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Call Center ASA: Definition & Formula

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  • 0:04 Waiting on Hold
  • 0:50 What Is ASA?
  • 2:03 The ASA Formula
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

You were on hold how long?? Did you know that call centers measure that sort of thing? In this lesson, we'll dive into ASA (or average speed of answer), what it's used for and how it's calculated.

Waiting on Hold

Albert recently purchased an air fryer for his kitchen, but just two months after buying it, it appears the unit has stopped working. Since Albert no longer has the receipt nor the original packaging, he decides to contact the customer service department of the manufacturer to try to troubleshoot the problem.

After navigating the company's menu system, Albert is placed on a brief hold to wait for a customer service representative to come on the line. Thirty seconds pass; then, a minute. Finally, an agent picks up the phone to try to assist Albert with his situation.

Did you know that this period of time while Albert is on hold is known by another name? And that the term is used as a metric to measure customer satisfaction? Let's take a look at this in more detail.

What Is ASA?

ASA, or average speed of answer is a straightforward metric used in call centers. Average speed of answer is the time a customer spends waiting on hold after navigating a company's menu to get to the right department. The average speed of answer marks the time from the point at which the customer has completed all the necessary prompts and is now holding on the phone line to speak to a customer service representative.

ASA is a way for a business to get inside the head of its customers. Think about it: if you ring a business and your call is answered within 10 seconds, you're probably pretty happy about that, right? Conversely, if you call a business and it takes five to ten minutes to reach a representative, you're going to be hugely annoyed before you even speak to the person.

In that regard, ASA provides a number that businesses can reference in determining the effectiveness and efficiency of its call center employees. Many call centers set benchmarks they want to achieve in this category, such as 70-30.

In this case, 70-30 means that a business wants to get 70 percent of its calls answered in fewer than 30 seconds. If a company is missing the benchmark significantly, it may indicate a need for additional training or for hiring on new staff members to manage the volume of calls.

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