4 Effective Ways to Reduce AHT in a Call Center


In a call center, average handling time (AHT)  is one of the most important metrics for gauging efficiency. Call time does not just include the time agents spend speaking with a customer, but the entire time the customer spends on the call, from when the agent picks up the phone until the issue is resolved and the call is ended. There are several ways how to reduce AHT and increase customer satisfaction.

All call centers measure their AHT as a key performance indicator, meaning that they can evaluate how successful their call center is operating. Keeping call time as low as possible while maintaining customer satisfaction is essential. Lengthy call times can frustrate customers and reduce the number of calls agents take daily. Continue reading to learn the best ways to control your average handling time.

Knowledgeable Agents Reduce AHT

The more information an agent has, the better equipped they are to solve a customer’s problem from the get-go. A customer does not want to be held or transferred around several times. One skilled agent with vast business knowledge will be able to provide customers with the answers they seek quickly and decisively.

  • Ensure your agents and staff know a great deal about the products you sell.
  • Customer service agents should be well versed in common product questions.
  • Continuously train agents and staff to keep the knowledge fresh. 

There are tools available to streamline common customer questions. These can be useful if your call center handles many similar questions daily. These products can help you build scripts for your agents to work off of, saving them time. However, agents should still use a friendly and personable tone, so customers feel welcome. 

Agents Should Gather Pertinent Info Up Front

A customer’s problem must be well understood at the beginning of the call. Your call center agents should gather as much information as possible so that there is less need for holds and transfers. Having the information up front will reduce AHT. You can help your agents with this task by providing beneficial tools, such as:

  • Thorough contact forms for agents to fill out while on the call
  • Customer relationship management software
  • Internal screenshot and chat software 

This kind of information gathering can help your agents solve the problem on the first contact with the customer. It eliminates the need for other agents to reach back out and prolong the call time. 

Do Not Lump All Call Times Together

Your business’ call center will handle many types of calls, requiring different call times to solve. You should not base your average call time on all calls received, or you will have the wrong data. 

  • Sales calls
  • Customer service inquiries
  • Complaints 
  • Technical support
  • Bill payment

Separate call types into categories and give each their own average call time so you can have a more accurate assessment. 

Record Calls and Request Agent Input

Most call center calls are recording phone calls, and yours is likely no different. You can analyze call data by listening to these recorded calls and making assessments based on the quality of these calls. When call handling times go long, you can find trends and pinpoint areas where your staff can work to cut these times down. 

  • Greetings might go too long.
  • Agents might struggle with customers who want to chit-chat.
  • New agents may be learning the ropes. 

There are several call center software options available that record calls. You can delve deeper into their performance if specific agents struggle with their call times. 

It is also essential to get input from your agents. They are the ones taking the calls, so they are the ones who will likely have suggestions on how to improve their own experiences. By analyzing the recorded data and considering agent recommendations, you can make significant improvements and reduce AHT.

How Endicott’s Call Centers Can Reduce AHT for Your Bussiness

Endicott’s bilingual services make it easy for you to reap these benefits. Imagine better customer retention, global expansion opportunities, improved loyalty, greater outreach, and a more significant customer base. We offer trained and bilingual agents so your business can gain traction with new communities of customers.  

Request a quote or call 800-947-3227 to learn more about our custom solutions for creating exceptional customer service experiences for your clients. We’re happy to offer insight into what your customers seek from your company’s language offerings.