Improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction by lowering AHT
Average Handle Time (AHT) measures the average duration of communication between an agent and a customer. Keeping this metric down is associated with a more positive customer service experience and enables your agents to handle more calls during a single shift. But how can you reduce your agents’ AHT? Read on to find out.
1. Record all calls
Recording calls enables you to analyze your agents’ performance. This will enable you to identify individual weaknesses and correct training issues. Whether you agent is not listening to the problem, struggling to control the call, or is babbling instead of talking to the point, if the call is recorded, you and your agents can listen and learn how to optimize future calls.
2. Gather all relevant information at the start of the call
To best resolve any customer issue, it is important that your agents gather as much relevant information as possible, as soon as the call begins and the agent is notified of the reason for the call. It is much more efficient to load any potentially helpful information at the start, instead of having to wait for specific information to gradually filter in.
3. Use cheat sheets
Creating cheat sheets for popular call subjects can streamline the entire call handling process. At the same time, these script-like detailing of common call cases should be regularly re-assessed to ensure that only essential content is included. In addition, your agents should be using the cheat sheets as guides, not as a text they must read out verbatim, or else their active listening and subsequently, their performance will likely decline.
4. Create a handling protocol
Adhering to a general handling protocol can enhance call flow and reduce AHT. The following flow is particularly helpful:
- Recognize – the customer’s need. Verbalize this understanding.
- Respond – to the customer’s question, directly.
- Request – what can your agent do to move the call forward?
5. Identify silent times
Figuring out when and why your agents are being silent during calls can enable you to teach them more effective call management techniques and by extension, reduce silent times and AHT. And if your agents absolutely must go silent to update the system or search for a resolution to the customer’s query, customers should be kept in the loop with a simple apology. It’s the nice thing to do.
6. Analyze knowledge gaps
Identifying and analyzing where gaps in knowledge exist between agents can help managers. implement precise training sessions to bridge gaps and ensure all your agents are equipped with the same knowledge. Empower your agents by educating them correctly to ensure that they know how to efficiently handle customer calls. Teach your agents to always give the customer the option to hold or receive a call back (An automatic call distributor can also be used), demonstrating the call center’s care for its customers.
That way, whenever a call comes in, your agents will be ready to respond.
7. Create a dedicated knowledge base
If agents can quickly access relevant information that will help them answer customer queries efficiently, they will be able to better manage their handle time. This can be enabled by creating a single, comprehensive and up-to-date digital knowledge base. Your agents will be able to quickly check the knowledge base to find the right answer to many customer queries, reducing AHT.
8. Ensure your team has enough floor walkers
Having enough floor walkers on shift can reduce the time your customers spend on hold while your agents wait for help. This is because they can provide your agents with the back-up assistance they need to locate answers to your customers’ queries quicker.
9. Provide customers with a content-rich company website
Creating and promoting a company website that is rich in clear content and correctly answered FAQs can potentially keep customers from needing to call for service in the first place. This is because providing them with the information to help themselves will either help them resolve their problem on their own or enable them to clarify their need for a shorter, more productive customer call.
Et Voila! Now you can get started on reducing AHT at your call center.