What is call abandonment rate

What is Call Abandonment Rate?

Call abandonment happens when a customer hangs up before speaking to an agent. This may happen for a variety of reasons and it’s a contact center metric closely linked with customer satisfaction.

Contact centers the world over aim for an abandonment rate around the 5% mark. Obviously, a lower rate is great and a higher rate signals a potential problem.

How then do you calculate your Call Abandonment Rate (CAR)?

How to calculate Call Abandonment Rate

The equation for CAR is pretty simple. 

  • First, figure out how many calls were abandoned. (Incoming calls – handled calls)
  • Divide that by the number of incoming calls
  • Multiply the result by 100
Call Abandonment Rate equation

Call Abandonment Rate pitfalls

There are a few things you should bear in mind. Basically, not every call that fails to reach an agent was exactly ‘abandoned’… 

For example:

Some calls are made by mistake. Customers dial the wrong number or accidentally redial. They may even find their own solution while the phone is ringing.

Some callers hang up for good reasons. What if a customer accepts your offer of virtual queuing and hangs up? They didn’t abandon!

Some calls are handled via other tools. If your conversational IVR system solved the customer’s issue, you want them to hang up without reaching an agent – it’s the definition of success. 

Essentially, you need to find ways to exclude these calls from your calculation. That means any calls which abandon very quickly (usually within 5 seconds) and any calls that are successfully routed to other support tools. 

Why should you monitor Call Abandonment Rate

A high Call Abandonment Rate usually suggests one of two things. First, that your wait times are far too long and customers are giving up.

Alternatively, there may be something wrong with the waiting experience you offer. (Think terrible hold music or unclear expectations around waiting times.)

When customers leave without getting help, that’s poor customer service. 

Here’s a motivating list of reasons to monitor your contact center’s Call Abandonment Rate:

  1. If you don’t manage your call queues, callers may go to social media and set your brand on fire with hate reviews
  2. After experiencing bad customer experience, callers could give up on your business and find an alternative
  3. Other customer satisfaction metrics will suffer because customers are not getting across to your agents.

These are situations you should avoid at all costs!

How to lower Call Abandonment Rate

Luckily, you can drive wild Call Abandonment Rate numbers down with the advice we’ve outlined below.

  1. Automate customer service with Conversational IVR and self-service
  2. Communicate with your callers on estimated queue wait times to avoid statistically proven frustration
  3. Introduce callers to virtual queues

Customer self-help portals and IVR systems are some of the most effective ways to solve a case of high Call Abandonment Rate. This way, your callers won’t need to speak to an actual agent unless absolutely necessary.  

70% of callers appreciate being told how long their wait for agent attention will be. Mentioning this estimate up front makes it easier for customers to bear waiting.

You could go one better and offer to call them back. This takes them off the phone and places them in a virtual queue. Again, statistics show that most callers in a queue (again over 70%)  prefer the idea of a call back from agents to waiting on hold.

Where do you start?

First, calculate your Call Abandonment Rate!

Next, automate, automate, automate. We’ve offered three simple solutions to lowering CAR – and each of them depends on automating services. 

Automation is the go-to for better customer service. It may seem like too much work if you’re coming from a totally manual system (yes, spreadsheets are manual), but it’s all worth it in the long run. It’s the only way you can access customer data as soon as they place a call, making your agents wise on their account. 

It also saves you money as you spend less on acquiring customers while enjoying long retention rates associated with automated customer service systems.

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