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Finding the perfect virtual receptionist answering service will expose you to words and terms that you may not have heard before. Having a conversation with someone who knows what these words mean, when you do not, will be confusing. Rather than feeling unprepared to make a decision regarding an answering service because you don’t fully understand what is being offered, has created a glossary to help you make the right choice.

A Glossary of Answering Service-Related Terms

  • Abandoned Call: When a caller hangs up before any conversation takes place.
  • Auto-Attendant: A computerized virtual assistant, also called an IVR (interactive voice response), and a CSR (customer service representative).
  • Automatic Call Distributor: Sends calls to the right destination.
  • Automatic Number Identification: Caller ID
  • Blended or Shared Agent: A call center operator that answers calls for different businesses.
  • Dedicated Agent: A call center operator that answers calls for a specific business.
  • Call or Line Hunting: Calls that ring at one location and transfer to another location after a specific number of rings.
  • Call Paths: How operators route calls for paths such as appointments, billing, emergencies, etc.
  • Cold Transfer: Transferring a call before checking if someone is available.
  • DNIS: Dialed Number ID Service: Allows the operator to know which phone number was dialed in order to use the correct script.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVAR): Allows the caller to have different options using their keypad to be directed to different numbers.
  • Message Ticket: The message taken by the operator.
  • OpID: Operator identification.
  • Patching: Connecting a call to another destination.
  • PBX (Private Branch Exchange): A business’s telephone system that connects phones to each other and to the public telephone network.
  • Portal: Answering services usually offer an online portal where you log in to see your messages.
  • Script: An operator will have a script to handle the requests of anyone who is calling. It is customized by you to fit your specific needs.
  • Trunk: The amount of phone lines that come into a call center.
  • Unified Communications: Unified communications include phone, email, fax, instant messaging, etc. that are organized to provide a way for operators to respond to phone calls by any method.
  • Voice Over Internet Protocol (VolP): Allows you to make or accept a call using the internet and not a phone service provider.
  • Warm Patch or Warm Transfer: An operator places a caller on hold when patching them through.
  • Web Chat/Live Chat: A system where clients speak with customer support via the internet.

​Now that you are familiar with the vocabulary pertaining to virtual receptionists, contact Insta-Answer. We have been a U.S. based, privately-owned company for over fifty years so we understand what our clients need to grow their small or large business. We make sure you never miss a call. No matter the size of your business, our answering service representatives can help you stay on top of the market. Look no further than at 888-356-8866 or email [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

Picture of Steve Samuels

Steve Samuels

A respected contact-service executive and thought-leader, Insta Answer CEO Steve Samuels has over 30 years experience in the industry. Steve posts his insights here on our blog weekly (and sometimes more.)

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