Should Average Handling Time be a Contact Centre Key Performance Indicator? 2/3

21st May, 2015
Read time: 1 minute

Within the first blog we looked at some of the factors that could affect your average handling time (AHT) and explored possible benefits of a unified agent desktop. In this second blog we will explore how customer interactions are changing and the possible positive and negative impacts on your AHT.

Customer expectations have changed dramatically in the last 5 years, they want to choose how to interact with your organisation, whether it be by phone, mobile, web forms, web chat, IVR, SMS or social. Many have smart mobile devices, expect a rapid response 24x7, they are less loyal and are far more likely to share bad experiences to a wide audience through social media.

So how do contact centres handle this demand? Most have either implemented or are starting to implement a multichannel strategy, which when done properly can deliver multiple benefits, such as:

1. Providing your customers with a way of contacting you when they want and by the channel they prefer is likely to drive a positive impact on satisfaction.

2. You can help shift the channels they use to one where the customer self-fulfils. For example, when they have a problem with their hoover, kettle or washing machine they look it up on the internet or your website rather than picking up the phone, thereby reducing contact centre calls.

3. By proactively tracking and responding to issues posted in social media you can often head off PR disasters as well as showing your existing and potential customers that you care about what they think.

So, what's the likely impact on your AHT when implementing a multichannel strategy – will it reduce it?

  • As discussed above, when you shift more routine questions to a self-serve model it often means that your agents are left to deal with more complex questions or queries and this may mean that AHT increases. While this may not seem like a good thing, it's likely to be offset by a reduction of calls into the contact centre. This could free up agents for other tasks or allow a reduction in operational expenditure.
  • When implementing a multimedia strategy it's critical to use an integrated solution. This combines all your supported communication channels and presents them as a universal queue, therefore enabling managers to effectively allocate skilled agents and monitor progress in real-time. Agents need to work within one familiar interface, ideally with single sign on and all relevant information at their fingertips.

Read more about Netcall solutions for Multichannel Contact Centres.

In the final blog post in this series we will look at the importance in first contact resolution (FCR).

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