Customer Support Words You Need to Know

There are specific terms that are tossed around along with different acronyms in every industry. The faster these terms are understood, the faster new agents, managers and supervisors can respond to requests for information, making reports or planning strategy.

It’s also useful to refresh your memory once in a while because you might actually forget what it actually stands for.

Agent Effort Score (AES)

Agent Effort Score is a metric used to track the amount of effort it requires to complete every day job tasks. AES uses a five-point scale with the average of all responses supplying the overall effort it takes agents to help customers. The metric can be applied to any part of the agent job like tools and processes.

Application Program Interface (API)

An application program interface is a set of definitions, protocols and tools for building software. It defines the communication methods between different parts of a program. A good API can reduce the time for developers to program.

Average Handle Time (AHT)

Average handle time is the metric that shows the average time a customer is with support to resolve an issue from start to the closing of the ticket.

Average Wait Time (AWT)

Average wait time is the average amount of time it takes for a call to be answered by an agent while it is in queue.

Call Center/Contact Center

The physical location for customer support teams. This location is where agents, managers and supervisors work to resolve customer support issues. Call centers used to specifically refer to phone centers, but now cloud contact centers are used to refer to all multichannel customer support.

Customer Churn

The percentage of customers who stop working with your company – stop using products or services – within a specific time frame. It’s useful because the data can show how much churn is costing company revenue over time. The churn limit will depend on the company, but keeping a low churn rate is optimal.

Customer Segment

Group of customers based off specific parameters. Almost any parameter can be applied based off of available information. Example segments include location, age, average customer spend, and more.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction is a measurement used in customer support to quantify how satisfied customers are with their experience. This can include a product experience, customer support experience, and more. The degree that you want to quantify CSAT depends on what you’re looking to find results for. CSAT might report how well an agent is resolving issues or it could be used to see how the support team overall is performing.

You can find out CSAT scores by sending a customer survey and subtracting the detractor percentage from promoter percentage. Note that passives who answer with seven or eight are not included in the calculation.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

The Customer Effort Score is a metric to evaluate the experience has with a company. Using a five-point scale, the CES survey will show the experience that customers have. This metric can be used in a variety of ways from product checkout, customer support, or website navigation.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV or CLTV)

The total revenue that a company can expect from a customer account. This is calculated taking the average purchase and multiplying it by the average purchase frequency.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Software that tracks interactions and engagements with customers. CRM software can be used for customer support, marketing and sales.

Direct Mail

Physical marketing mail sent to potential customers. It can be sent to the place of business or residence, but often uses specific customer lists to maximize a potential return on investment.


Any amount of time when service is unavailable due to interruption.


The term “eBlast” covers emails sent out to large lists. This can include update notifications, newsletters and other opt-in communication that customers have agreed to. While there can be a negative connotation to eBlast, companies will only send out emails to large lists when required.

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

First contact resolution is when an issue is resolved during the first support call eliminating the need for a second follow-up call.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions are a list of common customer questions that occur often. For example, in retail a FAQ could include questions about shipping, returns or payment options.


Any feature included within a smartphone or tablet application. Examples include in-app chat, in-app FAQ, and more.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

The measurement towards a specific objective. KPIs can be assigned to almost anything as long as there is a value that can be measured.

Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is an information library for a company. It can include information about a product, service, and more. More specifically, it’s like an encyclopedia covering everything that a company offers.

Live Chat

A text conversation with an agent in real-time.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

While CSAT measures the satisfaction of the customer, Net Promoter Score determines if a customer would recommend your company to a friend. You can find the NPS by taking the percentage of promoters and subtracting them from detractors.


Customer variables like name, order history or previous information attached to customer communication and interactions with your website or customer support.


The ability for a company to keep customers over a period of time.

Service Level Response Time (SLR)

A service-level response time is the amount of time between the first communication from a customer to when the company responds. Automated replies do not count towards SLR.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

The contract between a customer and company for services.


The ability for customers to access information and perform tasks without the help of an agent.

Self-service Accessibility (SSA)

Self-Service accessibility is the measurement of how easy it is for customers to access self-service tools. SSA is a great metric to know if automated self-service tools are working or if they are not deployed in the optimal places.

Software Development Kit (SDK)

A software development kit is a set of software for creating applications. SDKs are used to create programs and applications for devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more.


The process of working all possible causes to find the source of a problem to solve the issue.


An application that allows the user to perform a function on a website or app.