Businesses with a high customer turnover rate will always be scrambling to find new customers, who are much more expensive to bring in than keeping a loyal customer base over time. There are many elements that influence customer turnover, but one of the biggest is the average handling time (AHT) of phone calls in your call center. Read on for tips to reduce AHT in your call center today.
How is AHT Calculated?
Before you can reduce your AHT, you need to know what your AHT is. The formula for calculating AHT is as follows:
Total Talk Time + Total Hold Time + Total Wrap Time / Number of Calls Handled = AHT
Reasons For a High AHT
There are many reasons why a business might have a high AHT. Much of the problem boils down to a lack of awareness and inefficient processes. Here are some other reasons that might contribute to a high AHT:
- Inexperienced customer service representatives
- Lack of automation or no interactive voice response (IVR) system
- Not taking time to review calls and processes
- Ineffective call routing
10 Tips To Improve Your AHT
Now that you know what AHT is and how it’s calculated, we’re sure you’re wondering how to improve. Keep reading for 10 tips to reduce AHT.
1. Automate FAQs
Automation can greatly enhance the way you do business, so be sure to take advantage. If you get frequent, simple questions, you can route these calls through an automated system and let a computer deliver the information.
2. Record and Review Phone Calls
Recording every phone call will bring limitless information to help you improve your AHT—but you want to make sure you actually review what you’re recording. Regularly listen to phone calls and look for patterns of weakness so you know where to focus your efforts.
3. Use Scripts—But Allow Employees to Go Off-Script, Too
Scripts are a great way to ensure your employees are all on the same page and consistent in their customer service, but they aren’t always the most efficient means to help a customer. Encourage team members to ditch the script if the situation calls for it.
4. Focus on Training
Highly trained employees will be more efficient and intuitive in their phone calls, which could greatly improve your AHT. Hold frequent trainings that include role playing, case studies, and other effective hands-on training.
5. Implement IVR
An interactive voice response system will help to send customers to the specific department that can best meet their needs. This will reduce customer frustration and AHT, since your team members won’t waste time on questions they’re not equipped to answer.
6. Analyze Your Workflow
Workflows and other processes need constant evaluation and innovation. Take time to assess how your current systems are working, and where you could use a slight tweak to make things better.
7. Make Sure Your Employees Know the Product
Even the most patient, caring customer service representative could end up with a frustrated customer if they don’t know your products and services well. Reduce AHT by making sure your employees know the ins and outs of your product lineup.
8. Ask For Customer Feedback
If there’s anyone who has a valuable opinion about how you’re doing, it’s your customers. Send a customer satisfaction survey to find out your areas of weakness, then make necessary changes to help improve your AHT.
9. Get Input From Employees
Employees are another source of valuable feedback. Ask your employees for their thoughts about how your customer service processes could be improved—they’re bound to have some great ideas.
10. Improve Your Website
A user-friendly, informative website could significantly reduce the time your employees spend on customer service calls. Look at your website analytics and enhance the design and content to answer customer questions before they resort to calling you.
Don’t Skimp on Quality Customer Service
While reducing your AHT is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, you never want to sacrifice the quality of your customer service along the way. Focus your efforts on continuing to help customers get the answers and help they need, rather than reducing your AHT at all costs. Find the right balance, and you’ll be sure to develop a loyal customer base and increase your profits over time.