Customer service has its own lingo including various different terms new and old. As customer service shifts to focus more on support and experience, the terminology changes and it is important that you stay up to date on all the newest lingo.
The more of those customer service terms you know, the easier it’ll be to communicate clearly about the challenges your team faces. Together, you can strive toward improvement.
Why You Need to Know Customer Service Lingo
Business terms and customer service terms can seem like a foreign language at first. Terms about journeys, cycles, and churns can cause some confusion. Are we going on a trip, riding bikes, making ice cream, or is this customer service?
It is important to know these terms to help your team collaborate better to streamline their workflows and reduce miscommunication. The customer service lingo you learn can help you to provide the best service possible because you will begin to understand the processes and how to explain the processes to customers.
This is why we are providing you with our glossary of frequently used customer service terms and their definitions.
65 Customer Service Terms You Need to Know
Let’s look at some of the top customer service terms you should know.
Agents are customer service representatives (also called CSRs) who handle direct interactions with customers. They troubleshoot problems from within your call or contact center, finding solutions and helping customers move forward.
2. Agent Empowerment
Agent empowerment refers to agents’ overall level of awareness, engagement, and morale in the workplace. Having the tools, training, feedback, and support they need will allow agents to feel more empowered – and achieve more during their day.
3. Agent Lifecycle
The agent lifecycle is the complete spectrum of interactions a customer support agent has with a brand, from recruitment through to termination. It begins with the sourcing process and whether it is aligned with goals.
Most of the lifecycle is spent evaluating and improving daily performance.
Benchmarking is measuring your performance, individually or as an organization, against an aspirational standard. That could be competitors or industry averages.
It can also be used to see growth compared to past performance, acting as a central part of process improvement.
5. Big Data
Big data is all the data generated by customer interactions with your brand, as well as the process of making sense of it. It used to refer only to a high volume and velocity of data.
Most large enterprises now crunch thousands or millions of interactions a day, which definitely qualifies.
6. Business Rules
Business rules are the specific automation rules an enterprise uses to manage various functions. For example, your email marketing campaigns all have business rules.
Business rules can also apply to how a customer service call is routed, responded to, and resolved.
7. Call Center
A call center is a type of contact center that focuses on handling a high volume of phone calls. On the other hand, a contact center may be devoted to all kinds of omni-channel customer service.
Call centers can be inbound service departments or outbound sales departments.
Customer churn happens when an existing customer ceases doing business with a company. Your churn rate is a measure of the percentage of customers your business loses this way over a certain period of time.
Poor customer service is a major contributor to churn, which is why this metric is so important to focus on.
Coaching is where the rubber meets the road on your talent development program for agents. Coaching can take the form of feedback, one-on-one meetings, and contextual lessons delivered within the call management system itself.
Good coaching is a predictor of performance gains, so make sure your team is getting access to a good set of resources.
10. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Customer satisfaction score is one of the most basic metrics customer service teams need to track and grow. It is the average score customers give to a specific interaction with your brand.
11. Customer Experience
Customer experience has a lot of competing definitions, but you can think of it as the sum of feelings, beliefs, and expectations a customer develops about your brand thanks to all his or her interactions with your company.
Each individual can be said to have a different customer experience based on which aspects of the enterprise they’ve interacted with and how well those performed.
12. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
LTV is a key metric for measuring the revenue impact of a single customer over their entire history (and projected future) interactions with the brand.
Customer service teams support higher LTV by making sure product glitches don’t end a customer relationship. They can also do cross-selling and upselling.
13. First Call Resolution (FCR)
First call resolution (usually expressed as a percentage or ratio) is when a customer’s question or complaint is successfully dealt with the first time he or she makes contact.
FCR is considered a vital sign of good customer service. It demonstrates that reps have the knowledge they need.
14. First Reply Time
First reply time is the time that elapses – hopefully in minutes or seconds – between the point when a support ticket is created and the point when an agent responds.
A low first reply time makes a strong early impression with a customer who might already be frustrated.
15. Knowledge Base
A knowledge base is an online database of information support agents can look up to find ready resources for solving particular problems. That can include complete answers for troubleshooting technical issues.
You can also develop customer-facing knowledge bases.
16. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is a score that shows how likely it is a customer would recommend your business to a friend or colleague.
NPS is collected on a scale from one to 10, where those who indicate a score of nine or 10 are considered promoters, and those with a score of six or less are detractors.
Omni-channel is a cross-channel approach to providing service and support. In this strategy, multiple channels operate at the same time and interact to create a seamless experience.
In support, this can include chat, email, social media, and much more.
18. SLA (Service Level Agreement)
A service level agreement defines the level of service a customer can expect from a vendor, which can be external or internal.
A customer service SLA can specify that the team will reach and maintain particular metrics or achieve a certain performance level at a given percentage of the time.
19. Support Ticket
A support ticket is where all the action is.
It provides the basic documentation of a customer problem, all the steps taken to resolve it, who took those steps, and when. It captures all the details that can be held onto for future reference once the ticket is closed.
20. Ticket Routing
Ticket routing is the process of choosing which agent will handle a given request. The selection can be based on seniority, skill level, the workload of individual agents, or the priority level of the ticket.
The key: Each agent should have the resources to handle every request received.
21. Brand Experience
Brand experience is a term that describes the way your customers experience and see your brand. It is how customers reflect on your company.
Personalization is something that brands incorporate into their customer support by creating a personal experience with customers.
A good example of this is using customer's personal names in every interaction or by remembering details about them that you bring up in conversation to make a deeper connection.
This refers to the way a company is able to keep their customers for a period of time.
A metric is a unit of measurement used to keep track of the results of customer service activities or processes.
25. Application Program Interface (API)
An API is a predetermined set of functions that provide the fundamental building blocks for the development and personalization of applications.
When there are unresolved customer service tickets in a specific time period, they go into a backlog of requests. It is important to limit the amount of requests in a backlog to get to each customer in a timely manner.
27. Resolution Rate
The resolution rate is the percentage of tickets your customer support agents resolve versus the total amount of tickets your customer support team receives. These rates can be used to determine a support agent's speed and effectiveness.
This is the process of selling other products or services to current customers.
For instance, a customer service agent may recommend an additional product to a customer that they end up buying when they call the support line to get help with specific pain point.
Downtime refers to a time period when a product is unable to be used because of a problem or ongoing maintenance.
Feedback is something that a customer gives regarding their opinion about your product, service, or how your brand can improve. Many companies often request feedback from their customers so they can create better customer experiences.
31. Product Feature
Product features are key characteristics of your product. The features of your product can be a part of its appearance, capabilities, or various other components.
32. First Contact Resolution Rate
This is similar to the term resolution rate that was mentioned above, but first contact resolution rate is a customer service metric that tracks how often support team members resolve an issue the first time around.
33. Help Desk
34. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
A KPI refers to a piece of data that aligns with a specific goal.
Your KPIs show how well your customer service team members are performing and how effective they are at hitting their goals.
Outsourcing refers to the process of a company enlisting the help of a third party to assist them with managing and supporting their customers for them.
Customer loyalty is when a customer chooses to continue buying your products or using your service instead of going to the competition even if your prices are higher.
37. Service Culture
Service culture encompasses shared rules of behaviors, beliefs, and values that a whole customer support team follows.
A ticket represents each individual issue that is logged into a system by a support rep or customer on a self-service portal. Sometimes, the term "ticket" can be replaced with the word "conversation" for a more human approach.
39. Ticket Status
The status of a ticket represents what is going on with the ticket at any given time.
A "voice" represents the entire personality a customer support team has with customers. Voice should stay consistent with all agents.
A widget is an application that helps users perform a function through a certain software interface or platform.
42. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
An FAQ section is a compilation of the questions customers or prospects ask about your company, products, or service, with the answers to the questions.
Empathy is an important customer service skill that allows agents to understand another person's feelings. Empathizing with customers can help boost their satisfaction.
44. Business Hours
Your business hours are the dates and times when your customers can reach your customer support team.
45. Self-Service Portals
Self-service portals are online platforms that allow customers the ability to access information and resolve problems independently. Self-service portals can also help support agents to find important information quickly so they can share it with customers.
46. Change Management
Change management is a process that involves supervising and executing change within an organization. The changes may be related to specific technology updates, or they may be more general in reference to company-wide changes.
47. Escalation Management
Tickets that cannot be dealt with by one customer support agent are then escalated and routed to the next person who will provide support. Escalated tickets are often sent to management so they can de-escalate the situation.
48. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
Support team members who have special knowledge about a specific product, service, or technology are referred to as subject matter experts. They're often the go-to resource for help for issues related to their unique field of expertise.
49. Ticket Volume
The number of tickets that support agents or customers create on a day-to-day basis. It is important to know your ticket volume to scale and organize workloads.
50. Tiered Support
Tiered support is when specific agents get certain groups of tickets assigned to them only. This helps you to manage customer support workflows.
51. Quality Assurance
Quality assurance involves maintaining the quality of a product or service all the way through the production process to the sales process and beyond.
52. Self-Service Ratio
Self-service ratio gives a business an accurate idea of how many people view the self-service portal materials compared to how many continue to go on and submit tickets for support agents.
A problem with your product that requires the help of your software engineer team or developers to fix.
54. B2B Customer Experience
Essentially, B2B customer experience represents the interactions and experience a B2B buyer has with your company brand.
Onboarding usually refers to the process of getting a customer up and running with an SaaS product. However, onboarding can be used to describe the process of educating a customer on a product or service to deepen the relationship and to increase engagement.
56. Customer Centric
A company that focuses on an excellent customer-oriented culture is known as customer centric. A customer-centric approach includes shared understanding and shared targets with each team member in the organization.
When you think of a journey, you probably think about traveling or Lord of the Rings. That's not the kind of journey this is.
A customer journey is a customer's complete experience with your brand, including all touchpoints and engagements that take place.
58. Journey Mapping
A journey map is a complete visual representation of each interaction your customer has with your brand. The customer journey map helps you to understand your customer's wants and needs to provide them with the best customer experience.
A customer lifecycle is something each customer goes through from thinking about purchasing a product to purchasing it, using it, and maintaining loyalty to a product or service.
This differs from a customer journey because it is the way a company views the customer's phases, while a journey maps the unique decisions each customer makes when going through the buying process.
60. Net Promoter System
A net promoter system includes the net promoter score and open text feedback to provide you with information about the customer experience. It's short, simple, and easy to use.
61. Text Analytics
Text analytics is a system that can take text feedback and transfer it into concrete and measurable data to support business analysis and aid in decision making.
62. Canned Response
Canned responses or macros are preset and standard responses to common questions. They are usually available for each support team member to use.
63. Customer Charter
Customer charter is an important document that sets the quality expectations for customer service in a company.
A touchpoint refers to any contact a customer has with your brand. This includes clicking on website CTAs or speaking with a customer service rep or anyone else from your organization.
65. Online Experience
An online experience is the overall experience a customer has communicating with a support team member on your website. This includes website load time, ease of navigation, ease of checkout, and uptime for your website.
Now that you know all the most important customer service terms and jargon, you're well equipped to provide a better experience and improve your support team's performance.