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What is an Acceptable Abandon Rate in a Call Center?

Posted by Ahmed Macklai on Aug 2, 2018, 7:30:00 AM

Acceptable Abandon Rate in a Call Center

One of the key KPIs for call center operators is the abandonment rate. The definition of an abandoned call is one where the caller hangs up before an agent can answer or as an agent is answering. However, it is possible to cast a wide net in the effort to determine an acceptable abandon rate in a call center.

Defining the Abandoned Call

An abandoned call can be tricky to define. When call center management is trying to work out the KPI for call abandonment, it is common practice to exclude connected calls of five seconds or less from the data. The idea behind this is that some mistaken calls will slip through and – caller may have no idea they misdialed until the hearing agent on the line. Other managers include calls that are discontinued in the IVR, though these are not truly abandoned calls when it comes to determining an acceptable abandon rate in a call center. Instead of measuring discontinued calls in the IVR as abandoned call, they should instead be counted against the success of that IVR process. Instead, caller intent to reach an agent should be successful – otherwise, the call should be counted as abandoned. Steps as follows – 

  1. the call is customer initiated. This means that call is a result of calling in for a customer service issue or as a result of an outbound marketing call where the customer has picked up and remained on the line, responding to a ringless voicemail, or responding to an ad campaign.

  2. The customer completes steps in the IVR that will lead to speaking to an agent.

  3. The customer disconnects the call before the agent can pick up

Call center managers are not psychic. There could be circumstances on the customer’s end of the line that dictate the customer terminating the call. However, it is safe to say that an abandoned call is defined by the intention to reach a live agent and initiate a process or complete a transaction.

Acceptable Abandon Rate in a Call Center

So What Is an Acceptable Abandon Rate in a Call Center?

The abandon rate, in turn, is affected by several other KPI and adjusting response to these KPI will, in turn, reduce the abandon rate. A 10% abandon rate is considered high, and conventional wisdom dictates that in abandon rate of 5 to 8% is an industry standard. However, recent studies have shown that in the case of mobile, call abandonment rate can be as high as 20%. Now let’s look at the KPI that feed into a high abandon rate.

  • Average speed to answer. The average speed to answer ends once the customer completes the IVR and is waiting in queue to be connected with an agent. Depending on the industry and the complexity of the issue the low average time for a customer to connect should be 30 seconds, yet some support companies admit to taking twice as long.

  • Service level. The average speed to answer KPI feeds into the service level KPI. This is a KPI that measures how many calls are answered within a specific timeframe. For instance, how many calls are being answered within the 30-second average?

  • Forecast accuracy. Call forecasting is the prediction of a certain number of calls inbound in a given timeframe. Forecast variance is a measure of variation from the forecast. It takes time to develop a baseline from which to forecast and to fine-tune the accuracy.

  • Scheduling adherence. When a seat is empty, there’s no agent to answer a call. Agent adherence to their employment schedule is critical in staffing to meet demand.

  • Occupancy rate. Occupancy rate is not the measure of how many agents are on staff, but how many agents are busy at a given time, call completion rate, and after call work.

  • After-call work. After-call work and take a great deal of an agent’s time, depending on how well their software integrates with the productivity apps that they for CRM and productivity. Reducing after call work with an intuitive interface puts the agent back on the line quickly without sacrificing the quality of information in a customer file.

  • Contact duration. Again, call duration depends on the complexity of the issue inbound with the customer. By developing a baseline specific to your call center, decreasing call duration without cutting into first call resolution or customer satisfaction means more agents available to handle calls – but more importantly, it means that the customer has had their issue handled quickly.

  • Customer satisfaction. Measuring customer satisfaction is easy. To set the bar very low, the customer is satisfied when they do not complain. To set the bar very high takes specialized call center software that looks at a customer’s history, the frequency of calls, and other issues that are measurable with high-quality call center software.

  • First call resolution. Customer satisfaction is fed by handling issues on the first call. Whether it is a commercial transaction or troubleshooting an issue. Different industries should have different baselines or first call resolution. After all, making a purchase or an appointment is easier than directing a complex financial transaction or troubleshooting a problem with technology.

Call centers are simultaneously people-driven and data-driven. Without using software that can measure these KPI, managers, and supervisors are left throwing initiatives at the wall to see what will stick. By obtaining baselines for these KPI, call center management understands what areas need work in order to attain an acceptable abandon rate in a call center, increase customer satisfaction, and even reduce agent absenteeism and disengagement that leads to experienced agent attrition.

Reducing Call Abandonment with ChaseData

With two decades in developing call center technology, ChaseData has solutions on hand. There is gold in the rush of statistics generated by any call center that can lead to superior resolutions to excessive call abandonment. From trimming KPI to implementing intelligent IVR and callback technology to more effective software for agents, ChaseData is your partner to benchmarking an acceptable abandon rate in a call center. Get in touch today for a free demonstration and a two-week free trial where you’ll get to road test every relevant option for your call center and industry.

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Topics: Call Center Management

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