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3 Ways to Lower Average Handle Time with Conversation Analytics

October 16, 2020 by Morgan Pulitzer

team meeting about lowering average handle time on agent-customer calls

Do You Know Your Average Handle Time?

Average Handle Time, or AHT, is an important metric for nearly every contact center. The less time an agent spends helping a caller with a question or a problem, the more calls they can answer in a given period of time. Businesses strive to have the lowest AHT possible.

However, it’s important that agents don’t sacrifice quality for quantity (or vice-versa). If an agent spends an inordinate amount of time assisting one caller, it means other callers are on hold. And no one likes to be put on hold for too long. These frustrations could eventually result in customer churn. But if an agent is focused on getting the current caller off the phone in order to reduce AHT, the agent may not provide adequate service. This could lead to an unresolved issue or a call back from an angry customer.

So how can contact centers achieve lower AHT rates while providing excellent customer service? Here are 3 ways to lower your average handle time using conversation analytics:

1. Identify Common Customer Pain Points with Call Transcriptions

Listening to recorded calls can help reveal frequent questions or complaints during conversations. But who has the time to manually listen to all of those calls? Searchable call transcriptions make it easy to segment calls and suss out common customer complaints.

For instance, a company’s return policy may cause confusion or irritation for customers. Contact center supervisors can search transcriptions for keywords related to the return policy. They can then take the information from these calls and figure out the best ways for agents to help customers when this issue arises. Or they can even implement changes to their return policy that could eliminate the issue altogether. This will lead to more confident agents who can easily speak to and solve problems in less time.

2. Silence Speaks Volumes

If agents who lack sufficient training or knowledge in certain areas will not be able to effectively help customers. Recorded conversations can reveal agent knowledge gaps, especially where long silences occur. These extended pauses could likely indicate that an agent is taking too long to provide an answer. It can also indicate technology glitches or other operational problems that impair the agent’s efficiency. Silence and overtalk detection make it easy to understand customer frustration through root cause analysis. Both agent training and technology can then be updated to reduce long silences and AHT.

3. Discover and Utilize Agent Success with Sentiment Analysis

While recognizing which agents need additional training can help lower the average handle time, it’s just as important to know which agents consistently achieve their goals. Extracting calls with successful outcomes can help reveal the different tactics they use to keep customers satisfied and reduce AHT rates. You can easily see which agents are more successful by using sentiment analysis. Successful agents will have a higher percentage of “mostly positive” sentiment in the dashboard.

When you dig into those calls, you can see what the agent said to get a positive outcome. Whether it’s suggesting a new solution to fix a problem, or simply knowing what to say to appease an angry caller, your agents are your best training resource. With sentiment analysis, you can easily obtain examples from the call content to train other agents when similar incidences occur.

Each recorded phone conversation contains a wealth of information that can be used to help reduce your contact center’s average handle time. And using an automated call monitoring solution can scan these calls quickly to help reveal conversational insights even faster. With these three tips, any contact center can improve AHT rates while delivering a superior customer experience.

To learn more about reducing AHT rates, take a test drive of CallFinder’s AQM solution.

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