Average Handle Time impacts contact center KPIs from customer satisfaction to operational efficiency and agent effectiveness. It provides insight into the value of employee training programs, standard processes & resources. AHT plays a defining role in improving the customer experience and indicates an agent’s preparedness for successfully helping customers, winning a sales call, successfully collecting delinquent debt or whatever outcome they’re working hard to achieve.

If AHT is too high or trending in the wrong direction, it probably means:

  1. Agents don’t have adequate product/service knowledge
  2. Customers may find themselves contacting the business multiple times about a single issue
  3. Agents aren’t getting what they need from coaching and/or training initiatives

Keeping AHT low or reducing AHT is a non-negotiable for CSAT scores and providing competitive customer experiences, and sacrificing quality is never an option. Healthy AHTs means the contact center and agents can handle more voice/digital interactions per day. Naturally, top-performing contact center organizations and teams have flocked to AI-powered technologies that enable amazing, productive conversations and keep average call times low.

How Real-Time Agent Guidance Reduces AHT (& Generates Fast ROI)

Real Time Agent Guidance (RTAG) listens to both sides of the agent/customer conversation, interprets full context & puts the exact right thing to say directly on the agent’s desktop. Conversational data & call outcomes are then fed back into the platform. Why is this important?

  • It means winning playbook scripts can be shared/scaled to every agent.
  • It means new hire agents can ramp up fast and quickly start hitting revenue/goal targets by following proven scripts & playbooks!
  • It the fuels development and intelligent modification of playbooks so the RTAG capabilities are data-driven based on what actually works.
  • It makes powerful customer and conversational data accessible to everyone in the organization; a true path to data-driven growth for all areas of the business, not just the customer-facing agents using the Real Time Agent Guidance tool.

Unlike lesser Agent Assist technology (which relies on keyword recognition to serve up Knowledge Base articles), AiQ listens to the full context of each conversation and serves up the exact right thing(s) to say. If you’re not an agent, or have never been one, try to imagine for a moment the experience of Real-Time Agent Guidance vs. Agent Assist tools. The ease and simplicity of using RTAG playbooks versus Knowledge Base articles can’t be overstated.

Imagine this Outbound Sales Rep/SDR Use Case:

The Situation: After nearly ten minutes of educating and addressing legitimate objections, Laura, a new outbound sales rep for a national mortgage lender is about to close a loan refinance opportunity with her prospect, Arthur DeTram. But then Arthur throws out a final concern, and Laura doesn’t know to respond to or overcome his concern.

Her agent assist tool identifies a known keyword in Mr. DeTram’s question, “I’m worried about the closing costs; what’s my breakeven date?” and Laura quickly has a 6-sentence article “at her fingertips.”

She attempts to maintain a normal conversation and flow as she tries to read and comprehend the article’s information, but awkward silence mixed with dead-air filler chatter ensues.

The call extends to 12, 13, then 14 minutes, and Mr. DeTram, who answered Laura’s cold-call out of the blue, reaches his breaking point. He tells Laura she’ll have to call back later and as the story goes, she never gets in touch with him again.

How Real-Time Agent Guidance Changes Laura’s Outcome with Mr. DeTram:

The RTAG tool hears the words “closing costs” and “breakeven date” used together but also identifies a sentiment of concern and trepidation from the conversational context. Instead of an article to read, a step-by-step script “playbook” pops onto Laura’s screen, telling her exactly what to say to Mr. DeTram. There’s no pause in the conversation, no opportunity for Mr. DeTram to second guess himself, and instead of a lost sale, Laura is one loan closer to her weekly sales target.

But Wait, There’s More: Real-Time Agent Coaching & Live Quality Monitoring (Automated Scoring on 100% of Calls)

Using RTAG is proven to lower AHT, but don’t forget about Real-Time Coaching & live, automated Quality Management (i.e. 100% Automated Call Scoring); solutions such as Acqueon AiQ® offer the triple-threat value of all three capabilities in a single solution. Real-Time Agent Coaching lets managers listen to 100% of agents’ calls and automatically alerts managers of on-the-spot and urgent coaching opportunities. The coaching software can be programmed to pick up on keywords and phrases, so managers can jump in exactly when agents need them most to win a deal, prevent churn, or provide an exceptional level of service. Time-consuming call escalations happen less, customers are happier, and agents are empowered.

In most contact centers, here’s how quality monitoring (QM) works: managers listen to a sliver-sampling of agent calls, but they listen to recordings and it’s often days or weeks after the call takes place. QM is vital for compliance and contact center success, but post-call QM is far from ideal. The good news is that now QM can be done in real-time, with live QM tools. This approach makes far more sense, right? Managers get to help agents make every conversation their best conversation — in real time. Some solutions even offer customizable scorecards to automatically grade every single call; Acqueon is one of them. The key takeaway here is that Average Handle Times in the contact center are reduced significantly with a live call-scoring strategy and enterprise organizations can save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually when AHTs drop by even a few seconds per call.

Plus, time is money. AiQ saves contact center managers from burning precious hours on post-call monitoring.

Using Real-Time Agent Guidance & Coaching, Results Happen Fast:

  • 26% Increase in Conversions
  • 25% Increase in CSAT
  • 75% Faster Agent Ramp
  • 53 Sec Reduction in AHT


Get more info about Real-Time Conversational Intelligence: Download the AiQ® Overview