How to reduce average handle time in a contact center

Posted On: October 14, 2020 |  7 mins read 71 Views

Reduce-AHT

Think about the next customer service call on your service desk that your representative is going to take. Do you wish to reduce AHT or the call to be good?

Answer is both, reason being your customers expect both. When customers contact you through any support channel, they’re expecting a clear, concise, and consistent response. They don’t want to wait on hold or tell their problem over and over again to your agent. They just want the right answers as quickly as possible and that’s where Average Handle Time (AHT) comes into play with your customer service team.

In this blog post, we’ll see what average handle time is, how to calculate it, and how it can be reduced by implementing co-browsing!

 

What is Average Handle Time (AHT)?

It is a customer service metric that analyzes the average amount of time needed to resolve a support ticket or service request, including time spent on holds, delays, call transfer, or follow-up actions to fulfill the customer’s needs.

 

Why is AHT important?

Average handle time is an essential customer service metric because it relates to the customer’s most valued commodity that is time. In fact, Forrester states, 66% of adults believe that the most important thing a company can do is value their time.

Reducing AHT at the contact center means your customer service team is being more productive. This not only improves multi-fold customer experience (CX) but also allows your agent to take on more cases in their daily workflow.

 

AHT reduction tips

There’s no shortcut to fulfilling a customer’s needs but there are measures your team can take to deliver a faster resolution. Adoption of customer service tools that assist customer service teams with advanced troubleshooting options like co-browsing and whiteboarding and more, helps CX leaders to achieve the desired level of customer satisfaction.

1. Focus on proactive customer service

Proactive customer service is what businesses need to serve customers today and it is one of the most effective ways to reduce AHT. These are instances where your service team is contacting customers without the customer reaching out first and without even the customer is aware of their concern. That way your team is prepared to resolve customer issues beforehand.

One scenario of proactive customer service is providing them with a knowledge base. A knowledge base is helpful to get answers to dedicated common questions that your customers may have about your product or services. If a customer calls in with one of these questions, the service rep can provide a brief step by step explanation in the form of decision trees. This ultimately saves your agent from having to repeat simple and repetitive steps that customers can take on their own.

2. Create visual guides for efficient customer service

Create internal visual guides that your representatives can refer to during complex troubleshooting. Also, when customers call in with repetitive questions, your rep will know exactly what to say and do for the customer.

An integrated agent dashboard with step by step process in form of decision trees and visual guides embedded with related articles and documents can solve complex to complex customer queries within a few clicks.

3. Adopt customer service tools like collaborative browsing, whiteboarding, and more

Equip your team with some more techniques to play with and adopt customer service tools that will provide them with advanced troubleshooting options like co-browsing, whiteboarding, and ticket automation. These additions not only give your support team a technological advantage but can improve the overall customer’s experience

Collaborative browsing or co-browsing allows taking access to the customer’s device. Thus, agents can see and interact with the customer’s screen in real-time with just a click. Once granted access to their screen the support agent could spot the problem easily and solve it instantly. The agent can guide the customer or take full control over their browser whenever needed.

Your agents then can scroll, click, draw, highlight, or write for them directly on their screen. In the whole process, customers don’t have to download, install, or configure any additional software. Co-browsing solutions also record the customers’ sessions and revisit them when a customer question arises.

 

Spend less time figuring out what went wrong and start acting

Imagine how many minutes you could save if your support agent had a little bit of context or background of the problem. Most of the time, it’s hard for the customer service agent to figure out what is going wrong on the other side of the screen, i.e, on the customer’s screen. Resulting, most of the troubleshooting time is spent figuring out what went wrong.

By using tools like co-browsing, businesses can eliminate everything that annoys both your customers and agents – mitigate miscommunication, several back-and-forth, and guesswork, thus reducing average handle time and increasing customer satisfaction.

 

Ensure most-effective support in less time

While it’s great to reduce AHT (average handling time), at the same time make sure you’re not sacrificing the quality of your customer service in return. Some agents may be over-enthusiastic to close tickets and will rush through troubleshooting steps or cut corners to save time. This often leads to agent error them and that ultimately end up costing them more time and effort as a result. Rather than motivating agents to provide the fastest support possible, focus on providing the most-effective support instead and your team’s AHT will take care of itself.

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