What is Average Handling Time (AHT)?

Average Handling Time is the time agents spend on tickets. The AHT option, available inside the Tickets page, works as a stopwatch that automatically starts each time an agent visits the ticket assigned to them and continues whenever they revisit the page.

If more than one agent handled a ticket, you can see the time spent by each agent, thereby giving you complete visibility on the total time spent by all agents.

Why is AHT useful?

Since the time calculation with AHT is instantaneous and automatic, time tracking is always accurate and error-free. A higher AHT may indicate a dip in your team's productivity, lower customer satisfaction, inefficient training or process, etc. So it’s essential to keep your average handle time low at all times.

Here’s how AHT helps different Freshdesk users manage tickets:

  1. Admins: Monitor your team's productivity and get complete visibility of your teams’ performance, analyze the ticket load, plan your staffing, and efficiently manage your workforce.
  2. Supervisor: Quickly review the time spent by each agent on a ticket. Identify the tickets that take longer to resolve and offer support to improve productivity.
  3. Agent: Reduce the manual effort and focus on resolving tickets without worrying about time logging.

Additionally, you can use the AHT report to get insights into your team's performance.

How to set up AHT?

For details, see Configuring Average Handling Time.

How does AHT work?

If you enable AHT, the stopwatch starts automatically when an agent opens a ticket assigned to them. Whenever the agent moves away from the ticket, the stopwatch pauses and resumes when they return to the ticket. The AHT pauses temporarily during the following scenarios:

  • Agent moves away from the ticket by clicking any option on the left nav bar
  • Agent minimizes the browser
  • Agent closes the ticket tab/browser
  • Agent clicks on any other tab
  • Agent logs out while viewing the ticket
  • Agent refreshes the page
  • Agent enters a different URL in the browser
  • Agent clicks on any browsers arrows  (previous, next options)
  • Agent uses the search bar and views the search results
  • Agent logs out


Let's see a scenario to see how AHT works. 

ScenarioAHT stopwatch behavior
Agent Ben views the ticket at 11:00 AMStopwatch starts at 00h:00m:00s
Ben moved away from the ticket page at 11:30 AMStopwatch pauses at 00:30m:00s
Ben revisits the ticket at 11:40 AMStopwatch resumes at 00:30m:00s
Ben reassigns the ticket to another agent, Merwin at 11:50 AM Stopwatch for Ben stops at 00:40m:00s
Merwin opens the ticket at 2:00 PMTotal time tracked automatically: 00h:40m:01s
Stopwatch for Merwin: 00h:00m:01s
Stopwatch for Ben: 00h:40m:00s

Merwin spends time on the ticket and closes it at 2:30 PM

Total time tracked automatically: 01h:10m:00s

Stopwatch for Merwin: 00h:30m:00s

Stopwatch for Ben: 00h:40m:00s

Consider a ticket is assigned to agent Ben. AHT automatically starts at 0 (00h:00m:00s) the moment Ben views the ticket.

Let’s say, after 30 minutes, Ben moves away from the tickets page, pausing the stopwatch at (00h:30m:00s).

Whenever Ben returns to the ticket, the stopwatch resumes from 00h:30m:00s. 

This continues until the ticket is closed. So, in this example, currently, the AHT for this ticket is 00h:30m.

What happens when a ticket is reassigned?

If a ticket is reassigned to another agent, the stopwatch starts from 0 for the reassigned agent. However, the total time tracked includes the time spent by the previous agent, and the stopwatch for the ticket resumes from where the previous agent left.

In the example below, Ben spent 40 minutes on this ticket and reassigned it to another agent, Merwin. When Merwin views the reassigned ticket, the stopwatch starts from 0 for him; however, the total time tracked includes the time spent by Ben.

How to use Time Logs and AHT?

An alternate approach for time tracking is the Time logs feature available on the Tickets page. Unlike AHT, time logs require you to manually start and stop the timer for time tracking. However, you can use both time logs and AHT to efficiently keep track of the overall time spent on a ticket. 

Note: If you enable AHT, the start/stop timer under Time Logs feature will be disabled.


Assume a customer wants to know your company’s refund policy. 

To answer this query, you may have to check your company’s policy on another application or refer to solution articles within Freshdesk.
So, whenever you move from the ticket, the AHT pauses automatically, which means AHT does not include the time you spend finding the answer. In this case, you can use time logs to capture the unaccounted time spent on resolving the ticket.

As a supervisor or admin, this allows you to get complete visibility into how each agent spends time on a ticket, understand what takes up their time, and guide them in resolving tickets faster.