Call Center Management Feature Article
July 29, 2014
5 Ways Call Center Management Can Improve AHT
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The amount of time it takes to complete a call with the call center agent is something of importance for both the center and the customer. The center views the time spent as a cost, even when the outcome is positive. The customer views it as time taken from his or her day, even if satisfaction is achieved. For these reasons alone, call center management is concerned with average call handling time (AHT).
A recent Monet Software blog pointed to this topic, offering five tips on how call center management can improve AHT, while also improving the customer experience. As the former shouldn’t happen without a priority placed on the latter, let’s examine these tips and how they can impact outcomes in your environment.
- Prioritization – call center agents have a lot to do each day, each hour and even on each call. It can be overwhelming if you don’t work with them to help them better understand what needs to take priority during a given day. AHT does play an important role in all metrics, as well as forecasting and scheduling. When they understand this role and how to prioritize, they’ll not only bring numbers down, they will do so without upsetting the process.
- Coaching – every call center agent needs ongoing coaching, regardless of their abilities or success. When AHT is made a part of standard coaching, agents better understand how to approach this metric and how to manage it according to expectations. Call recordings can help in the process, providing supervisors and agents the opportunity to review calls together.
- Workforce management – there are only so many variables that the agent can control to affect AHT. The rest needs to be a focus for call center management. With an effective workforce management solution in place, the center can leverage tools like skills-based routing, which is a proven means to reduce AHT.
- Improving – the overall focus for call center management needs to be one of consistent improvement. In other words, never stop improving. Coaching, quality monitoring and gathering feedback all play into this initiative to ensure everyone is focused on the same target.
- Rewards – it’s important to never forget to reward excellent performance. When an agent lowers their AHT, it’s important to point out the success and deliver praise and perks. It reinforces what you want to see and motivates other agents to follow suit.
While not every call will fall into a category where the timing can be reduced, you can make efficiency a focus for all agents. Apply these five tips provided here and you’ll be well on your way to improved metrics.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi