How to Improve Call Center Average Handle Time

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In a busy call center, keeping down your Average Handle Time, or AHT, is crucial to running a successful business. Customers expect fast and accurate service, and that requires each phone agent to be as efficient as possible. One of the major metrics for monitoring the success of a call center is how long each call takes from start to finish. Improving your average handle time will allow for the staffing of fewer phone agents and happier customers.

Improve your employee resources. If your agents have immediate access to all of the information they need, such as through a company intranet, they will be able to effectively answer all of the questions that callers have in a timely manner. Make sure all information is neatly organized and easily accessible to your agents while they are on a call.

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Create tiers of employees to handle specific needs. Making sure that agents with the right skills are handling different types of calls will ensure that calls are shorter and customers are happier. Have an expert team to handle escalations and complex calls and leave the easier calls for newer employees.

Keep computer systems upgraded at all times. Many delays in phone calls are a result of slow or freezing computers that limit an agent's access to the information they need to resolve the caller's issue. If every action is quick, average handling time will be reduced across all agents regardless of skill level.

Provide incentives for agents who perform well. Create small goals for all agents to achieve and reward them with gift cards or other benefits for reaching these milestones.

Utilize training regularly for agents. Employees who are well trained will require less attention and help from supervisors and will be able to handle issues rapidly.


  • Make sure that agents' average handling time is displayed publicly for all employees to see so that they can compare their numbers with others. Do not punish people for having a low average handling time. Instead mentor them and train them to improve their numbers.