Common terms, phrases, and definitions used in the customer experience industry and in Upstream Works omnichannel contact center solutions



An agent in a contact center is someone who handles incoming or outgoing customer contacts for an organization. They might handle account inquiries, customer complaints or support issues. Other terms for agents include Advocate, Ambassador, Customer Service Representative (CSR).

Agent and Customer Engagement

Contact center interactions include agent and customer engagement, and the quality of the experience that each has during interactions is critical to the organization’s success. A single workspace for all channels and contacts with full context increases both agent and customer satisfaction and improves retention and loyalty.

Agent Escalation

When required, such as for complex or atypical requests, self-service interactions like those with chat bots, can be escalated to an agent with full context and conversation transcript.

Agent Solve Rate

Agent Solve Rate is the best measure of agent effectiveness and is defined as the percentage of interactions resolved by an agent.

AI & Bots

AI & Bots can automate the handling of routine inquiries, resulting in customer experience improvements, reduced customer effort, and cost-savings for the organization.

Amazon Connect

Amazon Connect is a cloud contact center service.

Amazon Connect Contact Control Panel (CCP)

Agents use the Amazon Connect Contact Control Panel (CCP) to interact with customer contacts. It’s how they receive calls, chat with contacts, transfer them to other agents, put them on hold, and perform other key tasks.


Open APIs allow for ease of integration with third party applications, legacy systems, vertical applications, and backend databases, enabling the connection and exchange of critical data to increase efficiencies and improve CX.

AWS Marketplace

AWS is a web portal where qualified partners market and sell their software to AWS customers. AWS Marketplace is an online software store that helps customers find, buy, and immediately start using the software and services that run on AWS.


Back Office

The Back Office is the part of a company that is not front-facing and can include various functions, from customer support, administration, accounting and IT.


Call Center

An office set up to handle a large volume of phone calls, especially for taking orders and providing customer service, support and customer care.

Call Center Software

Call center software is a technology tool that increases the effectiveness and efficiency of a call center, with specific focus on interactions between customers and call center agents.


A channel is a communication technology that a customer uses to communicate needs, concerns and requests. UWF provides a flexible approach to channel handling that allows channels to be added with minimal configuration. Agents can handle customer contacts in the same consistent fashion, no matter what the channel.

Chat messages / Chat channel

Chat in the contact center refers to web-based, real-time text-based conversations between a customer/website visitor and an agent. Chat may or may not include chatbots (bots) as well as agent-assisted conversations.

Cisco Finesse Agent Desktop

Cisco Finesse integrates traditional contact center functions into a thin-client desktop. It implements a browser-based desktop through a web 2.0 interface, no client-side installations required.

Cloud Contact Center Software

Cloud contact center software provides functionality that was previously only available through on-premise hardware, through the internet.


Co-browse provides a shared web browsing experience for agents and customers. Agents or customers can lead the secure session to identify issues, troubleshoot and reach resolutions while collaborating in real-time.

An intuitive console to complete all UWF administrative functions in one place with a range of tools to manage, configure and dynamically update.

Contact Center

An extension of the traditional call center, contact centers handle communications between an organization and its customers/ prospects/ members. These communications were previously limited to phone calls but are increasingly of a digital nature including email, chat, SMS, social messaging, etc.

Contact Center Software Integration

Contact center components can include automatic call distributors, integrated voice response units, computer-telephony integration, queue management, and more. Integration of these components is required in order for the contact center to operate effectively and efficiently.

Contact Center Knowledge Base

A contact center knowledge base is a centralized database of dynamic information that can be easily referenced during a customer interaction. Knowledge management tools allow customers and contact center agents to search and access the same database of information, enabling self-service while also empowering agents with knowledge that helps them resolve issues more quickly.

Contact Reason (CR)

All interactions are classified by a contact reason that tells you why a customer contacted. Classification by contact reason provides business information and data about your contact center and your customers.

Contact Reason Detail (CRD)

Contact Reason Detail is the second level of a contact reason. It can be used to provide the outcome or more specific information and data about the reason for a contact.


Having contextual data means having as much information as possible about a person or interaction so that you can personalize the customer experience, tailor offers to the customer, anticipate their needs, and make the interaction more efficient, effortless, and successful.

Context-driven CX

Leveraging all available data to paint a clear picture of the customer experience when referenced with other relevant information. It can take the form of historical interaction data, conversation transcripts, channels used, agents spoken with, and outcomes. It can include contact center data like queue information, agent state, interactions in progress, and SLA adherence. Other relevant data can come from traditional sources like product transactions, financial records, and CSAT surveys. Add to that digital sources of information like web behavior and social network interactions.

Conversational Data

UWF includes a rich set of real-time statistics and historical reports for insights into all the conversational data and information collected by UWF, across all channels in the contact center.

Businesses can provide customers access to a knowledge base through FAQs to help them self-service and reach a resolution without interacting with an agent.

Customer Context

Customer context is all of the data and information available to an agent to service and support a contact. UWF uses a consistent logic to capture and record the context for contacts across all channels so that it is available, real-time and historical for agents and for reporting and analytics.

Customer Data

Customer experience data provides information needed to make CX better. Connecting all customer data across an organization including sales, marketing, social media, front office and back office enables agents to view, manage and optimize the customer experience.  When agents have visibility to all customer data they are empowered to provide personalized, proactive and quick resolution. The integration and analytics of customer data allows businesses to gain valuable information about customer behaviors and insights into areas for improving customer experience and loyalty.

Customer Experience (CX)

Personalization of the customer experience includes knowing customer preferences, history, transcripts of previous conversations and predictive intelligence to provide relevant offers and identify upsell opportunities.

An effortless customer experience requires channel choice, the convenience of easily switching between preferred channels, not having to repeat information if transferred, and first contact resolution.

Customer Experience Management

Customer Experience Management is the practice of designing, mapping and responding to customer interactions across channels and the entire customer journey to meet or exceed customer expectations and, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and lifetime value.

Customer Interaction

For each contact reason identified a separate interaction is tracked in the Interaction Activity and Interaction History. Because customers can reach out for more than one reason and agents can service more than one request, multiple interactions can be tracked for each contact.

Customer Journey

The customer journey is comprised of all the interactions and activities that customers experience while engaging with your company and brand.

Customer Journey Analytics

Customer journey analytics is a term for a specific kind of business analysis that concerns a customer “journey” or sequential customer experience across channels and over time. Organizations can leverage Interaction History, customer context, and reporting to understand customer behaviors, identify trends, and facilitate process improvements that enhance the agent and customer experience.

Customer Journey Mapping

The customer journey map is comprised of all the interactions and activities that customers experience while engaging with your company and brand. Instead of looking at a single transaction or event, the customer journey map documents the full customer experience.

Customer Journey Optimization

Customer journey optimization is achieved by mapping and integrating all customer interactions, channels, and data across the enterprise through a single agent desktop.

Customer Portal

An online portal where Upstream Works customers can access on-demand tools, resources and webinars.

Customer Sentiment

Identify connections between customer sentiment, customer behavior, and business results by leveraging applications like CloudCherry, integrated with Upstream Works feature rich desktop which provides the means to quickly act, influencing and shaping the customer journey.


Digital Marketing Solutions

CX goes beyond the contact center with customers engaging with marketing teams for campaigns, social media exchanges, etc. End to end digital marketing solutions include Selligent and Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Digital Workers

Digital Workers refers to employees within an organization, including the contact center and back office, that handle customer-related interactions and tasks on digital channels, including email, chat, messaging, social, and more.


Email / Email Channel

Email in the contact center refers to electronic mail exchanged between a customer and an agent. Email features can include subject line parsing, auto-replies, forwarding, Personal Agent Routing (PAR), Last Agent Routing (LAR), dynamic templates, and more.

Enhanced Online Help

An Upstream Works for Finesse Online Help system that serves as a single source for core user content and resources.

A knowledge base available to agents to quickly and easily access informative articles that help them better serve customers and increase Fast Contact Resolution (FCR).


First Contact Resolution (FCR)

First Contact Resolution (FCR) is the number of tasks marked as first contact that were resolved accordingly.


FollowUp is a function in the Upstream Works Desktop that allows agents and supervisors to create tasks that ensure follow-through on customer interactions. This can include sending an email, processing a claim or providing status updates.


Upstream Works for Finesse connects to existing systems across the enterprise, including CRMs, business applications and channels, to unify all resources.


For each contact reason identified, a separate interaction is tracked in the Interaction Activity and Interaction History. Because customers can contact the organization for more than one reason and agents can service more than one request, multiple interactions can be tracked for each contact.

Interaction History

Interaction Activity and Interaction History provides full context and easy navigation of past customer interactions across all channels including transcripts and recordings.

Interceptable Messaging Pipeline

Interceptable Messaging Pipeline Architecture  provides a pipeline for all messages with multiple interception points, supporting the sequential integration of third-party plugins to add business intelligence or perform transformations at various points e.g. tag, auto-respond, credit card masking, profanity filers, more.


Multichannel Contact Center

Multichannel contact centers provide capabilities for communications on email and chat in addition to traditional voice. A precursor to omnichannel contact centers which eliminates channel silos and provides a consistent customer experience for any channel.


Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is AI-powered technology that helps computers and machines better understand and decipher human language.


Omnichannel Agent Desktop

Unlike multichannel agent desktops where channels like phone, email, and chat are supported with different tools and information, an omnichannel agent desktop provides a seamless and consistent experience for both the agent and the customer and spans every customer communication channel.

Omnichannel Contact Center

Omnichannel contact centers afford organizations the flexibility to set up all communications channels with a consistent set of tools and contact management capabilities. Customer experience improves with CX journey management that enables customers to easily move between channels with continuous, seamless service.

Omnichannel Customer Experience

An omnichannel customer experience may span interactions across a number of different channels and may include elements of self-service as well as agent assistance.  The experience is supported with full visibility to context and interaction history so that as the customer moves between service types and across channels, the customer information and context about their journey moves with them.

Omnichannel Customer Journey

The omnichannel customer journey is comprised of all the interactions and activities that customers experience while engaging with your company and brand, across all channels.

Omnichannel Integration Strategy

UWF provides the foundation for a successful omnichannel integration strategy and channel-less experience, with KPIs, reports, and analytics for accurate, predictive measurements of channel activity and performance.

Omnichannel Management

UWF provides tools and insights to help contact center management leverage agents and teams for maximum efficiency and better contact center results. Real-time omnichannel visibility, control and historical reports equip management with data to make operational improvements for improved business outcomes.

One Platform

There is no single application that delivers all the functionality required to deliver an optimal agent and customer experience. Instead, organizations can opt for one platform for all interactions and channels that provides a single view into all integrated applications, systems, and databases.  This strategy is cost-effective and offers the flexibility required for a changing customer landscape and evolving business needs.

An ‘Outbound’ button on the Single Agent Desktop makes it easy to start a new outbound customer interaction directly from the current customer task.


Partner Portal

An online portal for all Upstream Works partners to access on-demand tools, resources and webinars.

Proactive Chat

Chat can be offered proactively to website visitors based on triggers such as time on page, activity on page. Tailored, proactive engagements can be made through platforms like Adobe Experience Cloud.


Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that automates business processes. Organizations can utilize this by configuring software to capture, interpret and process tasks within a variety of systems.


Screen pop / Application Pop

Through integrations, the agent desktop can automatically display or “pop” screens and applications based on shared enterprise database information. The pop can be triggered by an event or manually achieved with a button-click.


Customers are increasingly opting to serve themselves when feasible, through IVR, knowledge portals, and bots.

An Upstream Works for Finesse intuitive omnichannel workspace for agents that provides rich customer data and easy access to knowledge management.

SMS Messages / SMS Channel

SMS or Short Message Service in the contact center refers to real-time text-based conversations between a customer and agent using a mobile telephone, fax machine, and/or IP address. In UWF, SMS messages are handled along with chats in the chat gadget, for easy multi-contact handling.

Social Care

Monitor and escalate social posts from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more to the contact center.

Social Messages / Social Channels

Social channels in the contact center can include Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, and other social messaging platforms. Messages are queued and allocated based on routing rules configured by the contact center just like other channels.

Supervisor Desktop

The Upstream Works Supervisor Desktop is an intuitive workspace for contact center leaders. It has grid and detailed views of resources and operations to hep supervisors leverage information and take quick and proactive action.

Survey Tools

Upstream Works provides native survey capabilities including ratings of chat conversations, and integrates with any third party survey tool to measure NPS, CSAT, and more.



In addition to handling incoming contacts, agents can also handle queued or manual tasks. The two terms task and contact are in many ways interchangeable.

Third Party Reporting Platforms

Many UWF customers leverage third party reporting platforms for data manipulation. We provide a schema, set of views, and stored procedures that are readily accessible to management.


Unified Digital Messaging

Single, virtual, continuous conversations across platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, TwitterDM, WeChat, and more.

Upstream Works Desktop (UWD)

The Upstream Works Desktop (UWD) is desktop for digital workers, including contact center agents and back office customer support advisors.

Upstream Works for Amazon (UWA)

Upstream Works for Amazon (UWA) is an omnichannel cloud contact center solution that seamlessly integrates with Amazon Connect to enhance its capabilities, channels and integration options.

Upstream Works for Finesse (UWF)

Upstream Works for Finesse (UWF) is an omnichannel single agent desktop for all channels and applications, within Cisco Finesse. UWF goes beyond email and chat to bring all channels into the contact center. Customers have a unified and continuous experience, no matter how they choose to reach out. Seamless integration between UWF and any application or CRM platform extends the value of investments, reducing training time and increasing productivity. Management and Supervisors have full visibility, making it easy to manage and report on contact center trends and activities. The Single Agent Desktop is intuitive and empowers agents with capabilities to deliver personalized, responsive, and consistent customer engagements across every channel.

Upstream Works for Finesse (UWF) Standard Historical Reports

Valuable information, details and insights are provided in the UWF Standard Historical Reports including:

  • Business Reports
  • Operational Skills Reports
  • Transfer Reports
  • Detail Reports


Video Engage

Video Engage connects agents to customers through a fast and secure video call, providing a face-to-face interaction.