What is Average Handle Time (AHT) | Calculation & Tips to Reduce

On this page check what is average handle time. Learn how AHT can help your business, check why average handle time is important, how to calculate it and tips to lower AHT.

July 17, 2023

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8 Minutes

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Author at SquadStack - Himanshu Bajpai

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Average Handling Time (AHT) is a metric that measures the duration of customer call transactions which initiate until their call ends, including all hold times and transfers after-call works. Average handle time (AHT) is one of the more sought-after metrics among customer support and service teams.

Average Handle Time(AHT) is used in Call Centers to calculate the average duration of interactions, generally phone calls. AHT contains everything a customer needs on their call, including any wait time between agents answering it and after-call work completed by agents. Average Handle Time (AHT) is defined as a metric that measures the duration of customer interactions in a call center, including talk time, hold time and follow ups. It provides valuable insights into efficiency, performance and data-driven decision making. It can be reduced through effective call flows, agent training, process streamlining and continuous improvement.

This post explains average handle time, formula, definition, how to calculate it, and every tiny detail about it.

What is Average Handle Time in BPO or Call center?

Average Handle Time (AHT) in BPO or call center is an indicator used in call centers service environments to measure the average duration of customer interactions from when an inquiry is initially answered to completion. AHT provides an efficient measure for calculating operations efficiency.

A Low AHT generally indicates Average Handle Time (AHT) generally indicates a fast and efficient calling process by agents- leading to reduce client wait times and costs and improved efficiency overall for an organization.

AHT must be balanced against metrics like first call resolution rate and customer satisfaction ratings to preserve service quality without sacrificing handling speed for shorter handling times.

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Why is Average Handle Time Important?

Average Handle Time (AHT) is important as it gives important information on how efficient and fulfilling your brand customer experience and interactions are. As a result, if you want to improve how customers connect with your brand, you should measure this metric.

Because it considers what matters most to consumers, their time and average handling time are important CSAT service metrics. Nowadays, customers expect immediate support when seeking assistance. By measuring average handle time you can monitor whether your customer service team meets this expectation - and if not, adjust its support and service offers accordingly.

Reducing AHT means your service team is more productive, as customers spend less time talking with your representatives, and cases are solved at an increased pace. Improves both their customer experience and gives your representative room to take on more work in their daily workflow.

Now that you understand why average handle time is such an essential customer service metric, you may wish to learn how to calculate it for your service channels.

What is sales funnel?

How to Calculate Average Handle Time?

Below is the formula you can use to calculate AHT in your business.

  • To calculate Average Handle Time (AHT) on phone channels, divide the sum of all talk, hold, and follow-up time by your total call volume.
  • Follow-up time refers to the time required to contact customers if their case wasn't resolved during initial phone or chat contact; in terms of chats, add total chat follow-up time.
  • Then divide by the total number chatted; combine the total time spent per case for web and email tickets, then divide by the total caseload number.

Average Handle Time (AHT) = Talk + Hold + Follow up/Total Number of Calls

How to calculate Average Handle Time (AHT)
Image - How to calculate Average Handle Time (AHT)

While the math may remain relatively consistent, your average handle time formula variables will depend on your chosen communication medium. For example, let's say I offer phone support options and email and chat support options - using similar yet slightly differing formulae; we could calculate an Average Handle Time (AHT) value for each channel separately.

What is Sales in BPO?

Average Handle Time Calculator

To calculate Average Handle Time (AHT), follow these steps:

Set a time duration for each customer interaction. This should include talk time, hold time and after-call work time. Total the duration of all interactions by counting their total number, then dividing by that total duration if applicable.

Calculation of AHT can be achieved using this formula:

AHT = (Total Talk Time + Hold Time + Follow up) / Total Number of Calls

Imagine a total talk time of 200 minutes, a hold time of 30 minutes, an after-call work time of 20 minutes and 100 customer interactions.

AHT = 200 + 30 + 20 divided by 100 minutes to get 2.5 minutes for AHT to finish processing the order.

Therefore, the average handling time would be 2.5 minutes in this instance.

What is a Good Average Handle Time

A good average handle time depends on your industry averages and customer demands. When below or at average industry levels, clients experience quick solutions, while when your ticket close times are higher than industry norms, further evaluation may be necessary to identify potential growth opportunities within your processes.

Evaluating average handle time against metrics like customer satisfaction is important in providing a holistic assessment of support practices and determining if clients are happy with what they receive as help from you.

If your business seems to be falling below industry standards, look at this section for tips that could reduce average handle time at your company.

Tips to Lower Average Handling Time (AHT)

Businesses often struggle to reduce average handle time but rarely see effective results. While no shortcut exists for meeting customer demands quickly, your team can take measures that speed the delivery of solutions faster. Below are a few average handle time tips you can implement for creating faster customer experiences with support and service teams.

Below are the tips mentioned on Average Handle Time:

Provide Proactive Customer Service:

Proactive customer service can help reduce average handling times by giving support without consumer outreach. This is done when clients already know who to turn to when they need help!

Create Guides for Representatives:

Just because clients have access to a knowledge base doesn't mean your customer service team doesn't need guidelines. It is necessary to create an internal knowledge base with guides only visible to representatives so when customers call with those frequently asked questions, your representative will know just what to say/do for each case.

Utilize customer service tools:

Customer service representatives appreciate devices that make their lives easier at work. Give your team a tech advantage with additional troubleshooting options such as:

  • Screen-sharing
  • API goggles
  • Ticket automation.

How to Reduce Average Handle Time

As a call center agent or representative, there are various approaches you can use to reduce average handling time (AHT) without diminishing customer service quality:

  1. Improve Agent Training
  2. Simplify Processes
  3. Record Phone Calls
  4. Consider using Scripts
  5. Use an Interactive Voice Response(IVR)
  6. Encourage Product Knowledge
  7. Get Customer Feedback
  8. Ask Call Centers Agents for Input
  9. Pay attention to new Staff
  10. Create a list of troubleshooting
  11. Shorten Call Greetings
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Other Important SquadStack Pages

Understanding the Different Types of Call Centers

What is the Quality Assurance Process of BPO?

How To Leverage Customer Service Outsourcing To Grow Better?

Advantages and Disadvantages of BPO

FAQ's

Why is AHT important in a Call Center?

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Average Handling Time (AHT) is important in call centers because it measures agents’ productivity. AHT allows managers to monitor the performance of call centers more efficiently while identifying areas of improvement.

What factors can impact AHT?

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Many factors can affect AHT, including the complexity of calls handled during calls, call volume, system performance, call routing efficiency and the complexity of tasks handled on calls.

How can AHT be reduced without compromising service quality?

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Reducing AHT can result in shorter customer wait times, higher customer satisfaction levels, improved efficiency and productivity, and an ability to handle higher call volumes.

Can AHT be different for different types of customers?

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Yes, AHT may vary for various types of customers. More time is needed for complex issues and further investigation, and customers with special requirements might require extra consideration to be prompt.

What are the potential benefits of reducing AHT?

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Reducing AHT may bring many advantages, including shorter customer wait times, improved satisfaction ratings, lower call costs per call resolution rate, and the capacity to handle higher call volumes.

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