Checking call center efficiency is not only aimed at verifying the work of the team. It is the basis for introducing improvements that optimize costs and increase customer satisfaction. Well-selected and analyzed indicators are one of the foundations of a call center‘s success.

Average Handle Time

One of the indicators often taken into account is AHT – Average Handle Time. This is the average time of customer service, calculated as the sum of the conversation time and the time needed by the consultant to prepare for it and to sum it up and finalize the order or solve the customer’s problem.

AHT is distinguished according to the type of transaction, eg AHT for an informational transaction may be 3 minutes, while AHT related to a product sale transaction – 20 minutes (eg due to the need to read marketing consents and contract provisions). Both transaction lengths are tested together and separately per transaction. Averaging itself can cause an erroneous forecast of the number of staff needed for a given number of transactions, for example, if, for example, we have a separate sales team, it may turn out that despite the same number of transactions, we need many more people due to the significantly extended time of one transaction.

When measuring AHT, it is worth bearing in mind that the result may vary depending on the time of day or day of the week, e.g. shorter AHT in case of failure (when only a short message can be given) or longer AHT on weekends or in the evening. Sometimes it results from a smaller share of the management staff – therefore it is worth making an effort to increase the internal motivation of consultants.

Watch the AHT

Why is it worth checking AHT? Because time is money. The longer it takes to service a single customer, the more it costs us. We are talking not only about the consultant’s work, but about the costs resulting from a decrease in customer satisfaction with long service times, loss of loyalty and even trust.

It is well known that AHT is worth reducing. Note, however, that AHT is an indicator, not a measure. This means that it points to elements that may not function properly, but does not measure the efficiency of the entire call center.

How to Reduce AHT?

There are many answers to the question of how to reduce AHT. There are no universal solutions in this case, as high AHT can be caused by many factors. General optimization of processes, simplification of procedures and provision of training to consultants will organically help reduce this ratio.

Here are some tips that can improve your work and therefore lower AHT.

  1. Training employees, both in soft skills (matter-of-factness, communicativeness, customer understanding) and knowledge of procedures and products. It is worth allowing consultants to listen to the conversations of their colleagues who have low AHT, so that they can compare their methods of conducting interviews.
  2. Simplifying conversation scenarios – without long greetings, with immediate transition to the  essence .
  3. Creation of knowledge bases and other materials that will accelerate the search for information by consultants.
  4. Giving consultants appropriate decision-making, so they will not have to wait for the decision of a person higher in the hierarchy.
  5. Automation of processes and simplification of formalities necessary to be completed after the interview.
  6. Appropriate use of IVR, which quickly directs the client to the right consultant.
  7. Implementation of a system that integrates all channels and shows the client’s activities in real time.

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