Average Handle Time (AHT)

Definition

What is the Average Handle Time?

The Average Handle Time, or AHT, is a well-known metric that calculates how long a customer’s call lasts on average. AHT can be measured weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Additionally, it was once a key metric for evaluating contact center efficiency when the phone was the primary mode of communication.

Agents and the customer service department are evaluated on their performance using average handle time. It can be a helpful indicator for setting new customer service targets or metrics.

A lower AHT does not always imply that a call center is operating at its best. Agents mustn’t pressure consumers off the phone to minimize AHT, even though they have to do it anyway.

The average handle time should not be excessive. I it should be appropriate for the assistance that customers need and the capabilities of the contact center.

What is the Average Handle Time?
What is the Average Handle Time?

How to calculate average handle time?

To figure out your AHT, add your total talk time, total hold time, and total after-call tasks, then divide by the total number of calls. The formula looks like this:

[total talk time + total hold time + follow up] / calls = AHT (calculated in minutes or seconds)

AHT accounts for the following:

  • Total talk time. The amount of time your representatives spend on a call
  • Total hold time. It is another simple number to obtain, and it is much more limited than talk time.
  • The number of calls handled. It is perhaps the most challenging number to assess. Depending on what the call center holds, after-call tasks can vary.

How to minimize average handle time?

Managers of call centers who want to reduce average handle time can still raise consumer trust and keep costs down.

Here are some suggestions for lowering AHT while avoiding the possibility of agents rushing through a call:

Optimize agent training

AHT can be negatively affected by an untrained agent. Agents who haven’t had enough training could be more prone to fumbling through calls or going off on tangents, wasting both their and the customer’s time.

Agents that can have a supportive, flexible dialogue while not being too receptive to distractions are critical to a thriving call center.

Improve call routing

Transferring callers from an agent to another agent before they meet an agent who can adequately address their issue is one of the easiest ways to improve average handle time.

With call center software, including ACD, IVR, and skills-based routing, you can dramatically reduce transfers, customer confusion, and call center handling time.

Call recording

Call recording software for call centers is a powerful tool. Both inbound and outbound calls should be recorded.

Listen to their call logs when you are unable to track vital needs in real-time. When agents have a better understanding of these, they will help identify the best AHT.

Facilitate the workflow and process

Improving efficient agent workflow and procedures is one of the most effective ways to minimize average handle time.

Remove something that adds to the amount of time it takes to handle a customer’s request and does not lead to good customer service. 

How to minimize average handle time?
How to minimize average handle time?

Benefits of improving average handle time

Customer satisfaction is the most obvious advantage of better AHT. Callers are more satisfied when issues are resolved quickly. Improved AHT, on the other hand, boosts contact center performance while lowering costs.

Improves customer satisfaction and loyalty

Customers who have a good experience with a business are more likely to become regular customers in the future.

Improve operational performance

As you improve your average handle time, you’ll notice many areas where you can improve contact center productivity.

Reduce costs

Your costs will decrease as your productivity improves.

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