How to Improve Average Handle Time

Every second of any customer call counts. This is where average handle time comes in. Read on to learn how to improve average handle time for call centers

From start to finish, every second of a call counts— that’s why knowing your call center’s AHT can be extremely beneficial to your business. 

Average handling time, or, AHT, is the call and contact center performance metric used to measure the amount of time a call service representative takes to “complete” a customer call. This includes everything from the initial greeting to the call or contact resolution and wrap time at the end. 

Maybe your company is working overtime to take on more calls or you simply want to know more about how to better manage your team’s time while following call center quality assurance standards. Whatever your reasons, improving your average handle time at your call center can work wonders for you and your company. 

Read on to learn more about AHT and the steps you can take to improve your call center’s workflow. 

AHT 101: Why Is The Average Handle Time for a Call Center So Important?

For starters, the old adage is true—time is money. Every moment spent on the phone should be optimized for maximum return on investment. When your calls aren’t streamlined for customer success, you’re letting untold potential profits slip through your fingers. But once that AHT is at that sweet spot of efficiency and stellar customer satisfaction? There are tremendous benefits to enjoy, including:

  • Improved time management skills for your entire staff
  • Better organization and understanding of your business
  • Possible increase in revenue due to efficiency 
  • Ability to monitor your team or agent performance
  • Streamlined workflow
  • Reduction of time spent doing time-consuming tasks 

6 Steps To Improve Your Average Handle Time

Ready to improve your average handling time and not sure where to begin?  Here are a few steps to take to ensure improvement and boost your call center and agent productivity. 

Step 1: Calculate Your AHT

Knowing the amount of time it takes for your company’s call center to complete a full customer service is essential to improving it.

Many companies use a common formula to track their analytics and see where they can improve in terms of customer service and time spent. With this simple formula, you can calculate the AHT per customer service representative or your entire team as a whole. 

The way you want to calculate the AHT is up to you—just plug your unique variables into the following formula to learn your AHT: 

(Total hold time + Time talking to customers + Time for follow up) / (Number of calls completed)

Once you have a baseline number, you can start implementing the following steps to improve your AHT.

Step 2: Revamp Your Agent Training 

When it comes to improving your call center overall, nothing beats restructuring your training. By working with your representatives who are either struggling or just new to the game, training gives your employees the chance to properly learn call center tactics. With thorough instruction, you’ll be able to nip timing and communication issues in the bud. 

Make sure your agents are familiar with all sorts of scenarios through role-playing. Since people tend to learn through practice, take the time to demonstrate various customer service call scenarios. This approach will guarantee you a team full of representatives who know your business inside and out. 

Step 3: Prioritize Time Management 

Learning how to answer customer service calls and manage time effectively tends to be one of the biggest challenges a customer service agent faces. Customer service representatives have to walk the line between forming a connection with the customer and wasting time.

This issue of balance can be worked on during initial training, or through follow-up sessions with the team. Demonstrating a successful model phone call can also be very helpful to new reps, giving them an idea of what a successful call can look like.

Step 4: Utilize Scripts 

Want to make things even easier for your team? Create a series of call scripts based on different scenarios and have them practice with each other before jumping on the phone.

Scripts bring professionalism and efficiency to your customer call. Having a script can also save you when the customer goes on and on about their cat or what they had for dinner last night. By referencing the script, you’ll be able to exit the conversation gracefully and still provide the customer support. 

Step 5: Make Your Internal Knowledge Accessible 

Although call center reps aren’t expected to store an encyclopedia’s worth of information in their brains, it’s important to have the company’s internal knowledge accessible at all times.

If there is an issue that you might not know how to resolve, having access to information regarding your products or services can help expedite the time you spend on the phone with a customer. 

Step 6: Customize Your Call Center

If you really want to save time and improve your AHT, employing a professional call or answering service center might be in your best interest. 

Setting up a professional service to help you with your customer service calls can save you time and money through efficiency. You won’t have to worry about the bells and whistles of tracking data, and you’re sure to reap the benefits of a streamlined workflow managed by a team of specialists.

Level Up With Nexa

Ready to improve your average call handling time? Level up with Nexa and reap the benefits of your own personalized call center service. 

At Nexa, not only do we answer every call, but we will be there for you 24/7. Whether it be to resolve a customer service issue or manage schedules, our team of specialists will make sure that all your bases are covered.

Through our customized call center service, we’ll help you best maximize your revenue, cut costs and meet the demands of your industry. 

Here at Nexa, we’ve got you covered. 

Sources: 

Emplifi. Improve Average Handle Time in the Contact Center: Your 6-Point Action Plan. https://emplifi.io/resources/blog/average-handle-time-contact-center-action-plan

Observe.Ai. What Is Average Handle Time (AHT) and How Can You Reduce It? 

https://www.observe.ai/blog/what-is-average-handle-time-aht-and-how-do-call-centers-reduce-it#:~:text=Average%20Handle%20Time%20(AHT)%20is,well%20as%20after%20call%20work.

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