Unified Customer Engagement Hub Blog

Get insight, news, best practices, and other opinions on trending, industry leading, and other technology topics.

All Posts

8 Tips for Reducing Call Handling Times

8_Tips_for_Reducing_AHT.pngFor contact centers, average handle time (AHT) is one of the most important measurable metrics.                      

This measurement determines the average amount of time a contact center agent maintains contact with a customer. When properly analyzed, AHT can provide valuable insights into the efficiency and overall productivity of agents as well as a customer’s likely satisfaction rating. 

While AHT includes time spent on hold, it excludes queue and ring times. When contact center agents are trained to handle every call as efficiently as possible, they can reduce the AHT and help the contact center as a whole become more efficient. This is easier said than done, however, and many contact center managers have a difficult time determining how to reduce AHT. Fortunately, there are several steps contact centers can take toward reducing their AHT and making the center more efficient and cost-effective.

8 Tips to Reduce AHT

1) Properly train agents

A contact center manager who wants to reduce AHT should begin by training all contact center agents in using contact center software and tools, CRM and chat included, to ensure quick answer times and high customer satisfaction ratings. Additionally, each agent should have access to an updated list of people they can contact in the event of questions or concerns.

2) Record all calls

When a contact center records its calls, it is much easier for contact center managers to accurately assess agent performance and identify weak areas in need of improvement. Additionally, recorded calls allow contact centers to revisit past issues that were handled poorly and to provide important training materials to new recruits.

3) Remove inefficiencies

One of the largest challenges contact center agents face is the presence of inefficiencies such as a lack of automation. These inefficiencies combine to add up to large increases in AHT and by seeking to identify and remove these inefficiencies, managers can greatly increase output and decrease handling time of each call.

4) Shorten greetings

While it may sound simple, changing each agent’s customer greeting can go a long way toward getting calls processed in a timelier fashion. When agents are trained to open with a “How can I help you today?” question versus a “How are you?” question, it encourages customers to jump right to the heart of their issue, decreasing small-talk time and increasing time spent on problem-solving and customer resolution.

5) Improve routing software

AHT is dramatically decreased if each call is answered by the most competent, experienced agent valuable. Systems like ACD, IVR systems, and skill-based routing software can ensure that each customer is paired with the best agent available at that moment. This cuts down on call time and ensures higher levels of customer satisfaction.  

6) Create answer sheets

In order to ensure that agents always have access to correct answers and responses, managers should create a center-wide answer sheet that provides accurate information for many of the customer’s most frequently asked questions. These answer sheets should be accessible to all agents and updated often. This saves agents from answering questions incorrectly and offers a platform for quick consultation and more effective customer service. 

7) Characterize calls by types

When evaluating AHT, managers can easily come up with an inaccurate number if calls aren’t characterized by type. A payment or billing call will not have an AHT that is the same as a complaint call and, as such, each call needs to be characterized according to its type. This will provide an accurate representation of AHT and illustrate the areas in which an agent needs to improve.

8) Use intelligent technology

IVRs and auto-attendant software can help reduce AHT by offering the option for customers to access certain information on their own, without being routed to an agent. If the customer needs to be routed to an agent, however, the system can do it, which saves time and increases satisfaction in customers.


For a contact center, agent and customer experience is the paramount measurement of success, but it’s impossible to achieve high ratings in either of these areas without seeking to reduce AHT and improve satisfaction. Fortunately, these 8 intuitive tips can ensure that contact centers are doing everything possible to produce higher levels of satisfaction and to route around issues before they appear.

For more information about how you can reduce your AHT through streamlined technologies or intelligent routing software, contact Spice CSM today.

Related Posts

Reducing the Impact of Technology on Training

3 Ways to Reduce Training Time Using Technology If you really want to reduce training time, we challenge you to look at the technology your agents are using. Is it simple to use? Does it proactively help agents? Does it make their jobs easier? If you didn't answer YES to all of those questions, you could be complicating your training efforts out of the gate due to the technology your agents utilize to manage the customer journey. One of the unsung heroes of SpiceCSM's Business Process/BPM tool is the ability to reduce the amount of time agents need to start producing at the levels of longstanding employees. Typically when bringing new agents onto the team there's a period of training, usually involving some classroom knowledge transfer, exercises, role playing, and a variety of other methods to give the agents resources to solve requests efficiently. Depending on the organization and type of business, this could take anywhere from 1 - 12 weeks, or longer. In higher turnover environments this only exacerbates training challenges and emphasizes the need to make new employees more productive in less time. Here are 3 ways you can utilize technology to help reduce training efforts:

What is iPaaS: Explaining Integration Capabilities

What is iPaaS: Explaining Integration Capabilities What is iPaaS? iPaas is a cloud-based platform that allows businesses to connect their existing systems together. It provides a single interface where users can access their data from across different software platforms. This means they can view information from one application within another without having to switch between them. The platform also makes it easy for people to build new integrations by providing low-code tools that allow connections to be made with external systems.

Low-Code Application Platform: What is it??

LCAP - What is a Low-Code Application Platform The vision that SpiceCSM has from our inception was to have an application that provided the tools to customize the user experience easily and orchestrate data without the need for technical expertise. What we've been calling an "Enterprise Application Builder" is now being recognized by leading analysts as a Low-Code Application platform, or LCAP for short.