Conversational Analytics / 08.10.2020

5 Ways to Reduce Average Handle Time in Contact Centers with AI

For contact centers, customer satisfaction is paramount. No other metrics come close to honoring the CSAT metric. Valuing time bodes well for the business bottom-line, and it also contributes to higher customer satisfaction when done right. A lower average handle time (AHT) benefits include lower call waiting times for customers, quicker resolution of customer interactions, and reduction in overhead and HR costs, making AHT one of the vital key performance indicators in a contact center.

AHT is the average time it takes to handle a call. The time is calculated from start to finish – from initiation of the interaction, including the hold and talk times, and the time taken to perform the after-call work (ACW) summary, categorization, etc. Given the impact of a lower AHT has on CSAT, here are five simple steps to lower AHT in your contact center:

Reduce AHT in your contact center with

#1. AI-powered knowledge base

In today’s knowledge-intensive economy, you cannot overemphasize the importance of timely information to drive forward a customer relationship or resolve a customer problem. On average, a contact center agent browses through at least three different screens to resolve a customer problem. AI-based knowledge management helps in driving efficiencies and ensuring agents have the right information at the right time. An AI-based knowledge management solution utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) and semantic search to learn and identify keywords that customers speak and, in real-time, empowers the agent with the right knowledge at their fingertips. It not only reduces the average call handle time but also eliminates the human-related error in finding the correct information.

#2. In-call agent assistance

Real-time conversational AI-based agent assistance solutions help agents improve their efficiency and reduce the time taken to resolve customer service interactions. Conversational AI provides the agents with real-time alerts and notifications, so the agents focus on customer’s needs and deliver a conversational experience. Agents are also alerted on customer intent, sentiment, and emotion in real-time, to resolve customer problems.

#3. Chatbots and self-service

Intelligent chatbots and voice bots drive self-service and deflect calls from higher-cost channels for routine customer interactions. With the advances in conversational AI, machines can precisely understand how humans communicate and their intent. Chatbots mimic a human agent and resolve more straightforward customer queries in the quickest time possible. Other self-service options such as how-to-guides, videos, blogs, and social media posts also help resolve customer queries without needing a live agent.  For complex interactions, the bot will intelligently route the conversation to a live human agent with the full context, thus reducing AHT and increasing FCR.

#4. Intelligent automation

Automation is a crucial driver of business growth, cost-cutting, and time reduction. Many tasks within a contact center can be conveniently automated to save the agent’s time and effort. One such interest area is the automation of after-call work (ACW). Automating ACW summary and call categorization lower average call handle time and improve accuracy while also increasing customer satisfaction.

#5. AI-based agent coaching

Coaching the agents with the right skills helps reduce the average handle time significantly. Using AI with post-call speech analytics, contact centers get actionable insights on agent performance, customer experience, and other factors to determine coaching suggestions. Supervisors use AI-driven dashboards to remotely analyze agent productivity and customize training programs to agents based on the business requirements. Quality analysts can also dig deep into specific calls with additional tags such as reasons for customer churn, competitor mentions, etc., and give the most relevant feedback to agents. All this can help to reduce the AHT and improve customer satisfaction.

These are some steps contact centers can adopt to reduce average call handle time, leveraging the growth in AI and automation, thus improving customer satisfaction and increasing agent efficiency.

Contact Uniphore to learn more about how your contact centers can be transformed using Conversational Service Automation.