of following stages: awareness, engagement, evaluation, purchase, post-purchase, and advocacy. Having a clear strategy for each stage decreases acquisition cost and increases sales.
- Customer Loyalty
- What is customer loyalty?
Customer loyalty is the result of positive experiences and an emotional connection with a product or brand expressed through purchase decisions and customer advocacy.
- Customer Recommendation
- What is a customer recommendation?
A customer recommendation is a voluntary recommendation of a product, brand or service by a customer to a friend, relatives or to a broader audience on social media.
- Customer Retention Rate
- What is a customer retention rate?
A customer retention rate is the percentage of customers retained by a company within a given time period.
- Customer Satisfaction
- What is customer satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a marketing term used to describe positive experiences with a company or a brand. It describes how companies meet customer expectations or how they surprise and delight them.
- Customer Segmentation
- What is customer segmentation?
Customer segmentation is the process of dividing a customer base into smaller groups sharing similar characteristics in order to create a unique and personalized experience for each of them. Users are divided based on their demographics, purchase history, behaviour and other factors.
- Customer Service
- What is customer service?
Customer service is the process of assisting a company’s or brand’s clients before, during, and after a purchase. Excellent customer service is a crucial part of building brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
- Customer Service Channels
- What are customer service channels?
Customers service channels are ways customers can reach out to a brand or a company such as email, phone, social media, or direct channels like shops or field offices.
- Customer Service Report
- What is a customer service report?
A customer service report is a summary of a customer service department’s performance and quality of service, based on qualitative customer feedback and quantitative metrics. Conducting such evaluations on a regular basis enables management to shape their strategy, propose further optimisations, and increase customer satisfaction.
- Customer Service Team
- What is a customer service team?
A customer service team is responsible for assisting customers and ensuring their satisfaction on every step of their journey by responding to questions, providing useful information, and resolving issues and complaints.
- Customer Service Tools
- What are customer service tools?
Customer service tools are specialised software used by customer service teams for managing and processing customer requests and measure key metrics.
- Customer Testimonial
- What is a customer testimonial?
A customer testimonial is a positive written, photo, or video review of a product or a service.
- E-mail Customer Service
- What is e-mail customer service?
E-mail customer service is one of the most common methods of servicing clients. As it is a text-based communication channel, it lends itself to automation very well.
- Facebook Customer Service
- What is Facebook customer service?
Facebook customer service is, as the name indicates, customer service conducted through Facebook. This encompasses assistance through both Messenger, as well as comments in post.
- What is the GDPR?
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a law implemented by the European Union in 2018 which regulates companies’ responsibilities in regards to their users’ privacy. It lays out detailed procedures for handling private data collected from users, as well as transferring data outside of the EU.
- What is a helpdesk?
Helpdesks are departments dedicated to replying to technical questions from clients.
- Instant Response
- What is an instant response?
An instant response is the first response automatically sent to every incoming message received by a social media profile. These messages are usually created through social media management tools.
- Lifetime Value
- What is lifetime value?
Lifetime value is revenue acquired from a single customer throughout their entire relationship with a company.
- Live Agent
- Who is a live agent?
A live agent is a customer service representative who replies to questions from customers which are too complex to be handled by bots.
- Live Chat
- What is live chat?
Live chat is a customer service communication channel through which customers can communicate with brand representatives in real-time through a website widget.
- Merged Ticket
- What is a merged ticket?
A merge ticket is a collection of support requests from the same customer, concerning the same topic.
- Multichannel Support
- What is multichannel support?
Multichannel support is the practice of offering customer service through multiple communication channels at once. New-generation tools allow brands to easily integrate many channels into one tool for ease of use, gathering metrics, and more.
- Multi Language Support
- What is multi language support?
Multi language support is the practice of offering customer support in multiple languages. This is achieved by hiring native speakers, outsourcing servicing to third parties, or by using translation tools.
- Net Promoter Score
- What is a Net Promoter Score?
A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measurement of customer loyalty and satisfaction. Customers are asked how likely they are to recommend a product, app, or service to others on a scale of 0 to 10. Three groups are then established: promoters (9 to 10), passives (7 to 8), and detractors (0 to 6). NPS is the percentage of promoters in the polled group.
- Number of Interaction per Ticket
- What is the number of interactions per ticket?
The number of interactions per ticket is a measurement of every interaction between the support team and the customer within the scope of a single ticket.
- Omnichannel Support
- What is omnichannel support?
Omnichannel support is the practice of providing customer assistance on multiple channels, both online and offline, while maintaining a consistent experience across all of them.
- Online Customer Experience
- What is the online customer experience?
The online customer experience is the sum total of all interactions with a brand that customers can have online.
- Open Ticket
- What is an open ticket?
An open ticket is a customer request which is in the process of being handled by the customer service team.
- Peak Hours
- What are peak hours?
Peak hours is the term describing the busiest part of a business day, when an increase in the number of customer requests can be observed. Analysing historical data allows brands to optimise their customer service workload around peak hours in order to deliver the best possible experience to customers.
- Peak Season
- What is a peak season?
A peak season is the time of the year when the number of customer requests increases significantly. For e-commerce, it is usually the two months before Christmas; in travel, it’s usually both summer and early winter.
- Personalized Replies
- What are personalized replies?
Personalized replies are custom responses signed by a specific agent or representative.
- Preferred Communication Channel
- What is a preferred communication channel?
A preferred communication channel is the method of contact with a brand most often used by its customers. It can vary depending on the company, industry, customer demographics, and more.
- What is a priority?
A priority defines how urgent and important customer request is. Customer service tools automatically assign priorities depending on ticket subject, channel, timestamp, and other criteria.
- Private Message
- What is a private message?
A private message, also known as direct message, is a form of communication sent directly to a brand’s social media channel, visible only to the sender and recipient. Customer service tools enable teams to manage private messages from multiple channels in one tool.
- Purchasing Process
- What is the purchasing process?
The purchasing process, also known as customer buying process, is the journey a customer goes through before they buy a product or a service. Mapping such a process includes researching customer needs and identifying the key factor before the final decision.
- Resolution Time
- What is a resolution time?
A resolution time is the amount of time that it takes for an agent to resolve a case and close an assigned ticket.
- Resolved Ticket
- What is a resolved ticket?
A resolved ticket is a solved and closed customer request in a customer service tool.
- Response Template
- What is a response template?
A response template is a reusable message that can be sent as a quick reply to a customer’s request. Using response templates cuts down on the time to first response.
- What is a review?
A review is a written recommendation of a product or a service by its users.
- Sales Opportunity
- What is a sales opportunity?
A sales opportunity is a contact or an account with a high likelihood of committing to a purchase, which has already been contacted and qualified.
- What is self-service?
Self-service is a type of online customer support that enables users to find the necessary information to solve their issue without the involvement of customer service agents. It usually takes the form of articles, video tutorials and case studies.
- Self-service Ratio
- What is the self-service ratio?
The self-service ratio is the percentage of customer requests solved without the assistance of human agents.
- Service Time
- What is the service time?
The service time is the amount of time from the opening to the closing of the ticket. In simple terms, it’s a measurement of how long it takes to resolve a customer request.
- What is an SLA?
A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a contract between a service provider and their customers. It describes the conditions of the service, its availability, support options, and other details.
- Social Channel Integration
- What is a social channel integration?
A social channel integration is an API connection between a customer service tool and a social media channel. It enables the tool to post content and interact with followers of a given profile or profiles.
- Social Customer Service
- What is social customer service?
Social customer service is the practice of providing support through social media channels.
- Who is a supervisor?
A supervisor is a manager responsible for leading a customer service team, optimising their performance and quality of service.
- Supervisor Panel
- What is a supervisor panel?
A supervisor panel is an interactive dashboard with customer service performance statistics and metrics. It allows the user to filter results by data, agent, or channel.
- Team Inbox
- What is a team inbox?
A team inbox is a view in a customer service tool which displays all customer messages and requests from multiple channels, no matter who they are assigned to.
- Technical Customer Service
- What is technical customer service?
Technical customer service is the division within a CS department which handles technical support cases. This team is often called the helpdesk.
- What is a thread?
A thread, also known as a ticket, is a conversation between a customer and a service agent on a communication channel. In a social media context, it can also refer to a post and the comments associated with it.
- What is a ticket?
A ticket is the term describing the entirety of a customer support case.
- Ticket Status
- What is a ticket status?
A ticket status is the stage at which a given case is currently on. Example status include new, open, resolved, or waiting for a customer response.
- Tiered Support
- What is tiered support?
Tiered support is a customer support management approach which assigns different priorities (tiers) to incoming requests based on different factors. This approach is common in brands which handle certain inquiries in-house, while outsourcing others.
- Time to First Response
- What is the time to first response?
The time to first responsive is a metric expressing the time that passes between the customer sending the initial message and receiving a response. This time can be shortened drastically by using automation to send a generic message to the customer.
- Twitter Customer Service
- What is Twitter customer service?
Twitter customer service is providing customer support through Twitter.
- What is up-selling?
Upselling is the practice of offering additional sales, service extensions, and upgrades to existing customers.
- Volume of Customer Requests
- What is the volume of customer requests?
The volume of customer requests is the total number of incoming queries in a given period of time.