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A customer’s time is precious, and so is yours. Let’s get right into what’s to know about average handle time.
What is average handle time?
Average handle time (AHT) is a metric that’s commonly used as a key performance indicator (KPI) for call centers. It represents the average length of contact for a customer on a call.
AHT is commonly used to assess the efficiency of an agent and the customer service organization as a whole. It can be an effective metric for establishing benchmarks that the contact center can build from, or to create goals to strive for. While it’s primarily referenced to gauge the duration of a customer’s phone call, a company that takes an omnichannel approach to their customer service can use AHT to compare their phone support with other channels (like the duration of chats).
Here’s what’s accounted for in AHT:
- Total talk time
- Total hold time
- Number of calls handled
To calculate AHT, the total talk and hold times are added together and then divided by the number of calls handled.
What’s a good average handle time?
Average handle times differ depending on a company’s approach to the customer experience and the products/services they offer, as well as the structure of their support organization. Typically, AHT is a metric that is representative of trying to accomplish the following:
– minimizing hold times
– optimizing talk times
– increasing the number of calls handled
Those goals can be indicative of an efficient call center. But here’s the thing: a lower AHT does not necessarily mean a call center is performing as well as it should. It’s extremely important that agents don’t hurry customers off the phone to decrease their AHT, even if part of their responsibilities include reducing it. Average handle time shouldn’t typically be too high, but it should always be optimal for the kind of help that customers need.
What can support managers do to reduce average handle time?
If overall average handle time seems to be having a negative impact on customer satisfaction (CSAT), there are a few methods that support managers can employ to optimize it (and avoid the risk of agents rushing through their phone calls):
Make sure agents are trained effectively
Ensuring that agents are trained properly is an effective way to drive down AHT. Equip agents with thorough training so they know how to find information quickly, are familiar with common questions and comfortable navigating various systems.
Agents that haven’t received proper training may be more susceptible to fumbling through a call or go off on tangents that waste their time and that of the customer. An effective call centers thrives when agents are capable of delivering a supportive conversation that’s flexible while not being overly responsive to distractions.
Utilize self-service resources, like knowledge bases and help articles
Self-service content can do more for agents than …read more
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