Should Average Handling Time be a Contact Centre Key Performance Indicator? 1/3

14th May, 2015
Read time: 1 minute

The answer to the question above is both yes and no.

Yes, it's possibly the key measure of efficiency for contact centre staff but no, it does little to measure effectiveness. Companies focusing their efforts on ensuring staff spend as little time on the phone and internet and to answer as many queries as possible could have their focus misplaced. There has to be a balance between minimising customer interaction and providing customer satisfaction; focusing on first contact resolution (FCR) is more likely to retain satisfied customers who will act as your advocate. Research has shown that if a customer has an issue that you can solve quickly and efficiently, they are more likely to tell their colleagues, friends and family.

In this series of three blogs we will explore what factors can have a negative impact on your average handling time (AHT) and how you can combat this while still driving customer satisfaction forward.

Firstly, we will look at what can negatively affect your AHT within your contact centre. According to a Call Centre Helper poll “What are the blockers to lowering AHT" , these are the top causes of increased AHT: 65% of agents having to navigate multiple or slow computer systems

  • 62% of agents handling different call types
  • 61% of agents having to escalate and transfer queries to other departments
  • 49% of agents have a lack of training

It is estimated that 92% of contact centres require agents to use multiple systems to manage customer interactions. Often this will mean valuable time is wasted as agents need to search multiple data sources, often with multiple logons, whilst trying to address a customer query.

With a Unified Agent Desktop, relevant information can be accessed and displayed on a single interface, eliminating time wasted from using multiple logons and unnecessary searches. This could greatly improve your agent productivity whilst reducing waiting and handling time. Agents can assist your customers faster which leads to a higher level of customer satisfaction as a result. You may also achieve:

  • Increased up and cross selling opportunities
  • Improved customer retention rates
  • Reduced abandonment rates
  • Lower overall inbound contacts

Read more about how The Warranty Group gained a 7% potential reduction in average handling time using a Unified Agent Desktop.

Watch out for the second blog in this series where we look at how multichannel could have an impact on your average handling time.

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