Average Handle Time (AHT)


What Is Average Handle Time (AHT)?

Average Handle Time (AHT) is a key performance indicator (KPI) used by call center executives to measure the efficiency and productivity of their customer service teams. 

How Is It Calculated?

Average Handle Time (AHT) is calculated by adding the total talk time, after-call work time, and hold time for all calls and dividing by the total number of calls. 

The formula for AHT is:

AHT = (Talk Time + After-Call Work Time + Hold Time) / Number of Calls

  1. Talk Time: Time spent by the agent speaking with the customer.
  2. After-Call Work Time: Time spent by the agent after the call is completed but before they are available to take the next call. This includes activities such as documenting the call, completing required forms, and preparing for the next call.
  3. Hold Time: Time the customer spends on hold during the call.

What Is a Good AHT?

The interpretation of Average Handle Time (AHT) as high, medium, and low can vary depending on a call center's specific context and goals. However, some general guidelines for assessing AHT are:

  1. High AHT: High AHT indicates that calls are taking longer than anticipated. Numerous factors can contribute to this, including complex and repetitive customer queries, inefficient call handling, and lengthy after-call procedures. A high AHT may lead to longer wait times for customers, lower agent productivity, and decreased customer satisfaction overall.
  2. Medium AHT: Medium AHT is generally considered average or in line with industry-standard. Medium AHT usually indicates that the call center is functioning competently and meeting customer needs in a timely manner but that there are areas for improvement.
  3. Low AHT: Low AHT indicates that calls are being handled efficiently, with quick resolution times for customer issues. A low AHT may contribute to increasing customer satisfaction, lowering operating costs, and boosting agent productivity.

Why Is It Important to Measure Your AHT?

Consistently measuring your Average Handle Time (AHT) is crucial for numerous reasons:

  1. Customer Satisfaction: A low AHT can lead to faster resolution times for customer issues, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
  2. Resource Optimization: By monitoring AHT, call center executives can identify areas for improvement and allocate resources more effectively to optimize efficiency and productivity.
  3. Cost Reduction: A lower AHT can reduce operating costs by reducing agents' time on calls, which can increase overall productivity and decrease wait times for customers.
  4. Quality Assurance: AHT can be used as a measure of quality assurance, as it takes into account not just talk time but also after-call work and hold time, providing a complete picture of the customer service experience.
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