Average Handle Time (AHT) or Average Call Time (ACT) are often used by call center managers as an important metric when evaluating Customer Service Representative (CSR) performance. It’s understandable why Call Center Managers gravitate towards this metric in their evaluations. Because executives and managers are constantly monitoring the cost per call and looking at budgets which breakdown in terms of cost per minute, it’s a natural temptation to want to drive CSRs to an AHT or ACT that links nicely to a budget. But the length of the call is not an indicator of service quality or the resulting customer satisfaction and loyalty. And confusing call time and call quality is short-sighted.
A World-Class customer experience can take a few seconds or it can take several minutes.
A terrible customer experience can take a few seconds or it can take several minutes.
Managers who constantly drive their centers to get AHT down will often save short-term money at the sacrifice of call quality, customer satisfaction, agent satisfaction while driving up costs associated with call-backs and low customer retention.
In the end, the customer’s and the call center’s goals are the same:
- Resolve the issue in one phone call
- Do it with courtesy and friendliness
- Don’t take any more time than is necessary
When that happens, everyone wins.