What is Average Handle Time (AHT)?

Average Handle Time (AHT) is a standard call center metric, used to measure the average length of time it takes to complete a transaction. It factors in:

  • Talk time (the amount of time agents are speaking to customers)
  • Hold time (the amount of time agents put the callers on hold)
  • Conference Time (the amount of time agents are in a conference)
  • Wrap time (the amount of post call time)
  • Total calls handled.

    The calculation sums up total talk time, hold time, conference time and wrap time and divides the result by total calls handled. All these statistics are taken from a call center's Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system.

    Average handle time (AHT) is used several ways by call center leaders and staff. Typically, lower average handle time (AHT) indicates that the call center is being more efficient with its agents because the lower the average handle time (AHT), the more calls each agent can handle. Which leads to the next use – average handle time (AHT) is a significant input to calculating staffing needs. Work force managers use it to calculate both the total number of agents needed as well as using it to determine schedules. Average handle time (AHT) can be calculated down to the agent level and is frequently an individual metric on agent dashboards.

    But managing to average handle time (AHT) should be done prudently. Driving down average handle times (AHT) could have a negative impact to the customer experience as agents feel compelled to rush callers through the interaction. Additionally, an increasing average handle time (AHT) could indicate that the types of calls are changing to more complex, time-consuming ones. Average handle time (AHT) is a piece of the puzzle, but it's not the whole picture. Call centers need to have comprehensive reports and analytics in order to have full understanding.

    How NICE inContact can help

    NICE inContact CXone is the market leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. We provide tools call centers need to manage to average handle times as well as use it as an input to critical staffing decisions. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations. CXone includes:

    Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD) including extensive real-time and historical reporting, interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

    Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording and performance management (PM).

    Analytics – turns insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable to drive measurable improvements and understand the omnichannel experience customers receive. These solutions include interaction analytics, customer surveys, reporting and performance management.

    CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic call center software solution capable of elevating customer experiences for companies of all sizes.


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