How to Reduce Call Handling Times (AHT)

Regardless of the size or type of contact center, reducing call handling time (AHT) is always a priority. It’s a metric that can be adjusted in the right direction through a combination of better technology, better training and better agents.

Here are 5 tips that can help your call center enjoy the lower associated costs and customer service benefits that result from shorter call handling times.

1. Prioritizing with Agents

A lot is asked of call center agents, so AHT risks becoming just one more consideration to keep in mind during each shift. Managers must stress the importance of this specific metric, and the vital role it plays in forecasting and scheduling, not to mention making the customers happier by concluding their business more quickly.

2. Targeted Coaching

Make AHT a priority in coaching sessions as well. Call recording can help with this; review recorded calls and discuss with the agent how a call could have been shortened, perhaps by anticipating questions, by providing more concise answers to product questions, or by being more assertive.

3. An Effective Workforce Management Solution

Agents can only do so much to lower AHT without the help of an effective workforce management solution. Utilized correctly, it can help with skills-based routing, which is an effective means of delivering better handle times.

4. Check and Recheck

The objective is to never stop improving, and that means regular re-evaluation of agents and systems (a quality monitoring solution can play a key role here). Encourage agent feedback as well.

5. Reward Excellence

Make sure the agents that have hit or surpassed the call center’s AHT goals are acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts. That will keep them working hard and also inspire other agents to follow their example.