Tips for Reducing Average Handling Time

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How much time should your call agents spend on a phone conversation with a customer? It probably is one of the trickiest balance to achieve. Too much, and your costs will spiral out of control, not necessarily with an increase in customer satisfaction; too little, and your first-contact resolution rate may tumble, as will the quality of your customer care.

Here are a few tips to help you remain profitable while delivering outstanding service:

  • Reduce the number of calls. Calling has become a last resort for customers, used only when their issues can’t be resolved through your website or social media. Make sure that your website is customer-centric and allows your clients to perform routine tasks themselves as well as find answers to general questions such as opening times. A comprehensive FAQs section will also cut down general queries, as well as the ability for customers to manage their accounts online, update information and edit orders for example.
  • Automate calls whenever possible so that customers don’t need to talk to operators. Simple calls that can be automated include checking account balances, order dispatch, opening times, location, etc… But make sure that it is still straightforward for customers to talk to a human being if they need to.
  • Route calls based on agents’ specific skills. This may involve restructuring your automated menus to direct calls to the right people as well as training some of your staff as specialists in certain areas, but it will lower the time needed to resolve an issue and deliver better customer care.
  • Involve your agents in the process. They are the ones on the front line and who will be in the best position to pinpoint what could make them more efficient, be it technology, systems or scripts.
  • Train your agents to guide customers and keep the conversation moving. Some customers will babble, and it is an art to keep them on track while being respectful and make them feel valued. You can also show them instances where more time spent with customers didn’t translate into better customer experience so that they can identify unnecessary ‘extras’ in conversations.
  • Assess your scripts regularly to check that they are still relevant and efficient for your business. Outdated scripts are likely to have elements that are not needed and waste time that could be better used.

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