Demystifying CTI: A Glossary of Basic Terms for Newbies

8 minute read

Upland Admin

A starting look at some popular industry terms surrounding computer telephony integration

If you’re thinking of investing in a computer telephony integration (CTI) solution for your contact center to integrate the voice channel with your CRM, you will undoubtedly have come across several of the terms mentioned in this list. Though some are fairly self-explanatory, there are a few that require further explanation, especially if you haven’t had any dealings with CTI software in the past. With this in mind, we have gathered together as many terms associated with CTI as we could muster and compiled them into a useful list that explains each of them in easily digestible chunks. So, if ever you have had any doubts about what this means or what that does, scroll through the list of CTI terms below and we’ll provide all the answers you need.

Caller ID (CLID or CID)

Caller ID, often abbreviated as CLID or CID, is a feature that shows you who is ringing your phone before the call is picked up.


The cloud is a term for the online space where data is stored, and nothing is stored on a person’s hard drive or local server. This data can be anything from personal data to internet-based programs, where all the data is stored and accessible online for use whenever and wherever you need it.

Cloud-Based CRM

When a customer relationship management (CRM) system is stored in the cloud, it means that it is accessible online from any location with working access, as opposed to an on-site CRM that can only be accessed if an individual is connected to a private network. Examples of cloud-based CRMs include Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Call Logging

Call logging means recording the details of a customer interaction into a CRM at the end of every conversation. Call logs may include details such as time called, call duration, the topic of the call and call results. CTI solutions often automate call logging so that contact center agents don’t have to manually type out this information.

Call Recording

Contact centers may tape calls for quality control, training or security purposes. These call recordings may be done on every call or just on a random selection.

Call Reports

Call reports are a collection of metrics and data used by contact centers to measure everything from agent performance and customer experience, to call duration and the effectiveness of specific strategies. With a computer telephony integration solution, call reports can often be generated automatically in the CRM so that contact center leaders can analyze them quickly and make effective, positive changes to the business.

Call Transferring

Call transfer is a feature that hands over a connected call to another contact center agent, often to pass the caller to an agent that’s better equipped to deal with the task at hand.

Call Waiting

Call waiting gives phones the ability to signal that another call is trying to access the line while someone is currently already on a call.

Channel Entry Point

Channel entry point is used to describe the method in which a customer chooses to first connect with a contact center. Traditionally this would be through a voice call, but in a modern omni-channel contact center, the number of channels is considerably larger. Other channel entry points may include email, web chat, social media and text.


A chatbot is an example of a modern contact center entry point that uses an artificially intelligent (AI) machine to communicate with a customer. The chatbot tries to either resolve an issue independently or to extract information from the customer so that a human agent can resolve the issue much faster.


Click-to-dial, also known as click-to-call, enables a contact center agent to initiate a voice call simply by clicking on the phone number of a contact directly from their CRM without having to manually dial.

Conference Call

A conference call is a voice interaction involving more than two parties.

CRM Integration

A CRM integration is a ready-built app or feature that connects to popular customer relationship management systems such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. This is highly beneficial for contact centers as it means solutions can be installed without custom development work, keeping disruption to a minimum and allowing the business to start accessing benefits instantly.

CRM Screen Transfer

CRM screen transfer allows an agent to seamlessly hand off all customer data and information that has been captured, as well as the phone call itself, to another agent. This way the customer is never forced to repeat things they have already explained. Some CTI solutions offer screen transfer combined with click-to-dial, allowing the task to be completed at the click of a single button. No time is wasted and the agent is able to quickly return to servicing the next customer in line.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A customer relationship management system, or CRM, is a platform used to store all information on prospects and customers. It stores everything from personal details to interaction history. Popular CRM platforms include Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Customer Experience

Customer experience is a term used to describe the attributes of a person’s encounter communicating with a business. Analyzing the customer experience is crucially important as it helps a company gain a clearer understanding of what the customer expects and helps the business learn how to meet these expectations.

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is a tool used to visually explain a customer’s history with a company – everything from how they connected with the company, what they needed and information relating to their experience with the business as a whole.

Desktop Client

Software with a desktop client requires installation on each individual computer in order to be used. Its opposite is a web-based or no-desktop platform where the solution can be accessed through a website without any installation.

Instant Messaging (IM)

Instant messaging is a channel customers may choose to use when contacting a business using near real-time typed communication. Instead of talking over the phone, customers use a chat-based messenger platform to get their issue resolved.

Intelligent Call Routing

With intelligent call routing, customers are directed to contact center agents who are specifically qualified to handle their request, reducing call churn and ensuring the customer’s issue is resolved as soon as possible.

Internet Protocol (IP)

Internet protocol (IP) is a way of sending and receiving information between computers. You may need to know something called your IP address, which is a string of numbers separated by dots. This is the location of your machine on the Internet, just like your home address is the location of where you are in the world.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive voice response, or IVR, is an automated telephony system that interacts with customers to gather information so it can route calls and provide advance information to the appropriate contact center agents.

Screen Pop

Screen pop, also known as call pop, is a feature that automatically provides an agent with all the information they need on a customer at the start of every call. Records are popped based on information collected from caller ID or an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Using screen pop, an agent knows exactly who they are speaking to and can address customers personally to make them feel welcome and understood right from the start of a call.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP, is a standardized Internet language for calling by voice and video.

Single Pane of Glass

Single pane of glass is a popular term used to describe a platform the allows a contact center agent to view all customer data and interaction histories from different entry points within a single window. Multiple applications are unnecessary, as all information is consolidated within one view.

Social Media Interaction

Social media is a modern, web-based contact center entry point that customers may use to communicate with a business. Common social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube.


Telephony is a phone system or a bunch of phones networked together.

T1 Line

A T1 line is a type of phone line that uses fiber optics and is ideal for carrying heavy data loads.

Toast Pop Up

Similar to screen pop or call pop, a toast pop up quickly shows caller information, except the pop isn’t the whole CRM screen. Toast pop is a smaller window that appears from another application.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, means speaking on the phone through the Internet rather than through phone lines. The caller is a web-based user.

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