Average Handle Time Definition and Reduction Techniques

One of the metrics that call centers most frequently track is average handling time, or AHT. Exactly what it is, how to calculate it, why it’s important, and other topics will be covered in this article. Even how to decrease it will be covered.

Average Handle Time Definition and Reduction Techniques

What is the typical handling time?

It is not so straightforward; it is just the amount of time it takes to assist a consumer in a call center. It is not the same as the average call time because it includes the entire customer contact from the moment a customer calls until the after-call task is completed.

Your call center software needs to monitor AHT because it affects both agent performance and customer satisfaction. Theoretically, a client will be happier and an agent will be able to manage more calls at once the faster they can answer a caller’s question.

Along with first call resolution, response time, customer satisfaction, and net promoter score, it is one of the top five KPIs for call centers, according to Gartner.

Methods for Determining Average Handle Time

The most typical formula for calculating AHT is as follows:

Total Conversions / (Total Talk Time + Total Hold Time + Follow Up Time)

To understand how to apply this formula, let’s look at an example.

Consider that today you answered eight calls and spent a total of one hour chatting, ten minutes waiting, and ten minutes adding notes to the CRM. This is the outcome:

(60 + 10 + 10)/8 = 10 minutes AHT

Once you have determined the AHT, you can use it to forecast the ideal staffing level for each hour of the day to ensure that the customer experience is not compromised during busy times.

Reasons to Use Average Handle Time

because it is unnecessary to do otherwise. As you can see from the formula above, it is simple to comprehend and even calculate, however it is essential for monitoring and enhancing customer experience.

Customers who interact with your support team for longer than they would like may develop a bad image of your business, which they may express to others and in online reviews. It’s easy to understand why. AHT of 0 is ideal. They would want to have their problems resolved without ever having to speak to you.

Leaders of call centers are aware that a customer’s whole experience is more significant than a single phone call. The customer satisfaction score, which gauges customer experience, is still impacted by this number, making it significant.

A Good AHT Is What?

It depends, which is the answer to this thoughtful question. Depending on what your AHT is right now. There, any improvement is better than it was before. Examining the typical AHT for businesses in your industry and size will help you decide if your present AHT is satisfactory.

Cornell University researchers calculated the typical handle time for several industries. Some of the outcomes are as follows:

Size of the Sector & Company Average Handle Time (Minutes)

Large Business        8.7

Telecommunications        8.8

Retail 5.4

Business & IT Services      4.7

Financial Services   4.7

These figures will give you an idea of how your AHT compares to those of the other companies in your industry, but it is up to you to decide what a decent AHT is for your particular business. Having a distinct AHT for each service type is also beneficial. Service calls cannot be expected to last only as long as a customer calling to check on their delivery.

A good AHT can ultimately only be determined by contrasting it with NPS and CSAT ratings (net promoter and customer satisfaction, respectively). CSAT measures consumer satisfaction with your service, whereas NPS indicates who will suggest your business to others. You can establish the ideal amount of time to spend with consumers and whether you are doing so by combining NPS, CSAT, and AHT.

How to Cut Down on Handle Time

Here are some suggestions to help you lower the AHT for your call center if you computed it and think it’s a little high.

Better documentation and training

Where does your agent spend the most time? Your AHT is being increased if you are looking for documentation or getting help from a third party. Maintaining current knowledge bases will not only free up your agents’ time but, if they are posted on a public website, may even enable clients to assist themselves in some circumstances.

Combining low and high AHT agents

When educating new agents, you shouldn’t plunge them headfirst into the water without a lifeguard nearby to guide them. Choose the call center representatives with the lowest AHT and pair them with representatives with the highest AHT. The easiest way to learn many of the abilities your top achievers exhibit is by observation.

Monitoring and Call Recording

Call recording can assist you in figuring out whether agents are following standard practices and identifying the main reason for long call wait times. In order for other agents to learn from the agents who have short call times, it can also be used to find out how they are doing their work more rapidly.

Automate Workflows

Hold time and transfer time are included in the AHT time. AHT suffers if a consumer is left hanging during call transfers. Workflow automation can help you identify the kind of assistance a customer needs and stop pointless phone transfers.

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