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Hold Time

Average Hold Time (AHT) is the length of your time that a customer waits in a queue for the agents of the customer care process outsourcing companies to answer their call, or the time a customer waits within the queue before his/her call gets answered by a live chat agent. Hold time is basically the friction point between the customer and the center agent.

1. What is hold time?

The amount of time a customer spends waiting on line to connect with an agent over a telephone is termed as Hold Time. Since none of the customers like to be kept on hold, tracking the typical hold time month-on-month may be a good way of deciding how satisfied customers are with your support.

2. How long should be the hold time?

The unfortunate reality is that any amount of time that you put your customers on hold can begin to impact your customer experience. In fact, a recent survey shows that 60% of shoppers felt that putting them on hold for only 1 minute was too long. Further, the longer that a customer is on hold the more serious his or her perception of how long they've been on hold becomes. A customer who is on hold for five minutes feels as if they have waited for an hour!

While putting customers on hold is unavoidable, looking at your center resources and call volume, it may be a critical issue to handle if you’re serious about customer experience improvement.

3. What are the ways to reduce the on-hold time? 

Implement Intelligent IVR

IVR System (Interactive Voice Response) may be a mediator that helps in processing inbound calls with no need for an agent. There are several requests from a customer, for example - activation of some reasonable service, the transaction history of that particular customer account, reward points availability for that account, etc., that don’t really need the involvement of any personnel input from the agents. A computer can have these requests automated by artificial intelligence with no problems whatsoever. This way, a customer can just call variety, follow the pre-recorded instructions, enter the required data input, and find the solution to the query through no agent involvement. No hold up times for the customers, even when it comes to a business with a limited number of agents. It's a complete win-win situation for both parties.

Integrate Chat/Email Tools with the dialer

A customer can often demand service or information that's unavailable with the calling agent. The agents then must contact his manager for the relevant procedures and put the customer on hold. Many customers find this practice highly unpleasant. By employing a unified chat/email tool, an agent can quickly notify the manager about the customer’s needs while still communicating with the customer and deliver a direct resolution. Also, using chat and email as a communication medium ease out the method for the shoppers. Agents can even ask for pre-written scripts that may save lots of your time and keep the agents far from putting the purchasers on hold.

Monitor Agent’s Performance Continuously

Call center solution software must have an integrated feature to watch calls. Call monitoring allows the decision center managers to concentrate on the continuing calls, seek advice from the agents during live calls, and actively participate in the ongoing discussion (without the purchasers knowing it). This feature lets the supervisors pinpoint if the conversation isn't moving in the right direction. The agents can even seek help from their managers, just in case of pitching a product or service. It significantly reduces the hold time for purchasers because the agents get the desired assistance directly from their supervisors.

Efficient CRM Software Integration

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software manages the customer data/information for the businesses. It can make a list of all the main points of the hot/cold leads, potential customers, ongoing customers, old customers, etc. that a business has. By mixing CRM with the dialler, agents are provided with these details and can deliver the necessary support instantly to their customers. Improved CRM provides a richer and higher availability of customer information to the agent in the sense that the agent doesn't put the customer on hold repeatedly to verify the answer.

Review and Update your cognitive content

Updating your company’s knowledge domain continuously and often may be of great help, not only to the shoppers but also to the agents. An updated and well-researched content lets the shoppers access solutions for their problems, at their own convenience. That is how a strong cognitive content acts as a self-help tool for shoppers. Quick access to the relevant information also helps the agents to resolve customer queries rather than putting them on hold or transferring the decision.

Optimize your Call Routing Strategy

Using a call routing strategy ensures that the customer queries are sorted in keeping with categories. Call routing means the foremost qualified centre rep gets to handle the decision for a particular customer problem. This way, the agents are able to handle the case effectively with the least time spent on hold. One of the most common call routing strategies are to route the decisions back to the agent with whom the purchasers last spoke to. This may be accomplished by the assistance of an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) which will recognize caller IDs. 

4. What is Average handle time?

Average handle time, or AHT, is a vital customer support center metric. Within the simplest terms, AHT is the average time an agent takes to handle a call or transaction from start to end – from call initiation, to carry time, to speak time, and any other related tasks that an agent has to take up to resolve the customer query.

5. How to calculate Average handle time?

To calculate your average handle time you need to - Add your total talk time + Total hold time + Total after-call tasks, and then divide it by the number of total calls.

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