Call Abandonment metric measures the number of callers that hang up or that are disconnected before they can be connected to one of your agents. This metric is closely tied to your Service Level KPI and Customer Satisfaction metrics. No one likes being stuck on hold, and your customers only have so much patience before they will hang up, or, worse, switch their brand loyalties.
The interesting part of the call abandonment metric is that it can be utilized in both a strategic and tactical capacity. From a strategic perspective, you should monitor this metric over the long term to identify patterns in your call center that you can fix through staffing or technical solutions. On the other hand, a tactical or real-time view of this metric is important in identifying problems as they occur to stop a few dropped calls from escalating into a larger issue.
Why is the abandon rate important? It speaks directly to customer dissatisfaction and the negative impact it has on customer loyalty. As the experts rightly point out, it’s less expensive to keep existing customers happy rather than acquire new ones.
Here are three tips for reducing abandon rates in your call center:
Look at the trends – and prepare for the future:
You can’t fix what you can’t measure. Call detail reports provide you with a wealth of information and insight into your calls – including the ones that never got answered. By knowing who abandoned a call, when they called you, and how long they waited before hanging up, you can make informed decisions on how to resolve the situation.
Though this might seem obvious, make sure to staff based on volume. Adjusting agent schedules to match peak calling windows can be less expensive than hiring additional agents … and both are less expensive than having to acquire new customers! (According to callcenterhelper.com, 6/10 customers have ditched a company because its telephone customer service has been so bad.)
Keep the customer informed:
Customers appreciate honesty – even if they don’t like the message. If hold-times are an issue, consider preparing customers by placing a message in the IVR or ACD informing callers of the estimated wait time, or indicating a period of high volume (“… we’re experiencing a higher than normal call volume …”).
Where peak times are predictable (as is the case for many call centers), another option is drive callers to call back during periods of lower call volume. For example, a message might say, “… we normally experience higher than normal call volume the first week of each month …”.
Though, at first, this approach can encourage call avoidance, over the long term it can help lower handle times and abandon rates by encouraging customers to call during off-peak periods.
Employ A Call Back Solution:
Call-back technology (otherwise known as “virtual queuing”, or “replacing hold-time with a call-back”) can improve the customer experience, reduce cost-per-call and lower the abandonment rate in your contact center.
By giving callers the option to “press 1 to receive a call-back when an agent is available” (for example, with a solution like Fonolo), you can smooth out call volumes while lowering caller frustration.