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To give an example of how AHT can impact queues, imagine two almost identical transactions where one has an AHT of 45 seconds and the other has an AHT of 79 seconds.

The arrival pattern for each queue is the same, and the number of “agents” ready for the incoming volume is the same.

Lo and behold!  The ladies’ public toilets have a queue of distraught, knock-kneed women and girls wishing the queue would hurry up, while the men and boys are delighted that their lower handling time (so to speak) means that they can get the weight off their minds and move on.

(Incidentally, although I believe these timings are real I feel compelled to say that I did not take the measurements myself…)

The impact of AHT affects all of us all the time in our daily lives:  we have “coins-only” lines at our toll booths; card swipes have replaced cheques at points of sale; supermarkets have “10 items or fewer” tills; and we all know what it’s like to be stuck in a bank queue where everybody seems to be sorting out their whole life’s finances in a single visit.