What is a good average hold time for a call center?

Average hold time in call center

What is a good average hold time for a call center

What Is Average Hold Time? (How To Calculate and Reduce It)

The average time for hold is a measure of the length of time that customers who contact a company are waiting. The reduction in hold time can boost efficiency and customer satisfaction. If you’re a supervisor for an office or call center, or any other firm that handles phone calls or offers customer service by phone, understanding more about the average time for hold is beneficial.

In this article we will explain what is a good average hold time for a call center , discuss the reasons why it’s crucial to comprehend it, and then explain the methods to determine it, and offer strategies to reduce the time.

Table of Contents

A good average hold time for a call center

What is a good average hold time for a call center?

What is a good average hold time for a call center? There is a chance that your customer service department disconnects within one minute or 60 seconds of wait time. The average wait time in your company’s service desk is 56.09 seconds, which could be a bit too close to an hour to ensure that your clients are kept in the loop. The goal of reducing the wait time to just 30 seconds can increase customer satisfaction and efficiency of the team.

What is the average hold time?

The term “average hold time” is the amount of time that a phone center or operator puts clients on hold. The term “on hold” refers to the situation when the client and operator are unable to communicate, and typically occurs when the operator is in communication with an individual or undertaking an activity. During the wait, the customer might hear music or receive details about the business.

Why is understanding the average hold time important?

As a supervisor for an office call center, it’s essential to find areas of improvement and comprehend how your measures affect your team’s performance. There are a few reasons why you should know the average wait time for every team or in a call center:

  • Short hold times may increase client satisfaction. Customers or clients who contact an organization could be happier when they don’t wait extremely long. Cutting down on hold time or eliminating them completely can improve customer satisfaction.
  • Low hold times can increase team efficiency. If your team has less time talking to clients waiting, they can reduce the overall handling time per caller. By reducing the overall time to handle, you can improve efficiency and increase the number of customers you can handle every day.
  • You can set realistic goals for the average hold time. If you know the average duration of your hold it is possible to set achievable goals that your team can achieve.
  • Shorter average hold times can reduce client hang-ups. Some customers may not be able to connect to the call when they are waiting for too long. Shortening the duration of your hold time can reduce the amount of disconnects. The reason for this depends on the mission of the organization or company this could lead to an increase in sales or increase in customer satisfaction.

What Does Average Wait Time (AWT) Mean?

A typical wait, commonly referred to in the name of average speed response (ASA) is the time it takes for calls to are answered starting from the time a customer is put in the queue until an agent is able to answer the call. It doesn’t include the amount of time a person spends on through the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu however it includes the amount of time a caller spends in the queue, and when the phone is ringing to connect with an agent.

What Does Average Wait Time (AWT) Mean

Average Wait Time Formula

The typical wait-time formula can be relatively easy to grasp. All you have to do is calculate the wait time of all calls which have been answered by an operator, and multiply it by total calls.

The AWT is not the same as that every call was answered within 33 seconds. There will be some customers whose wait times are significantly lower or more in comparison to the.

Why Does Average Wait Time (AWT) Matter?

The AWT or ASA are two of the key performance indicators that call centers use to evaluate its effectiveness and effectiveness. These indicators provide valuable information about the effect it has on agents, customers, call center, as well as at the corporate scale.

When evaluating the AWT and ASA when evaluating AWT or ASA, it is important to comprehend the impact your current or high-average delay or speed of response is having or could affect the performance of your business. It is normal to find that if AWT and ASA is excessive impacting an answering service by affecting the following aspects:

  • Lower First Call Resolution Rates

Customers that abandoned their call and then called back for the same reason as the initial call consider that they called twice to get their call resolved. Thus, these customers tend to have lower customer satisfaction. Also, low First Call Resolution (FCR) can significantly increase AWT because of the increased call volume due to lower FCR.

  • Higher Call Abandon Rates

A well known fact is the longer the wait time to reach an agent, the higher the call abandonment rates. Thus, a high AWT or ASA creates high call abandon rates, as well as lower customer satisfaction.

  • Lower Customer Satisfaction
Customers who experience a two minute or longer wait time to reach an agent will be less satisfied with their call center experience. Thus, in many cases, they will have an overall lower Csat rating even if the agent resolved their call.
  • Lower Agent Satisfaction

Customers who have a long wait time to reach an agent are often dissatisfied with their experience right from the get-go and take it out on the agent who is handling their call. Dealing with customers who have had long wait times can be emotionally exhausting for agents.

  • Higher Average Handle Time
When customers have a long wait time, they start the call by complaining about how long it took to answer the call. Therefore, the average handle time (AHT) is higher due to the time spent by the customer vetting about the wait time and the agent apologizing for the long wait time.
  • Higher Cost Per Call

As previously mentioned, high wait time increases average handle time. Thus, the increased AHT creates a higher cost per call.

How to calculate average hold time

There are numerous benefits of making use of Microsoft contact center software. Here are a few of the top advantages:

Follow these steps to determine the average duration of hold time:

  1. Determine the parameters for your calculation
    The first step in determining the average time to hold is to determine the parameters of the calculation. For instance, if you are the manager of an office call center, then you’ll have to decide if you want to determine the average hold time for all employees or just for specific teams or departments. It’s also essential to decide the duration of the calculation.

    It is possible to determine the average time to hold over a week, a month, quarter, year or even a quarter. Sometimes it’s useful to determine the average wait time during busy times like the holiday season. For instance, you might decide to determine the average hold period for customer services over the week prior so that you can set goals for the coming week.

  2. Gather information about hold times and calls
    After you’ve identified the variables of your calculation Once you’ve established the parameters of your calculation, you can collect information regarding the duration of your hold. Consider installing a call system that tracks and records every phone call that your staff members respond to or make. This will increase accountability and let you easily find information on the contents of calls and the time they take to last.

    If you calculate the average time on hold for customers’ service departments the week prior you could find that they took 12,352 calls during the previous week. Also, you can determine that the total time customers were waiting for 693,799 seconds (or 11,528 hours).

  1. Divide the total hold time by the number of calls
    After you’ve figured out how many calls that were made within your timeframe as well as the total amount of time your customers were on hold, you’ll be able to determine the average duration of hold. To calculate this, you need to divide the total amount of seconds or minutes hold with the number calls:

    Total seconds on hold / total calls in the week = average hold time per call

  1. Use the average hold time to set goals
    Once you have figured out the average time for each call, you are able to set objectives for how you would like to reduce it. Find out when your on-hold customers usually cut off their calls or express dissatisfaction to determine what a reasonable hold time might be. Based on the company and the resources available you might look into eliminating hold time altogether.

    In this instance, for example, you might find that your customer service department has disconnects within 60 seconds of wait time. The average wait time for your department’s customer service averages 56.09 minutes, and that may be way too fast for you to reach a full minute in order to ensure your customers stay in the loop. The goal of reducing this number to 30 seconds could increase customer satisfaction as well as team efficiency.

Tips for reducing your average hold time

Here are some helpful tips that you can employ to cut the average wait time within your call center:

  • Consider a system that reports average hold time. There are numerous integrated call systems that report average hold times daily for teams, individuals, and departments. Think about implementing a system such as this to motivate your employees to reduce the average time they hold.
  • Provide adequate training for call center operators.  Training that is thorough and effective to your staff members can increase their ability to assist every client, while reducing duration of the call and hold time for other customers.
  • Implement email and messaging customer service. By reducing the number of calls your company receives every day this will make it easier for your employees to decrease their hold times. You might consider the use of instant messaging and email systems for customer support.
  • Record customer service calls to gain information. Replaying and recording conversations between your customers and representatives could allow you to spot areas of improvement and improve the quality of your calls and efficiency, which will reduce the overall time to hold.


How Can You Reduce Your Average Wait Time (AWT)?

Six methods to shorten the average wait time to get an agent on the customer support calls you make:

  1. Train and Coach Agents to Deliver First Call Resolution

If you are providing training or coaching for agents, pay attention to the calls that agents are struggling with solving. A low Initial Call Resolution (e.g. lower than 70 percent) is among the major reasons why call centers are struggling to meet AWA targets.

The benefits of focusing on training of agents and providing coaching in First Call Resolution (FCR) include the ability to not only lower the number of calls, but also reduce the average handling time. Coaching and training agents in improving FCR could be the best choice in your contact center in order to lower the AWT of your call center.

  1. Use an in-Queue Callback Option

It’s no surprise that customers do not like AWTs that are high. So, giving customers with the option of a callback could decrease the time spent waiting and offer a better Csat. Additionally, it’s more enjoyable than watching company advertisements as well as elevator tunes. The term “callback” is also referred to as virtual queueing, since the caller is not able to get lost in the queue, or can set a date when they can call. When a company’s call center callback occurs it is when a client receives the call and is connected directly to a representative.

  1. Accurately Project Call Volume

If you can accurately forecast AHT and call volume based on previous data, you will improve your efficiency in assigning agents. This will allow you to determine the amount of agents required to meet an appropriate AWT standard. It isn’t easy to predict call volume accurately every day. This is why you require good management of your workforce where you can swiftly adapt to offer satisfactory waiting times even if call volume increases or when there is a high level of absenteeism from the agent.

  1. Optimize your Call Routing

One of the main complaints regarding the use of a call center concerns one of their biggest complaints is the IVR menu navigation. Many customers complain that it is confusing. IVR menus are confusing. They send customers to the wrong department or agent. Utilize feedback from customers to improve the IVR menu, and then test it to verify that it’s redirecting customers to the right location or to the right agent. Also, make sure to test that the changes have reduced the time it takes for agents to call.

  1. Evaluate Agent Staffing Requirements

Employing more employees is clearly an option if you’re unable to meet the service level goals. However, there is the possibility of using analytics to forecast demand for calls when market conditions alter (e.g. high season or product, service or billing concerns) or when you make changes to your service level goals. It is normal in call centres to utilize outsourcing firms to manage calls when they aren’t reaching AWT goals.

  1. Educate Customers About Self-service Touchpoints

The majority of call-related reasons the customers call regarding have a low complexity which can be dealt with by auto-service touchpoints (e.g. chat or IVR or web-based). But, often the callers aren’t informed of any touchpoints available to manage their call. It is recommended that after customers go through an IVR menu, and then is informed about the time that they’ll be waiting to speak with an agent, inform them about self-service touchpoints that will help them resolve their call issue. In certain call centers, agents instruct customers on self-service touchpoints to use to solve their issue later on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Average hold duration, also referred to by the term average wait time (AHT) is a metric used by call centers which measures the length of time that a customer is on hold prior to speaking to an operator. The calculation is done by subdividing the total time that customers were on hold in relation to the amount of phone calls answered.


A suitable hold time for call centers is typically defined as at least 2 minutes. This is based on studies which shows that the majority of customers will wait for up to 2 minutes before becoming annoyed and dropping their calls.

Request a Demo