All articles

Optimizing Average Talk Time

Have you ever had a conversation that seems to go on forever? You need a piece of information from the person, but they never seem to get to the point. Maybe you had the opposite interaction. You were looking for detailed information or an engaging discussion and the person on the line rushed you through the call. In a call center, you want to strike the perfect balance between calls that are personable and calls that are respectful of your customers’ time.

Average talk time (ATT) is the length of time agents spend talking with customers. It is a valuable insight that helps companies gauge customers’ exposure to call center agents.

How Is Average Talk Time Calculated?

Average talk time and average handle time have opposite calculations. Average handle time adds total handling time, total hold time, and total wrap-up time and then divides it by the number of calls handled. Average talk time takes the three and subtracts them before dividing it by the number of calls handled.

(Total Handling Time – Total Hold Time – Total Wrap-Up Time)

Number of Calls Handled

Average Talk Time vs Average Handle Time

Average talk time is often confused with average handle time (AHT). Both are used to calculate the length of time agents have committed to customer interactions but their differences are crucial for creating the best customer experiences.

From the moment a call is answered until the call has ended counts as the average handle time. Anything like holds, transfers, end of call tasks, and repeat calls are all calculated in average handle time. Average talk time includes only the time your agents are talking directly with the customer.

Why Is Average Talk Time Important?

Average talk time is an important insight into the relationship your call center has with its customers. Let’s say that your agents are always meeting their average handle time measurements. However, using the metric of average talk time, we find that the customer is on hold for fifty percent of the call. Although the average handle time looks good, our average talk time metrics reveal that agents are spending too much time with the customer on hold.

By separating the average handle time and average talk time, we can identify the true relationship and feelings held between the call center and its customers. Without insights from average talk time, call centers take the risk of missing important trends and information that leads to improved customer satisfaction. 

What Is a Good Average Talk Time?

A good average talk time is going to vary depending on the goals of your call center. Your call center may aim for longer talk times as a sign of good communication that conveys all the necessary information. Other call centers may aim for shorter talk times so they can make more calls. Regardless of the average talk time your call center aims to achieve, there are a few best practices that will ensure a quality conversation.

Evaluate Customer Interactions 

If your customers are spending more time on hold than talking, you need to modify your approach. Breaking down the contents of the call will ensure customer satisfaction and a good average talk time.

Implement Efficient Training

Agents should avoid sacrificing good customer service to satisfy metrics set by the call center. If employees feel pressured to increase average talk time metrics they would most likely increase average handle time. Implementing effective training and technology will ensure your agents are finding the right balance between talk time and handle time.

Analyze Call Trends

Call tracking software can help you isolate and evaluate your average talk time with average handle time. This will help you sort through the data more efficiently and quickly identify call trends. The trends uncovered will help you identify faulty processes and improve employee training. 


Reach Your Goals With Hiya

Hiya Connect is here to help you reach your goals. With self-serve executive dashboards, your call center can review industry-standard KPIs like average talk time, answer rates, and call attempts. Diving into this data will help you improve call performance and be aware of any trends your call center is experiencing. To learn more about which metrics your call center should be tracking for your goals, download our Call Center Metrics ebook.



Author Katie DeMatteis

Senior Marketing Manager