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The Key Drivers of Average Handle Time (AHT)

Many organizations fail to understand the drivers of AHT and therefore under or over-estimate the forecasted AHT, resulting in inaccurate capacity planning outcomes.

The use of current trending AHT may not accurately predict the AHT requirements for the future planning horizon. Drivers of change in AHT include:

  • Changes in program requirements

  • New system implementations or system updates

  • Changes to processes such as authentication requirements, transfer protocols

  • New or updated knowledge management tools

  • Seasonality

  • Call deflection to self-service resulting in more complex agent interactions

  • New hires due to agent attrition and growth


AHT and New Hire Learning Curve

Organizations often fail to define the AHT for fully-proficient tenured agents and importantly, track and utilize new hire learning curve in determining a forecasted AHT.

  • Many organizations use proficiency or maturity factors that do not provide the level of granularity for new hire learning curve and may not be regularly updated.

  • However, they do not consider the learning curve of new agents hired as a result of attrition, replacement or growth.

  • Focus is generally on trending AHT from the last 3 months or year, rather than on the potential for change during the planning horizon.

  • New hire learning curves can vary from 1 month to 18 months or more depending on program complexity, nesting and ongoing coaching which drives the need to consider an alternative approach to defining forecasted AHT.



Organizations often fail to define the AHT for fully-proficient tenured agents and importantly, track and utilize new hire learning curve in determining a forecasted AHT because of complexity and lack of available tools that make it simple to do so.


EXAMPLE: Government Department


Inputs:

  • Call volume: 100K per month

  • SL Target of 80% in 20 seconds

  • Trending AHT: 672 seconds

  • AHT – Tenured Agents: 600 Seconds

  • Hours of Operation: 5 days a week

  • Attrition: Varies by month – 33% annualized

  • Shrinkage: Varies by month – 34.5% average


Outcome:

  • Difference of 6 seconds in AHT results in a shortfall of 2 FTE and a forecasted decrease in SL of 4.4%

  • SL consistency is also impacted, ranging from 72.6% to 80.1% throughout the year

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