A lot of businesses are struggling with an average hold time (AHT) right now because there has been a major increase in call volume and more customers have to wait longer for their service requests to be picked up by call center agents due to a lack of staffing or excessive demand from customers that need service right away. Here are 11 tips you can implement today that will help reduce your AHT. Tip One: Start with the basics. Understand your AHT and how it's affecting your business so you can get a better sense of where to start. Tip Two: Make sure customer service agents are trained on best practices for reducing AHT such as active listening, empathy building, time management skills, etc. Tip Three: Request a customer service software that has a built-in AHT feature with detailed reports to help you identify areas of improvement. Tip Four: Add additional staff during peak hours, have someone covering the phones while your agents are on their lunch break, or take scheduled breaks when possible. This will reduce wait times for customers and will also help agents stay more focused on the call if they know there is a break coming up. Tip Five: Utilize software that automatically classifies customer service data and assigns it to different queues so your staff can prioritize requests quickly and efficiently according to their availability. Tip Six: Have automated suggestions ready for customers, such as a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and links to articles that address common customer issues. Tip Seven: Have agents spend more time on the phone with customers, instead of writing up notes or following up emails which takes much longer than picking up the phone for another call. This can also dramatically improve customer satisfaction. Tip Eight: Make it as easy as possible for customers to ask questions and provide feedback. Tip Nine: Provide a way for your customer service team to listen in on their calls so they can pick up any common problems or issues that might arise during the phone call, like poor audio quality or excessive background noise. This will also help reduce AHT because you'll have a better idea of what needs to be fixed. Tip Ten: Share your AHT report with the rest of your team on a regular basis so they are aware if there is an issue that requires their time and attention. This will also provide them with insight into how long customers have to wait for service, which can help them in prioritizing the workload. Tip Eleven: Make sure that the AHT report is available to all stakeholders within your company so they can provide feedback and help drive improvements. In order to reduce AHT, a majority of these tips will need to be implemented in tandem with one another for best results. As always, if you have any other questions about how to improve your AHT, just let us know in the comments below. [wl_faceted_search]

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