Average handling time (AHT)

Also known as “AHT,” this is the average length of time for an entire customer call interaction — from the time a customer initiates a call to its end. This includes all hold times and transfers as well as after-call work by agents. It’s typically calculated using a large volume of data over a specified period of time. 

Average handle time (AHT) is a metric used in call centers or contact centers to measure the average duration of a customer interaction, including the time an agent spends interacting with a customer on a call, chat, email or any other channel, as well as any related work after the interaction, such as note-taking or call disposition.

AHT is calculated by dividing the total talk time, hold time and after-call work time by the total number of interactions an agent or team of agents handles during a specific period.
The goal of reducing average handle time is to increase the efficiency of the call center by reducing the amount of time an agent spends on each interaction. This can help improve overall productivity and lower costs. However, this shoudn’t be done at the expense of customer experience.

Improving the customer experience is also an important factor to consider when reducing AHT, as customers shouldn’t feel rushed or neglected during their interactions with agents. Balancing AHT reduction with positive customer experience is a delicate process that requires training and support for agents so they can improve their efficiency without sacrificing quality.

Call center agents are responsible for handling customer interactions, which can significantly impact AHT. By improving their skills and knowledge, agents can reduce the time it takes to handle a customer interaction while still maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

A contact center is a broader term that includes various channels of customer communication, such as social media, email, live chat and phone calls. While AHT is commonly used in call centers, it can also applies to other channels within a contact center.