What is the Average Handling Time?

What is average handling time

In this FAQ section, we’ll strive for your answer to the concept of “What is Average Handling Time (AHT)?” So, to explore the intricacies of average handling time, you must walk through its concept, importance, and a good AHT.

Your time and your customer’s time are valuable therefore it should be respected and efficiently utilized!

AHT is a customer service metric. It is used to measure the average duration of interaction with their potential customers.

Interpreting Average Handling Time 

Average handling time also known as AHT in short. AHT is a kind of metric that is commonly used in contact centers to measure the average amount of time taken to handle a customer’s issue.

Average handling time involves elements such as hold time, call transfer time,  the time spent on completion of interactions with the customers, and other additional tasks during the conversation period. AHT is generally measured as a key performance indicator (KPI) in contact centers.

Positive and efficiently generated customer experiences matter! According to Salesforce research, more than 80% of customers showcase the company’s importance and share valuable and positive experiences. And almost 96% assert that outstanding customer service enhances and builds trust.

When selecting staffing tiers in call centers. average handling time becomes a key factor.

Average Handling time is considered one of the most popular metrics among others due to its supportive nature towards its customers.

AHT includes the following tasks on which time is spent;

  • Interacting with call menus such as  IVR systems and pre-recorded messages
  • For call transfers/on hold, routing of calls can be processed
  • For follow-up tasks, CRM data can be analyzed or appointments can be scheduled.

Why is Average Handle Time important? 

Customers value more of their effective interaction time and thus average handle time itself is an important customer service metric. Also, it keeps on tracking customer’s interactions to improve their experiences with your brand.

It has been researched that about 51% of customers are not likely to conduct business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.

  • AHT is crucial for the efficiency measurement of customer service operations.
  • AHT minimizes operational costs.
  • Leading to higher customer satisfaction as well as loyalty.
  • AHT ensures compliance with Service level agreements (SLAs).
  • Proactively improve customer processes through tracking AHT over time.

Thus, it’s an important metric for calculating contact center service operations.

Talking about Good Average Handle Time

Well, the benchmark for good AHT varies from industry to industry based on customer queries a business receives.

There are not any specific minutes, it just depends on your industry and customer demands.

The industry-standard average handle time (AHT) is approx 6 min 10 sec, according to Call Center Magazine.

Almost all industries consider 4 to 5 minutes a great average handle time.

Remember, AHT should not be too low to impact the quality of your customer service and neither should be higher.

Formula for calculation of Average Handling Time

AHT is just one crucial metric which assess customer service efficiently.
For calculating average handling time, you must consider 4 elements which are;

  • Talk time
  • Hold time
  • Follow-up time
  • Number of interaction

AHT Formula = Total talk time + Total hold time + Follow-up time
                                 Total number of interactions/ calls 


Let’s analyze the performance of your customer service. Within these 1 week, your team had 3000 total talk time, 1000 minutes hold time and 500 minutes follow-up time with a total 800 number of interactions of customers.

AHT = 3000 min + 1000 min + 500 min 
                      800 interactions

AHT = 4500 min
           800 calls

AHT = 5.625 minutes (the approx. average handling time)


Hope you have understood the concept of “average handling time”! Just keep in mind that your AHT is an accurate reflection of your team’s efficiency and therefore, it becomes a vital and valuable metric in call centers.


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