Contact Centre

4 Reasons Why Your Calls are Abandoned (And How to Avoid Them)

Abandoned calls are the bane of every business using inbound call centres. Regardless of why, each dropped call means an unhappy customer and a missed opportunity.

However, reducing your abandonment rate can be a daunting challenge for a business. We’ve covered briefly before how it is essential to reduce your abandonment rate as much as possible. In this article, we explain some of the most common causes of abandoned inbound calls, and the simplest ways your business can reduce their cause.

What is an Abandoned Call?

An abandoned call is generally defined as one where the customer hangs up before they can complete an intended task. For most inbound call centres, that means any which are abandoned by the customer before the call centre can pick up the phone. For outbound calls, that means whenever a customer picks up the phone but does not get connected to an agent, and hangs up before an agent can become free to speak.

The abandonment rate of your call centre – the percentage of calls which are abandoned out of all possible calls – is a key performance indicator for your contact centre – the lower the number of abandoned calls, the better. Typically, calls are abandoned because customers become frustrated at some aspect of your call centre. In this article, we go through the four most common causes of abandonment for inbound call centres.

1. Customers Waiting Without Explanation

Woman using phone headset in call centre

Customers hate waiting. However, the one thing worse than waiting is waiting for no explicable reason. One study on waiting times from Peter Jones at the University of Brighton found that we significantly overestimate the amount of time we wait. Even worse, the longer we wait, the more by which we overestimate the time we spent waiting. If your call centre simply leaves a message every sixty seconds telling a customer that their call is “important” and they need to continue to hold, they will naturally grow more annoyed, feel they have spent far too long waiting, and hang up.

Reminding customers how long they have to wait by either giving an estimated waiting time or telling a customer what number they are in a queue are incredibly useful ways of reducing abandonment rates for inbound call centres. Another option is to offer virtual queuing when estimated waiting times hit a certain level. This means you ask whether your agents can call back the consumer at a quieter time, so they do not have to wait on hold. Whatever you do, a great way to reduce your abandonment rate is to communicate clearly with your callers about how you’re trying to help them.

2. Customers Have Nothing to Do When Waiting

There are a lot of things to dislike about waiting – in addition to inexplicable waits, customers hate waiting with nothing to do. Give your customers something to do when waiting on hold. Otherwise, you are simply making your caller await for an agent to become free, something which can feel like an eternity for impatient callers.

One elegant and popular solution for reducing abandonment rates is to ask your customer to provide information while they wait on hold. If callers are busy collecting or confirming their account numbers, addresses, or other information that your agent will ask for, then your customers will not feel like they are waiting as long. This is as true for live chat interactions as it is for telephone calls. Give your customer something to do so they feel they are not waiting doing nothing on the phone, and they will thank you. Likewise, your agents will be happy and work quicker having all the information about the case and the client to hand.

3. Customers Cannot Contact You Otherwise

Business Woman interacting with blue interface

Customers are often people with busy schedules. Waiting on hold for long periods of time is irritating at the best of times, but when you are on a tight schedule with things to do, it can be utterly infuriating. However, if customers have no choice but to call, they will do so – then, if the lines are too busy, hang up and increase your abandonment rate.

The solution to this is obvious: offer your customers other options to deal with your business. Customers love having the freedom to choose how to interact with your agents. We recommend in particular trying a call centre chatbot to let your customers communicate with an automated system if they have more straightforward questions or requests. Doing so frees up your business’ resources, ultimately reducing costs. At the same time, chatbots improve your customer’s experience by giving them more than one avenue through which to have their needs met. Offer a chatbot solution to your customers – they will thank you for it.

4. Customers Having a Poor Caller Experience

It is unfeasible to eliminate putting people on hold altogether when they call your contact centre. Even if you implement the above options, chances are someone will be made to wait during peak hours. When that happens, a poor hold experience is the most significant cause of consumers hanging up the phone and abandoning the call.

The best way to understand how your customers feel about being on hold is to experience it yourself! Test out your own call centre, looking for some specific thorny bit of information, and see how long it takes you to get help, how many different people you have to go through, how long you spent on hold, and even whether the hold music was pleasant or infuriating. This gives you personal experience of the quality of your calls and helps you evaluate the service you provide.

We hope our guide has been useful and has given you some ideas on how to reduce your inbound call abandonment rate. For more information or if you have any questions, contact us on social media or get in touch directly and we will be happy to help you with anything you need.

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