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Quality management can help analyze average talk time

Looking to reduce average talk time in the call center? Learn how to use quality management to analyze calls in this expert tip.

I am trying to control the average talk time in our call center. We are offering customer services in the mobile phone industry through our inbound call center.

Recently, targets have been revised and more emphasis has been put on providing quality customer service, after which the average daily talk time for whole call center reached up to 115 seconds per call. (It used to be 90 seconds per call before these changes).

We questioned call center agents and they don't know how to control their average talk time. Management is not willing to revise those targets as we are a customer-oriented firm. What could be the way to reduce the average talk time in this case?

Also, we had an interactive voice response (IVR) system, but our quality management department has found that some basic information needs to be delivered to the customer before transferring calls to the IVR.

It sounds like you have some conflicting call center goals. You're focused on average talk time, while others are emphasizing quality, which can impact talk time. So first, you may want to look at the goals and what is driving them and try to reconcile them. It may be that controlling or reducing average talk time is not possible, or it is out of step with the other goals. You should also look at your customer satisfaction scores to see if they've improved with the focus on quality and resulting increase in talk time. If other measures show improvement (to which you can tie value), you may want to relegate average talk time to something you simply monitor for anomalies or trends.

As far as looking for ways to reduce talk time, you could do a time and motion study and evaluate where time is being spent. At a minimum, use observations from quality management to assess if time is being spent wisely. You may be able to identify improvements based on system changes, process changes, or additional training.

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