9 Ways to Reduce Call Handling Time in Call Centers

Businesses have been switching from on-premise call centers to cloud-hosted call centers to optimize omnichannel customer experience. Cloud technologies enable the modernization of call center operations without incurring upfront and recurring infrastructure cost.

Also, the cloud-based call center solutions help businesses to maximize agent utilization and productivity, personalize customer experience, and accelerate omnichannel customer service delivery.

However, businesses still need to monitor the performance of their inbound and outbound call centers consistently. There are specific key performance indicators (KPIs)to measure the efficiency and performance of call centers.

Average handle time (AHT) is one of the most critical KPIs in modern contact centers. AHT refers to the average amount of time required by an agent to handle or wrap-up a call. It includes talk time, hold time, and after call time.

Hence, it is impossible to improve call center performance and customer satisfaction score (CSAT) without reducing call handling time.

Cloud-based call center solutions help businesses to curtail average call handling time by increasing agent talk time, reducing agent idle time, and making agents handle more calls.

However, the call center managers also need to reduce call handling time by implementing few best practices and common techniques.

9 Simple Ways to Reduce Call Handling Time/Average Handle Time in a Contact Center

1. Train Agents Regularly

Technology trends in the contact center industry keep changing from time to time. While modernizing call center operations, the managers need to ensure that agents can use the call center solutions and customer relationship management (CRM) system efficiently.

They must train the agents properly and regularly for new age call center solutions to reduce AHT. The training will help agents to wrap up calls quickly by accessing relevant information on time.

2. Keep Greeting Messages Short

The managers must remember that agents often increase call handling time by using longer greeting messages. When the agents use crisp greeting messages, it becomes easier for them to provide information or resolve problems more quickly.

The short greeting message further allows customers to start explaining their needs or problems immediately. Hence, the managers must encourage agents to use open conversation with short greeting messages.

3. Implement Skill-Based Call Routing

Modern call centers use interactive voice response (IVR) and automatic call distributor (ACD) feature to route calls to the most appropriate agent.

In addition to maximizing agent utilization, the sophisticated call center solutions also help managers to implement skill-based call routing.

The managers must configure IVR or ACD appropriately to connect each customer with the best agent. The smart call routing will contribute hugely towards curtailing average call handling time by avoiding multiple call transfers.

4. Use Close-Ended Questions

While interacting with customers, agents use both open-ended and close-ended questions. Unlike open-ended questions, close-ended questions do not allow the customer to share irrelevant information.

Agents can easily reduce AHT by asking customers close-ended questions that require limited answers like yes or no. However, it is also important for the agent to determine when to use open-ended questions and when to close-ended questions.

They must balance the two distinct types of questioning to reduce call handling time without impacting the customer experience.

5. Prepare a Dedicated Knowledge Base

Often agents need to avail assistance or access information to resolve customer queries or concerns.

Managers can make it easier for agents to access relevant information by creating a comprehensive and structured knowledge base.

A well-prepared knowledge base help agents to access relevant information and to answer questions asked by customers quickly. Real-time access to information will help agents to reduce call handling time.

6. Streamline and Automate Agent Workflow

Unlike on-premise call centers, cloud-based call centers help managers to streamline and automate agent workflow. The workflow automation help managers to reduce call handling time continuously.

The managers can further customize and extend the call center solutions according to the precise needs of individual agents.

The cloud-based call center tools feature dashboards that enable agents to access both real-time and historical data without switching between applications.

The unified interface helps agents wrap up calls quickly by automating manual tasks like updating tickets and call logs. The agents can further take advantage of the cloud-based call center tools to perform multitasking.

7. Monitor Agent Performance

The cloud-based contact center solutions allow managers to assess agent performance based on both live and recorded calls.

Managers can further help agents to resolve customer issues quickly by providing on-time assistance through call whispering and call barging. The auto dialers enable managers to monitor agent performance by generating reports based on real-time data.

The managers must monitor the performance of individual agents continuously to detect the weak areas that increase the time required to wrap up a call. The timely feedback will help the agent to handle calls efficiently and quickly.

Also, call monitor helps managers to enhance agent efficiency by providing relevant training.

8. Keep the CRM Software User-Friendly

Agents need to access customer and product data without any hindrances and instantaneously to reduce AHT.

The cloud-based call center solutions can be integrated seamlessly with existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

The integration enables agents to access relevant information immediately while interacting with customers.

However, the manager needs to ensure that the agents must organize a proper training program to enable agents to use the CRM system efficiently while focusing on the customers.

9. Don’t Emphasize on Reducing Agent Talk Time

The call center agents nowadays handle a wide variety of calls. Some callers need simple information, whereas other need solution to complex problems. Hence, AHT will keep changing according to the nature and complexity of the call.

While measuring call center performance based on AHT, the managers must consider only the amount of time required by an agent to handle calls. They must keep in mind the nature of the call and the skill required to handle individual calls.

Businesses can use AHT as the primary KPI to measure both call center performance and customer experience.

They must switch to new age call center software to make agents handle more calls and focus only on improving customer experience.

However, the managers must monitor average call handling time on a regular basis. Also, they need to implement these best practices to reduce the average length of calls in the contact center.

  • Love
  • Save
    Add a blog to Bloglovin’
    Enter the full blog address (e.g.
    We're working on your request. This will take just a minute...