Contact Center

Beat Average Handle Time By 56 Seconds

Rimlee Patgiri
March 3, 2023
 mins read

Last modified on

July 26, 2023

Mark and Luther are two customer care agents working for a leading Edtech industry.

Situation 1: Mark receives a call from a concerned mother about her child's performance. She asks for an update on the curriculum and her child's behavior in class.

Mark puts her on hold, contacts the professor, and resolves the situation promptly. The following query took about 5.25 mins, and both parties walked away with a satisfied conversation

Situation 2: Luther receives a call. There is an angry parent on the phone breathing shakily. Luther understands her agitation and gently asks, “How may I help you today, ma’am?”


Another student's mother had a negative experience purchasing an Advanced Mathematics course from the company. She was promised 24/7 assistance, which she now considers a scam. This situation was going to require more time to address.

Luther searches through multiple calls, tries tracking the records, and so on. Time’s of the essence, and it took about 18.3 mins to get the angry customer to walk away without an escalated case. Phew! Let’s sum up the two situations. 

  • Both resolved the cases. 
  • Both went through some iterations between different calls. 
  • Both needed urgent reciprocation. 
  • Mark completed the call in 5.25 mins, and Luther completed it in 18.3 mins. 

The time Mark and Luther took to complete the calls became a major factor in the average handle time. It’s widely accepted that the lower average handle time, the better. Right? 

Wrong. Average handle time (AHT) is quite subjective–it depends on the situation, urgency, and the query. 

But what happens when an agent takes longer than usual to resolve queries like situation 1?

What is the average handle time for call center as per industry standard?
AHT or Average Handle Time Industry-Standard

Tracking average handle time in contact centers is crucial. It reflects agent performance and directly affects customer satisfaction.

What Is Average Handle Time, And How Does It Affect Call Centers?

Average handle time (AHT) is a key metric measuring the total time an agent spends with a customer in call handling. These customer calls include everything from the start of the call, hold time, to the after-call work.  

Average handle time is an important KPI measured during call center management to analyze the contact center efficiency. 

Often, we come across this question What is a good average handle time?

There is no easy way to answer this question, but this might help. 

A report by Cornell University shows that the average handle times differ by industry and can range from 5 minutes to 8.48 minutes. 

Ways in which average handle time (AHT) affects contact center performance: 

  1. Reveals agent productivity and performance.
  2. Indicates overall customer satisfaction.
  3. Helps in identifying areas of improvement.
  4. Allows businesses to improve the customer journey and boost their loyalty.
  5. Lays a platform to establish a positive brand image. 
  6. Paves opportunities for a better strategy for customer service goals to execute business-driven decisions.

How Do You Calculate Average Handle Time?

Reducing Average Handle Time (AHT) is a top priority for call centers seeking to enhance operational efficiency and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Through the strategic implementation of an omnichannel approach, ongoing training, and the provision of self-service options, call centers can optimize their operations and boost customer satisfaction.

To initiate the journey towards AHT reduction, it is essential to first understand how to calculate Average Handle Time accurately. AHT is the total time agents spend handling a customer interaction, including both talk time and any associated after-call work time. 

By accurately measuring AHT, call centers gain valuable insights into agent performance, customer service quality, and the overall efficiency of their processes. With Convin's call center automation engine, measuring AHT becomes a seamless process, as the platform provides real-time data on average talk time, average hold time, and call work time

By tracking these metrics consistently, call centers can pinpoint areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize their operations for reduced AHT.

Average handle time is calculated by adding total talk time + total hold time + total follow-up time and dividing it by the total number of calls.

Average Handle Time Formula
Call center average handle time calculator
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How To Reduce Average Handle Time Using Automation

Automation is using an AI-based contact center software that records, transcribes, and generates valuable insights from customer interactions. These insights serve as a ready-made guide to executing business-driving decisions. 

Let’s understand how to lower average handle time (AHT) by 56 seconds and improve overall customer conversations. 

1. Total Talk Time

A contact center solution also acts as a call center scripting software. With the valuable insights from speech analytics, you can uncover what works and what doesn’t to arrive at a tailor-made script for contact center reps to follow. 

With the script in place, it becomes easier to create an optimized conversation for various use cases that serves the customer with the right solution in the least amount of time. 

For e.g., With, you can set parameters, including compliance regulations, and monitor them diligently. Likewise, you can discover the best-performing calls and execute these winning behaviors, repeating them in the script to arrive at a perfect conversion with the customer. 

2. Total Hold Time

As mentioned above, a call center software records and transcribes the conversations. With cases requiring multiple levels of people in the conversation subsequently, you no longer need to open Excel sheets or hover around for the context. 

You can track customer conversations and answer confidently. This saves time, and effort, and delivers the customer a sense of getting heard, leading to better customer experiences. 

3. Follow-Up Time

Follow-Up time refers to the after-call work. This can include various tasks such as call handling, handling documents, scheduling appointments, etc. 

A solution that integrates easily with your system makes it way easier to carry out these tasks. A contact center software can be integrated with your CRM, team-conferencing, team messaging, dialer, and calendar.  

Know more about Convin’s integrations.

This makes after-call work swift, and contact center reps’ productivity shoots high. 

4. Additional Bonus

A lower average handle time is also determined by the agent’s knowledge of the product or service. A major benefit is a call center software that provides a contact center coaching experience that encourages peer-to-peer coaching

Call center coaching delivers a seamless agent training experience with a leadership dashboard to keep call center agents motivated. You can constantly monitor your team’s progress and curate assessments to test their knowledge. 

Want To Reduce Your Average Handle Time? Here You Go!

Understanding Average Handle Time Beyond the Clock

1. Unveiling the Hidden Insights

The analytics dashboard is a consolidated view of your contact centers’ performance. The Analytics Dashboard is crucial in gaining comprehensive insights into average handling time performance. It helps monitor agent performance by providing data on call duration, hold times, first call resolution, net promoter score and other relevant call center key metrics

You can find all the necessary insights from multi-team level, team level, to rep-level analysis. The analysis dashboard also reflects the violations, conversations that fall under good and ones that need attention, etc.

How to improve average handle time using call center performance dashboard
Convin analysis dashboard to achieve a better call center AHT time

2. Empowering Teams to Excel With Knowledge Base

The Coaching Dashboard complements the analytics data by focusing on individual rep performance. It allows managers and supervisors to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each agent concerning average handle time.

Through key performance indicators, feedback, and evaluation, supervisors can identify coaching opportunities to the support team to achieve optimal AHT. This contributes to a reduction in average handle time while maintaining service quality.

Convin call center coaching dashboard helps lower average handle time call center
Convin call center coaching dashboard helps lower average handle time call center

3. Training for Efficiency and Excellence

The Learning Management System is a powerful tool for training and development initiatives. It aids in equipping agents with the knowledge and skills required to handle customer inquiries efficiently. 

The library is your go-to place to store all agent training materials, and new information, and create assessments to test your team's progress. It’s simple, easy to use, and convenient to monitor the overall agent performance.

Convin Learning Management System
Convin Learning Management System

Have you experienced our on-the-go call center software? 

Convin is now available on Mobile!

Road To Improved Average Handle Time In Call Center

As we mentioned earlier, average handle time can be tricky to track and analyze. This is because of its subjectiveness and importance in team performance and improved customer experience. 

However, a lower AHT is not the wrong direction to look at, considering all the calls together in a call center. Your target should now be low AHT but a more optimized one. 

Considering factors such as coaching, call center QA, parameters, integrations, etc., we at Convin have carefully carved out how you can optimize your average handle time by up to 56 seconds. This progress is immediately visible in the form of the AI-Score. Here’s a quick glance at one of your valuable client's progress.

 How call center software helps lower average handle time
How call center software helps lower average handle time

Still not sure? Sign up to learn how to decrease average handle time in a contact center here.

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