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VoIP Terms & Definitions

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Abandon rate

The call abandon rate indicates the percentage of abandoned incoming phone calls, that is, calls going unanswered because the callers hung up before reaching an agent.

IndicatorsCall center

ACD (Automatic Call Distribution)

ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) is a set of phone system rules allowing incoming calls to be automatically distributed to a company’s employees or call center agents.

Business phone systemCall center

AHT (Average Handle Time)

AHT (Average Handle Time) is the term for a team’s or individual agent’s average call duration over a given period. This duration counts handled calls but can also count post-call treatment time.

IndicatorsCall center

API

API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of features allowing applications to communicate with one another and exchange services and data through a programming language.
In telecom, APIs enable the exchange of data specific to phone calls (call logs, call duration, etc.) between two separate applications - for example, a CRM and a company phone system - without the two applications being connected.

Software

ARCEP

ARCEP (Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Posts and Press Distribution) oversees telecom in France (as well as the Internet and postal mail). ARCEP assigns licenses and phone numbers to operators, among others.

Regulation

Automated calls

Automated call systems dial many numbers automatically. Very useful to salespeople and call centers, they optimize productivity by allowing a significant number of prospects to be called without a single phone number dialled.

Call center

Average Wait Time

Average Wait Time (AWT) is the time that a caller waits before their call is answered, or the time before someone picks up. This indicator should be watched very closely for customer service teams, as it is a significant source of caller dissatisfaction.

IndicatorsCall center

Call center

A call center is simply a company’s team and infrastructure (software, hardware, etc.) in charge of managing phone calls. It can be a support team in charge of customer calls, or a sales team in charge of sales calls, for example.

Call center

Call group

A call group is a set of phone lines or agents grouped together by specialty, for example, “customer support in French”. Creating groups simplifies the setting of routing rules for incoming calls.

Business phone systemCall center

Call holding

Call holding refers to a situation in a phone system where a caller is made to wait on the phone before communication can be established. It can involve the initial call queue, or the time between when the call is answered and the end of the call on one of the system extensions. It can also mean being purposely placed on hold by the correspondent. Music or messages are usually played while a caller is holding.

Business phone system

Call interface

A call interface is an application through which an agent or user of a dematerialised phone system can make and receive calls. At minimum, it consists of a digital keypad or “dialer” for entering phone numbers but may also allow access to client contacts and call logs.
Thanks to WebRTC, this interface is accessible from browsers such as Chrome or Firefox without additional installation.

SoftwareCall center

Call monitoring

Call monitoring is a method of discreetly listening in on a phone conversation by a person outside the conversation, without either of the other parties being aware. It is very useful for call center supervisors for training and control purposes.

Call center

Call overflow

Call overflow describes a situation where a call is routed to a different user (or group, or team) than that which normally handles calls. Such overflow happens when the volume of incoming calls is too great to be handled by the person or department who regularly does so.

Call center

Call pick-up rate

The pickup rate can measure either the rate of incoming calls answered by a team over a given period in relation to the total number of calls received, or the rate of outgoing calls picked up in relation to the total number of calls made. In the first case, it is generally used to measure the quality of a support team, while in the second case, it measures the quality of an outbound campaign, by salespeople for example.

IndicatorsCall center

Call queue

The call queue refers to the placement of incoming calls in line until the person called is available to take the call.

Business phone system

Call recording

This involves the recording of phone conversations between a person making and a person receiving a call. The recording feature is a useful solution for controlling the quality of services provided to clients by a company’s departments, or for simply retaining conversation history for legal reasons, for example. Recordings can also compliment team coaching sessions and improve the quality of agent exchanges.

Business phone system

Call transfer

In business telecom, a call transfer refers to the redirection of a call in progress to a colleague or call group (“I’ll transfer you to tech support now”).

Business phone system

Cascading calls

Cascading calls is a method of distributing incoming calls to given employees’ or agents’ lines in a certain order. Cascading call distribution means that a caller will be directed first to one line, then, if that person does not answer, to another, and so forth.

Business phone system

CCaaS

Contact Center as a Service is the ensemble of Cloud contact center software, accessible through subscriptions without an initial license. In other words, it involves SaaS contact center software.

Call center

Centrex

A Centrex or IP Center is a phone system hosted and managed by the provider, generally a landline operator. This system allows a company to outsource its telecom management and not have to manage a physical phone system internally. Centrex telecom is also known as Cloud telecom.

VoIP

Click-to-Call (or call in 1 click)

Click-to-call is the ability to simply click on a phone number or link to make a call from a web or mobile application. This is the most emblematic feature of digital telecom. Besides the ease it offers (not having to dial a phone number), click-to-call allows more calls to be made faster, so is quite useful for sales calls.

Business phone systemCall center

Contact center

A contact center is an infrastructure that allows a company to manage interactions with its clients, whether as written exchanges (email, chat) or vocal (phone calls).

Call center

CRM

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a database that centralizes a company’s interactions with its clients or prospects (exchanges, sales, or After Sales Service). CRM software is intended to optimise processing and analyses of data related to clients and prospects. The collaborative features made available through CRM software also allow company employees to work more effectively.

Software

CTI

CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) refers to the linking of a phone system to a company’s information system. It thus allows the automation of certain phone tasks using the information system’s resources, for example, call distribution according to client data contained in company databases.
A Cloud environment where SaaS software is used, CTI corresponds easily to the use of connections between a telecom program and a CRM in order to establish data exchanges.

Business phone systemCall center

Dashboard

In telecom, a dashboard is a control center that tracks call flow and the connected phone system logs in real time, i.e. the company’s customer service, sales, and other calls. It is a supervisor’s surveillance base.

SoftwareCall center

DID (Direct Inward Dialling)

Direct inward dialling, or direct dial-in involves assigning a number to each employee, allowing a caller to reach that employee directly and bypass the company phone system.

Business phone system

DTMF

DTMF (Dual-tone multi-frequency) refers to the tones heard when pressing certain keys on a phone’s keypad. Technically, it involves the frequencies that allow electronic signalling of the pressed keys. DTMF was put in place to avoid having to orally inform an operator of the desired phone number. It is also used in voice menus (press 1, press 2) for signalling one’s choice.

Business phone system

GDPR

Since 2018, the “General Data Protection Regulation” is a regulation of the European Union which constitutes the reference text for the processing and protection of personal data for residents of the European territory. With concern to telecom operators, the GDPR requires explicitly informing users on how their call data is stored: numbers called, callers, dates and times of calls, recorded conversations, etc.

Regulation

IPBX

Also known as IP PABX, this is simply the IP version of a PABX. It is a switchboard which manages a company’s VoIP and external phone calls via an Internet connection.

Business phone systemVoIP

IVR

An IVR (Interactive Voice Server) is a telecom solution that allows callers to interact with a company phone system through voice menus (ex: press 1, press 2). It efficiently distributes incoming calls to the service selected by the caller.

Business phone systemCall center

KPIs (Call centers)

A call center’s KPIs or “Key Performance Indicators” are measurements allowing the analysis of its performance and the quality of exchanges between its agents and clients. KPIs can differ, depending on the company’s activity sector and composition of its teams.

IndicatorsCall center

On hold message

This is a message heard while a call is in queue, or while the caller is waiting for their correspondent to pick up.

Business phone system

OPUS codec

A codec is a program that allows the compression (reduction) of digital data so that they can be transmitted rapidly via Internet. The OPUS codec is an audio codec (voice, music) developed specifically for the application of audio exchanges in real time over the Internet, for example, calls and teleconferences.
The latest of the codecs, it is also the highest performing and ensures communication of optimal quality, being the most adapted to the eventualities of Internet connections.

VoIP

PABX

A PABX (Private Automatic Branch eXchange) involves phone equipment in box form which allows a company to automatically manage communications between multiple phone posts and establish communication with the public network (for external calls). It possesses a wide set of features useful for a company’s telecom needs (internal and external calls, call transfers, pre-answer, call queues, call recording, etc). It is based on analogue technology, unlike the IPBX, which is based on VoIP.

Business phone system

Phone system

From a technical point of view, a phone system is an automatic switchboard that links company calls to the main phone network. It involves a box that is hosted either within the company (PABX or IPBX for its IP version), or with a service provider (Centrex). It unifies different features: greetings, IVRs, call transfer, etc., depending on the model and plan.
In common parlance, it often refers to a company’s phone reception ("I didn’t manage to reach the company’s phone system").
The most recently implemented systems operate with IP technology (over the Internet).

Business phone system

Portability

The term “portability” designates a procedure allowing an individual or company to keep the same phone number while changing telecom operators. This procedure varies from one country to another and is usually overseen by the telecom authorities in the concerned country.

Regulation

Pre-answer

This involves the time before an incoming call is answered and requires a phone system. The phone system picks up calls automatically and plays a greeting or music to replace the typical sound of a ringer. This makes the time spent waiting for an available correspondent to answer more pleasant for the caller.

Business phone system

Predictive dialer

A predictive dialer is used by call centers to predictively dial the phone numbers of contacts imported from call files, then redistribute calls to available agents. This tool allows call centers to drive effective sales campaigns.

Call center

Operator Identity Number

An Operator Identity Number (RIO) is an underlying code for any landline or mobile call. It facilitates portability in France, i.e. changing operators, since it contains information on the operator to whom the number was initially assigned, as well as the corresponding contract and use of the number (professional or personal).
It contains 12 numbers or letters, and the operator in charge of the number is required to provide this code to clients upon request.

Regulation

SaaS

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a software distribution method where software is hosted by a supplier and its applications made available to clients online (with a subscription or free of charge). This delivery method allows the client to avoid purchasing software and installing it.

Software

SIP

When making a call from an IP phone, a connection request is sent between the caller’s device and that of the correspondent (more exactly, between the servers linked to these phones), before any sound exchange can occur. The format of these requests is standardized on the international level by the SIP (or Session Initialisation Protocol).
By extension, “SIP” or “SIP phones” are referred to in the context of IP phones, which make connections using a SIP.

VoIP

Skills-based call routing

Skills-based call routing is a method of routing an incoming call to the person most qualified to respond to the caller’s request. The most frequent application involves routing calls according to the caller’s language.

Call center

SLA

The SLA or Service-level agreement is a contract that clearly defines the commitments undertaken by a telecom provider and its client as to the availability and quality of the service provided.
It often involves a percentage of minimum guaranteed availability, below which the provider will compensate the client. When dealing with, for example, an SLA of 99.95%, this means that the provider ensures operational service 99.95% of the time. If availability falls below this limit, the client will be owed compensation.

Regulation

Speech-to-Text

STT (Speech-to-Text) is technology allowing a human voice to be automatically transformed into written text.
In telecom, this technology is useful for two reasons: it allows a company’s phone greeting to be simplified by directly asking the caller the reason for their call and directing them to the right correspondent (in other words, interaction with a server). Otherwise, it is the basis of all real-time phone conversation analysis as well the associated applications, such as call center agent assistance.

Business phone systemCall center

Supervisor

In a call center, the supervisor oversees and leads a team of agents. They are responsible for their team’s efficacy in achieving objectives defined by management, such as the number of calls made or answered, sales appointments made, or the number of tickets processed for support. They use specific tools such as real-time call monitoring and detailed call statistics by agent.

Call center

TaaS

TaaS (Telephony as a Service) refers to the proposal of a Cloud telecom solution that is hosted by a supplier who makes it available via Internet. This eliminates the costs of installing a traditional telecom infrastructure and organizes it according to needs of the business.

Software

Telco

Abbreviation for “Telephone Company.’’ This term regroups the ensemble of telecom providers. For example, Orange is a telco, Colt is a telco, and Ringover is a telco.

Business phone systemRegulation

Text-to-Speech

TTS (Text-to-Speech) allows written text to be transformed into a voice file. Transforming text requires the sounds associated with the text to be defined and different intonations, rhythm and intensity to be created through its reading. In telecom, “TTS” is used to create voice messages played while callers hold.

Business phone system

UCAAS

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) is the cloud variant of unified communications tools: the infrastructure is hosted by a service provider and users have access to the service online.

Software

Unified communications

This term refers to the ability to manage through a single interface all modes of communication generally used by companies: calls, video conferencing, internal messaging, document sharing, etc.

Software

Voice menu

A voice menu is designed to prompt a caller to indicate the service or person they wish to reach by pressing certain keys on their phone. It therefore allows incoming calls to be to be directed to the right place.

Business phone system

VOIP

VoIP is a telecommunications technology allowing the transmission of voice calls via the Internet. Once a voice is transformed into digital signals (0s and 1s), it can be transmitted over any online network.
“Voice over IP” is gradually replacing analogue PSTN technology, which transforms voices into electrical signals and uses dedicated networks (copper-based) to transmit these signals.

Business phone systemVoIP

Warm transfer

A warm call transfer allows you to discuss with your colleague before transferring a call in progress to them (for example, explaining the reason for the call).

Business phone system

WebRTC

WebRTC allows web browsers to communicate with each other (sounds, images) directly, without requiring the installation of specific software or plugins. This new technology, developed jointly by Google and Firefox, enables VoIP without any hardware, using a simple web browser. It is one of the cornerstones of business Cloud telecom.

VoIP

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