Average Speed of Answer

The Average Speed of Answer metric (or ASA) is used to determine, on average, how long its taken to answer all calls (in seconds) presented to the call centre agents during a specified period.

How is the Average Speed of Answer Calculated?

The ASA formula is:

(Total Waiting Time for Answered Calls) / (Total Number of Answered Calls) = Average Speed of Answer

For example:

1500 seconds total wait time / 3000 calls answered x 100 = 50 seconds

Risks with Average Speed of Answer

ASA is one of the most commonly used metrics in call centres along with Grade of Service however it’s also widely misunderstood and can hide two nasty truths:

1. Abandoned Calls are not included

Average Speed of Answer is only counted when calls are answered.

If a customer abandons the call while they are in the queue, that call is NOT counted in ASA results.

And when do customers typically abandon?

When they have to wait too long…

So often the customers that experienced the longest wait times and got sick of waiting are excluded from the AHT.

Paints a rather misleading picture doesn’t it?

2. IVR time is not included

The Average Speed of Answer clock does not start ticking until the customer has been placed into a queue and waiting for a call centre agent.

If you have a lengthy and painful IVR,  the time that a customer spent during that process does is not included.

Again, that can mask the true experience for a customer.

Is the Average Speed of Answer a good metric to use in your call centre?

Yes, but like most contact centre metrics, it should not be used in isolation and there are many others you should also be looking at.

Read my 10 Most Popular Call Centre Metrics and KPIs guide to learn which other ones are important along with what they all mean.

Like to learn more?

I’ve got some courses designed to help you learn more about contact centre management fundamentals:

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Customer Service Emails – Dec 2020

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The December 2020 Customer service emails training course is designed to equip frontline correspondence Team Members and their direct Team Managers with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively (with style) and efficiently (with a focus on reducing unnecessary repeat contacts) better manage complaints and enquiries received via emails.

Workforce Management Essentials

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This 3-day course is designed to teach you the foundations of good Workforce Management principles (WFM), and how to implement them in your own business.

The Heart and Mind of a Winning CX Culture

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In this free webinar, Australia's leading customer service expert Jacquie Scammell provides some tips and insight into how to create a winning CX culture in your business.

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