Written By
Heather Sloan

6 Ideas to Reduce Your Call Center Abandonment Rate

Written By
Heather Sloan
6 Ideas to Reduce Your Call Center Abandonment Rate

Despite being overlooked at times, the call center abandonment rate impacts many aspects of a business operation. From customer experience to customer retention, this performance metric is not one to disregard. Unfortunately, callers are less eager to wait on hold for a representative than in the past. As a result, many individuals hang up before ever speaking with an actual human. Let’s review several ways to curtail this potentially devastating trend.

Understanding Call Center Abandonment Rate

First, what is a call center abandonment rate, and why does it matter so much? Knowing this metric and its importance offers valuable insights into your company’s success. The call center abandonment is when a caller hangs up before talking with an agent or representative. Call center abandonment rate is the number of abandoned calls divided by the total number of calls, usually displayed in a percentage. 

Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t take callers long to decide whether they’ll stay on a call, impacting your company in many ways. Sometimes abandonment can happen in under five seconds. So, what’s good and bad in terms of abandonment rates?

Regarding the industry standard, the average call center abandonment rate is somewhere around 5-8%. Anything over 10% is considered bad, and under 2% is excellent. Most companies aim to achieve a call center abandonment rate of 5% or less. 

Why does the call center abandonment rate matter? Losing a caller to boredom, impatience, or annoyance isn’t something to sweep under the rug. Current customers often voice their dissatisfaction in online reviews or merely find another company to serve them. Potential customers might feel dissuaded from doing business with you, and you might never get that chance again. 

Consider the following ideas to reduce your call center abandonment rate.

  1. Identify the Issue

Implementing new concepts to improve your customer’s experience means doing your due diligence first. To begin, you must know what the problem is. For example, do your customers complain about long wait times or that their issues aren’t being resolved promptly, causing them to make multiple calls?

Many times, customer reviews are an excellent place to start pinpointing genuine issues. Look at your online reviews on search engines or social media, and you’ll get a ground-level view of your customer’s experience. Some elements that might cry for attention include the number of inbound calls and dropped calls as well as the first call success rate.

  1. Adjust Your Ring Time

Consider what most individuals deem as “normal” regarding phone calls and wait time. Calling a friend or making a work call typically means sitting through about 20 seconds of rings. Plus, the ring-ring sound is familiar to us. 

However, many call centers only have a click before shuffling callers to the on-hold message. This short ring time can quickly make the call seem longer than it honestly is, but it also leaves callers with an impersonal feeling. Plus, the pandemic has increased hold times significantly due to many people adjusting to a new lifestyle. 

Instead, adjust your ring time to around 15 to 20 seconds before beginning your on-hold message. This approach will help improve your customer’s experience while hopefully keeping them on the call until an actual human can speak with them. 

  1. Schedule Shifts Accordingly 

None of us enjoy the on-hold message about unusually high call volumes or how important our call is. These messages typically annoy and frustrate most individuals as opposed to encouraging them to remain on the call. On that same note, few businesses have the foresight to pre-record this particular message accurately; it’s merely a default and unimaginative blurb.

Try to avoid “unusually high call volumes” by reviewing a few days’ worth of incoming call metrics. When do most people call your center? Can you adjust your staffing to accommodate these high-volume time frames? Many call centers offer staggered or split-shifts with compensation to cover these demands. 

  1. Increase Agent Efficiency

Notoriously, individuals detest talking with an agent or representative and feeling rushed through the call. Or worse, callers loathe extended phone calls merely because the agent must follow a specific guideline. So, where’s the happy medium?

Increasing agent efficiency isn’t as simple as speeding up the phone call. While average handling time (AHT) is a critical metric, it must be adjusted delicately. Putting too much emphasis on this point might crush other call center goals. 

Consider focusing on how agents tackle out-of-the-box situations, best practices for improving call center performance, and improving customer satisfaction. Tweaking these fine details will help your agents complete calls promptly and keep callers happy.

  1. Give Callers More Information 

Social media is plastered with tidbits of information surrounding on-hold music and messages. Typically, posts are poking fun at the sleepy-time jazz or the less-than-honest “your call is important to us” recording. In short, society doesn’t generally appreciate the on-hold experience, and it’s often a sore point in the call-waiting process.

It’s time to give callers more information so that they remain on the call (and off of social media!). Think about telling customers what number they are in the line of callers or even how many minutes they have left to wait. Now would also be an excellent time to introduce any new products or services you offer. Some companies also present their compliance message during this initial wait time.

  1. Offer Alternatives

Lastly, waiting on hold for a representative shouldn’t be the only option for your callers. Although many individuals will choose to wait it out, others will gladly take a call back or leave a voicemail. Consider giving your callers this flexibility and freedom to manage their time as they please. 

On that same note, your call center abandonment rate will improve because callers who choose other options won’t be recorded as hang ups. Besides, this approach will help your agents handle high call volumes, as well. 

These ideas will help to reduce your call center abandonment rate and boost customer satisfaction. Here at Digital Media Marketing, we offer an Inbound Call Generation service to improve your call center metrics.


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