One of the best ways to bring down the average handling time of your call center is by reducing the wrap-up times of calls. With proper training and technology, it is achievable and can bring immediate benefits to the call center through cost savings as well as improvement in the performance of agents. Agents will also get more time to receive more inbound calls or make more outbound calls.
Keeping the average handling time (AHT) low has a direct impact on the revenue and bottom line. If the AHT is low and first call resolution rate is high, that means customers are satisfied with the service which will lead to more conversion, more business and also more referrals. This will also result in employee satisfaction and the level of productivity will be high.
AHT is a key performance indicator of an agent. But it may not always draw a complete picture of the efficiency of an agent because it is defined as the summation of total talk time, total hold time and total wrap-up time which is divided by the number of calls received by the call center. An agent cannot always reduce the call time and hold time especially if the caller has a problem which is critical and the resolution is not easy. If the call is routed to another agent who is more knowledgeable about this problem, the hold time may go up. So, the only other part which is the wrap-up time is what agents often target to keep the AHT within the acceptable limit set by the contact center management.
What is Agent Wrap-up Time?
Agent wrap-up time is the time taken by an agent to make notes or entries about relevant details of a call after the caller has hung up. It is also known as after call work (ACW). An agent can also make emails or outbound calls during this period to check on the resolution of the problem stated by the last caller. The agent has to feed the relevant data into the CRM software so that it can be recorded for security purpose (to save themselves from expensive lawsuits) as well as for future marketing needs.
If the wrap up time is reduced, the AHT can also be brought down if the other two variables remain fixed.
Some of the methods that can be used to bring down the wrap-up time are as follows:
- Proper training: A lot of call centers are now adopting speech analytics software to make entries into the CRM data sheet or call logs automatically. An agent needs proper training before they can use this technology properly. But they should also be taught to proof-read quickly when they are typing and their minds should be trained in a way that they are able to multi-function. Even when they are typing, the mind should be focused enough to not make typos and spot them quickly. However, this requires extensive training. They should also be able to make some notes and entries while talking to the client without taking the attention of the caller because the quality of a call is a KPI.
- Utilize the hold time: Sometimes a call may have to be put on hold to verify some facts or to route it to another agent or to look up for a solution. A trained agent may be able to utilize this time to make some entries into the call log in order to reduce the ACW load. A lot of call centers also permit their agents to request callers to be put on hold during which the data is entered into the valid fields. A lot of people don’t mind as long that helps in faster resolution of the problem. For some call centers, taking down details during the conversation is mandatory because the conversation is taped and a screenshot of the CRM details appearing on the screen of the agent’s computer is taken for QA purposes and also as a security measure.
- Explain the implication of recording the call text properly: It is important that an agent understands the implications of recording the call texts without mistakes. Share case studies to show how mistakes can impact the performance of the call center. Tell them also how and why these are used.
- Text expanders: Some call centers use text expanders. These are software which are compatible with commonly used OS like Windows and Mac and can be personalized for an agent who can type shortcuts which then expands into full sentences. You may also create a standard list of shortcuts that can be used by all agents to save time needed to type and also reduce chances of making errors.
- Review the wrap-ups: It is important that the wrap-up times and the quality of call text are analyzed by different departments who use it. Is the agent noting down irrelevant information? Is he missing out on important details? Is he trying to deliberately shorten the ACW phase to reduce the AHT? Is he using the wrap-up codes to take unscheduled breaks or for noting down details of a previous call? Those whose performance is not up to the mark may need additional training.
If wrap-up times are reduced drastically, the AHT will be reduced and all the benefits discussed in the previous paragraphs of this article can be enjoyed. That would mean immediate ROI on technologies and processes that your contact center may have invested in.