What Is Wrap Time and How Can I Reduce It?

A yellow clock face is in the corner, against a blue background

We define what is meant by wrap time in the contact centre, before sharing great ways to support your team to reduce it.

What is Wrap Time?

The time spent by a contact centre advisor doing after-call work (ACW) once they have concluded an interaction.

Wrap time, otherwise known as “wrapping-up time” or “wrap-up time”, is the time spent by a contact centre advisor doing after-call work (ACW) once they have concluded an interaction.

When the call is over and the customer is no longer involved, wrap time is still considered part of the interaction, as the advisor is still working on the customer’s query. It is therefore factored into Average Handling Time (AHT).

The ACW that advisors will be doing in wrap time includes logging contact reasons and outcomes and scheduling follow-ups and similar actions, as well as updating other team members.

Why Is Wrap Time Important?

Wrap time can be an important metric in a call centre as it helps to identify the proportion of an interaction that is customer-facing.

While AHT is a measure of your total investment of time, separating wrap time shows the customer’s investment of time.

A picture of the pattern of an advisor's working day

This chart shows the cycle of an advisor’s working day – from available, to engaging with the customer, to wrap time, then back to available again and so on.

Wrap time is a measure that many contact centres look to lower, in the hope of reducing overall AHT without negatively influencing the customer’s experience directly, as the customer is not involved.

The benefit to lowering AHT is that we can better maximize our service level, but we need to be careful in how we do this, even with wrap time…

Why Should We Be Careful Before Looking to Reduce Wrap Time?

Ensuring adequate wrap time between calls has two key benefits. The first is in ensuring the data that advisors are entering into the contact centre system is reliable, while the second is in removing pressure that might negatively influence performance.

Building on this second point, let’s consider the impact on the quality of overall work if advisors are stressed by the fast pace of calls.

The key to reducing wrap time is to do so without pressuring advisors, so we don’t impact the quality of their output or their morale.

So, the key to reducing wrap time in a call centre is to do so without pressuring advisors, so we don’t impact the quality of their output or their morale. We have to keep an eye on balancing advisor needs against call volumes.

Keeping this balance is much easier said than done, and it may be easier to allow advisors to self-monitor, or to enforce constraints only for limited periods of high volume.

How to Calculate Wrap Time

Before we share some great ways to lower wrap time, and consequently AHT, without pressuring advisors, we need to know how to calculate and track wrap time.

The formula to calculate wrap time is as follows:

Wrap Time = Total Wrap Time  ÷ Number of Calls

Image showing Wrap Time Formula

Yet, while we can do this manually, trace reports should give the wrap times automatically, across different advisors and contact reasons.

While it will be difficult to track one or two individual examples of long wrap times, as they will vary largely due to the nature of the call, these reports will provide you with an average wrap time for each advisor.

By having averages for each advisor, you will gather information as to which individuals may be struggling to log and schedule their actions or those just looking for an extra little break.

What Impacts the Length of Wrap Time?

There is no industry standard for wrap time in a call centre, with there being a wide variability between different centres.

But why is this?

Well, there are number of factors that influence how long an advisor takes to complete their ACW, and below we have four examples of  why your wrap times may be longer or shorter than other contact centres.

i. Sector and Contact Type – Across different sectors, the percentage of complex calls will change and, generally, the more complex the call, the longer the wrap time.

For example, wrap time in a technical support centre will likely be much larger than in a retail contact centre that will typically handle more simple transactional contacts.

ii. Contact Centre Technology and Self-Service – The quicker your contact centre systems, the quicker your advisors can complete their ACW, while you can also use technology to automate some of the work that advisors do in wrap time.

A photo of someone in a happy running pose

The quicker your contact centre systems, the quicker your advisors can complete their ACW, while you can also use technology to automate some of the work that advisors do in wrap time.

Having great self-service systems in place will also impact wrap time, but in the opposite way, as you take away those simple transactional contacts, meaning that wrap times will increase.

While it is great to have these self-service systems in place, they can make the advisor role more complex, as they can’t use those basic calls as a “breather”, resulting in longer talk and wrap times.

iii. Internal Processes – It is common for contact centres to ask advisors to enter additional information, as well as just the necessary, after a call and this will prolong wrap time.

For example, maybe the advisor recognizes that an article in the knowledge base needs updating during a call. So, after their call, they update it themselves or put in a request for that information to be reviewed – that would increase wrap time significantly.

iv. Advisor Behaviour – While some advisors may just be new or slower at typing, there will likely be those that see wrap time as a time to gain an extra few moments before being made available for another contact.

5 Safe Ways to Reduce Wrap Time

Now we know what impacts wrap time, you will likely already have some ideas for how to lower it in your contact centre, without pressuring advisors.

But just in case you are still looking for some inspiration, here are five ideas that we would recommend for lowering wrap time while positively impacting the advisor experience.

1. Speed up Your Computer System

Slow computer systems are a key culprit in long wrap-up times. Yet modern CRM systems automatically update call logs based on keywords, which can help to reduce the time spent wrapping up.

Most systems can allocate a set amount of wrap-up time after each call, setting a consistent pace over the floor.

Thumbnail image of Frank Sherlock

Frank Sherlock

Improving our contact centre systems can also reduce wrap times in other ways too. Think about screen recording technology and how useful that can be to find where advisors might be struggling with ACW.

“By looking at screen recordings, and also listening to the talk time beforehand, supervisors can identify if advisors need additional training or if there are other problems affecting their performance and ACW times,” adds Frank Sherlock, VP International at CallMiner.

2. Complete Some ACW During the Contact

Advisors can be trained to complete some of their wrap-up work while still on the call, in those moments when customers are looking for something, for example, so as not to harm call quality.

We can do things like entering the customer’s reason for calling directly into the CRM system.

Although we can’t complete all of our ACW until the end of the contact, we can do things like entering the customer’s reason for calling directly into the CRM system.

Also, one similar technique that can lower wrap time overall is to make notes during the call, particularly if it is a complex call, so the agent can just type them up afterwards, without having to think back over the actions that they have taken.

3. Teach Advisors to Use Abbreviations

What do we do to speed up our messaging outside of work? We use abbreviations.

Who hasn’t typed “lol” instead of laughed out loud? “OMG” instead of oh my god? Or “BTW” instead of by the way? It really helps us to get to the point quicker.

So, let’s bring this principle into the contact centre and use appropriate acronyms in our ACW to speed up wrap time.

Here’s a few common examples of contact centre abbreviations for you to try out:

Abbreviation Meaning
CUST Customer
DOB Date Of Birth
FONE Telephone
@ At
< / > Less Than / More Than

Just make sure that all of your abbreviations are well taught to advisors and included in a style guide, so that advisors don’t start to use their own, which a future user may not understand.

For more examples of abbreviations that you can use in ACW, read our article: Call Centre Abbreviations to Speed up Wrap Time

4. Put an End to Wrap Time Misuse

There are many tricks that certain advisors use to reduce their time on the phone. We will have all come across occasions where advisors round up breaks, take a tactical toilet time out or sit on a call where the customer has forgotten to hang up.

However, a couple of the most common sneaky advisor tricks are related to wrap time.

Advisors could be using wrap time to check the football score or send a personal message. This is all while pretending to take notes or update the CRM.

For example, as we have no way of directly monitoring the team, advisors could be using wrap time to check the football score or send a personal message. This is all while pretending to take notes or update the CRM.

To spot this we can use screen recordings and trace reports, but misuse of wrap-up codes might also indicate an advisor who needs extra support dealing with after-call work.

In either scenario, alerts can be set up to signal prolonged wrap-up times or we can tell advisors that we look at the breakdown of handling times, without setting targets, as a means of dissuading negative behaviour.

5. Look to Technology to Automate ACW

By building robotic process automation (RPA) into your CRM system, you can reduce call wrap time by automatically filling in required fields in customer data or call records.

A thumbnail picture of Brent Bischoff

Brent Bischoff

“RPA takes away the admin from the advisor, allowing them to focus on delivering a positive customer experience,” Brent Bischoff, Cloud and Data Services Consultant at Business Systems.

Also, according to Brent, RPA can send automated messages to departments or customers after a call, to save advisors from manually updating colleagues and customers while taking large chunks off your wrap time.

In Summary

Wrap time is the period of time following a customer–advisor conversation, when the advisor completes their ACW. As the customer is still working on the customer’s query, wrap time is still considered to be part of AHT.

However, many contact centres choose to split AHT into talk, hold and wrap time, to get a wider view of what proportion of AHT is customer-facing.

This proportion and the length of wrap time is a product of a number of different factors, including technology, contact type and internal processes.

Knowing this will help you to devise safe ways of reducing wrap time without pressuring advisors to rush through their ACW, which is not good for their morale or the quality of information that is being entered into your contact centre systems.

If are looking for ideas to reduce wrap time in your contact centre, think carefully about the five ideas presented in this article and which would best suit your operation.

Good luck!

For more on reducing other parts of your contact centre’s handle times, read our articles:

Author: Charlie Mitchell
Reviewed by: Megan Jones

Published On: 8th Apr 2020 - Last modified: 13th Jun 2024
Read more about - Call Centre Management, , , , , ,

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