If you’re running a call center, then you want to know how to decrease average handle time in a call center. This can be a challenge, but with the right strategies in place, it is definitely achievable. After all, a high AHT can lead to customer dissatisfaction and lost revenue. In this article, we cover some tips and tricks that will help you reduce your AHT and improve the customer service experience for your customers.
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What is average handle time (AHT)?
AHT is the average amount of time it takes for a contact center agent or customer service representative to handle a customer query from start to finish. This includes the time spent on hold, as well as the time spent speaking with the customer.
How do you calculate AHT?
To calculate your AHT, you need to take the total amount of time spent on calls (in minutes) and divide it by the number of calls answered.
Here’s a simple example: if your agents spend a total of 100 minutes on calls and they answer 50 calls, then your AHT would be 100/50 or two minutes.
But remember that there’s two more factors to consider: total hold time and after-call time. So the total formula for average handle time is:
AHT = (total talk time + total hold time + after-call time) / total number of calls
Remember this formula. It’s important to know what factors go into the calculation to identify areas of improvement.
Why you want to reduce AHT
There are several reasons why you would want to reduce your call center’s AHT. First, it can lead to improved customer satisfaction. If your customers have to wait a long time to speak to someone or get their issue resolved, they are likely to be unhappy with the experience. Second, reducing AHT can lead to increased efficiency and productivity in your call center.
If you have a high AHT, that means your contact center agents are likely spending a lot of time on each call, which can lead to burnout. Reducing AHT can also save you money. The longer each call takes, the more it costs you in terms of labor. So, by reducing AHT, you can reduce your operating costs.
There are a few different strategies you can use to reduce AHT in your call center. We’ll cover some of the most effective ones.
Use technology to your advantage
One incredibly effective way to reduce AHT is to use automation where possible. Automation helps free up your customer service reps or contact center agents, so they can focus on more complex issues. This could include using an automated phone system to handle simple customer queries or using chatbots to answer common questions.
Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular in customer service, as they can handle a large volume of inquiries quickly and efficiently. They are particularly effective because they can offload multiple chats at the same time. This allows your contact center agents to focus on customers that need additional support.
Create a knowledge base on your website. This is a great resource for customers who want to resolve their issue without having to speak to someone. You can also include a search function so that customers can easily find the answer they’re looking for. Knowledge bases are also useful for training new agents.
Similar to a knowledge base, another way to utilize technology to the fullest is to set up an FAQ section on your website. This way, customers can find answers to their questions without having to wait on hold or speak to a customer service representative.
IVR, or interactive voice response system, is a phone system that allows customers to navigate through a menu of options using their keypad. This can be an effective way to route calls to the appropriate department and reduce AHT.
Train your contact center agents
Another important strategy for reducing AHT is to train your contact center agents. Agents should be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently. This includes training them on how to handle customer queries efficiently and how to use your contact center’s systems.
There are a few different ways you can do this:
- Use role-playing exercises to simulate real customer service scenarios.
- Teach them active listening skills so that they can understand the customer’s issue more quickly.
- Provide them with resources, such as a knowledge base, that they can reference when they need help.
- Make sure they are familiar with your product or service inside and out.
By ensuring your reps are properly trained, you can help them resolve issues more quickly, which will lead to a reduction in AHT.
Monitor and measure AHT
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. So, it’s important to keep track of your call center’s AHT and look for ways to improve it. There are a few different metrics you can use to measure AHT, such as average speed of answer (ASA) and first call resolution (FCR). Monitoring these metrics will help you identify areas where you need to make changes in order to reduce AHT.
Record and review calls
One way to monitor AHT is to record and review customer service calls. This can help you identify issues that are causing callers to spend more time on the phone. It can also help you train your reps on how to handle similar calls more effectively.
Analyze your workflow
In addition to monitoring your AHT, you should also take a close look at your workflow to see if there are any areas that can be improved. Are calls being properly routed to the right department? Is there a process in place for handling customer complaints? By analyzing your workflow, you can identify bottlenecks and make changes to improve efficiency.
These are just a few of the ways you can reduce AHT in your call center. By using these strategies, you can improve the customer experience and save money on operating costs.