Have you ever called a support line and were immediately put on hold before you could speak to a service rep?

I know I have and it's incredibly frustrating especially when you have a quick question that only takes a few moments to answer. Being immediately put on hold makes you feel like there's a roadblock preventing you from communicating your problem to the business. And, if that hold is long enough, it's very common to get frustrated and hang up the phone before we ever speak to a service agent.

When we do reach this breaking point, call centers categorize it as an "abandoned" call. We never spoke to a service agent and we never made an official support ticket, but our opinion of the businesses was still affected by this experience. Call centers need to keep track of this metric so they know how many people are calling support and never reach a service agent.

This metric is called, "call abandonment rate" and it's critical for analyzing customer satisfaction. The more consistent your support team is with providing a speedy response, the happier your customers will be.

In this post, we'll explain everything you need to know about call abandonment rate including what it is, how to calculate it, and some industry benchmarks to compare your business to.

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90% of consumers say an immediate response is "important" or "very important" when they have a customer service question. This means if your call abandonment rate is high, then your customers aren't gaining enough value from their service experience. The higher this percentage is, the more customers you'll have that have left the phone feeling unsatisfied and still in need of support.

If you're not sure what your call abandonment rate is, read on to the next section to learn how to calculate it.

How to Calculate Call Abandonment Rate

Calculating your call abandonment rate is relatively simple. You just need to follow the steps below.

1. Determine the Number of Calls You've Received.

The first step is determining how many calls you've received during a given time. Typically, most companies will measure on a monthly basis, but you can use a week, year, or whichever period that fits your needs.

2. Subtract the Number of Calls You've Handled.

Once you know how many calls you've received, the next step is to subtract the number of calls you've handled.

For this step, some businesses may define a "handled call" differently than others. For instance, calls that are shorter than five seconds may be categorized as abandoned because the interaction was very brief.

3. Divide the Result by the Number of Calls You've Received.

After you subtract the number of handled calls from the total calls received, the next step is to divide the difference by the number of calls received. This should give you a decimal value that you can multiply by 100 to get your percentage.

Here's what this formula looks like when it's written out.

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Let's do a quick example.

Say our call center received 300 calls this month and our team handled 280 of them. That would mean our call abandonment rate is about 6.7% (300 - 280 = 20; 20/300 = 6.7%).

But, now that you know how to calculate your abandonment rate, how will you know if it's any good? To give you an idea of where you stand, read on to review some abandonment rate industry benchmarks in the section below.

Call Center Abandonment Rate Benchmarks

Like most customer service metrics, call center abandonment rates will vary by industry. That's because customer needs change depending on the product or service offered, resulting in different expectations for different companies.

That being said, on average most call centers have a call abandonment rate of about 12%. And, thanks to research conducted by Talkdesk, we can see what the standard is for abandonment rates across different industries like software, retail, and more.


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For more ways to improve the support experience at your call center, read these call center customer service tips.

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Originally published Nov 6, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated November 06 2020