Each time your customers reach out to you is a chance to improve your relationship with them. The customer service they receive while interacting with your agents directly influences how they perceive your organization. But, the first step in the customer journey is the connection with your support team.
But, sometimes customers hang up before an agent can answer their call. There are many reasons why this might happen but the bottom line is: every call you are unable to answer is an unsatisfied customer.
Metrics are a window into how your call center is functioning. You can target areas that need improvement and measure how effective your corrective actions are. The abandonment rate tells you the percentage of calls that go unanswered.
Here we look at what the abandonment rate is and how you can reduce it.
What constitutes an abandoned call?
An abandoned call is terminated by the caller before being connected to an agent. A call is considered abandoned if:
- Customer hangs up while waiting in the queue or interactive voice response (IVR)
- The customer is routed to voicemail while in the queue before reaching an agent
Generally, if a customer hangs up after they are connected to an agent, the call is not considered abandoned.
What does abandonment rate measure?
The abandonment rate is the percentage of inbound calls that are abandoned. To calculate, divide the number of abandoned calls by the total number of incoming calls and multiply by 100. A high abandonment rate indicates that a higher number of calls are going unanswered.
Contributing factors to abandonment rates include:
- Call volume
- Hold times
- Average handle time
When it comes to determining if your abandonment rate is good or bad, the best approach is to keep it low.
How to reduce abandonment rates
Long queues and inefficient IVR menus don’t show your customers their call is important. Focus on reducing inbound volume, improving wait time, and the efficiency of your call center.
- Reduce call volume by letting customers serve themselves
You can reduce high inbound volumes by providing self-service options to your customers. You can use your IVR menu to offer answers to frequently asked questions and options to take care of routine tasks. Advances in natural language processing have made self-service a smooth and efficient process.
The amount of calls your agents have to answer decreases when your customers can serve themselves. This reduces the likelihood of abandonment due to agents being overwhelmed by high inbound volume.
- Offer service across multiple channels
By broadening the way your customers can access support, you can reduce inbound volume and, in some instances, increase the number of customers your agents can serve at once.
An omnichannel approach spreads out the stress of high inbound volume. Customers can visit your website, interact with a chatbot or IVR to take care of their inquiries. Tools like SMS and live chat give agents the ability to carry on multiple conversations at once.
More channels mean more customers served and fewer abandoned calls.
- Make hold timeless horrible
Being on hold can feel like an eternity without knowledge of how long you will have to endure it. With more information and ways to wait, hold time can be a better experience and less of a reason to abandon a call.
- Give estimated wait times
Offer updates on their position in the queue or approximate time left on hold. When your customer knows how much longer they will have to wait and can make an informed decision whether or not to abandon the call.
But, this knowledge alone won’t stop your customers from abandoning calls. There is a threshold for the number of times customers are willing to wait. In a survey of 2,500 participants, 30% said they were willing to hold the line for 1-5 minutes, while 32.3% said they were not willing to wait at all.
- Leverage virtual queuing
Virtual queuing is a fine solution for customers that are unwilling to wait. They can hang up and go about their lives while they wait for the next available agent to call them back. The wait time is on your customers’ terms and easier to endure.
Virtual queuing can also increase engagement across channels. Customers can choose the mode your contact center uses to “call back.” This gives your customers choice and choice boosts customer satisfaction.
Steps to improve average handle time (AHT)
AHT measures how long each interaction takes. It can be improved by increasing the efficiency of your contact center. The more information your agents have going into each conversation, the more efficient they can be at resolving the call.
Make wait time productive
Waiting evokes feelings of boredom. But, customers that occupy their time while in the queue feel less bored and are less likely to abandon a call. Assign them tasks that can facilitate quick resolution of their inquiry. This improves the efficiency of agents and can make wait times seem shorter.
IVR can help assess what kind of information your customer might need and ask them to prepare it. During this process, it can also offer suggestions for self-service when appropriate.
Make it count
Your customer’s experience starts the moment your phone number is dialed. Ensure their call is answered quickly or provide options if that is not possible.
Difficulty connecting with your support team results in abandoned calls. Make that process as smooth as possible and you will reduce your abandonment rate.