This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Call abandonment rate is a call center metric measuring how many customers terminated the call before speaking to an agent. A 10% call abandonment rate indicates that wait times are too long—hence, the goal is to keep this key performance indicator (KPI) from 2% to 8%. To calculate the call abandonment rate, take the total number of calls received and subtract the number of calls you handled. Lastly, divide the result by the number of calls received.
Follow the steps below and use the formula as a guide in calculating call abandonment rates:
Step 1: Check the Total Number of Calls Received
The first step is to know how many calls you received within a set time period, depending on what you want to assess. For example, if you’re evaluating call center performance during a specific month, it naturally follows that you look at the number of calls received within that period.
A common dilemma businesses have when considering received calls is whether or not they should include short abandoned calls. The best practice for accurate call abandonment rate calculation is to exclude calls that lasted less than five to 10 seconds (the number will depend on the trends you observe in your contact center).
The assumption is that these callers dialed the wrong number and only realized it after being connected. Thus, these calls are not legitimate customer inquiries.
Step 2: Subtract the Number of Calls You Handled
The next step in how to calculate call abandon rate is subtracting the number of calls you handled from the total number of calls received. One common mistake you should avoid here is double counting the transferred calls.
This usually happens when a caller reaches the wrong department or agent, and the attending representative transfers the call to the right one. In this scenario, it’s easy to make the error of counting both calls. Avoid double counting by checking the call recordings.
Step 3: Divide the Result by the Number of Calls Received
Once you get the difference between the number of calls handled from the number of calls received, divide that number by the number of calls received. The result is a decimal figure. To convert it into percentage, multiply the number by 100. This is the last step in learning how to calculate call abandon rate, and the number you get gives a peek into the strength of your customer service quality.
Call Abandonment Rate Formula, Example & Calculator
As a summary of the steps above, the call abandonment rate calculation is expressed in a formula as:
Call abandonment rate
|=||CR – CA – CH
- CR = Total number of calls received
- CA = Number of calls abandoned in five seconds or less
- CH = Number of calls handled
Suppose you received 100 calls during the month of November. Five of them were abandoned in less than five seconds, but you successfully handled 80 of them. You will have a call abandonment rate of 15.79%. Given the call center abandonment rate benchmark, which ranges from 2% to 8%, the figure goes far above the ideal number. This should make you revisit customer service strategies.
Call abandonment rate
|=||100 – 5 – 80
Effective Ways to Improve Call Abandonment Rate
A high call abandonment rate often points to long waiting times in queues. Customers hang up and leave the call unsatisfied, still needing support. Remember, the acceptable abandon rate in a call center is 2% to 8%. If your rate is above 8%, here are some action steps to take to create a better customer experience:
1. Revisit Your Staffing Availability & Schedule
The simplest reason people wait longer in queues is that there’s not enough staff available to attend to them. Thus, the most straightforward solution to a high call abandonment rate is to add more agents. While this could mean hiring more people, other times, it’s as simple as adjusting schedules and making sure you have the most agents onboard during peak seasons.
For example, when you have a major company event, a product launch, or an announcement of a price increase, expect to see a spike in calls as more customers inquire about it. Reduce instances of call abandonment by having additional agents working during these scenarios.
Most call center platforms feature workforce management tools, which help forecast required staffing for specific events. Talkdesk’s workforce management tool, for instance, considers historical information on contact center workload and service level goals to determine staffing needs. With tools like this, you ensure you have enough agents to accommodate high call volume. Our Talkdesk review will help you decide if it’s the right contact center solution for you.
2. Retrain & Support Agents to Reduce Handling Time
The average handling time (AHT) affects call abandonment rates because when agents take a long time to talk to a customer and resolve issues, they have less time to handle other incoming calls. That said, it’s worth looking into our article about the best call handling practices. Review call recordings, identify areas of improvement, and then craft a coaching plan.
Aside from retraining agents, equip them with the necessary resources. Integrate your customer relationship management (CRM) system with your call center platform so your agents will better understand the context of customer issues and speed up resolution.
For example, Five9, a call center platform, features integrations with CRM platforms, including Salesforce, ServiceNow, Microsoft, Oracle, and Zendesk. CloudTalk, another popular call center provider, seamlessly integrates with widely used business software, like HubSpot, Zendesk Sell, and Zoho CRM. Learn more about this contact center provider in our CloudTalk review.
3. Inform & Entertain Callers While Waiting
While customers don’t like being put on hold, they don’t mind waiting if it’s a pleasant experience. Thus, make every effort to create a better customer experience even during wait times. Update them on what number they are in the queue to manage expectations. Change the hold music, choosing beats that uplift the mood.
Customer service platform Zendesk allows easy incorporation of music on hold into their system. It also commissioned professional musicians to create great hold music for customers’ listening pleasure. Learn more about the features of this platform in our in-depth Zendesk review.
4. Implement Automatic Callbacks
This strategy helps during high call volume periods. By offering callbacks, customers can completely do away with waiting on hold and dropping calls.
An offer message goes like this, “Instead of waiting on hold, press 1 to get a callback.” Be mindful of when to present this message. If it’s played after the average hold time, it will be useless since most customers won’t hear the option. Review your abandoned calls and see how long customers are willing to wait. From there, determine the best time to present the callback offer message.
Call center software Avaya OneCloud CCaaS has a feature called Callback Assist, which tells the caller their estimated wait time in the queue and gives the option of having an agent call them back instead. It lets customers choose between an immediate callback, which happens as soon as an agent becomes available, or a scheduled one, wherein the caller chooses a date and time.
If you’re considering Avaya’s unified communications platform to take advantage of more communication features, check out our Avaya Cloud Office review to learn more.
5. Reassess Your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System
An IVR system is an efficient tool for managing calls found in many call center and business phone systems. If poorly designed, IVRs easily contribute to high call abandonment rates. Evaluate how helpful the IVR system is to callers, making sure its menu options are simple and relevant and there’s always an option to speak to a live agent.
Freshdesk features a multilevel IVR system. It’s easy to create unlimited multilevel phone trees for different call campaigns. If you’re interested in using this software in your business, learn more about the tool in our Freshdesk Contact Center review.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the industry standard for short abandoned calls?
There are no specific industry criteria defining what a short abandoned call is. Individual businesses determine this according to the unique trends they observe in their call center system. Some will define a short abandoned call as less than five seconds, while others will extend it to less than 10 seconds.
What is the difference between an abandoned call & a missed call?
An abandoned call is a call terminated by the caller before they reach an agent. A missed call is a call intentionally disconnected by the call center, which happens when the inbound call reaches the maximum wait time limit set by the call center system. Manage inbound calls efficiently by upgrading to the best call center phone system.
What’s a good average handle time?
The industry standard is six minutes and three seconds. It could be more for industries that require technical support for customer queries. Know more about industry benchmarks by checking this list of call center metrics.
The call abandonment rate is a key performance indicator that businesses need to diligently track to ensure excellent customer service and team efficiency. Make accurate evaluations by using the formula mentioned above. Take advantage of the reporting tools available on your call center software to monitor abandoned calls in real time.