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Call center management tips for coaching on average handle time (AHT)

Lori Bocklund offers practical advice for lowering average handle time (AHT) for customer service representatives in this expert tip.

What is the best way to control a customer service representative's average handle time (AHT)? I have to coach my reps on their average handle time every day, but I was wondering if you could give me some call center management tips.

Average handle time (AHT) can be impacted by many factors such as system response time, processes, training, and incentives. As a call center manager, remember that reps' awareness of and focus on average handle time can also be influenced in many ways. If average handle time is high for some reps, you can use quality monitoring feedback from recorded calls as one key tool. Let the reps hear their calls, and perhaps let them hear some other "exemplary" calls. If average handle time is high for all reps, you need to look at other factors for a more systemic problem. Call monitoring and time and motion studies can help.

And be aware that creating a focus on lowering average handle time can have some undesired consequences if the balance of quality and customer focus is not there.

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