Highlighting Accurate Handling Times to colleagues and management

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Trying to highlight the importance of Accurate Handling Times to colleagues and managment
Hi All,

Currently working on the challenge of us getting accurate handling times within the call centre for all our different tasks.

The system we are using does give us a ATT (Average Talk Time) and also it gives us a 'Wrap' Total time however the system doesn't differentiate on what type of call that wrap links to, I.E Sales, Complaint, Customer Service/support and seems to include a lot of false data with agents not using the correct codes (an ongoing training plan hopes to rectify this)

The other issue which i'm battling is that the managers have always been told to make people available as much as possible, this means agents will finish a call and make themselves available straight away for the next call and come back and complete tasks at quiter times or in their idle time. I've pointed out this is massively unhelpful as we then don't know the actual time it takes to handle a call. Completing the task in idle is great at quiet times, but when we become busy and call after call it obviously casuses a huge problem because we don't have the correct resource and everyone is unavailable in wrap all of a sudden and the idle time never happens.

Historically I think they've always had so many people that this is not a problem, now we are growing fast we're going from being 'over staffed' to actually needing to be smart with resource.

Of course the more people available means that there is more idle/wait time between calls for agents to complete tasks. however I'm currently stuck trying to get the point cross that we need the agents to actually use their wrap codes even at quiet times (when wrap/ACW is needed) so that I can at least try and work out accurate handling times.

The problem is we do this and with home working we then see agents 'taking excessive amounts, possibly taking the mick' and/or everyone is then in wrap not enough agents available to handle the calls causing management to panic (the exact problem i'm trying to fix and understand) and we go back to making people available and hoping its quiet later in the day (sometimes we have no quiet times and end up with agents having to take time of the phone to 'catch up').

The ideal situation is we are trying to get agents to complete all their notes with the client on the phone, so the client knows things have been done and actioned. (For example they will see the confirmation come through while they are on the phone) but this can't always be the case.

Can anyone think of a way to try and explain this perhaps better than I have been to management so they understand the importance of getting the correct handling times so that we can resource effectively for times when our agents will be call after call and don't have the joy of idle time to complete notes.

Our agents are multiskilled and will work across several phones lines and will also complete emails between calls (email handling times don't pause for calls or while agents are completing after call work, causing yet another handling time headache)

I've completed time in motion studies but very tricky now with home working and I found to much variance between the staff I sat with at the time. And with covid effecting the type of contacts/clients we receive I'd need to a time in motion nearly every couple days just to react to the new challenges.

Any advise how I can best approach this and perhaps make it more understandable for colleagues who are not used to resourcing and the importance of these kind of metrics and way of thinking


Call Centre Helper

Why do you need accurate handling times?
The key question is why do you need accurate handling times?

AHT is best used as a metric for planning staffing needs in a WFM or an Erlang Calculator.

It can also be useful as a guide for deciding which calls to monitor for quality purposes (e.g. long calls, short calls etc).

But as for an agent measurement this has been generally discredited as it drives the wrong behaviours. Just because AHT is easy to get hold of does not make it a good measure.

The issue here seems to be that agents are skipping wrap up as they feel that skipping note taking and rushing through the next call is preferable.

It would be much better to measure quality scores.

So if you focussed on quality scores and made note taking a key factor in quality scores you would start to drive a different behaviour.

The debate the comes to a trade off for the supervisors between improving service level (answering more calls quickly) and improving quality scores and improving first contact resolution.

Lots of studies show that people are happy to wait longer if they can get their problem resolved.

So I would suggest ditching AHT related to an individual agent and start focussing on what happens on a call.

This can be done through call listening and screen recording.

If you are looking to make this easier to manage then it would be well worth looking at a call analytics solution.

We are looking at it froming a resource point of view
Hi jonty,

This is looking at it from my point of view as the resource planner.

At the minute we have no WFM still so I use an erlang calculator alongside a few other things I have built in excel to try and make sure we have enough staff for all our different queues. This includes a schedule where we can set agents tasks over 15 minute intervals.

At the minute the AHT I have in is based of ATT plus a bit extra to facilitate wrap, the way i've been checking it is working out roughly how many hours we have planned/working on a task/ divided by the amount of calls we complete, but this doesn't factor the time those agents are idle or there are periods with just no calls to complete.

I've worked out its around 8/9 calls per hour at a busy point in the day (but this is not consistent due to to type of call changing through the day). I've got to this using a simple Number of agents on the phone over that period/calls answered (this also only works if you know its been call after call without periods of idle).

My theory is if agents use the wrap even at quiet times we will always know the true handling time of a call so regardless as to whther we are overstaffed we can resource correctly and not get caught out, because all of a sudden our '5 minute handling time' at quiet periods is not a 8 minute handling time because agents need to use wrap up because they wont have a quiet period to do it later in idle time.

Quality wise I agree that we don't want handling time to be somekind of metric that agents feel they need to keep up with, esepcially at cost to customer service (something that was used as a key quality factor in my previous employment). But without knowing how long the work takes the task of making sure we have staff in the right place is proving very tricky.

We are running what good looks like sessions at the moment which we hope will try and get everyone working similar processes and sharing knowledge so hopefully agents become more consistent and also efficient themselves.



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