Call center KPIs

After Call Work (ACW)

The time required for all activities after the conversation with the client is completed is one of the key considerations for all call center admins. The goal here is to ensure accuracy and relevancy needed for best-in-class customer service, while limiting all processes and documentation to an absolute minimum. Read on as we explore one of the critical call center metrics: After Call Work (ACW), often referred to as post-call processing or wrap-up time.


After Call Work or ACW (also known as “wrap-up” or “post call processing”) is a metric that measures the efficiency of the post-call activities performed by agents following any customer interaction. It consists of all necessary tasks, such as documentation, updating customer records, scheduling follow-up actions, and any other administrative work required when the call is concluded. A lower ACW typically indicates that agents are able to wrap up calls promptly and move on to the next interaction, contributing to improved overall productivity and customer service quality. Monitoring and optimizing ACW help call centers ensure that resources are used efficiently and that customers receive timely and comprehensive support.

ACW formula

Before we move on to explaining who should pay special attention to ACW, let’s get a better understanding of how it’s actually calculated. Thanks to this, it’d be easier for you to know if this metric applies to your team and processes, or whether you should check out other call center KPIs.

ACW = Total time spent on after-call tasks    
Total number of calls handled

This formula calculates the average time spent on after-call tasks per call. If we break down its components:

  • Total time spent on after-call tasks – this number includes all activities performed by agents after concluding a call, such as updating records, entering notes, and scheduling follow-up actions. 
  • Total number of calls handled – this simply refers to all calls managed by agents during the specified period for which you want to calculate ACW.

Using ACW formula – Real life scenario

Now let’s analyze a real-life example showing the calculation of wrap-up time. Let’s see what the calculation looked like and what the management decided to do about it.

In this case it’s a telecom call center that provides customer support for mobile phone services.

The call center recently implemented a new system for tracking After Call Work (ACW) metrics to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. Their processes are efficient and the number of calls handled is really huge so wrap-up times are critical but also expected to be very low.

Calculation of ACW metric

After monitoring the ACW metric for a month, the call center management discovers that the average is higher than expected:

→ It takes 4 minutes on average to finalize each call, while the target was set at 2 minutes.

Addressing the issue

Here are some of the key ways to remediate these disappointing measurements undertaken in our example telecom call center.

Agent training and process review: The management conducted a comprehensive review of after-call processes and identified areas where agents may be struggling. They provide targeted training sessions to agents, focusing on time management skills, efficient navigation of internal systems, and best practices for completing after-call tasks promptly.

Performance monitoring and feedback: One other remediation effort was a system for ongoing performance monitoring, providing agents with regular feedback on their wrap-up times. Agents who consistently exceed targets are given personalized coaching and support to improve.

Process automation: Recognizing that manual after-call tasks contribute to extended ACW times, the call center explored opportunities for automation. They invested in an AI-enhanced software that pre-populates many of the documents that agents needed to process manually.

Resource optimization: Another idea was to adjust staffing levels and schedules to better align with call volume patterns. They ensured that there were sufficient resources available during peak hours to handle after-call tasks promptly, reducing the backlog of pending actions and improving overall efficiency.

Customer communication: To manage customer expectations and mitigate the impact of longer ACW times, the call center implemented proactive communication strategies to inform customers about potential delays and provide realistic timelines.

Top 3 reasons why you should care about ACW metric

As you can see, calculating and tracking wrap-up times gives you a really solid and practical insight into what may be causing lower satisfaction scores.

Therefore ACW is such an essential metric for call centers and customer service operations. Here are the top three reasons why tracking and reporting on ACW is important:

1. Efficiency measurement: ACW provides insights into the efficiency of call center agents in handling customer interactions. It measures the time agents spend after concluding a call to complete necessary tasks such as updating records, entering notes, or scheduling follow-up actions. By tracking ACW, managers can identify agents who may require additional training or support to streamline their post-call activities, ultimately improving overall efficiency and productivity.

2. Customer satisfaction: The quality of post-call activities directly impacts customer satisfaction. Prompt and accurate completion of after-call tasks contribute to a seamless customer experience. Excessive ACW time may lead to delays in addressing customer needs, causing frustration and dissatisfaction. By monitoring ACW metrics, organizations can ensure that agents are efficiently resolving issues and providing timely follow-up, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Resource allocation: Tracking ACW helps managers allocate resources effectively. By analyzing ACW trends over time, organizations can identify patterns in workload and adjust staffing levels accordingly. For example, if ACW times increase during certain periods, it may indicate a need for additional staffing or process improvements. Conversely, consistently low ACW times may suggest that resources are being underutilized, prompting managers to redistribute tasks or provide agents with additional responsibilities to optimize resource allocation.

ACW benchmark numbers per industry: What is a good wrap-up time?

Of course it may be tricky to know what average length of ACW is adequate, especially when you just started tracking it. Below you can find subjective estimates from our team that will give you an idea in some selected industries.

Retail: In the retail industry, average wrap-up times typically range from 1 to 3 minutes per call. This includes tasks such as updating customer records, processing orders, and scheduling follow-up actions.

Telecommunications: For telecommunications companies, average wrap-up times may fall between 2 to 5 minutes per call. Given the complexity of issues related to billing, technical support, and service inquiries, agents may require more time to complete after-call tasks.

Banking and financial services: In the banking and financial services sector, average wrap-up times can vary widely depending on the nature of customer inquiries. However, a common benchmark ranges from 3 to 6 minutes per call, considering tasks such as verifying account information, processing transactions, and providing financial advice.

Technology: Technology companies often have lower average wrap-up times due to the technical nature of customer inquiries and the use of advanced support systems. Average wrap-up times may range from 1 to 4 minutes per call, reflecting the efficiency of agents in resolving technical issues and providing assistance.

Healthcare: In the healthcare industry, where call centers handle patient inquiries, appointment scheduling, and medical advice, average wrap-up times can be higher, typically ranging from 4 to 8 minutes per call. This accounts for the time required to update patient records, schedule appointments, and coordinate with medical staff.

These benchmarks are by no means a scientific measurement of what is typically needed to finalize calls, however estimates like this can still be helpful. Bear in mind that the actual numbers will be heavily dependent on the length of the period measured and the scope of activities which can all skew your results.

Improving After Call Work KPI: The ultimate checklist

Knowing the industry benchmarks, you may now realize that average times needed to finalize each call are highly inadequate. If this is the case, it’s time to address this issue as soon as possible because, like we mentioned earlier, high wrap-up time is a costly situation that may hinder customer satisfaction and simply cost money.

Here is a handy checklist to go through in order to address high ACW metric in call centers:

1. Process efficiency

• Evaluate current after-call processes to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks.

• Streamline workflows to minimize redundant tasks and unnecessary steps.

• Implement standardized procedures for common after-call tasks.

2. Technology utilization

• Ensure agents have access to efficient tools and software for updating records, scheduling follow-ups, and accessing customer information.

• Invest in automation solutions to reduce manual after-call tasks and streamline processes.

• Integrate systems to enable seamless transfer of information between different platforms.

3. Agent training and development

• Provide comprehensive training on after-call processes, including time management techniques and system navigation.

• Offer refresher courses to ensure agents are up-to-date with any process changes or new software implementations.

• Conduct role-playing exercises to practice efficient handling of after-call tasks.

4. Performance monitoring and feedback

• Establish clear performance metrics for ACW and regularly monitor individual and team performance.

• Provide constructive feedback to agents based on ACW metrics, highlighting areas for improvement and recognizing successes.

• Offer coaching and support to agents who consistently struggle with managing after-call tasks.

5. Resource allocation

• Assess staffing levels to ensure adequate coverage during peak call volume periods.

• Allocate resources effectively to balance workload and minimize backlog of after-call tasks.

• Consider implementing flexible scheduling options to accommodate fluctuations in call volume.

6. Customer communication

• Set realistic expectations with customers regarding follow-up times for after-call tasks.

• Provide proactive updates to customers on the status of their inquiries or requests.

• Offer self-service options for common inquiries to reduce the need for follow-up calls.

7. Continuous improvement

• Foster a culture of continuous improvement within the call center.

• Encourage agents to provide feedback and suggestions for optimizing after-call processes.

• Regularly review ACW metrics and adjust strategies as needed to drive ongoing improvements.

Which call centers pay most attention to wrap up time?

With so many metrics call center admins can look into, shortlisting the ones that are key in your case is a daunting task. Many people wonder, “What if I miss something very important?” Not all metrics are created equal – their importance for a specific call center depends on many issues, such as the industry, team size, and the most common types of issues handled. Post call processing activities can vary great, both in terms of their

List of call centers that put special emphasis on wrap up time

Many contact centers focus on operations that involve quite a lot of documentation due to the nature of their business, as well as legal requirements and regulations. The more such actions are needed after conversations and the greater their importance, the more focus is put on post call processing. (e.g. by using appropriate integrations)

▶ Financial services
Call centers in the financial services industry often handle sensitive customer information and transactions. Tracking ACW is crucial for compliance purposes, ensuring that agents accurately document interactions, update financial records, and follow security protocols after each call.

▶ Healthcare
In healthcare call centers, agents may need to update patient records, schedule appointments, or coordinate care with other providers after a call. Monitoring ACW helps ensure that agents are accurately documenting patient information and facilitating seamless communication between patients and healthcare providers.

▶ Emergency response call centers
For emergency response call centers such as police, fire, or medical services, tracking ACW is vital for ensuring swift and accurate response times. Agents must document critical information and dispatch appropriate resources efficiently, making ACW management essential for effective emergency response operations.

▶ Customer support focused on critical issues
Many customer support professionals focus on solving issues related to critical services where delays can cost even millions of dollars and, as a result, dramatically increase the risk of customer churn. In such cases, it makes sense to put a lot of emphasis on all efficiency metrics to ensure speedy resolution at all costs. (sometimes at the expense of other metrics less related to speed)

Who may put less focus on ACW?

In the following cases, wrap up time may not be as important as other metrics.

▶ Market research
Call centers conducting market research surveys or collecting data through phone interviews may focus more on metrics such as survey completion rates, response rates, and data accuracy. While ACW is still important for ensuring accurate data entry and documentation, it may not be as critical as in other types of call centers.

▶ Lead generation
Regarding lead generation, teams may often prioritize metrics such as lead quality, lead conversion rates, and appointments set. Agents may spend less time on ACW after each call as their primary goal is to qualify leads and move them through the sales funnel efficiently.

▶ Customer satisfaction surveys
These teams may prioritize metrics related to survey completion rates, response rates, and Net Promoter Score (NPS). While ACW is important for accurately recording survey responses, it may not be the primary focus compared to gathering actionable feedback from customers.

▶ Event registration
Handling event registrations or RSVPs may require to prioritize metrics such as registration completion rates, attendee numbers, and event attendance rates. ACW is still necessary for updating registration databases, but it may not receive as much emphasis as metrics directly related to event success.

▶ Non-profit fundraising
In this case, you may focus on metrics such as donation amounts, donor retention rates, and fundraising campaign effectiveness. While accurate donor information is essential for maintaining relationships with supporters, ACW may not be the primary focus compared to fundraising outcomes.

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