One of the most common KPIs (key performance indicators) for a successful call center is, appropriately enough, measuring call center abandonment rate. Remember that one of the core goals of your call center involves strengthening the relationships you’re forging with not only your existing call center customers but with potential future ones as well.
What is Call Abandonment Rate?
Call abandonment is when the caller hangs up prematurely, either before an agent can answer their question or address their concern, or as an agent is trying to help them. Measuring the rate of call abandonment allows you to measure the success of call center customer service and experience.
Generally speaking, a call center abandonment rate between 5% and 8% is industry-standard. If the rate hits 10%, you’re getting into “high” territory. Though the mobile world that we’re now living in has certainly complicated things to a degree, as studies have shown that here call center abandonment rates can reach as high as 20%.
Monitoring Your Call Center Abandonment Rate
Call center abandonment is an important KPI that must be monitored constantly. There are also a lot of pitfalls that you might encounter when trying to measure it correctly. Sometimes the numbers alone don’t tell the entire story. You need the context behind those numbers to truly get a better idea of what is going on in your center.
Therefore, if you want to avoid a lot of the common problems associated with measuring call center abandonment rates and have accurate call center analytics, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.
How Do I Calculate Call Abandonment Rate?
To calculate the abandon rate at your call center, use the following equation:
- (Number of inbound calls – Number of calls abandoned in five seconds or less – number of calls successfully handled) / (Number of inbound calls – number of calls abandoned in five seconds or less) x 100
The number you are left with is your call center abandonment rate.
So if you received 100 calls in your call center queues in a single day, had 25 of them that were abandoned in five seconds or less, but also had 70 of them that were successfully handled, the equation would look like:
- (100 – 25 – 70) / (100 – 25) x 100
In the above example, the call center abandonment rate would be 6.66%.
Note that of the remaining five calls that were not either abandoned or successfully handled, they could have been attributed to simple disconnections, an inability to reach a live agent, or a wide array of different factors.
Why are call center calls abandoned?
Call center calls are abandoned for several reasons, including but not limited to ones like:
- The caller decided that it was taking too long to get his or her answer, thus leading this person to seek help through other means.
- The caller figured out the answer to their question or the solution to their concern on their own.
- The caller determined that the call center would be unable to help them, thus leading them to terminate the conversation.
- The caller grew frustrated, regardless of the reason, and abandoned the call.
- The customer disconnected the call at any point before a live agent was able to pick up.
How Can Call Centers Improve Call Abandonment Rate?
To lower your call abandonment rate, call centers must improve speed to answer, manage scheduling difficulties, take post-call notes, monitor call duration, and increase the first-call resolution. All these metrics should be accessible via your call center software.
Improve Speed to Answer
The period between when someone shows an intent to speak to a live agent (meaning that they pick up the phone and give you a call) and the time when they have someone on the line should be 30 seconds or less. However, studies have shown that some companies take a minute or more on average. Predictive behavioral routing, among other techniques, could help combat this.
Manage Scheduling Difficulties
If a call center isn’t properly staffed to keep up with demand, this can easily lead to situations where people are forced to wait on hold longer than they should. This is usually attributed to a failure to forecast demand given a timeframe.
Take Post-call Notes
This refers to all of the other duties that an agent is required to perform beyond simply answering calls. Everything they’re doing “after the call” takes them away from the phone lines, which can again lead to scheduling difficulties and delayed resolutions.
Monitor Call Duration
It’s no secret that some issues take longer to solve than others. But failing to adequately plan for the volume of complex issues that you receive can lead to agents spending longer periods on the phone, thus delaying the actual time it takes to resolve their issue and lowering their overall satisfaction. If agents are spending a long time on the phone, this can also lead to increased wait periods for new callers – thus leading to more abandoned calls, too.
Increase First-call Resolution
It’s also important to note that call abandonment rates are higher if a caller has NOT gotten their desired resolution on their first call. To put it another way, someone is much more likely to get frustrated and hang up the phone faster if this is the second, third, or even fourth time that they’re calling about the same problem or question. This could be attributed to a lack of call center agent skills, among other reasons.
At this point, it’s also important to note that just because you have a “low” call abandonment rate overall does NOT mean you’re in the clear when it comes to what is maybe the most important metric of all: customer satisfaction. As stated above, someone isn’t necessarily going to be happy if they have to call five times about similar issues, even though all five calls were technically “resolved” as quickly as possible. Far too many customers make the mistake of setting the bar too low in this regard. You need to be able to dive deeper beyond “customers are satisfied so long as they’re not complaining.” That isn’t necessarily always the case.
Likewise, there are positive reasons why calls may be getting abandoned. If your business has made available some type of self-service or self-help portal like a Knowledge Base, customers can find answers while waiting on hold. They may have also sought help through a few different channels and while on hold, they got assistance via web forums or chatbot vs live agent to arrive at the same conclusion. Your abandonment rate would still be high in that case, but it wouldn’t necessarily mean that someone walked away from the interaction unsatisfied. But far too many call centers lack the resources they need to understand the context surrounding the situation in this level of detail.
In the end, understand that it is probably not any one of these issues that are causing the high abandonment rate issues you’re currently experiencing. Long call queuing times alone rarely explain the entire story. In reality, it’s probably a combination of a few of them that have directly contributed to the current situation over time.
Luckily, there is also a wide array of different call center software solutions that are designed to help you not only combat high abandonment rates, but that can also lead to additional collaboration and communication benefits moving forward.
Top Call Center Software Tools
Call centers are often in a unique situation because they must be both people-driven and data-driven at the same time. This is also one of the reasons why emotional intelligence customer service agents are so important. Yes, you need to make sure you always have an adequate number of friendly, helpful people manning the phones to handle the influx of calls you’re likely to receive. But without simultaneously giving them access to the type of tools that allow them to create, store, maintain and share critical data surrounding every customer interaction, they won’t be able to help nearly as much as you’d like them to.
Likewise call center leaders need to access these same tools so that they can measure key performance indicators like those outlined above. This can help give them an almost unprecedented level of insight into not only what is working but, more importantly, what isn’t. That way, they can take meaningful action to correct issues today without “throwing everything and the kitchen sink” at the situation to hope something finally works.
These types of analytical tools can also help not only figure out what is an acceptable abandon rate at your particular call center, but they can also accomplish crucial goals like:
- Reducing agent absenteeism.
- Helping to manage staffing levels given volume forecasts.
- Increasing agent engagement.
- Cutting down on experienced agent attrition.
High valued agents who feel like they have the tools necessary to do their jobs are therefore more engaged with their work, for example. Not only does this lead to a far greater success rate for important customer calls, but it also makes it much less likely that they’ll jump ship into the arms of one of your competitors.
Likewise, simply being able to adequately predict volume forecasts means that you’ll always be able to have enough agents on-hand to meet those demands, regardless of peaks and other temporary fluctuations. This means that customers will spend less time on the phone and more time enjoying the products and services they’ve already spent so much of their hard-earned money on.
They also help with the most important goal of all: increasing customer satisfaction across the board.
HubSpot Help Desk
No list of the best call center software solutions would be complete without a mention of HubSpot’s Help Desk software. It’s built on top of HubSpot’s industry-leading customer relationship management tool and it’s designed to bring both all departments within an organization together like never before.
The main benefit here is that the HubSpot Help Desk acts as a central repository for all relevant information across the customer lifecycle. This means that no matter who someone happens to call in and talk to, every agent has access to every piece of information they need to answer questions and resolve problems faster than ever. Likewise, it includes a variety of self-service tools and includes powerful analytical and reporting features that give organizational leaders insight.
TalkDesk is a solution that is designed to help your call center combat one of the most common issues that a lot of businesses face: time to resolution. It’s a tool built with big teams in mind and includes a variety of industry-specific features that lean into the way you like to work, instead of changing the way your people do things to make up for the limitations of the solution.
It, too, includes powerful reporting tools and even allows you to automate a lot of the repetitive tasks like data collection that normally take away from an agent’s ability to stay on the phone and offer service to more people.
Additional features of this powerful workforce management suite include predictive dialer software, notifications when up-sell opportunities present themselves, and much, much more.
Zendesk Talk is very similar to HubSpot’s solution in that it is built on top of the already rock-solid foundation of a powerful customer relationship management tool. This means that regardless of who someone talks to within your business, all front-line agents will have access to the data and insight they need to make the best decisions possible, no matter what. Plus, that information can easily be handed off to another department after a call (like sales or marketing, for example) to continue your relationship with someone via another channel.
Zendesk Talk also comes complete with powerful dashboards that put important metrics like answered calls, abandoned calls, call logging, and even your abandonment rate front and center in one easy-to-access screen.
CloudTalk is another piece of call center software that has become popular in recent years, and with good reason – it combines several unique tools into a platform that is every bit as efficient as it is versatile.
One of the major factors that make CloudTalk unique has to do with its helpful call routing capabilities. After the initial configuration and setup processes are complete, inbound calls are automatically routed to those agents who are best suited to solve them. So instead of a “one size fits all” experience, a customer gets the personalized experience they need to make higher satisfaction levels a foregone conclusion. This also creates the added benefit of eliminating call transfers from one department to the next, which can help put even the most frustrated customers at ease before they even have a chance to speak to the live agent they’re after.
One of the major benefits of Dixa as a piece of call center software is that it doesn’t require you to install anything on your local machines. It runs entirely within a compatible web browser – meaning that your agents can use it (and access the data contained inside it) from any device on Earth with an active Internet connection.
This is great in an era where more people are working remotely than ever before because agents can be every bit as productive at home as they can be in the center itself. But beyond that, Dixa also comes complete with several features like advanced call distribution algorithms that make routing easier, caller recognition to help agents pull up information faster and more.
Avaya Contact Center
Last but not least we arrive at Avaya Contact Center – a solution used by over 90% of Fortune 100 companies, this according to Avaya’s website.
In addition to a powerful agent desktop that puts all the actionable information an agent could need at their fingertips, Avaya Contact Center also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance and automate the customer service experience as much as possible. AI solutions always pair customers with the right agents to guarantee a more productive engagement, for example. Not only that but Avaya is a solution designed to help you survive in the “digital or die” era – meaning that your agents can communicate with customers via not only voice but also web chat, SMS text messaging, email, and even social media networks.
These days, customers want to have a conversation with your brand – but they want to do it on their terms. With that, Avaya has allowed you to support these customers on their quest to having the satisfying engagement they both expect and deserve.
Call Centers Need Unified Productivity
Regardless of which contact center software solution you choose, you need to understand that you’re trying to do more than just pick another productivity tool. You need to unify your customer service experience across not only the entirety of your call center but across multiple channels as well. You need to give your agents the ability to work “smarter, not harder” – devoting as much of their time as possible to helping the people a brand has dedicated itself to serving.
All of this helps to create what is arguably the most important benefit of all: creating a better experience for both your call center agents and your customers in one fell swoop.
Customer Experience Is the Key to Improving Abandonment Rate
In the end, it’s of critical importance for you to understand that your call center abandonment rate is more than just another metric. The goal of your call center is to do more than answer questions and address concerns – it’s to act as one of the core pillars of the experience you’re working hard to create across your customer base. Customer experience management can offer a competitive advantage when you desperately need it.
Understanding that your abandonment rate is too high is one thing. Understanding WHY and WHAT to do about it are different matters entirely. Constructing a powerful enterprise VoIP system includes choosing tools that work in tandem to support one another.