What Is AHT? (With 8 Steps To Improve Your Average Handle Time)

Average Handle Time (AHT) is the average duration of the entire customer call transaction, from the time the customer initiates the call to ending the call, including all hold times and transfers, as well as after call work.

AHT, or average handle time, is a crucial call center KPI. AHT is the average time it takes to handle a call or transaction from beginning to end, including call initiation, hold time, talk time, and any necessary post-call tasks an agent must complete to resolve the call.

AHT is a crucial metric for calculating call center service levels, evaluating efficiency for the call center as a whole or for individual agents, and setting performance benchmarks. However, it is not a success metric since rushing agents to close tickets rather than resolve issues would increase your AHT but would not result in happy customers.

What is AHT | AHT Calculation ✍| Call center WFM

Why is AHT important?

Because it’s a crucial element of a desirable customer service experience, AHT is significant. Customers frequently demand speed, ease, and convenience in all aspects of their interactions with businesses. Customers can call a customer support number if they have problems with a product or service and can expect prompt assistance to resolve their problems. While being courteous and professional, good customer service representatives also make efficient use of call or handle times.

AHT is one of many metrics that business owners can use to monitor the performance of their operations and personnel. It demonstrates how effectively a business can manage a large volume of customer calls, which reflects workflow, operational effectiveness, and agent effectiveness. AHT data collection and analysis can assist a business in attracting new clients, retaining existing ones, and achieving greater financial success. Here are some comparable metrics that businesses can use to gauge the quality of their customer service:

AHT monitoring data is used to inform business decisions about hiring and staffing, training initiatives, and organizational structures and resources. For instance, if AHT times are too slow to handle the volume of calls a center is receiving, a supervisor may hire more staff or begin giving teams more thorough training.

What is AHT?

AHT is the typical duration of a customer call transaction. It speaks of how long it typically takes a customer to get in touch with a call center for support with a good, service, or business issue. AHT is a crucial key performance indicator (KPI) for businesses because customers typically want answers to their questions or concerns as soon as possible. It aids businesses in evaluating the general effectiveness and quality of their customer service policies as well as the individual performance of their staff. A low AHT typically satisfies customer needs and enables representatives to assist numerous clients during a shift.

The length of handle times can vary from industry to industry and from customer to customer. Because of this, averaging these times can give a useful overview of a business’s customer calls. Additionally, a lot of businesses offer alternative customer communication channels. It’s advantageous that business executives can use AHT for these strategies as well. They could, for instance, gauge the AHT of channels like:

How to improve AHT

Reduced AHT can be a great way for customer service representatives to perform better, impress their employers, and increase their chances of getting promoted to higher-level positions. It can be a great way to push yourself and inspire yourself to get better at what you do at work. The following eight steps can help you decrease your typical handle time:

1. Determine a benchmark or goal

The first step in raising your own AHT rating is typically to establish a benchmark that you should aim for. Setting a goal is generally a great way to start a plan for a project and increase the likelihood that it will produce the desired result. This is due to the fact that goals offer direction, motivation, and a standard by which to measure your progress. Goals are also dynamic because you can modify them as you go along.

Depending on your job and industry, a good AHT can be any amount of time. Customer service agents in some professions take longer to address customer complaints, especially if they involve complex or high-level issues. For instance, answering a customer question about a smartphone issue might take longer than responding to one about product delivery. Regardless, customer calls may last five to 15 minutes. Select a benchmark, perhaps based on your prior experience or call durations, and keep in mind that you can modify the objective once you learn new information to ensure that it is realistic.

2. Understand the purpose of AHT

It’s crucial to realize that there are additional metrics besides AHT that can be used to evaluate your performance. Due to the potential impact of a single long call on all subsequent data, this metric may have statistical flaws. Additionally, since issues can vary in their complexity, it is inevitable and entirely normal that some customer calls will be longer than others. Use AHT in conjunction with other numerical and qualitative measurements to obtain a thorough understanding of your professional achievements.

3. Track your AHT over a period

Finding a way to measure your average handle time is necessary in order to calculate your AHT. If your company offers any AHT analytics software for employees, ask your manager or the IT department if it does. Through an automated call distribution system, for instance, your computer may already keep track of the times of your phone calls. If there is an application that allows you to view visual charts of your activity, that is especially convenient. If not, the phone itself may have records of call information, such as call time. You could also use online tools or your own timer.

Select a time frame, such as a day, week, or month, over which to track your AHT for the data collection phase. Generally, the longer the period, the more accurate your results can be in terms of statistics. Make sure to keep track of all call-related time, including talk and hold times. You can also keep track of the time spent on post-call processing, or “after-call work,” which may include activities like data entry and updating, setting up follow-ups, and other correspondence.

4. Calculate AHT

Add your total talk time, total hold time, and total after-call work time from the period together to determine your AHT. To determine your AHT result, divide the total by the number of calls you handled. Here is the formula:

Total call volume divided by the average handle time (total talk time plus total hold time plus after-call work time)

Here is what your calculation may look like:

(5,000 minutes + 1,000 minutes + 1,500 minutes) / 625 calls equals the average handle time.

Average handle time = 12 minutes per call

5. Note the causes impacting AHT

Finding your skill gaps and the precise areas where you can improve is the first step in improving in any area. Keep a notebook nearby your desk to record any issues or trends you notice during your daily phone calls. In order to determine what factors raise your AHT, you can also listen to recordings of prior calls. Reviewing the customer feedback mechanisms used by some businesses could provide you with more ideas for improvement. Here are some situations that could slow down a call:

6. Address those issues

Your next step is to address and resolve the top problems affecting your AHT once you have identified them. Try different strategies to shorten hold times, shorten talk times, shorten after-call work times, or increase the number of calls you can handle. For instance, to expedite this process during a real call, practice routing calls to the appropriate departments. You could also develop the following skills:

7. Maintain customer service quality

As a call center agent, there are numerous crucial components to delivering excellent customer service. While many customers seek speed, they also want friendly support. They desire an effective solution to their issue perhaps most of all. Making sure of this is the best way to increase customer satisfaction and positive feedback.

Even if you want to lower your AHT, it’s crucial to keep the caliber of your phone calls. Be patient if customers take a long time to speak and explain their questions and make sure they have plenty of time to do so. You represent your company and speak for it as a representative. Maintaining positive brand recognition and ensuring your company’s financial success require building strong relationships with callers.

8. Talk with management, if necessary

There might be some outside forces that affect your AHT. AHT can occasionally be affected by the design of a company’s support systems. If you’ve tried a number of techniques to lower your rate without success, think about scheduling a meeting with your manager to go over possible solutions. You could share your desire to offer high-quality service and solicit their suggestions on how to do better. You could also recommend adjustments the business could make to the manager or through employee feedback channels. Here are some adjustments that business owners could make to support their agents’ good AHT times:

FAQ

What is AHT and how is it calculated?

AHT is calculated by adding your talk time, hold time, and after-call tasks, then dividing by the total number of calls. That is your average handle time.

What is the meaning of AHT in BPO?

Average Handle Time, also known as AHT, is a metric used in call centers to assess the typical length of a single transaction. Typically, it begins with the customer initiating the interaction and includes all hold time, talk time, and any additional tasks performed throughout the conversation.

What is the AHT for service?

The average amount of time it takes an agent to complete a service call is called the average handle time (AHT). This includes wait times, genuine customer conversations, and any necessary follow-ups.

What is average handle time AHT?

The term “average handle time” (AHT) describes the total amount of time each contact center agent spends speaking with each customer. This includes hold time, time spent completing forms or other tasks as a result of the conversation, as well as the length of the conversation itself. An average is then taken from this total to determine how much time each agent spends on each customer.

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