If you have any experience working with, or at a Call Center you know that average handling time (AHT.) has a huge role in the success of your Call Center. It is one of the most important metrics and numbers to measure, regardless of communication channel and commonly used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for call centers This metric measures the total length of time it takes the call center agent to handle the customer and their issue.
AHT calculated with below factors:
- Total talk time
- Total hold time
- Total Wrap time
- Number of calls handle
To calculate AHT, the total talk and hold times and total wrap time are added together and then divided by the number of calls handled.
There is no easy way to provide max & min AHT in call centers. Some calls are naturally short and some have more complexity. It’s also related to company’s requirement or depend on a company’s approach to the customer experience and the products/services they offer, as well as the structure of their support organization.
However there are few factors that drives up AHT:
- Slow computer system
- Poor agents training
- Long periods of time on hold
- High turn over
For examples to prevent from above factors, computers should check by restricted schedule and be updated. This will also reduce agents to flip between lots of different computer. By listening to the calls of agents who have long handling time you may find individuals training needs.
Also using AHT as agent performance target can result in some negative consequences. It can either intentionally or unintentionally make agents focus on the speed of the interaction rather than the quality of the service being provided and they tend trying to manipulate AHT.
Signs of this includes :
- Cutting of the calls
- Rushing the caller
- High transferring calls
- Lack of rapport
Mostly call centers wants to reduce AHT based on their requirements and company’s approaches, however they still wants to keep other KPIs and especially they don’t want to ruin their customer satisfaction.
Below are some tips to reduce AHT without damaging customer satisfaction:
- Training: Improve and purify training program and it will enable agents to help customers efficiently and it will prepare them to solve customer’s issues quickly.
- Call routing: Call routing technology saves time for both customers and agents by quickly forwarding incoming customer cases to the agent who is most qualified to resolve them.
- Knowledge Database: Equipping call center agents with all the information they need at their fingertips is crucial for reducing AHT, so that they don’t have to waste valuable time searching for information in separate databases and software programs.
- Identify processes that can be reduced or automated: Look for the processes with a duplication of work or where tasks can be easily automated or digitized.
- System improvement: to improve your systems you can make changes to the IVR system and adding simple information to it and provide a unified desktop.
Today, the metrics a call center emphasizes have an effect on the customer experience that can’t be ignored. While AHT remains a valuable efficiency metric for any call center, only by balancing it with other customer satisfaction metrics will enable your business to keep customer satisfaction and brand loyalty high, while also enabling your call center to be a profitable, high-performing business entity!