Home / What is Call Center Average Wait Time

What is Call Center Average Wait Time

The average wait time in a call center is a key metric that measures the average length of time a customer waits on the phone to be answered. No one likes to wait on the phone for customer service. It's shocking when a customer has an urgent matter to resolve and has to wait on the phone for an extended period.

In today's customer service world, reducing the average wait time in call centers is not only a sign of improved service quality but also an important way for businesses and organizations to evaluate the success of their customer service teams.

Long wait times have become a problem that is detrimental to the customer service experience. Therefore, this article will delve into average call center wait time and discuss how to improve the overall customer experience by optimizing this metric.

What is Call Center Average Wait Time

The idea behind call center average wait time has long been misunderstood by many. Call center average wait time indicates a two-way dynamics that can spell doom or cheers. 

To operationalize the definition of call center average time. Let us write down the total time of the call hold and average it. Afterward, we can put it on the acceptable and unacceptable waiting time scale. It’s that simple. 

In a broader context, we can view call center waiting time as a key performance indicator that showcases customer satisfaction. Call center average wait time also involves the average time customers are ready to forego to contact your customer service agent.

What is the Acceptable Hold Time For Customer Service Efficiency and Satisfaction? 


It’s not a sin to put your customers on hold. What’s terrible is to overutilize that window of opportunity. Various factors come into play when determining the acceptable gold time for customer service. 

Call center wait time industry standard, call complexity, and customer tolerance are the main factors that must be considered when dealing with acceptable hold time for customer service. 

A recent study by Microsoft suggests that the average wait time for customer service is around 12 minutes. This is often dependent on the time of the day. At the same time, another suggestion is that 2 minutes is the ideal hold time for customer service. 

To get off the clutch of these levels of indecision. You should ensure your customer service follows the stipulated standards to balance customer satisfaction with efficiency. 

1. The 80/20 rule

This is the generally acceptable practice of maintaining customer satisfaction and fostering customer service efficiency. The 80/20 service level agreement mandates that 80% of customer calls be answered within 20 seconds. The underside of the 80/20 rule is that only 16% of customer service achieve the 80/20 rule. 

2. Abandon Rate 

The abandon rate reflects the number of frustrated customers for whom your customer service failed to pick up their calls. It would help if you looked at the average call duration of the abandon rate to see the time customers are ready to hold before they hang up. 

Factors Affecting Call Center Wait Time

Everyone knows that the last thing customers want to face is prolonged hold time when they have problems. However, the issue of long call center wait times has become a mess in the customer service industry. 

In most cases, customers will wait there while ding-ding sounds play or insufferable marketing ads worsen the situation. Several factors have been attached to these problems that have impacted both customer experience and business efficiency. 

1. Staff Size 

It’s evident that the lower the staff size, the longer your wait time. It’s not rocket science since you need more people to handle the rush hour. 

On the other hand, you have to get the correct number of employees right. This is because excessive staff size often results in some staff doing nothing. In such a situation, the work coordination is distorted, and resources are wasted. 

2. Unexpected Surge Call Volume 

A call center that’s not used to having an unexpected surge in call volume might struggle when it occurs. This factor often overwhelms customer service agents, leading to prolonged wait times. It’s best if you take note of the peak period for strategic resource planning and allocation. 

3. Outdated Call Center Technologies 

This is another bottleneck that leads to prolonged call center wait time. Call center technologies include IVR, call routing software, CRM, and others. Suspected Inefficiency of these tools can lead to prolonged call waiting time. 

For instance, an outdated call routing system might lead to the direction of customer calls to the wrong agents. Not only will customers be frustrated, but it also leads to a waste of time. 

How to Calculate Average Wait Time in a Call Center


Calculating average wait time in a call center only requires you to get your parameters right and implement the formula. You can follow this step to get it done. 

1. Gather the Appropriate Data for Calculation 

This is the first stage of calculating the call center average wait time. You only need to get the total wait time over a year, month, or weeks. You can get this data via your vendor management software software or call reporting system.

You also need to calculate the average golf times on every call. You have to do this discretely to get factual data with zero distortion. 

2. Apply This Formula 

After getting the above-stated figures, you can apply the following formula. 

AWT = Total wait time for all answered calls / Total number of answered calls

For instance, your calculated total wait time for all answered calls in a week is 309,700 seconds. The total number of calls that were responded to in that week was 10,000. 

Average Wait Time = 309,700/10,000 = 30.97 average waiting time per call. 

This result indicates that customers waited for 30.97 seconds before their calls were answered. 

How to Reduce the Average Wait Time for a Call Centre

Long wait time is a recipe for customer frustration and distorted customer service efficiency. However, a series of mechanisms are in place to eliminate such occurrences. The following are the effective strategies to reduce the average wait time for call centers. 

1. Optimize Your Staffing Level

You can seamlessly optimize your staffing level with any of the cutting-edge technologies we have nowadays. An example is using call volume data to know the peak period. Another one is to utilize historical data to predict call volume fluctuations. 

Lastly, ensure your call routing system is top-notch so that you can send the right call to the right agent. These are the key components that can beat your average call center wait time. 

2. Enhance Customer Service Agent Efficiency 

You can start by organizing a comprehensive training program on the fundamentals of customer service. This can help them to be more diverse and promptly fix customer issues. 

Another thing you can do is create a clear channel for call handling. It is vital to get customer calls to the right person on time.

3. Embrace Real-Time Queue Management Software 

This software effectively manages calls by informing customers of the total time they will wait before they are attended to. That’s not all; real-time queue management software also directs customers to available self-service options to sort out minor customer issues. 

4. Set Average Wait Time Reduction Program 

This is more practical. You can do this by setting reasonable and measurable goals for reducing average wait time. For instance, if your average wait time is currently two minutes, you can create a plan to reduce it within a few weeks. Don’t forget to communicate your plan to your customer service agent and get full compliance. 

5. Regularly Monitor Customer Service Agent 

It would help if you informed your customer service team of the negative impact of prolonged call waiting time. However, you can implement a system that regularly tracks average waiting time across the board. This will give you an overview of the customer service agent that falls below the standard. 

Benefits of Reducing Call Center Wait Time

The benefit of reducing call center wait time is all about enhancing customer satisfaction and, most importantly, ensuring business success. Let’s take a look at the following benefits.

1. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction 

A happy customer is a satisfied one. When you minimize your average wait time, you extinguish a bar of your churn rate. Shorter wait time leads to satisfied customers before their calls are answered and their problems are resolved quickly. 

2. Increase Customer Loyalty Rate 

You can’t tell a customer to stop being loyal when they are getting faster resolutions to their concerns. It’s just that simple. Customers perceive brands with reduced average waiting times as customer-centric and good for business. You always gain a loyal customer when you reduce your call center wait time. 

3. Reduced Call Abandonment Rate 

Business is all about numbers and opportunities. The higher your abandoned rate, the higher your missed opportunities. Long wait time is a menace that frustrates customers to abandon calls before reaching the agent. Reducing your call center wait time could reduce your call abandoned rate. 

4. Improved Customer Experience

This is an ultimate factor that you must strike to achieve. An improved customer experience not only retains customers but also gets you more. Any customer who experiences faster resolution to their problem will feel valued. This is a good thing for brand prosperity and business growth. 


Call center average wait time is a significant factor that can make or break your customer service processes. We can not overemphasize the influence of average waiting time on customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and business success. 

This is where the Helport contact center comes in to elevate your entire customer service process. We achieve this with AI-powered insight and tools that optimize your entire customer service operation. 

Related reading: How To Improve Call Center Customer Service

leave your information to find out how our platform can help drive your business.


Let's study together