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Affective empathy (aka emotional empathy): the sensations and feelings that arise in response to other people’s emotions and lead us to reflect the emotions of someone we’re talking to.

Agent: an individual working on a customer support team; a representative of a company who accepts and responds to customer calls, emails, chat, and social media queries.

Bots/AI: computer programs that perform automatic, repetitive tasks or that mimic the actions of a person. Often used in customer service to initiate a conversation, to provide a quick response confirming that a customer agent has received their query, or to triage a call and direct it to the appropriate agent or channel.

Channels: unique ways of communicating, such as email or social media or live chat.

Cognitive empathy: a type of empathy that relates to a person’s ability to identify and understand the emotions being expressed by the person we’re talking to.

Compassionate empathy: a type of empathy that goes beyond the cognitive understanding of what another person is going through. Not only can you identify and feel another person’s emotions, you’re also motivated to help.

Conversation: an exchange of ideas between two people. In customer support, the entire exchange between a customer and an agent.

Cross-selling: adding value and loyalty among existing customers by offering them a product or service that’s related to one they’ve already purchased or that will improve their satisfaction and/or results.

Customer effort score (CES): a measurement of how easy it’s been for a customer to use the product or service. It’s generally measured by asking customers, on a five-point scale from “Very Difficult” to “Very Easy,” how much effort was required to use it.

Customer experience (CX): the overall perception a customer develops about your brand based on their interactions with your employees, website, and products. To remain positive, the customer’s experience should meet or exceed their expectations.

Customer loyalty: the likelihood a customer will continue buying from a business, as determined by their satisfaction with previous purchases and the benefits of continuing to do business with them.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT): a measure of the degree of satisfaction a company is providing as determined by the number of repeat customers.

Customer service: the help and support a company provides their prospects and customers.

Customer survey: a poll identifying a customer’s level of satisfaction with products they’ve purchased and uncovering their need and expectation for new products.

Downtime: any period of time when a system (i.e., servers, websites, computers, or phones) are not working, which prevents customers from being able to use your service or product.

Empathy: the ability to experience another person’s feelings, thoughts, and experience without having it explicitly explained; understanding and being sensitive to those feelings when communicating with the other person.

Feature: a prominent characteristic of a product or service.

Feedback: a customer’s evaluation of their experience after submitting a query.

First contact resolution (FCR): the percentage of queries that are resolved in the first interaction with a customer. This is often used as a way to measure customer satisfaction. It’s determined either by having the agent indicate that the problem was successfully resolved in the initial contact or by sending customers a survey.

Help desk: a call center provided by a company to provide technical support for customers using their products.

Key performance indicator (KPI): a measurable value that indicates a company is achieving key business objectives and operating successfully.

Knowledge base: a collection of information — usually housed on a help site or in FAQs — providing answers to common questions, instructions for completing basic tasks, and help with troubleshooting problems.

Live chat: a chat application that can set up on a website to allow real-time conversations with customers. Often used as an alternative to phone or email support.

Micro-messages: small, nonverbal clues to a person’s deeper feelings, which are sometimes in conflict with what they say they feel. In many cases, people can’t (or won’t) express their thoughts or feelings clearly, so you need to be able to read their body language and the expressions behind their movements, expressions, and eyes.

Mirroring: the technique of reflecting the speech, behavior, and mannerisms of the person you’re talking to.

Onboarding: the process of orienting new employees and new customers to a business’s way of doing things. For employees, it includes specialized training to perform their job. For customers, it involves familiarizing them with products, services, and benefits.

Operating hours/business hours: the hours a business is open to the public and available to customers. Usually described by the days of the week when the business is available, the time when it opens each day, and the time when it closes each day.

Personalization: creating custom solutions based on specific needs or desires of the customer.

Proactive (being proactive): anticipating needs and responding before they become a problem.

Queue: the waiting line of customers who have reached out for support.

Reflective listening: a communication strategy that involves summarizing the other person’s message and saying it back to them to verify it was understood correctly.

Review: a critical evaluation of a person’s or an organization’s performance to determine areas of improvement.

Saved replies/canned responses: frequently used responses to customer queries, saved by a support agent to be used each time that question is asked.

Script: a previously written response used by support agents to answer frequently asked questions, usually written by the marketing, sales, or executive team to ensure every agent responds in the same way.

Social media: communications made on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Tone of voice: the way a person speaks to someone, often described as warm, cold, friendly, casual, or formal.

Upselling: a selling technique of offering a customer a more expensive product, an upgrade to their current purchase, or add-ons that will add value to the purchase. Often used with cross-selling.

Widget: a small software application designed to perform a specific function, such as providing information about the weather or sports, taking notes, or proofreading written materials.

  • Kathryn Aragon. An award-winning marketer, editor, and writer. She has written hundreds of articles, books, guides, and reports. She co-authored The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing with Neil Patel, Next-Level Content Marketing with Ted Box and The power of Remarkable Customer Support with Yaakov Karda.
  • Yaakov Karda. Co-founder of Chatra and a customer support enthusiast. He’s authored and co-authored dozens of blog posts and a number of books on the subject. His writing has been featured in top industry publications and his books are available on Amazon.
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