Call Handle Times: How to Shorten Them without Sacrificing Quality
Call handle time is an interesting metric in the call center. While it provides vital information needed to improve customer care delivery, it’s also been sometimes seen as a poor way of assessing success for each call. Just because a call ends quickly doesn’t mean everything was resolved successfully, and just because an agent took a little longer on a call doesn’t mean the customer wasn’t getting the care and attention they needed to keep a good relationship with the company.
With all this said, it’s still not wise to completely forget about call handle times and working to shorten them. The challenge for call center management is how to reduce average handle times and do so while still providing quality customer service.
Perhaps you combine other tools like call recording and call scoring to get the bigger overall picture and go from there – or maybe you improve training and better schedule agents to take the calls they are equipped to handle.
According to Ciarlo, using skills-based routing is a great way to get the right agent on the phone and handling the issues more quickly. This goes along with management interviewing agents properly – perhaps even conducting the interview over the phone to truly get a feel for how the agent handles communications via this channel.
Then there is the backend stuff that really can make a difference. Stuff like automated processes and moving away from spreadsheets can really help with training and allowing agents to do their jobs more efficiently.
With agents feeling confident about doing their jobs and making decisions, the end result is average call handle times being reduced.
Ciarlo also notes that these agents helping to make this happen shouldn’t go unnoticed. Take time to reward top performers. “Give an agent a special prize for reaching the maximum number of accepted calls per shift – as long as they’re achieving this goal in a way that also provides courteous and attentive service,” Ciarlo says. See more tips HERE.
Edited by Alicia Young