In call centers, abandon rates are a strong indicator of customer dissatisfaction. Whether it be a sale or technical support, if customers are calling your number, they require a service. If a customer leaves a queue without speaking to a call center agent, they’re not getting their query answered and won’t be happy with their experience.

From how to calculate abandonment rate to how to reduce abandoned calls, this article talks you through the strategies you need to keep customers satisfied and on the line.



How to Calculate Abandon Rate in a Call Center

First things first: to improve your call abandonment rate, you need to know what yours is. So, how is call abandonment rate calculated in a call center?

Call abandonment rates are simply the percentage of callers that hang up (abandon) the call before they get through and speak to call center staff. This percentage is taken from the total number of incoming calls to your phone lines – your Customer Relationship Management system should be equipped to keep track of these percentages.

However, before you look at the numbers, there are several things to take into consideration to ensure your call abandonment rate is accurate and reflective of what is actually happening on calls. For example, you may take steps to find and remove hang-ups due to misdials by only recording abandonments that occur after a certain timeframe, such as five seconds. You should also make sure you’re recording hang-ups that happen during the automated IVR stage of the call, rather than solely focusing on your call center staff’s queues. Transferring calls is also something to be aware of – your system shouldn’t be logging a transferred call as ‘abandoned’ and should recognize it as one singular call across multiple departments.

Once your software is set up with these considerations in mind, you can start analyzing your abandonment rate and take the steps needed to reduce it.


What is an Acceptable Abandon Rate in a Call Center?

To understand whether your organization’s average abandoned call rate is above or below average, you need a call center abandonment rate benchmark to work off.

The global average for abandoned calls is 5-8%, with a common call center abandon rate industry standard being below 5%. Companies with a rate as low as 2% can consider their rate exceptional.

Ultimately, what an ‘acceptable’ abandon rate is for you comes down to your own company standards, but you can consider anything beneath the 5% benchmark as above average.



6 Ways to Reduce Abandoned Calls in Call Center

Any number of abandoned calls is bad for business and customer loyalty. Keeping your call abandonment rate low helps overall customer satisfaction and means your organization is engaging with more customers and doing it more efficiently.

If you’re looking to reduce your call center abandonment rate, here are 6 techniques to try.


1. Make customers aware of their wait time

You should always be upfront about the Estimated Wait Time (EWT) on a call. If a caller is placed on hold with no indication of how long they’ll be waiting, they’re much more likely to get frustrated and abandon the call. Providing your callers with an EWT sets expectations and limits these frustrations, making them much more likely to keep their place in the queue. It also limits the chance of a customer losing patience and abandoning the call just as they were about to be put through.

As well as reducing abandonment rate, giving callers an EWT helps increase customer satisfaction as they can make an informed decision about whether to stay on the line. If the wait is too long and they do leave, it will be with less frustration than if they were given no indication of wait time.


2. Use virtual queuing and callbacks

No one enjoys sitting on hold. A virtual queuing system allows your customers to hang up without losing their place in the queue. Your agent can then call them back when they become available. This simple tactic keeps customers in the queue, reducing call abandonment rates while easing their frustrations at having to wait on hold.

If your organization is using a toll free number, callbacks can also save money on the minutes customers would be on the line waiting. Additionally, you may also save money if your outbound calls are cheaper than inbound rates.


3. Give your customers options

If you’re expecting long wait times you should make sure you’re giving your customers plenty of options. Virtual queueing is a great choice, but you can also provide callers with information on email addresses or online chats, direct them to FAQs that may answer their query, or simply introduce an automated message advising callers of when lines are quietest, so they can choose to call back during off-peak times.


4. Understand patterns in call volume and plan for them

It’s pretty simple – more staff, more calls answered, lower abandonment rate. Your organization should keep track of peak hours, days, and seasons to ensure you’re fully staffed when you need it most.

Consider seasonal events, new launches, or even just peak times of the day when planning rotas for staff. If you anticipate spikes in call volume and staff your call center accordingly, you are best positioned to meet customers’ demands and reduce call abandonment rates.


5. Make sure your staff are trained

Well trained and well-equipped staff are much more efficient; they can deal with customer queries faster, increase positive customer experiences through their knowledge, and stick to company best practice on calls.

If you haven’t already, invest in call center training and ensure staff have all the tools and equipment they need to do their job well. Old equipment, such as slow running computers, can mean calls take longer to get through, ultimately having a knock-on effect on wait times for other customers.

Fast, efficient computers, up-to-date systems, and equipment such as VOIP headsets mean your agents are always connected and calls can be conducted seamlessly. Streamlining the entire call process by training and equipping your staff allows them to get through calls and move onto the next customer more efficiently.


6. Keep customers engaged

The most common reasons for call abandonment are frustration, lack of patience, and boredom. Sat listening to a dial tone or cheesy hold music gives customers little to focus on other than wondering when their call will be answered, amplifying any frustrations they feel about waiting.

Keeping customers engaged with a task is a great way to reduce perceived wait time. If the customer needs to provide certain information for the call, such as an address, phone number, or account details, you can have them input this information before being transferred. This keeps customers focused on the call and psychologically makes them feel like they’ve already invested in the process and conversation – making them far less likely to hang up. Having customers provide this information prior to the call also reduces time spent at the beginning of the call itself. Call center agents can get straight to the purpose of the call, solving the customer’s issues much more efficiently than if they spent the first few minutes inputting data.


Abandoned calls mean customers aren’t getting the level of service they require from you – they may become dissatisfied or ultimately take their business elsewhere. If you’re struggling with a high abandonment rate, implementing these strategies means more customers can be put through to your agents and have a satisfying and efficient experience with your organization.