What Affects Average Handle Time (AHT) in Contact Centers

Call centers from all over the world suffer from high Average Handling Time (AHT). AHT is calculated as follows:

(talk time + hold time + after call wrap-up time) / number of calls handled

In this article we will try to analyse what increases the AHT, therefore, decreasing the productivity of the agents.

We have identified 12 major contributors which increases the AHT. We have termed those activities as non-value added (NVA) activities.

1. Long Call Scripts: Using long opening statements, creating an empathy bond, paraphrasing statements and long closing statements, all come in this group. Each of these activities is over processing and contributes to a higher AHT.

2. Unstructured Scripts: A non-optimised script can significantly increase the AHT as there will be multiple client interruption which can lead to arguments. The customer might ultimately defect. This is a complete NVA.

3. Irrelevant Probing: Asking irrelevant questions to the customer can also increase the defect rate of the customer. The customer would want the agent to enquire about the issue the former is facing and thus, anything unrelated is simply NVA.

4. Repeated Customer Interaction: If all the required information is not presented to the customer in one instance, the customer might defect and even if not, it certainly increases the AHT as the customer is probably kept on hold multiple times.

5. Repetition of Queries: Repeating the queries made by the customer increases the call duration and the AHT. This is over processing and certainly a NVA.

6. Dead Air: Situations might arise when customer and the associate are not conversing due to some reason. This is wastage of time and resource and it might lead to a customer defection.

7. Hold Time: This is simply placing the call on hold which, although necessary at times, increases the AHT and is certainly a NVA.

8. Transfer Time: Transferring the customer to another section will lead to wait time and also the time consumed by the first associate. This is another NVA which might lead to customer defection.

9. Unnecessary Customer Validation: Customer validation for queries which doesn’t require an elevated and validated customer simply leads to waste and over processing. This might lead to customer defection as well.

10. Search Time On Systems: When the answer to the customer query is not easily find on the database for the associates, it leads to longer AHT.

The issues can be solved by utilising the lean approach which can remove these wastes to a great extent.

However, the call centre managers often try to solve the problems by adding manpower which ultimately leads to more non-performing assets (NPA) or less-performing assets (LPA).

The ideal solution would be a more streamlined approach, thoroughly tested scripts and perfectly trained associates who can avoid these pitfalls.

Qubicles offers these solutions out-of-the-box (OOB) thanks to the unique manpower trading marketplace. The marketplace is fully peer to peer, decentralised and blockchain-based which brings immutability, freedom of choice and transparency to the system.

On the Qubicles marketplace, trained associates or the representative of a group of trained associates (aka a call centre owner/manager) can put their manpower resource for purchase. Companies or agencies requiring such services permanently or temporarily, can easily hire these experts. This is done without Qubicles getting directly involved in the process (P2P dealing) and the terms and conditions, along with the rates, are totally to be determined and fixed by the two negotiating parties.

Moreover, Qubicles University certification ensures that the experts being hired are actually suitable for the job. Overall, using the Qubicles platform offers total flexibility when it comes to more effective manpower utilization in call centers.



We are a blockchain software company and the creators of decentralized tools and services for the contact center industry.

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We are a blockchain software company and the creators of decentralized tools and services for the contact center industry.