Blog Article

Average Handle Time: Enhancing Customer Service With AI Chatbots, Live Chat, And Knowledge Base Solutions

Prerna Pundir
By Prerna Pundir | Last Updated on March 12th, 2024 7:12 am

Welcome to our comprehensive guide where we delve into the intricacies of Average Handle Time (AHT) in customer service. In this blog, we explore the essence of AHT, a critical metric in customer support, especially in call centers and help desks. We'll guide you through understanding AHT, its calculation, and strategies for reducing it in your support center. Additionally, we'll examine the limitations of the AHT formula and how to balance quality and speed in customer service, integrating modern tools like AI chatbots , live chat software, and more.

Understanding Average Handle Time

Average Handle Time (AHT) is a crucial metric in customer service, especially in environments like call centers and help desks. It measures the average duration of a customer interaction, encompassing both talk and hold times. AHT is vital for understanding the efficiency of customer support operations. Managing AHT effectively can lead to improved customer satisfaction, as it aims to ensure queries are resolved quickly and efficiently. This metric is particularly relevant when using tools like call center software, live chat software, and AI chatbots, as they can significantly influence AHT.

How To Calculate Average Handle Time

Understanding how to calculate Average Handle Time (AHT) is crucial in customer service, especially in environments like call centers and help desks. AHT is a key metric used to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of customer support, particularly when using tools like call center software, live chat software, and knowledge base software.

To calculate AHT, you simply add up the total talk time, hold time, and after-call work time, and then divide this sum by the total number of calls handled. It's a straightforward formula:


Incorporating AI chatbots can significantly reduce AHT by handling routine inquiries, leaving more complex issues to live chat support. This integration can streamline the process, making your customer service more efficient and responsive.

Remember, while AHT is a valuable metric, it's essential to balance speed with quality customer service. Utilizing modern technologies like live chat and AI can help achieve this balance.

15 Tips To Reduce AHT In A Support Center

Here's a brief overview of each topic, guiding you towards reducing Average Handle Time (AHT) in a support center:

  1. Empower Your Team with Knowledge Base Software: Equip your customer service team with comprehensive knowledge base software. This tool provides instant access to information, allowing agents to quickly find answers to common queries, reducing call handling times.

  1. Implement AI Chatbots: Utilize AI chatbots as a first line of support. Chatbots can handle routine inquiries efficiently, freeing up human agents for more complex issues. This integration not only enhances customer service but also lowers average handle time.

  1. Optimize Help Desk Operations: Streamline your help desk processes. Regularly review and update your procedures to ensure they are efficient. This helps in reducing unnecessary steps in the customer service process.

  1. Enhance Training Programs: Regular and effective training ensures your team is well-versed in handling various types of calls. This directly impacts the ability to resolve issues swiftly, thus reducing AHT.

  1. Utilize Call Center Software: Invest in advanced Call Center Software that offers features like call routing, caller information display, and integration with other customer service tools. This helps in managing calls more efficiently.

  1. Focus on First Call Resolution: Encourage agents to resolve issues on the first call. This reduces the need for follow-up calls, consequently lowering the AHT.

  1. Implement Live Chat Support: Live chat support offers real-time assistance, allowing for quicker issue resolution compared to email or phone calls.

  1. Regular Feedback and Coaching: Provide regular feedback and coaching to your team. This helps in identifying areas for improvement and training needs, leading to more efficient call handling.

  1. Use Call Analytics: Analyze call data to identify trends and common issues. This information can be used to improve processes and training, thus reducing AHT.

  1. Encourage Self-Service Options: Promote self-service options like FAQs or forums, allowing customers to find answers themselves and reducing the load on customer service agents.

  1. Optimize Workflow with Live Chat Software: Integrate live chat software into your customer service strategy. This can help in managing queries more efficiently than traditional phone calls.

  1. Personalize Customer Interactions: Personalized interactions can lead to quicker problem identification and resolution, thus reducing AHT.

  1. Automate Routine Tasks: Use automation for routine tasks like ticket sorting and prioritizing. This frees up agents to focus more on customer interaction.

  1. Invest in Chatbot Builder Tools: Utilize chatbot builder tools to create customized chatbots that cater to the specific needs of your business and customers.

  1. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and update your strategies, tools, and processes. Continuous improvement in these areas leads to more efficient operations and reduced AHT.

Limitations Of The Average Handle Time Formula

Here are some key points highlighting the limitations of the Average Handle Time formula in customer service, particularly in call centers and help desks.

  1. AHT Focuses on Duration, Not Quality: AHT measures the time taken in customer service interactions, primarily in call centers, but it doesn't always reflect the quality of service.

  1. Risk of Rushed Interactions: In an effort to reduce AHT, agents might hurry customer interactions, potentially harming service quality.

  1. Overlooking Knowledge Base Benefits: Sole reliance on AHT can ignore the effectiveness of knowledge base software in enhancing customer self-service and satisfaction.

  1. AI Chatbots and Live Chat Software: While these tools can reduce response times, they should be balanced with human touch to ensure comprehensive service.

  1. Chatbot Builders and Live Chat Support: They are helpful in lowering wait times but need to be integrated carefully to handle complex issues effectively.

  1. Not the Sole Success Measure: AHT is a useful efficiency metric for help desks but shouldn't be the only criterion for evaluating success in customer service.

  1. Potential for Misleading Metrics: AHT can sometimes provide a skewed view if not analyzed correctly, leading to misinformed decisions about call center performance.

  1. Underestimation of Complex Queries: Complex customer queries require more time, which AHT might not adequately account for, leading to a mismatch in evaluating agent performance.

  1. Impact on Agent Morale: Overemphasis on AHT can stress agents, impacting their morale and potentially leading to lower quality of service over time.

  1. Doesn't Account for Post-Call Work: AHT often excludes the time agents spend on post-call tasks, which is a significant part of customer service, especially in scenarios involving complex software troubleshooting.

Balancing Quality And Speed In Customer Service

Here are insights into how businesses can maintain a delicate balance between the quality and speed of customer service, utilizing various tools like AI chatbots and live chat software.

  1. Customer Service Excellence: A Delicate Balance: Achieving the right balance in customer service means delivering efficient support without compromising quality. It's about understanding customer needs and responding promptly. Effective customer service is the backbone of any business, especially in environments like call centers or help desks. Integrating AI chatbots can be a strategic move, offering immediate responses and freeing up agents for more complex queries.

  1. Leveraging AI Chatbots for Speedy Responses: AI chatbots have revolutionized customer service, particularly in call centers. They provide quick, automated responses to common inquiries, ensuring customers aren't left waiting. This not only improves efficiency but also enhances customer satisfaction. For complex issues, these chatbots can seamlessly direct customers to live chat support or a knowledgeable help desk agent.

  1. Optimizing Call Center Software for Efficiency: In a call center environment, the right call center software can significantly impact service speed and quality. This software should be intuitive, allowing agents to access customer information swiftly, leading to faster and more personalized customer interactions.

  1. Knowledge Base Software: Empowering Customers: Knowledge base software plays a crucial role in balancing quality and speed. By providing customers with self-service options, they can quickly find answers to their queries without needing direct support. This not only speeds up the resolution process but also reduces the load on live chat support.

  1. Enhancing Live Chat Support: Live chat software is an essential tool for real-time, personalized customer assistance. It enables quick responses and provides a platform for addressing more complex or specific customer needs, striking a balance between efficiency and comprehensive support.

  1. Building Effective Chatbots: Creating effective chatbots requires a thoughtful approach. A good chatbot builder can help design bots that are not only quick in response but also accurate and helpful, ensuring that the speed of the response doesn't compromise the quality of service.


As we've seen, understanding and effectively managing Average Handle Time is crucial for enhancing customer service efficiency. However, it's also vital to recognize its limitations and ensure a balance between speed and service quality. Embracing technology like AI chatbots, live chat software, and knowledge base software can significantly aid in this endeavor. If you're looking to implement these strategies and tools in your business, consider exploring Appy Pie's solutions. Their intuitive platform can help streamline your customer service operations, striking the perfect balance between efficiency and customer satisfaction. Discover more about how Appy Pie can transform your customer service experience today.

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