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Average Waiting Time


Market research 04 12

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The better the customer experience the more customers a business has. This means more revenue the company earns. This is why Call Centers focus on providing exceptional customer service to retain their original customers and attract prospective customers. 

One of the factors that contribute to the customer experience is the Average Waiting Time. The amount of time a customer has to wait before an agent answers their call is known as the Average Waiting Time. AWT has become a KPI for this reason. 

According to what American Express found, 13 minutes was the maximum amount of time a caller waited on hold to talk to an executive. 

It turns out to be that, in a study conducted by Arise 34% of callers say that they disconnect their call if they are put on hold and never call back. This means a 34% of the abandonment rate. 

So, how can you reduce the wait time as well as the abandonment rate?


How can you reduce the Average Waiting Time in your Call Center?

While you may not be able to remove the trouble of wait time from your call center, you may reduce it. 

Here are some ways you can prevent and reduce Average Waiting Time.

Self-service option: 

Customers don’t like to stay on hold because they don’t have time for that. This is why you should make use of the technology. Provide self-service options for your customers. Chatbots, knowledge base, self-help videos, etc. are all ways you can help your customers find answers without waiting on hold. 

Ensure that these self-service options have relevant and easy answers. It should not be difficult to navigate and find answers for the customers. Identify the commonly asked questions and prepare answers for them to update them on your website or app. 

Once customers become aware of this they will try to find answers in self-service when they have an issue. This will reduce the wait time and call volume immediately. 


IVR should be properly optimized and utilized in the call center. Make sure that your IVR is routing the callers to the right agent. Callers get frustrated when they are sent to the wrong agent and transferred around or put on hold. This will ultimately jam your center’s phone lines and give customers a horrible experience. 

To make sure you have an effective IVR keep the options in the menu simple and short. The long list will confuse the customer and they will press multiple options to find one answer. This will further cause issues in IVR and the customer will be routed to the wrong agent.

Provide option for Callbacks:

Offering the option of callbacks can reduce the call volume and waiting time making the customers feel valued. 

The callback is also known as Virtual Queuing. The working of this is simple, a bot is sent to wait instead of a caller, in the line. When the scheduled time comes, the bot calls the customer and connects their call to an agent. 

You can inform the callers of an estimated wait time and then offer to schedule a callback for them. This will tell the customers that the company values their call. Also, your wait time will also reduce dramatically.

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Empower Agents: 

Call center agents represent the company to the customers. To deliver the best customer service the agents need to be prepared to answer any queries. While it is not possible for all agents to know everything, they can use their knowledge base to access any information they need. 

Faster access to information can help the agents to handle the calls better. The knowledge base can help an agent in gaining access to any information to provide answers to customer’s queries. The properly optimized knowledge base helps an agent through the phone call. The agents can update any information and also give feedback on how it helped. 

Use Dashboards: 

You can also provide a dashboard to your agents so they can monitor their own Waiting Queue. This way the agent can make decisions themselves on how to reduce the average waiting times.

The agents can better understand their situation and so make decisions based on it. They can offer callbacks or make adjustments to how they handle some calls. The dashboard can support the live agents to monitor and handle the queue and improve their performance while providing quality service. 

Relax the Service Level of your Call Center:

The industry standard for service level is 80/20. This means that call center agents try to answer 80% of calls within 20seconds. You can relax this service level based on the call volume of your call center. 

31% of callers find knowledgeable Customer Service agents to be more important. The agents don’t need to rush through phone calls but provide extensive solutions to the customers.

Customers expect a Customer Service agent to receive accurate answers from the customer service agents. Rushing in to complete a phone call can lead to an agent providing ineffective and limited solutions. 

Hire more Staff: 

You may think, looking at the number of staff you have working in your call center, that they are enough. However, during peak season a well-managed staff level can face trouble in handling the increasing call volume. 

You can use analytics to forecast the call demand and make plans ahead of time to solve the staffing issue. Call centers often extend their customer service to other BPOs or hire more people for the peak season.

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Why should you aim to reduce Average Waiting Time?

An article states that an average person spends up to 43 days of their life waiting on hold. This shows the exact reason why people dread calling customer service. 

Customer Churn

It is frustrating as a caller to listen to music for more than 2 minutes while on hold. As, Arise found in research that 65% of callers would wait only for 2 minutes, while 13% found that waiting time was unacceptable. 

Therefore, it is not a surprise when the call abandon rate also increases with an increase in wait time. And, callers who once hung up don’t call back again to the company. This leads to customers finding service to some other company.

This implies that if you fail to provide a quality customer experience and meet the expectation of the customers, your customers will find a company that does meet their expectations. 

Harms Reputation

Moreover, with the Omnichannel platform, when customers can’t get a hold of the agents on phone they complain on the social media platform. Social media is a public space. 

A single complaint can harm the reputation of a brand. Imagine all the callers on the hold line complaining on social media like Twitter or Facebook. This can change people’s perception and cause you to lose potential customers as well as old customers. 

Impacts other Metrics

Longer waiting time can also impact other metrics that impact a call center’s performance. While the abandon rate is the most obvious, other parameters like FCR, NPS® , or CSat scores also suffer.

The experience a caller has before they are connected to an agent determines how the interaction is going to be. If the wait time frustrates the caller then the agent will have to appease them before solving the issue. This can cause a low FCR rate.

Provide examples

When discussing the performance of an agent, provide examples from their recorded interaction to support your claim. Instead of blindly pointing at issues, play the recorded call and point out where the interaction went wrong. 

Also, to give a better demonstration, you can play the interaction of top performers. This will provide the agent a better understanding of what they are doing wrong.


Role-playing an interaction between agent and customer will give the agent a thorough understanding of how they can boost their performance.

Use a recent interaction the agent had with a customer. Begin with the agent playing customer and you playing the agent. Go through the interaction and let the agent understand how you would respond to the situation. Then switch roles, and you become the customer. 

By demonstrating them directly, you can show the agent different ways the situation could have been handled. Also, provide helpful feedback regarding the agent’s approach to the situation. 

This way the agent can practice and prepare them before they start interacting with clients again.

Let agent score their performance

Let the agents judge their skills and performance. Tell the agents to scrutinize and give criticism about their call recordings. 

Ask the agents to go through their call recordings and bring their assessment to the coaching session. Ask the agents to tell you what they did wrong and how and where they can improve.

Asking agents to self-assess will make them more aware of their performance. This will motivate them to improve.

Involve agent in the Training process

Work with the agent to come up with a plan to improve their performance. Once you have identified the area that needs improvement and involved the agent in the process, the agent will likely be more motivated to achieve the goal.

The agent also understands what is expected from them and how they will be assessed. Additionally, the agents can also discuss any difficulties they have and engage in overcoming the issues. This will create a balanced understanding between the coach and the agent.

Fill the knowledge gaps

Lack of knowledge and skills needed for the job will neither benefit the agents nor the company. You must identify what skills each agent needs training for and coach them for that particular skill. 

You cannot make assumptions based on what skill you think the agent needs, you have to design the training program carefully.

Train agent soft skill

Training agents for soft skills ensure a quality customer experience. You need to hire agents who excel in soft skills and implement soft skills training exercises. You can also score agents based on their soft skills. 

Communication, emotional intelligence, initiative, teamwork, empathy, problem-solving, etc., are examples of soft skills that help an agent interact with the customer and provide quality customer service. 

Training agents in soft skills and training them on technology will lead to a better result for the company.

Cross-train your agents

Cross-training an agent involves taking an agent out of their comfort zone and making them face another situation. Moving your agent from answering calls and emails to the different departments will boost their morale and teach them more skills.

As per a 2018 academic research, cross-training is an effective way to improve individual and team performance to ensure employee efficiency. Also, it will save the agents from repetitive work and learn more about the entire business.

One-on-one Coaching

Regular one-on-one meetings can improve the relationship between the coach and the agent. The agent will also feel appreciated and valued.

Individual sessions are most productive because it lets you discuss openly with the agent how they feel about the training process. Such discussion will deepen the trust among the team. 

A call center agent has to deal with customers day-in and day-out. So, the individual session in a more relaxed atmosphere gives them a break from the routine work.

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The average wait time for a business falls under the category of Medium-39 seconds, Large-45seconds, and ExtraLarge-52 Seconds depending on the call volume.

The Call Abandon rate is the percentage of inbound calls customers make into a call center but then abandon before speaking to an agent. It is measured by dividing the abandoned call by the total number of inbound calls.

When you are on hold while the agent talks to a different agent or department the system records that conversation and not you.