KMS Lighthouse share insights into reducing contact centre handling times.
Average handle time (AHT) is one of the top call centre metrics for measuring efficiency. How does your organization handle call centre AHT while providing customers with superior service?
Have you developed ways to improve average handle time? What techniques have you put in place to reduce call queuing time? Are they working?
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your average call time, we have you covered.
Focus on Agent Training
Consistent training covering topics such as:
- Business tools
- Call centre software
- The help desk
- Typical call scenarios
…and your organization’s CRM (customer relationship management) help reduce AHT.
Agents should know how to access the knowledge base to get the latest, most accurate information they need to answer customers’ questions. They must have in-depth knowledge of the company’s products and services so callers never doubt they’re getting the right response.
A great way to coach agents is by using pre-recorded calls (good and not-so-good), to see how they can better resolve a problem in the least amount of time possible.
Evaluate Call Types
Call centres receive all types of calls, from general queries to serious complaints.
When measuring AHT in a call centre, you must take into consideration the nature of each call. Some calls will need more time; others much less. Be sure to factor this when determining an agent’s productivity.
Match the Caller to the Right Agent
One of the best ways to improve AHT is to route to the most knowledgeable and skilled agent for a customer’s specific question or issue. Call centre software reduces AHT by ensuring calls are optimally routed. This significantly reducing transfers and customer frustration.
First-Call Resolution Goals
Your call centre first responders are some of the most valuable members of your team. Don’t leave them without the information they require to do a first-class job.
Resolving customer issues on the first call helps avoid repeat calls. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is by investing in a call centre knowledge system. It organizes and optimizes operations by providing agents with the precise answers they need to shorten call times and AHT.
Invest in a Call Centre Knowledge Management System
“It’s a rare day when the customer contacts the call centre and they know who the customer is, or what they want,” says customer experience futurist/author Blake Morgan.
What to do? Give your agents the knowledge they need.
A knowledge management system provides instant access to consolidated resources agents need. It captures, organizes, and analyses data for shared intelligence. This improves AHT through best-practice implementation and builds stronger customer loyalty.
It can also reduce agent training time and provide you with the data you need to more accurately measure agent performance.
How to Reduce Average Handling Time Without Sacrificing Quality
Your customers want relevant yet quick responses. You need to deliver quality experiences while avoiding drawn-out, costly service interactions. Reducing AHT is critical to delivering great customer experiences, but you need a strategic approach.
As you adopt new ways for improving AHT, remember the emphasis on speed is an important and often necessary call centre metric. But lower AHT doesn’t always indicate success. Calls must also be monitored for quality.
If call centre agents are expected to meet a set maximum handling time, they may try to rush a customer through the process. That can result in repeat calls, customer dissatisfaction, and loss of customer loyalty.
Improving AHT is not about cutting corners. It’s a method to optimize your call centre processes and improve the customer experience. When analysing AHT data, be sure to keep an eye on satisfaction metrics.
Yes, speed and quality are tough to balance, but quality should always be the top priority. These tips should help you meet AHT goals without compromising the great experience your customers expect.