If you manage a call center, you know how important data and metrics are. You also know that optimizing your handle times is just as important. However, while it is crucial to improve handle times at a call center, it can be quite challenging to do so.
How do you determine the best amount of talk time with customers? Additionally, how can you achieve minimum talk time to keep costs low without compromising the quality of the call?
One way to address these and more concerns is by improving the average handle time. This is a critical metric that call centers use when handling customer calls. So, how can call centers reduce average handle time while maintaining a high level of service? Read on to find out.
What is average handle time (AHT)?
Average handle time (AHT) measures a call center agent’s average duration to handle customer interactions, from when they answer the call until they conclude. This includes the average hold time, talk time, and wrap-up time. AHT is calculated by summing up total talk, hold, and follow-up time and dividing it by the number of calls handled.
Importance Of AHT To Call Centers
Average handle time is important to call centers because:
- It provides insights into agents’ efficiency
- It is a crucial indicator of customer satisfaction
- It helps identify areas for more training
- It can help optimize agents’ performance
Strategies For Reducing AHT In Call Centers
Call centers can reduce their average handle time without sacrificing the quality of services through the following ways.
Effective Call Scripts
By providing agents with well-crafted scripts, call centers can ensure their agents have the right responses for each interaction. Knowing what to say can help reduce the time spent resolving customers’ issues or questions. Additionally, real-time guidance systems can enhance interactions by dynamically suggesting appropriate responses that can help move the conversation forward, leading to improved AHT.
Comprehensive Agent Training And Coaching
Comprehensive and consistent training is crucial as it ensures your agents know how to handle customer issues properly. Coaching is also essential as it helps improve the performance of agents. Call centers can enhance efficiency and reduce average handle time by equipping agents with the necessary customer service skills and call-handling techniques.
Streamlining After-Call Work
After a call concludes, agents have to update customer records or generate reports before passing them to the next agent, if necessary. This requires a fast and easy way that avoids repetitive tasks, saving time in the long run. Moreover, this prevents customers from complaining about providing the same information to multiple agents without addressing their problems. In case of a follow-up or call-back, the agent handling the customer has all the necessary information they need.
Reducing Average Handle Time In Call Centers
Average handle time can affect customer satisfaction levels and the bottom line of a call center. As such, call centers must pay close attention to reducing their AHT by implementing strategies such as having effective call scripts, comprehensive agent training, and streamlining after-call work. While reducing handle times is vital, call centers must balance offering quality customer interactions and operating efficiently. This ensures customers remain loyal to the brand and agents maximize their productivity, ultimately driving business success.