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Customer Service Glossary: Words and Phrases to Know

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Create your own customer service glossary for flawless communication

Customer support, like any other part of your business, has its own lingo.

Putting together a customer service glossary for your company⁠—or just having a ready one handy⁠—will help you streamline your processes and keep everything running smoothly.

Want to unify terminology in your customer service team to make communication foolproof?

Got a new support agent starting who might not be familiar with all the area⁠—and company specific jargon yet?

We’ve got you.

There’s also a downloadable document with the entire glossary at the bottom of this post that you can add your own business-specific terms to and use with your team.

Let’s get crackin’.

Table of Contents
A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W

A

Agent: a member of the support team who is predominantly responsible for solving support tickets and dealing with customer communications in general.

Application Program Interface (API): a predefined set of functions and processes that provide the building blocks for creation and/or personalization of applications.

Average First Response Time: the average time it takes for your support team to make first contact with a customer after receiving a request.

Average Handle Time: the average time it takes your support team to resolve a case completely.

Average Reply Time: the average time it takes your support team to get back to a customer (to any communication, not just the first contact).

B

Backlog: the amount of unresolved customer support requests in a particular time frame.

Benchmarking: a comparison of agent/company/metrics etc performance versus the performance of other companies, competitors, or widely agreed on indicators.

Brand: everything your customers or the general public thinks or knows when they hear your company name.

Bug: an issue with your product/service that require the help of your engineering team to resolve.

Business Hours: the days and hours when your customers can directly reach your support team.

C

Canned Response: reusable replies to common questions, available for all agents to use—they can usually be inserted with a shortcut or click for saving time.

Channels: all the possible ways your customers can reach your support team, for example phone, email, social media, live chat, etc.

Churn: the loss of clients or customers over a certain period of time.

Customer Effort: the amount of work your customer has to do themselves to resolve an issue. Generally best kept at a low as possible level.

Customer Experience: the customer’s opinion of their experience and relationship with your company through various points of their lifecycle.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): a metric that measures your customers’ general happiness and loyalty with regards to your company.

Customer Service: the assistance, advice and information provided by a company to people, businesses etc that use their product or service.

Cross-selling: the practice of selling an additional product or service to an already existing customer.

D

Downtime: the time during which your product or service is unavailable for use because of an issue or maintenance.

E

Empathy: the ability to understand and share others’ feelings—arguably the most important personality trait of any customer support agent.

F

Feature: a specific characteristic of your product or service that satisfies a certain requirement or need for a customer.

Feedback: a customer’s opinion of their experience with your company and how you could improve.

Feedback Loop: a process that entails gathering customer feedback, take necessary action, and communicate the results back to the customer(s).

First Contact Resolution Rate (FCRR): a metric that measures how often your support team resolves cases in a single response.

Frequently Asked Question(s) (FAQ): a publicly available collection of the most common questions about your product/service/company, and the answers to them.

G

Gamification: the application of gaming aspects⁠—such as leaderboards, point systems, unlocking achievement, levels, etc⁠—to encourage or guide certain customer behaviors.

H

Help Desk: a software that companies use to manage their customer support. Groove, for example.

I

In-app Support: a way to contact customer support directly in your web or mobile application without having to exit it.

K

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): a data-driven goal that helps measure the performance and objectives of an agent or team.

Knowledge Base: a self-serve online library of everything there is to know about your product or service.

L

Lifetime Value: a prediction of the profit that can be attributed to a customer during their entire lifecycle.

Live Chat: a support channel that allows you to have real-time conversations with your customers.

Loyalty: the choice of using the product or service provided by a certain company or business over competitors.

M

Metric: a quantifiable measure that is used to track and assess the status and results of a process or activity.

Multi-channel Support: the ability to provide support in more than just one channel.

N

Net Promoter Score (NPS): a measure of how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service to other people.

O

Onboarding: the process that your customers go through when they first start the journey.

Open Ticket: the first, default state of a customer support ticket, before being assigned to an agent or dealt with in any way.

Outsourcing: including a third party to provide support to your customers on your behalf.

Overdue Ticket: a ticket that has not been resolved during the agreed time according to the Service Level Agreement.

P

Pending Ticket: the second stage of a customer support ticket—basically a further research/issue resolving stage before getting back to a customer and closing the ticket.

Personalization: attaching names, faces and a generally "human" touch to your customer service process.

Proactiveness: an act of taking steps to help control a (negative) situation before it even becomes an issue.

R

Reassign: when a ticket that has been assigned to a certain agent, gets handed over to a different one.

Resolution Rate: the percentage of issues your customer support agents actually resolve from the number of total tickets received.

Retention: the ability of a company or business to retain its customers over a specified period of time.

Review: a customer’s publicized opinion about your service, product or company.

S

Service Culture: a collection of shared values, beliefs, and rules of behavior in a company regarding customer support.

Service Level Agreement (SLA): a contract between a company and the end user of their product/service that defines the level of service expected by the company.

Survey: a questionnaire sent to the customer—generally after resolving the issue—to find out how happy they were with the support they received.

T

Ticket: each individual issue or request raised by a customer that needs a reply or resolution.

Ticket Status: every stage of a support ticket during its lifecycle—for example, open, pending, closed, etc.

Tone: the external expression that conveys your current emotion or attitude, and depends on the situation.

Troubleshooting: the process of trying to get to the root cause of an issue in order to resolve it.

U

Unassigned Ticket: a support ticket that has not yet been handed over to a specific support agent.

Upselling: the act of persuading a customer to upgrade or add on to their already existing product or service.

User error: an issue that was brought on or caused by the customer as opposed to a faulty product or service.

V

Voice: the steady "personality" of an agent or company that doesn’t change based on current situation.

W

Widget: an application or part of an interface that enables a user to perform a function.

Get Your Team on the Same Page With Terminology

Having a readily available customer service glossary for your team assures that everyone is on the same page and there are no hiccups or misunderstandings in your communication processes.

Make sure you grab the downloadable document with the whole glossary here, and add your own company⁠—or business specific terms to it.

What are some words or phrases that you use that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Elen Veenpere is part of the marketing team at Groove. She’s passionate about writing and building marketing strategies based on in-depth analytics and lots of coffee.

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