Why Average Handle Time Matters
Many years ago, an agent who I had trained needed someone to vent her frustration to one day and I ended being that someone. Her frustration was with the Average Handle Time (AHT) target. We both worked in the retention group for a large telecom provider and she was always so proactive in reviewing bills, plans, equipment, and everything else under the sun, trying to ensure the customer was really taken care of so they wouldn't cancel.
I struggled to explain to her why the target was so much lower than her actual performance and why it mattered. I didn't actually know why it mattered! Maybe you've wondered the same thing.
Spoiler alert - Average Handle Time targets aren't about money - they're about customer experience. Let me explain:
First of all, while we know some calls take longer than others (that's why it's an average), no matter how wonderful you are, no one wakes up and thinks, "Gee, I can't wait to spend 15 minutes today talking with [insert company name here]'s customer service!" Yes, you can provide a wonderful experience, but believe me, 99.9% of calls are based on need, not the desire to make a new friend. People are busy and they want to finish this call quickly. They have other things to do. Those kids you hear in the background - this parent is now trying to listen to you and stop little Jimmy from putting his baba down the toilet necessitating a call to a plumber after this call.