AHT vs. FCR

It seems that First Call Resolution (FCR) and Average Handle Time (AHT) have been at war with each other for longer than any of us can remember. In many call centers, both of these call center metrics are critical to the optimization of day-to-day operations. The big question is, “how can you provide excellent customer service that resolves the customer’s issue in the first call while also getting them off of the phone quickly?” Obviously, your results can vary depending on the business that you serve, but it is rare that a center can be really stellar at both. Most who attempt to be great at both experience the opposite effect, both AHT and FCR suffer. For example, in efforts to drive down average handle time, many centers actually suffer from lower first call resolution and, as a result, higher AHT over the life of the customer transaction (if you add together all of the time the customers call back in). Instead, you should zero in and focus on establishing an optimized balance between the two. There are tools available that can help you to achieve this balance; these are commonly known as workforce optimization solutions. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • eLearning training applications can improve the efficiency in which a center can deliver knowledge to its agents.These applications also allow real-time content to be delivered based on an agent’s identified needs.This ensures that agents are quickly trained on the information needed to quickly and properly resolve a customer’s issue.
  • Workforce management applications help centers staff the correct number of agents with the necessary skills, allowing calls to be handled by the right agents in a timely manner.
  • Voice of the customer” solutions allow the center to gain insight directly from the customer. Understanding deficiencies in the service process or reasons why first call resolution was not achieved through the eyes of the customer enables effective changes in process or people that improve the overall center’s performance.

The theme of workforce optimization solutions is to achieve both efficiency and effectiveness through catalyzing improvements at all levels of the center. With these tools organizations looking to reach an optimal balance between FCR and AHT have the ability to do so.

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