GoResponse Telephone Answering Service Staff

Ensure correct staffing by altering AHT expectations

AHTAverage Handling Time (AHT) is a crucial metric that is used in many call centres. However, this indicator must be used correctly, especially when using it to determine staff levels. When working with scheduling teams, telephone answering services managers must consider changing their AHT expectations throughout the day and altering staffing levels as a result.

The call centre environment is a very changeable place, with the number of calls and contacts coming in often fluctuating wildly by the hour. Some sense of these variations can be made, however, by analysing calls on an hourly, daily, weekly or even seasonal level. In many cases, the required agent numbers are based on AHT by assuming one agent can get through a certain number of calls and expanding this to take in an entire business’s needs. However, AHT can change depending on the time of day.

For example, inbound sales calls may rise dramatically in the evenings, when consumers are finished with their working day. Successful sales calls will often take longer than other communications and tend to push up AHT. The average evening AHT will therefore be higher, and that may mean that more agents are required.

Call centre expert Nathan Winstanley said: “If you run your staging in 15- or 30-minute intervals, change your AHT expectations throughout the day. An example would be in an inbound sales environment you may see a spike in sales in an evening, more sales = more calls, meaning your AHT in that period is higher. This means that if you run on a set day AHT, you may understaff your evening.”

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