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KPI of the Day – Customer Service: # Call handling time

call handling


Measures the average time needed for one call to be handled, including the phone discussion and the work performed after the call.


To indicate the efficiency and capacity in handling calls. As it includes both talk time and after work time, it reflects the total time needed to solve one customer issue or complete one sale.


When optimizing call handling times, organizations need to be careful with targeting very fast customer resolution rates. Swiftly solving customer issues without actually providing a viable solution will result in negative impact on the call resolution, as well as on customer satisfaction.

Targets depend on the industry, the product or service, the staff experience, complexity of the problem etc. We can take as an example any PC customer support service. The handling time is between 10-19 minutes per call. There are many factors that affect average handle time, such as: types of software and hardware supported; customer profile; use of knowledge base; professionals’ use of screen human harmony; professionals’ experience and level of expertise. High value for this KPI indicates a need to improve processes so as to increase call handling efficiency.

Furthermore, you should always keep in mind that # Call handling time is interrelated with customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction shouldn’t be a function of how much time is spent on each call. Customer satisfaction is a direct effect of how fast one resolves an issue and how professional one is in dealing with complaints.

Some recommendations for reducing average call handling time while at the same time increasing customer satisfaction and keeping the costs at a minimum include:

  • Optimally training staff in handling different call scenarios;
  • Identifying and improving inefficiencies in staff processes and workflows;
  • Making call routing software more effective in routing the call to the qualified staff and thereby minimizing call transfer times;
  • Providing easy and quick access to knowledge bases for staff to consult when a complicated question occurs;
  • Making use of instant internal communication systems that allow call center staff to quickly solve customer issues;
  • Keeping customer databases constantly updates.

If you are interested in more Customer Service-related KPIs, subscriptions provide access to +500 KPI examples.

Our dedicated Library contains relevant resources to improve your KPI practices, and if you want to further improve your knowledge, feel free to explore our latest publications – The Sales and Customer Service KPI Dictionary and The Top 25 Customer Service KPIs – 2016 Extended Edition, or enroll in our Certified Customer Service Performance Professional course.

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