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How do Inbound Call Centres reduce AHT without sacrificing quality?

average handle time

These days, most of the businesses avail customer care services from inbound call centers so as to avoid any hassle that delivery of poor support experience can possibly cause. Another reason why inbound call center services are being availed from reputed vendors is the availability of required resources. To cater to customer needs in an apt manner, having a large workforce, robust infrastructure, cutting-edge technology, etc. is imperative.

To live up to client expectations, inbound call centers try to reduce AHT (average handle time) without compromising with the quality of customer service. Guess what, they succeed in doing this every so often.

Today, we will tell how inbound call centers keep the average handle time in check while rendering customer care services:

1.    Highly-trained support agents

To provide immaculate inbound call centre services, having a team of hardworking support agents at customer service operations is significant. Nimble agents have always been that factor which guarantees the deliverance of quality customer support services. Ergo, specialized inbound call centre service providers give their agents top-notch training.

Keeping customer service agents fully trained can really do wonders with regard to average handle time because they are likely to conclude support interactions quickly without making any compromises with the quality of resolutions. In simple words, the reduction in AHT totally depends on the enhancement of agents’ competency.

During the call centre agent training, supervisors or managers ensure newly appointed service reps have no queries left related to call scripts, knowledge base, CRM system, etc.

2.    Let customers have proper speaking time

In general, business owners drop the idea to operate an in-house inbound call centre because of two major reasons:

  • Services of specialised inbound call centre service providers are far cheaper than the operational cost of an in-house call centre.
  • Third party companies can easily offer customer service 24/7.

Customer service agents of established inbound call centres always aim for high CX levels while handling support interactions. For the same reason, they let customers have proper speaking time, and this leads to two-fold advantages — customers feel valued and better insights into what issues are all about. It’s no brainer when the root cause of issues is revealed, the chances of delivering satisfactory resolutions are very much on the cards.  

Letting customers describe issues is quite important, as negative reviews could arise otherwise because nobody likes to be interrupted while speaking. Even, in-house call centres are criticised because of their agents who disturb customers very much during the speaking time.

Commonly, service agents interrupt customers due to these reasons — ‘Paring the average handle time’ and ‘Meeting set performance targets.’ Do these reasons sound like appropriate ones? Well, this isn’t a good business practice to be honest, as the brand image comes at jeopardy if interruptions are made during customer interactions.

That’s why inbound call centres give their support agents this piece of advice: ‘Welcome customers at the start of the conversation and speak nothing until they are finished with describing issues.’

3.    Optimized IVR menu

Usually, the voice channel has the highest average handle time, comparing to other service mediums. This is so because 60% of customers contact a company by placing a call, and this is what the latest reports have revealed. To maintain clients’ business productivity, prestigious inbound call centre service providers keep their IVR system optimized to keep the AHT in control while coping with customer calls.

Thinking how an augmented IVR system help to slash AHT? Well, most of the millennial customers solve issues without taking service agents’ help if the IVR menu consists of reliable options. It leads to a reduced number of support requests, which automatically signals to low AHT.    

Here’s how inbound call centres keep their IVR system optimised:

  • Survey results get checked with the purpose of knowing customer expectations in terms of changes that should be made in the IVR menu.
  • A meeting with support agents gets arranged periodically, where it is asked about common issues mentioned by customers and then necessary changes are made to the IVR menu.
  • Superfluous options get removed so as to reduce the complexity level of the IVR menu.

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