How to reduce the pain of high Average Handling time

Posted by ICCS-BPO on Saturday 10th of February 2018

BPO industry has its own kinds of metrics or say components (these act as instruments to measure) to evaluate their efficiency and productivity. One of such important component of evaluation of quality calls is known as ‘Average Holding time’.

In this article we will dive into this particular component to check why Average Handling Time should be as minimum as possible.

What do you mean by Average Handling Time ?

‘Average Handling Time’ is the summation of the entire process of receiving a call till concluding the call from a customer by the inbound call center or inbound telemarketing companies. It does not only count the receiving of the call from a customer, but also considers the time when a customer is made to hold on a call-the whole time of conversation with the customers till the time the transaction is completed and the customer hung up the call.

Why Average Handling Time is important ?

The ‘Average Handling Time’ indicates how much time is taken by an inbound call centre agent to handle the call and fix the problem raised by the customer. This indicates the efficiency of the inbound call centre employees as a whole and also helps to plan tasks better.

Two components that are not included while calculating Average Handling Time are:

Ring time and queue time. These two are included in the calculation of Average call Duration.

Formula for Average Handling Time (AHT):

Average Handling Time:

(Total time of talking + Total time of holding + Total time of wrap-up)/Total number of calls handled

Now that we are quite sure and clear about what Average Handling Time is all about, we can dig a little deeper into the subject of the same.

High Average Handling Time is not desirable for the inbound call centre or telemarketing service providers. Because it means, an agent takes more time to conclude one call and thus the productivity of that person declines because he would not be able to handle more calls in a day if the Average Holding Time is high at his end.

It is also important to note that while the inbound call centre or tech support employees try to keep the customers on hold so that they can transfer the call to another more experienced agent, the customer might get annoyed. Because customers who call the call centres to seek help for their problem would want to resolve their problem as soon as possible and not to hold. Thus, an increased AHT would hamper the customer satisfaction too!

So, the wise decision that can be taken by the inbound tech support or Inbound call centres is to reduce the Average Handling Time to the maximum extent possible so that customers stay happy and productivity remains intact.

Here are a few suggestions for the inbound call centre service providers in India to reduce the pain of High Average Handling Time:

  • 1. Calls Must Be Recorded: The first thing that should be done by the Inbound Call Centres or Telemarketing Service Providers is to record all the calls that are received by the call centre agents during the working hours. The Purpose of the recording of the calls is simple! The recorded calls would not lie about the performance of the call centre agents over calls. Thus, the problem areas can be identified easily with the help of those recorded call history and the team leads or managers can plan accordingly.
  • 2. Impart Proper Training: Impart right kind of training to the employees of the Inbound Call Centres or Telemarketing Service Providers or Inbound Tech Support employees. They should be taught the art of how to address the problems raised by the customers. They should know whom to be contacted in case they can’t find a solution. Because, the skilled employees of the Inbound Call Centres would be able to handle the calls in a better way than the unskilled employees. They would be able to thus reduce the Average Handling Time in each call they receive.
  • 3. Switch to Technology: Managers can opt for technology based solutions that would help to reduce the Average Handling Time. They can switch to automation for the works which are repetitive in nature. Few of those processes that were executed by the Inbound Call Centre agents if automated would speed up the whole process of calls. Thus the overall time of the call or put it as the Average Holding Time can be reduced to a great extent. 
  • 4. Greetings: The Inbound tech support employees can save a lot of time if they spend less time in greeting the customers. Instead, they can simply jump to the main problems that the customer is facing and try to fix it as soon as possible.
  • 5. Monitor The Calls: Evaluation is a mandatory task to judge the quality of the performance of the inbound call centre agents, specially the new ones. Thus call monitoring becomes very important. This would help the employees to identify the reason why their AHT is high compared to others. Thus, they can improve on that part.
  • 6. Structured Questions: More structured questions would help to wrap up the call faster. Because if the agents are to come up with their own set of questions to fix a problem on the spot then that would automatically increase the AHT. But if the manager of the say, Inbound Tech Support has already prepared a list with all the possible questions to fix the issues of the customers then automatically the Average Holding Time would reduce.
  • 7. Listen: Inbound call center employees should be given the recordings of their own calls so that they can compare it with other employees’ call recordings to see where he could have done a better job to reduce the Average Holding time.
  • 8. Proper Routing: Routing of the calls to the most efficient agent would reduce the chance of transferring the calls to other inbound call center representatives. Thus, it would reduce the Average Holding Time.

So, we have had a clear perspective about the Average handling Time and how Average Handling Time can be reduced.

Do you agree with the above discussed points? If no, they please feel free to share your ideas to help the inbound call centers or telemarketing service providers who belong to BPO industry in India to reduce their Average Handling Time and thus increase their overall productivity!

How to reduce the pain of high Average Handling time

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