A good indicator to know if our team is efficient is the AHT or Average Handling Time. It is ideal for any call planning system. In this article we are going to explain what AHT exactly is and how you can reduce it to improve the performance of your Call Center.
Definition of the AHT of a Call Center
AHT is the acronym for Average Handling Time. It is the most common metric that a Call Center uses to measure its efficiency, that is, to measure the duration of a transaction carried out by an agent. It also helps to size the number of calls, the agent’s workload, the levels of attention, and defines the agents that would be necessary to achieve the objectives.
With the Average Handling Time of a Call Center, a transaction is measured from the beginning of a call to its end. This includes talk time, wait time, and After Call Work (ACW), which is the post-call work time required to resolve the call. It is essential to decide the amount of personnel your Call Center needs.
It is important to analyze and work the AHT well. Remember that this metric is related to levels of customer satisfaction and efficiency for first contact resolution.
How to minimize Average Handling Time
It is convenient to reduce the AHT in your Call Center. But how? We offer you some tips:
- Gather all the information when you start the call. Agents should collect as much information as possible when starting the call.
- Help your agents with the right tools. The agent will be able to control everything from a single platforme. This will streamline customer service (Check out EVOLUTION, our software for contact center)
- Evaluate self-service. A customer may have made the wrong choice in the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Take a closer look at the IVR options and see if they could be improved.
- Create suitable scripts or arguments. If an agent uses routing sheets for common calls it streamlines the call management process.
- Record all your calls. Record all calls and locate them, and listen to them easily, so you can see if there are any training problems. A long call could be a sign of inattention, or that an agent is not listening, or interrupting the customer, or has lost control of the call.
- When hiring an agent, identify candidates who speak in a concise manner. They are the best bet.
- Identify which calls are with silence, and train agents to reduce it.
- Training. Show your agents examples on how the AHT can be reduced to try to get ideas and reduce theirs.
- Do your agents know their business area well? Make sure your agent has the maximum knowledge of their entire area. This will make it easier to answer customer questions and reduce Average Handling Time.
- Simplified and understandable marketing materials. Work with the marketing department so that all marketing content is clear. That the agents do not have to contact them to clarify doubts.
- Database search engine. Put a search engine in the database on the topics that the agent must control. This makes it easier to find the information.
- Question guide for troubleshooting. Design a question structure for agents. They will have questions on hand to ask customers for faster resolution.
- Keep the client aware of every situation. If you must look for information or consult a colleague, we would recommend that the agent tells the client that he will put him on hold – showing education. It is a way that the client does not fill the silence with unnecessary conversation, while the agent is consulting a question.
- Channel your customers through Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) so that when they already have clear answers, they can chat, call or send emails.
- Conduct mini briefings in small management groups to inform your agents of the latest service updates.
- Create an opening question. So your agents can have control of the conversation. For example: “Good morning, my name is … have you called us?” From there you can take control of the situation.
- Can processes be automated? Paying attention to automation will go a long way toward reducing AHT.
- Tracking errors will help us improve the AHT.
- Work together with other departments. To reduce delays in transferring calls, it is recommended that the Call Center collaborate with other departments.
- It is important for agents to anticipate questions and provide information before the customer asks a question.
- Reward the behavior with an additional bonus for the maximum number of calls accepted per shift.
Be careful! Don’t compromise call quality to improve AHT
It is important to reduce the time an agent spends on the phone, but we must take quality into account. In other words, resolving a call faster could improve the AHT metric but this would not guarantee customer satisfaction. So it is better a higher AHT but with a single call the problem is solved and the customer is completely satisfied, than having him calling several times due to lack of resolution.
With a software like ICR Evolution you can improve the AHT and have a very powerful omnichannel tool that will allow you to offer the optimal service for your client. Many clients already trust us. Contact us for more information!