Customer Service KPIs: Average Handle Time on Live Chat

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is, well, “key” to managing the performance of your customer service team. But it can be difficult to know what metrics to track, what your targets should be, and how you should use them to improve productivity and quality.

We’re here to help. In this series of blog posts, we’re outlining the most important metrics for email, chat, and phone customer support. For each metric, we’ve combed the Internet to gather all available benchmarks, so you can see what companies are actually achieving in different industries. We’ve also tapped our network to obtain private data from customer service agents working in different fields. Overall, we used more than 250 data points from more than 150 different sources and aggregated that data to provide you with this data.

And we’re doing more than that – we’re providing tips to improve your performance on each KPI.

Customer Service KPI: Average Handle Time on Live Chat

What it is

The average length of time your agents engage in a single chat.


Targets will vary widely depending on your business (see below for more!)

The data

  • High: 29 minutes
  • Low: 1 minute
  • Average: 13 minutes
  • Number of data points: 45

Quick Tips

  • Don’t over-emphasize average handle time. Be careful with this stat. If you try to reduce average handle time too much, you risk providing sub-par service. Ultimately, the best handle time for a given query is however long it takes to resolve the customer’s inquiry in an efficient way.
  • Focus on wait times. In all likelihood, a high average handle time indicates that customers are waiting a long time in between responses. That might mean that your agents are handling too many chats at once, or just juggling too many tasks. Focus on managing your chat queue more efficiently – rather than pressuring agents to get customer off the line more quickly.
  • Create a customized AHT target. Don’t overweight the targets above. Assess your own chats – the good and the bad – and determine what makes the most sense for your business and your customers.

Other articles in this series:
Customer Service KPIs: Average Wait Time On Live Chat
Customer Service KPIs: Customer Satisfaction On Live Chat

If you want to know more about KPIs for customer service, download our free e-book with benchmark data for the most important KPIs in email, phone and chat support.

Illustration by Rhea Avanceña

Written By:

Peak Support