For today’s businesses, maintaining a loyal customer base is much more inexpensive as compared to finding new customers. A high customer turnover rate can cost a huge amount as businesses need to find new customers. So, what leads to an increased customer turnover? Well, several factors are responsible for increased customer turnover. One of the key reasons behind a high customer turnover rate is the Average Handling Time (AHT). In this blog, you will get to know what is average handle time and tips to reduce it.
The purpose of Average Handling Time
Average handle Time or AHT is an important call center metric in which the point of contact is instantaneous such as phone calls and live chat. The purpose of AHT is to measure the average time customers spend on a call or chat. This time is inclusive of hold time as well as a conversation time. The AHT can be calculated as:
AHT=Total talk time + total hold time + total wrap time/number of calls handled.
Reasons that cause a high AHT
A lack of awareness and inefficient processes are the main reason behind an increased AHT rate. Other reasons that might contribute to a high AHT include:
- Inexperienced customer service agents
- Lack of automation or absence of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system
- Not reviewing calls and other processes
- Ineffective call routing
Tips to reduce AHT
Now that you know what exactly AHT is and how it is calculated, you must know the ways to reduce AHT. Here are some of the key tips to follow:
1. Automate frequently asked queries:
In today’s time, more and more businesses are moving towards automated processes to save their time as well as resources. Automation greatly helps in enhancing the way businesses work. Businesses that get frequent, simple questions or queries can route the customer’s calls via an automated system and let a computer deliver the correct information.
2. Perform call recording and reviewing:
Recording every call can provide businesses with enough information that can help them in improving their AHT. To improve the AHT, businesses must review each recorded call. A regular call reviewing process can help to determine the areas where improvement is required and necessary actions can be taken immediately.
3. Allow using scripts:
Call centers must allow their employees to use the scripts as these are the best way to ensure that all the customer service representatives are on the same page and consistent in their service. They must also be well trained to go off-script and handle the customer’s query or issue in the best possible way if the situation demands it.
4. Provide frequent training:
Well-trained employees who are aware of the latest technologies and techniques are more efficient and intuitive in their phone calls as compared to non-trained employees. This further helps in improving the AHT. Therefore, businesses must arrange frequent training sessions for their employees that must include case studies, role playing, and other effective practical training.
5. Employ IVR system:
An IVR or Interactive Voice Response system is a highly efficient and useful tool for businesses. It helps in improving customer experience and agent efficiency. With the help of an IVR system, customer calls can be diverted to the specific department or agent that can best meet their requirements. When customers get their queries resolved immediately, they feel more satisfied. This way, the IVR system helps in reducing customer frustration as well as AHT.
6. Review and analyze your workflow:
Businesses must review and analyze their workflows and other processes on a frequent basis. It is important to know how the current system is working and what improvements can be introduced to make the system even better.
7. Provide complete product knowledge to your employees:
Along with practical knowledge, businesses must make sure to provide complete product or service knowledge to their employees. If employees are not aware of the products and services, they may end up with a frustrated customer and increased AHT. Therefore, to reduce AHT and create a satisfactory customer experience, businesses must educate their employees about their products and services.
8. Get customer feedback:
Customer feedback is the most genuine and valuable tool that lets businesses know how they are working. It is vital to send a customer satisfaction survey to determine the areas of weakness. It will help in making the required changes and improving the AHT.
9. Get employee feedback:
Taking employee feedback is as important as getting customer feedback. Ask your employees if they are facing any issues. Get ideas from them to improve customer service processes. Ask them if they require any kind of training that can help them in enhancing their productivity and efficiency.
10. Create a user-friendly website:
A user-friendly and informative website could greatly reduce the time of employees that they spend on customer service calls. Businesses must improve the design and content of their website so that customers can get most of their answers by visiting the website itself.
So, now you know what is average handle time and the ways to reduce it. By following all the above-mentioned tips, you can maintain a low AHT while ensuring better employee performance and an improved customer satisfaction score (CSAT).