Average Handle Time
Average handle time, or AHT, is a contact center metric that measures the average duration of a singular support interaction. Generally, the time counter begins at the start of the interaction and includes hold times, talk times, and other times spent working to resolve the customer’s need, including after call work (ACW). Average Handle Time has traditionally determined agent efficiency, the complexity of support needs, and how many agents should be staffed during peak times.
AHT can often indicate the complexity of a given support need and how well-equipped call center agents are to resolve it effectively. Common issues with simple resolutions typically require a shorter handle time than more complex ones. In turn, steps can be taken to shorten handle times, including automating certain ACW tasks, building a more complete knowledge management platform, and providing ongoing training and upskilling for agents.
While AHT has been a longstanding metric within the contact center, overemphasizing it can be a mistake — especially if it comes at the cost of the customer experience (CX). VXI’s solutions take a holistic approach to the entire customer journey, helping ensure that customer needs are resolved in a timely manner while also creating value. Customers are 140% likelier to spend more following a positive experience. Pushing them off the phone in order to lower AHT will likely be more off-putting than encouraging. Thus, considering AHT as a way to highlight CX improvements will have far more positive implications than simply using it as an efficiency metric.