AHT meaning – Average Handle Time (AHT) is one of the most frequently measured metrics among customer service teams, as it provides invaluable insight into team efficiency. A team’s AHT goal will vary depending on what kind of support work they are handling; in this guide Gladly explores what AHT means and demonstrates how to calculate it so that you can gain a greater insight into its efficiency.
AHT stands for Agent Handling Time and measures the total duration of an agent’s interaction with a caller – everything from talk time and hold times through transfer times and after-call work completed to resolve customer queries. AHT metrics are an essential metric for call center managers, and can be reduced through strategic process streamlining and employee training initiatives.
Call centers must strive to reduce average handle time (AHT), as it’s one of the key objectives. Customers become disgruntled when forced to wait long periods before speaking with someone to solve their problems; by decreasing AHT, companies can provide quicker resolutions while still providing a superior customer experience.
Call center supervisors can also use AHT data to identify specific areas for improvement within their team’s efficiency, for instance when multiple calls have to be rerouted; this may indicate that the routing system needs updating in order to get customers faster to agents, leading to lower AHT overall. A more streamlined workflow and more effective call routing system may significantly decrease AHT over time.
Gaining an accurate picture of AHT is important for call center leaders when assessing staffing needs. If an existing team is having difficulty keeping up with all the work that comes in, this could indicate additional team members are needed in order to guarantee all queries are dealt with efficiently and quickly.
Note, however, that AHT should never take priority over customer satisfaction in call centers. Placing too much emphasis on AHT could cause agents to rush through calls and offer poor service or even lead to employees feeling like their effort is being ignored too harshly.
At its core, AHT and customer satisfaction can best be balanced when collected via customer feedback from surveys, chatbots or phone hotlines. A Customer Contact as a Service (CCaaS) solution integrated with multiple customer service channels can collect this data for you and produce visual dashboards to help decode meaning behind metrics. Furthermore, such solutions automatically calculate AHT and other key metrics, freeing you up time to focus on providing quality customer care services and optimizing business processes.