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Glossary

What is ATT (average talk time)?

Average talk time (ATT) is the amount of time that an agent spends in handling customer calls and resolving their queries. This metric sometimes is confused with average handling time. Unlike Average Handling Time, ATT does not include time spent on hold. Ideally, the time the caller spends on hold is not included in this metric.  If ATT is too high, the service providers are not able to answer more calls. On the contrary, if the average talk time is too low, the Call Center will be capable of answering more calls. Lower Average Talk Time eventually increases customer satisfaction. Having talk times higher than required will increase cost.

ATT is calculated as follows:

ATT helps in measuring day-to-day activities of the management of the call center service providers. This index is evaluated and analyzed on a daily basis. Thus, it is imperative to optimize the average talk time in order to cut unnecessary cost and balance services provided to customers.

Why is Average Talk Time Important?

An important insight into customer behavior is ATT. While Average handling time (AHT) provides information regarding the contact center's experience of an interaction, Average Talk Time (ATT) is a representation of the customer's relationship with your company.

Pulling apart the customer experience gives you ample information about the relationship between your company and the customer. For example, your focus may consistently hit its AHT goal. However, if you go on to analyze the effectiveness of your customer service, you will find things quite differently.

In terms of overall performance, Average Talk Time (ATT) is not generally something planners aim to reduce or increase. Instead, a sensible objective would be to increase the proportion of communication that involves talk rather than hold or wrap-up time.

Agents compelled to speak for longer would increase overall handling time, so separating talking time from handling time and combining the results with reporting data provides you with important information regarding call trends.

This will help you to identify the types of queries that require the most hold time and make training recommendations for those situations. You can identify faulty processes by looking closely at your agents' talk time and component parts of an interaction. Perhaps long handling times are caused by a slow processor or overburdened system.

To determine the relationship between hold time and customer satisfaction or between talk time and sales, you could inspect the relationship between holding time and successful conversions.

Also, what you must understand is that increasing talk time would almost certainly result in higher AHT due to agents feeling under pressure to up the talk time. If this is happening, it may be time to reconsider AHT standards. By providing your agents with relevant training and clear communications, you can ensure the right mix of talk time and handle time, leading to a positive customer experience and contributing to your business outcomes.

As you collect more data, don't be afraid to course correct, and be sure to tell your agents why you modified their targets. Above all, don't sacrifice customer experience just to meet one metric.

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