My article on Productivity resulted in quite some good comments. AHT as a metric is also discussed on other blogs. In this blog I further detail my arguments why I believe AHT is still a powerfull metric to track in Contact Center environments.
Focus on AHT can kill the Customer Experience
In general CSR’s behave as their bosses want them to behave. Meaning: If management’s sole focus is AHT you will see CSR’s do just that. And nothing more than that. You get what you deserve and it kills the Customer Experience.
I believe it is quite “dumb” to ask each and every CSR to have exactly the same AHT. This does not do right to the differences there are between human beings and converstations. Even dumber is to ask from agents that each call takes the same (short) time.
These are all examples and consequences of bad usage of a powerfull metric.
AHT used in context can be a powerful tool
Still I’m pro AHT as a good measurement tool in contact center environments, if used in the right context and with care.
My line of thinking in bullets:
- High quality means a high consistency in quality (high likelyhood that each call shows same (high) level of service experience
- If you want to be consistent in high level customer service experience you need to know exactly what you (through your CSR’s) need to deliver and how. You need to have a clear methodology.
- You get this consistency through intense training and coaching of your CSR’s on the methodology (before that: make sure systems and authorisations are in place to deliver what you want delivered) and guard it through quality monitoring
- The result is consistency in quality, execution (methodology) and therefore consistency in AHT
- High AHT and Low AHT of an individual CSR is an indicator of poor quality delivery. Either knowledge or structure in conversation is bad, or CSR is rude and “cuts” calls. Both do not stick to the methodology and will not deliver the service experience you need.
Either way: both (groups of) CSR’s need attention. Not on AHT, but on Quality.
I ensure you: perform a correlation analysis between QM-results and AHT on all CSR data, and you will see what I saw: the correlation is (very) high.
Too many outliers says something about management too
High AHT-variance or -spread proves a lack of management capability to:
- know what you need to deliver and how to do this most effectively
- develop a clear methodology for flawless delivery of the desired service experience
- explain, train and coach CSR’s in understanding and executing the methodology consistently
As an example I include two graphs to show what I mean. These graphs show on the X-ax: AHT-slots from lowest to highest. On the Y-ax: number of CSR’s that “perform” within a certain AHT-slot. The result: you get a nice view on how the spread of AHT is within your Contact Center. In both cases AHT is 285 seconds. You tell me which Contact Center is more likely to deliver consistent quality in service experience:
Bottom line 1: AHT-variance or spread metric is therefor also a management evaluation tool.
Bottom line 2: AHT can never be the #1 or only metric you use. Use it in the right context.