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Is there a call center metric for average hold time?

What are your recommendations to reduce the average hold time in an inbound technical help desk? What is the industry average?

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By average hold time, I presume you mean the average speed of answer for a call or time in the queue before being answered. Your options to reduce this are: staff up to meet demand, offer more or better self service, or reduce handle times through improved processes, training, system enhancements, or other changes.

There is no "industry standard" for average hold times. Many factors influence callers' tolerance to wait and what should be the service level that you provide. For more information, read Prosci's call center study or Benchmark Portal's call center benchmarks -- but treat these as only one input to your thinking.

This was first published in June 2006

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