Abandon Rate: 6 Mistakes You’re Making (And How To Fix Them)

Many factors influence customer satisfaction, and one of the most significant indicators to measure is the abandon rate at your call center. An abandoned call is defined as any call where a caller hangs up before speaking with a customer service representative, and it’s a popular metric to determine the quality of your customer service. Businesses with lower abandon rates and higher answer rates can infer that they’re getting customer service right.

Customers stay on the line because they’re not having to endure long wait times, they’re finding the IVR to be user-friendly, and their calls are going to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about how to calculate your abandon rate, as well as 6 mistakes you might be making in the process—and how to fix the problem.

Call Abandon Rate Formula

Formula For Call Abandon Rate:

Abandon Rate Percentage = ((Number of Calls Offered – Number of Calls Handled) / (Number of Calls Offered)) x 100 

Before you know how to improve your abandon rate or modify your calculations, let’s start with the most accurate abandon rate formula for your call center:

(# of Calls Offered – # of Calls Handled)

(# of Calls Offered)

6 Mistakes When Calculating Your Abandon Rate

1. Mistake: Treating All Hang-Ups the Same

Solution: Analyze Your Call History to Determine Your Standard For An Abandoned Call

Some businesses treat all hang-ups as an abandoned call, but this could be unnecessarily inflating your abandon rate percentage. Look into your calls and decide on a cut-off time that distinguishes a “short call” from an “abandoned call.”

2. Mistake: Adding in Self-Serve and Navigation Time

Solution: Treat Other Types of Hang-Ups as Separate Issues

Certain customers might use your automated system to get answers to their questions. If they’re never waiting to speak to a representative, but still hang up before they find the answer they’re after, this could indicate a problem with the IVR, such as poor voice recognition, poor enunciation, too many options to wade through before reaching an agent, or an overly long introduction.

3. Mistake: Not Using Call-Backs

Solution: Add a Call-Back Option to Lower Your Abandon Rate

Call-backs are an excellent way to make customers happy. Rather than awkwardly holding the phone to their ear or setting it down on speaker phone, they can instead go about their day and wait for you to call them back when a customer service representative is free. This will immediately lower your abandon rate.

4. Mistake: Seeking an Unrealistic Abandon Rate

Solution: Set an Attainable Goal

Wondering what is an acceptable abandon rate in call center? According to call center industry standards for abandonment rate, you should be striving to hit 5-8%. Anyone hoping to have less than 5% of calls abandoned may simply be unrealistic in their goal, and go crazy trying to get there.

Note: Though, that an acceptable abandon rate can depend on your industry. For example, Medicare Part D contracts with insurance companies specify no more than 5% dropped calls. For outbound calls the acceptable abandon rate is much lower, both in the US and the UK.

5. Mistake: Understaffing Your Call Center

Solution: Hiring an Adequate Number of Employees

If you don’t have enough customer service representatives answering calls, your abandon rate will rise as customers get frustrated with long wait times. Try to find the sweet spot when staffing your customer service department. If you hire too many employees, you’ll be wasting money and have bored team members. Hire too few, and it will negatively affect your abandon rate. Research when you have the most callers, and use that to forecast shift and staffing needs.

6. Mistake: Not Testing Your IVR For Accuracy

Solution: Regularly Test and Adjust Your IVR

Your interactive voice recognition system is vital to lowering your abandon rates. Your percentage will increase if you have an IVR that isn’t actually helping customers in the way they need. Reduce customer frustration by making sure your IVR always leads them to the right department and doesn’t have any dead ends or other errors. Make sure you have an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that supports your business’s needs.

Implementing These Tips

Now that you’ve learned some great tips about calculating your abandon rate, you’re well equipped with the knowledge to improve the rate at your call center. Rally your entire customer service team and explain the importance of this metric—you’ll want to make sure everyone is on board to help you reach your goals. As you strive to decrease your abandon rate, you’ll notice an overall improvement in your customer service quality.

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