Reducing average handle time

Reducing Average Handle Time in a Contact Center

Average Handle Time (AHT) is critical to measure the efficiency of a contact center. AHT is the calculation of the average period of contact between an agent and a customer. The seemingly simple measurement of time will help improve the productivity of the center. Additionally, customer satisfaction is more likely to get better after learning about which areas need enhancing. The Time Doctor Website says that 93% of customer service teams believe that clients have higher expectations in 2021 (and will continue to have higher standards in 2022) than in previous years. 

When a contact center can maintain a low AHT, their performance gets better reviews. As we all know, a better reputation means better SEO, more clients, and long-term customer relationships.

How can a call center achieve and maintain better handle times and improve customer satisfaction? KPI Connect has over 25 years of experience, and we have a few tips and suggestions to offer!

Why is Average Handle Time Important?

Average Handle Time Calculation

As previously stated, the AHT measures the time of a phone call between an agent and a customer. Therefore, AHT data can assist a company with achieving goals and identifying issues.

Efficiency

A low AHT shows that an agent is better at problem solving and communication. The company can help by adding common complaints or queries to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Time Doctor says that 40% of businesses use this tactic to resolve customer issues, making their center more efficient. 

If the customer can find answers for their questions themselves when call volumes are high, they won’t have to wait. Having more FAQs for the public eye can give the customer a choice to problem-solve themselves or contact the center directly. As MyCustomer says, giving customers a few options will make them feel happier and in control. 

Customer Feedback and Satisfaction

Indeed, companies need their customers. If a contact center has high AHTs, their customer satisfaction is likely lower. Collecting the time of your calls can give you a higher level of analysis regarding your customer service. With correct data, you can get customer feedback and handle time analytics. According to the Time Doctor website, 67% of companies have grown through collecting customer feedback. Moreover, customer responses can elevate brand value and online reviews for a call center.  

Happier Agents

If your systems and programs are running smoothly, your handle times can become lower than if your programs and phones are outdated. Furthermore, updating technology creates a better work environment for the agents. The Warwick website quotes a 2021 study that found happiness can make individuals 12% more productive. Moreover, employees are more loyal to a work environment that treats them well. Having faithful employees means that you do not have to spend the time or money on training and staff turnover.   

Lower Support Costs

As the age-old saying goes, time is money! Finding different ways to make answering or making calls better will ensure the entire team is more productive. 

Continuously reducing your handle times will help you see what works for your company and what does not. 

Is The Company AHT Too Long?

Unhappy customer waiting on hold

Observe.AI mentions that calculating a suitable AHT relies on the industry. Quoting Cornell, the benchmark for telecommunications is just over 8 minutes. As for financial or IT services, the handling time should be just below five minutes (depending on the complexity of the calls, of course). 

There are different ways to tell if your handling time exceeds an ideal number. 

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a common theme throughout this article. Truly, customers are among the most vital factors regarding the success of a business. Even if they are not filing complaints, they are not required to use your service again. To separate your center from other agencies, you need five-star reviews and low handling times. Monitoring calls can give more insight into your center’s handle times, the amount of transfers, holds, and more. 

Hold Times

As stated in the previous paragraph, if your hold times are long and the customer has to bounce between agents, your handle times will increase. Plum Voice surveyed over 2,500 clients and found that nearly 60% of respondents believe that going on hold for one minute is too long. If the company has multiple holds or transfers, one should look into possible issues and find solutions to rectify the AHT. 

Repeat Calls

If a customer has to call a team repeatedly to handle one issue, not only will customer satisfaction suffer, but also the AHT will likely increase. Clients will feel happy with their received services if their customer complaints and questions have quick handling. If your contact center has a poor AHT, confer your repeat calls. 

Fixing your AHT

Smiling contact center agent

Know the product 

If an agent is not trained properly regarding the product they have to support, or knowledgeable of how a specific company works, they have to take time out of their call to find answers. Both handle times and hold times are at risk of increasing. 

However, as products and companies constantly evolve and update, staying on top of changes gets difficult. Employers can help agents with regular training and coaching. 

Prioritize training and coaching

Ensuring that agents are familiar with their software, computers, company standards, and other critical aspects can better prepare the employees for quick problem-solving. As we said before, continuous training will help cultivate your team and improve AHT.

Record and monitor

Recording calls (inbound and outbound) will give you plenty of important information. The given data will show the areas that need improvement. If you have excessive call transfers or common problems eating up time, your calls will show you.

Make sure the client goes to the right agent

Call routing is yet another way to reduce AHT. If a call goes to the correct representative the first time, you don’t have to worry about transfers, hold times, or poor customer service ratings. There are automated systems that can help direct callers to the right agent.

Update technology

Time Doctor says that 29% of businesses have installed live chat software to improve customer support. In turn, agent workloads get reduced. If the bot can help the customer, the client doesn’t have to call. 90% of the businesses using live chats found the software helped streamline the centers’ operation.

Summary

There are plenty of ways to reduce your Average Handle Time. 

An acceptable AHT means happier customers and agents, higher productivity, and lower support costs. 

If your hold times are excessive or if agents have to make too many transfers, you may want to consider methods to reduce your handle times. There are multiple ways to fix your AHT: know the product, put effort into consistent training, record and monitor calls, work on your call routing, and keep the technology updated. 

Those tasks may seem plentiful, but your company, agents, and clients will benefit. KPI Connect knows better than anyone! 

KPI Connect

Our company has received more than 12 awards, but there are a few that mean the most for our AHT: best technology, best training and performance, and highest employee satisfaction. KPI Connect trains our agents to be ready for any problems and help them by giving them updated software, technology, and coaching. 

The KPI philosophy is three words: collaborate, communicate and connect. Along with understanding your business, we want to become an extension of the company so we can help customers quickly. We can help you reach goals if your company needs improvement on customer service, profit, or productivity. 

Our English and French-speaking business has a wide variety of services: outsourced customer care, inbound customer support, product support, overflow services, and more. 

Contact us if you require assistance. We always look forward to working with new clients and helping solve company issues!

KPI Connect

KPI Connect Cover Photo

Everything You Need to Know About Contact Centers

Contact centers handle incoming and outgoing phone calls with a team of agents (or advisors). These centers help businesses with customer support, telemarketing, market research, handling queries, and much more. Moreover, the agents help with company image as they resolve issues to create a happier, stronger customer base. 

KPI Connect Solutions Inc. was founded in 1994 and became an award-winning contact center. As a contact center, we not only handle phone calls but also live chats, emails, messaging, etcetera. We find that having more methods of communication allows us to be a deeply involved part of your business and more helpful for your clients. Furthermore, we have both inbound and outbound abilities. 

Below, we will discuss the difference between inbound and outbound communication, benefits of hiring an outsourced contact center, and how we handle the common concerns for outsourcing a call center.

Inbound vs Outbound Contact Centers

The purpose of an inbound call center is to handle calls that are incoming to an organization or business. Often, these calls come from existing customers who have questions or are experiencing issues with products or services. New customers who may want to place an order are also considered inbound callers.

However, inbound call centers also work on dispatch services, help desk services, and order processing. Their role is much larger than simply answering phone calls.

Outbound call center agents mainly make outgoing phone calls to potential customers as well as existing customers. They may be reminding individuals of appointments, telemarketing, composing market research and survey outreach, doing post-sale follow ups or charity fundraising. 

Outbound agents are able to engage the prospect, make clients feel valued and get the people they are calling interested and involved.

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Contact Center

Outsourcing

We are a bigger industry than many may believe. According to IBISWorld, the market size of the telemarketing and call center industry is $1.6 billion. Why so large? Possibly because there are many advantages to hiring a contact center for your business. 

First of all, we can help you reduce your costs and save company time. In saving full-time employees from having to answer calls, they are able to focus on other tasks. 

Secondly, contact centers will improve your business image and greatly help with customer service. The team of agents within the center go through extensive customer service training. Moreover, taking care of the customer is our main and most important goal– they receive our full attention. 

By helping the image and reputation of a business, we are able to help improve the profitability and give staff relief. 

Lastly, we do extensive call analysis. Through our analysis, we are able to monitor data and ensure the quality, availability, and connection of our calls. We want to make sure that there are no problems for the customers. If their call is pleasant and the person they speak to is helpful, the client will return.  

Outbound calling services are also great for generating leads and qualification. By reaching out to prospects, agents can generate a more authentic connection through direct communication. 

Concerns Regarding Contact Centers

As with anything, there are pros and cons. Below are a few of the concerns that come with call centers, and how we at KPI Connect can put your mind at ease. 

Will they have knowledge of my industry?

Call centers with multiple clients do not normally specialize in one specific industry. You need individuals who know your company and can answer your customer’s clients accurately. One of the main goals of KPI Connect is to become an extension of your company. We work hard to fully familiarize ourselves with your business, goals, and needs. Furthermore, we have over 125 clients and 26 years of experience, meaning that we have a very well-rounded and knowledgeable team.

Will I still have control if I outsource my contact center?

When individuals outsource, especially if they have never outsourced before, they can feel as though they’ve lost control of their business. Indeed, trusting somebody else to handle your customer service is daunting! You don’t want to spend large amounts of your time with close supervision, because then what would be the point of hiring a contact center at all? 

KPI Connect has great testimonials from our many customers. We showcase our results and work to collaborate with you so we can relieve any stress or doubts you may have. 

Can I get the same business feedback?

Customer feedback

With an in-house team, you might feel that the valuable information stemming from your customer service is closer. Customers change their minds all the time and so your business must make certain adjustments and changes to keep up. You may hold the belief that an outsourced contact center is unable to give you the same in-depth information. 

As we previously stated, KPI Connect always works to collaborate with our clients. Our goal is to provide a more satisfying experience for the customer and enhance customer relations. By working beyond normal business hours, we have the chance to help your clients much later than an in-house team can. Additionally, we are strong believers in communication so we will give you all the information you require. 

Summary

Both inbound and outbound contact centers have their specialties and benefits. You can reduce business costs, save employees time, improve the company reputation, and generate great leads. While some individuals may be concerned about the company having adequate industry knowledge, losing control, and receiving the same quality of feedback from customers, KPI Connect works hard to counteract these concerns. 

As both an inbound and outbound contact center, KPI Connect has no limits as to what we can do for your company.

KPI Connect Solutions Inc. 

The KPI philosophy is three words: collaborate, communicate and connect. Along with understanding your business, we want to become an extension of the company. Our innovative efforts allow us to produce great results and long-lasting relationships. We help many different companies of all sizes, and we feel confident that we can help your business too! Regardless if you need improvement on customer service, profit, or productivity, we can help you reach your goals. 

Our English and French-speaking company has a wide variety of services: outsourced customer care, inbound customer support, product support, overflow services, scheduled appointments, back office support, and claims or complaints. 

Contact us if you are in need of assistance. We always look forward to working with new clients and helping solve company issues!

KPI Connect