How should average hold time be figured into average handle time?

Average hold time should be included in average handle time to get Erlang models right, says Lori Bocklund in this call center expert tip.

Why isn't average hold time figured into average handle time (average talk time (ATT) + after-call work (ACW))? It would seem to me that if the average hold time were quite high, it could substantially minimize the number of customer service representatives needed when using Erlang C methodologies.
If by "average hold time" you're referring to the customer service representative (CSR) putting the caller on hold (as opposed to time in queue -- some people call that hold time), it is generally included in the talk time. Technically, talk time is measured from the time the caller connects to a CSR until they hang up. As you point out, hold time should be included in the overall handle time to use Erlang models correctly for call center staffing. So either the average talk time (ATT) includes average hold time (AHT), or AHT = ATT + ACW + hold time.
This was first published in November 2004

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