10 Tips for Cutting Down on Average Call Handle Time
Disclaimer: The goal of decreasing the average call handle time should be carefully achieved without sacrificing quality.
Call centers use various methods to assess performance and make decisions on work optimization. Reducing average handle time (AHT) is one of them. This post will focus on ways to reduce this indicator, which is critical for providing excellent customer service.
What is AHT?
Average handle time is a period that includes the time a caller spends on hold, the actual talk with an agent, and the time that the agent spends after the call to wrap up the details. The average AHT is calculated by dividing the total time spent on inbound calls by the number of those calls.
Decrease your AHT without quality loss
Customers appreciate fast and competent phone service. Satisfied customers are likely to buy from you again and to be loyal. Shortening the time on the phone attracts clients. However, make sure the quality of help is not worsening. Making your agents hurry up creates stress and additional pressure on them, leading to neglected details of inbound requests and overall customer dissatisfaction. While making your agents work faster, provide them with a relevant knowledge base and tools, and monitor the quality of phone consultations.
The following tips may work well for the AHT improvement plan:
1. Train your staff
The more efficiently your agents speak to leads, the more money is brought to the company. The shorter the AHT, the more calls that can be handled. Make a comprehensive and easily accessible knowledge base available to your employees. Plan soft skills training and listening workshops for them. Create a mentoring program for new employees to make their plunge into working activities fast and productive. Provide your staff with the best tools and programs to help them with their work and allow them to resolve all tickets on the first response.
2. Update the scripts regularly
Perfection is a never-ending process. Even if it appears that all possible requests have been addressed, something unexpected may arise. Look through the scripts regularly and add any information that seems relevant or remove time-wasting stuff. Ask your agents how they deal with every request and optimize the texts accordingly. The best solution is to have separate scripts for newcomers and for more experienced team members.
3. Create convenient working conditions for the agents
Ask your employees what kind of improvements they need. Monitor their shifts and do not make them overwork and burn out. Motivation is a working tool for performance improvement. Make the working environment pleasant for your team.
4. Provide your agents with handy tools
It is always preferable to cut after-call time rather than the actual conversation with a client. Therefore, make sure your agents can cope with the corporate CRM system easily. Show them various techniques of shorthand to speed up the process of taking notes.
5. Utilize peer correction and mentoring
Managers and team leaders have much knowledge and can teach newbies many useful hints. Peer correction, on the other hand, can be beneficial for teambuilding and maintaining a positive work environment. Allow your most experienced agents to show novices how they handle job processes.
6. Record calls and listen to them
Call recording is a simple yet effective marketing method. It enables managers to evaluate the performance of the agents and to understand the general attitude of the target audience towards the product or service. On the other hand, call recordings are excellent learning tools for the team. Agents are more likely to detect their flaws and concentrate on improving them if they have the opportunity to listen to the talk again.
7. Implement an IVR menu
Think of ways to minimize the workload for your agents. In other words, let your customers deal with their queries by themselves, leaving a phone call for more critical situations. A well-designed IVR menu is capable of dealing with the most common tasks automatically. However, before implementing an IVR, a lot of research needs to be carried out to understand what requests can be delegated to a virtual assistant.
8. Use call routing effectively
Another way of providing callers with competent advice is by transferring them directly to experts related to their questions. It works both ways: customers do not have to repeat their cases to each new agent, while agents know what kind of issue they will be dealing with at the next call. Call routing also enables your agents to work in shifts, providing 24/7 support for the clients if it is required.
9. Provide your customers with sufficient available information
Make your agents work less. Modern clients prefer to find the information themselves rather than call and ask for help. Phone talks are no longer a trend. Therefore, the best you can do for your agents is to offer your customers as much information as possible on your website. Add useful content and improve the FAQs section. You can expand your contact options by including an online chat, SMS messages, and social media messengers. You will reduce the amount of clients that call this manner, giving them additional convenient contact channels. Omnichannel contact centers seem rather challenging to implement, but their performance results can be very productive.
10. Keep an eye on other call center KPIs
Average call handle time is not the only informative metric. The performance of any call center should be measured with other indicators as well. Careful monitoring of all the activities within a call center allows for the timely identification of gaps and the implementation of relevant measures.
Reducing your call center’s average call handle time without sacrificing quality is the best you can do for its reputation. Callers benefit from short handle times because they receive competent information quickly. The image of a productive call center leads to happy clients and higher revenues.
The Dialics call tracking software offers a solution for call centers that can improve performance indicators and facilitate routine processes. If you are interested in implementing our product, please contact our team.