Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is cutting call center AHT a good thing?

A few years ago, I was telling a prospect about how OpenSpan's Desktop Automation technology can cut AHT in their call center. However, their response made me take a step back; They said, "we don't want to reduce AHT, we want to focus on customer experience and cutting AHT doesn't necessarily do that".

Hard to argue with that but this was a big part of my sales pitch. Sure we don't just cut AHT but what's the best angle to take going forward with my pitch. It got me thinking. Our customer service agents spend all day on the phone, at their desktop, they use the computer to help them during the call but the truth is, they spend the time typing into the computer what they need to get done. They spend hours doing this during the day, many minutes during each call is spent navigating the multiple screens, searching, duplicating the same things over and over using rules they learnt in training and hoping they don't make mistakes. Why are they doing this stuff? The desktop computer is a powerful beast and yet the agents do things it should be doing. They waste time doing lookups, searches, rekeying etc., and slow the call down and extend AHT. This often leads to poor customer service - especially if the caller is in a hurry!

Then it came to me. Just because we don't want to cut AHT, does not mean our agents should be wasting time on the call, doing things the computer should be doing. The average time they waste on each call is huge. If you could cut out the waste, your call center can choose to use the time saved towards cutting AHT or use the time to have a better customer experience. This is when I came up with a new acronym for the Call Center - AWT (Average Wasted Time). AWT should be reduced or eliminated on every call because it's pure waste. You are paying people to do things they simply should not be doing - and people are your biggest cost, right?

So now, when I talk to prospects about how Desktop Automation can save millions of dollars a year, I don't focus on AHT unless that's what they want - I focus on AWT - because EVERYONE wants that.

Check out our quick 3 min videos on What is OpenSpan - and Does this remind you of you

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