In running a call center, your customer support team will be required to pass several key performance indicators including average handling time.
Average handling time (AHT) is the number of minutes it takes for a call to get resolved from start to finish.
Usually, it is measured from the moment the agent hears a ring that signals the arrival of a caller to the end of the call.
Having your customer support team meet or exceed AHT target is essential in maintaining good performance in your call center as it ensures that there are enough people to answer incoming calls.
Therefore, here are the top 5 tips in helping members of your customer support team with managing their AHT.
1. Provide training
The goal of training is to help new employees get up to speed in terms of reaching expectations on AHT.
Without proper training, the newly hired agents will have a hard time in developing the right skills and will take a longer learning curve in managing their targets.
So the first thing you can do is provide excellent learning opportunities in the use of tools, customer relations management (CRM) software, and systems.
Through demonstration and actual exercises, they can learn how to be more efficient in navigating around desktop tools and applications.
2. Put up a transfer flow chart
If you are running a big call center organization that is composed of different departments and there are transferred calls, you may want to build a transfer flow chart.
A transfer flow chart quickly tells an agent whether the issue raised by the caller is within his or her scope of responsibility or will need to be transferred to another expert such as technical support.
For one thing, it is a win-win solution. It ensures that issues are resolved by the right people.
Also, it avoids having long-winding conversations that might upset the caller if they are told that all the time they spent was for nothing because they have to talk to someone else.
3. Develop active listening
Additionally, you can help your customer support team to develop active listening.
Through active listening, your agents and the caller can maintain clear communication. This prevents any misunderstanding and helps in knowing the exact issue and providing the proper resolution immediately.
4. Give tips on how to deal with runaway callers
Furthermore, you can also give tips on how to politely deal with runaway callers, people who are likely to start and continue talking off-topic which can lead to longer calls.
For example, you can give sample spiels that can acknowledge what the caller is saying and then quickly turn the conversation back to the issue.
5. Share best practices
You can also nurture a culture of collaboration and mentorship.
This can be done by either asking the leader of the customer support team to continuously coach or requesting each member to partner with another member and share feedback.
In the process, it helps make sure that best practices are freely shared around, helping everyone to manage their AHT successfully.
Wrapping it all up: keeping tabs on performance
After you have implemented the above action plans, the next thing you need to do is to regularly monitor and let people know of their performance.
You can do this by putting up a stat board or sending email to all the members of the customer support team with individual and team AHT levels.
By giving them the opportunity to be more efficient and to know about how well they’re doing, you can help your customer support team to reach AHT goals.