Agents in call centers deal with a range of calls, each of which takes a varying amount of time, depending on the problem. While still offering excellent customer service, it’s critical for call center agents to shorten call times. You can contact more consumers and resolve more issues if you learn how to lower your average handling time (AHT).
How is AHT Calculated?
You must first determine your AHT to lower it. The following equation can be used to determine AHT:
Total Talk Time + Total Hold Time + Total Wrap Time / Number of Calls Handled = AHT
What Causes High AHT?
There are explanations for why a company could have a high AHT. A large portion of the issue stems from ignorance and ineffective procedures. Other factors that could result in a high AHT include the following:
- Unseasoned customer service personnel
- IVR (interactive voice response) system deficiency or absence
- Not reviewing calls and processes on time
- Improper call routing
8 Effective Ways to Lower Average Handling Time (AHT)
Efficient call handling is crucial to maintain customer satisfaction and retention. AHT is a critical metric that measures the total duration of customer interaction from the moment the call is answered to its conclusion. High AHT can indicate inefficiency in call handling, leading to increased costs and customer frustration. Therefore, call centers need to find ways to reduce AHT while maintaining quality customer service. In this article, we will explore eight practical ways to lower AHT.
1. Provide Comprehensive Training
Practical training is essential to reduce AHT, and ensuring your employees are adequately equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle customer inquiries efficiently. Make sure that your team has a good understanding of the company’s products and services, as well as the tools and technology used in customer support. A well-trained team member can quickly handle queries, saving time and resources.
2. Simplify the IVR
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a system that directs customers to the appropriate department or agent. It can be an effective tool to reduce AHT, but it must be easy to navigate. A complex IVR can increase frustration and lead to longer wait times, ultimately causing customer dissatisfaction. Simplifying the IVR and using clear and concise prompts can reduce AHT by quickly directing customers to the appropriate department or agent. IVR systems can be implemented using various communication platforms, such as Twilio, Genesys, or Cloudtalk, but it’s essential to design the system with simplicity and clarity to improve customer experience and minimize AHT.
3. Improve Call Routing
Call routing is another essential aspect of customer support that can impact AHT. Routing customers to the appropriate agent or department is crucial to provide effective and efficient service. Ensure that your team has an effective routing system that assigns calls to agents based on their expertise and availability. This helps reduce the time spent on transferring calls, ultimately reducing AHT.
4. Use Knowledge Management Tools
A comprehensive knowledge management system can be a valuable tool for reducing AHT. Ensure your employees have access to a well-organized knowledge base that includes FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and other relevant information. Effective knowledge management is crucial for businesses to improve customer support and reduce ticket resolution time. Using knowledge base software like Document360, Zendesk, or Confluence can help organizations store and manage their knowledge effectively, allowing agents to access the information they need to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently. Effective knowledge management is crucial for businesses to improve customer support and reduce ticket resolution time.
5. Empower Employees
Empowering employees can also help reduce AHT. Give your team members the freedom to decide and solve customer problems independently. Encourage them to take ownership of customer inquiries and provide solutions quickly. Empowering employees can reduce the time spent on escalating queries, ultimately reducing AHT.
6. Use Chatbots
Chatbots can effectively reduce AHT by automating simple queries and providing immediate customer responses. Chatbots can quickly resolve routine inquiries, leaving more complex questions for human agents. This helps reduce the time spent handling common queries, ultimately reducing AHT. Implementing chatbots with advanced features like natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technologies can enhance customer interactions and reduce AHT. Platforms like GeekBot, Infobip, and AIOC offer powerful tools that enable businesses to build and deploy intelligent chatbots that can provide personalized customer service around the clock.
7. Monitor Performance
Monitoring performance is crucial to reducing AHT. Regularly review your team’s performance metrics and identify areas for improvement. This can help you identify any recurring issues and address them promptly. Monitoring performance can also help identify top-performing agents and replicate their success across the team, ultimately reducing AHT.
8. Implement Quality Assurance
Implementing a quality assurance program can help improve the quality of customer support, ultimately reducing AHT. Regularly monitor calls and provide feedback to agents, highlighting areas for improvement. This can help promptly identify and address any training gaps, ultimately reducing AHT.
In addition to saving money and enabling your representatives to respond to more inquiries, reducing the average handling time will also improve customer satisfaction because it will take less time for them to get answers to their questions. Reducing the average handling time is one of the main elements of providing a service that satisfies your clients, which is essential for the success of any product or service. Use these tips and watch how your handling time eventually decreases.