A Complete Guide to Lowering Call Abandonment Rates

01 Nov 2023 By: Michael Kansky


In today’s digital age, customer expectations are sky-high. One key metric businesses can’t ignore is the call abandonment rate (CAR). This rate shows how many customers hang up before talking to a service rep. It’s a measure of customer happiness and reflects a business’s efficiency and service quality. Lowering CAR is vital for improving customer experience, boosting your brand, and driving success. This guide will explore CAR in depth. We’ll look at its effects on businesses and share strategies to decrease it. This ensures customers stay happy and engaged.

Lowering CAR in 10 easy steps

Understanding Call Abandonment Rates

Before we dig deeper, let’s define call abandonment. It happens when customers, fed up with long waits or poor call routing, hang up without help. This metric is a percentage. You find it by dividing abandoned calls by all incoming calls.

How to calculate Call Abandonment Rate

Keep in mind, formulas can vary based on your business and service aspect you’re assessing. Typically, you calculate it by dividing abandoned calls by total incoming calls (or other call variations) and then multiply by 100% for the percentage. It’s also wise to consider the story behind the numbers, not just the abandonment rate itself.

Direct Calculation Method

Call Abandonment Rate = (Total Number of Abandoned Calls / Total Number of Incoming Calls) x 100%

Using Service Level

Call Abandonment Rate = (Total Number of Abandoned Calls / (Total Number of Answered Calls + Total Number of Abandoned Calls)) x 100%

Calculation including Calls Answered Within a Specified Time

Call Abandonment Rate = (Total Number of Abandoned Calls – Calls Answered Within Specific Time / Total Number of Incoming Calls – Calls Answered Within Specific Time) x 100%

The Overall Abandonment Rate

Call Abandonment Rate = (Total Number of Abandoned Calls in Queue + Total Number of Abandoned Calls During Hold) / (Total Number of Incoming Calls) x 100%

What is Call Abandonment?

Call abandonment happens when customers hang up before they can talk to customer service. This can be due to long waiting times, complex call menus, or bad experiences with service agents.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the common factors that contribute to call abandonment:

  • Long Wait Times: When customers are put on hold for extended periods, their patience wears thin. They may choose to abandon the call rather than wait any longer.
  • Inefficient Call Routing: If customers are constantly transferred from one department to another without finding a resolution. They may become frustrated and abandon the call out of sheer frustration.
  • Complex Call Menus: Complicated and confusing call menus can confuse customers. Making it difficult for them to navigate the options and find the right department or service they need. This confusion can lead to call abandonment.
  • Poor Previous Interactions: If customers have had negative experiences with customer service agents in the past, they are more likely to abandon calls in the future. Fearing a similar unsatisfactory outcome.

Why Call Abandonment Rates Matter

Call abandonment rates show how happy customers are. High rates mean customers are unhappy, leading to less loyalty and bad reviews. It’s key for businesses to work on lowering these rates to keep customers happy and loyal.

Reducing call abandonment rates can have several benefits for businesses:

  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: By minimizing call abandonment, businesses can ensure that more customers receive the assistance they need, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Enhanced Brand Reputation: When customers have positive experiences with customer service, they are more likely to view the brand in a favorable light. This can contribute to a strong brand reputation and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Increased Customer Loyalty: When customers feel valued and supported, they are more likely to remain loyal to a brand and continue doing business with them in the long term.
  • Higher Customer Retention: By addressing the factors that contribute to call abandonment, businesses can improve customer retention rates, reducing the need to constantly acquire new customers.

Trending Now

An article from CMSWire highlights how vital call center metrics are in satisfying modern consumers’ demands for quick, precise customer service. A Talkdesk report shows 58% of consumers have higher expectations now. A critical metric, the average call abandonment rate, shows the share of callers hanging up before talking to an agent. This rate points to customer frustration from long waits and stresses the need for call centers to refine their operations to avoid losing customers to rivals.

The Impact of High Call Abandonment Rates

High call abandonment rates can have far-reaching consequences for businesses. Let’s explore three key areas where these rates can have a significant impact.

On Customer Satisfaction

Long waits and multiple tries to reach support frustrate customers, hurting satisfaction. This can damage a business’s image and reduce its ability to keep or gain loyal customers.

Imagine a scenario where a customer with an urgent issue calls support, expecting fast help. But high abandonment rates lead to a long hold. Their frustration builds, making them doubt the company’s service commitment. This bad experience impacts their view of the whole business.

Furthermore, unhappy customers often share bad experiences online. In our connected world, one upset customer can spread negativity fast on social media and reviews. This can scare off potential customers and hurt the business’s reputation over time.

On Business Reputation

High call abandonment rates suggest a lack of commitment to customer service. This can harm a business’s reputation, lead to bad reviews, and make potential customers doubt its reliability and professionalism.

Imagine someone looking for services finds a business with high call abandonment rates. This suggests reaching support might be hard. It makes them doubt the business’s ability to help promptly. They may wonder if they can trust this business to meet their needs or offer good service.

Furthermore, negative reviews from high call abandonment rates can damage a business’s reputation. Online reviews are key in today’s digital world. Potential customers check these reviews before buying. If they see many negative comments about call issues, it can greatly reduce their trust in the business.

On Operational Efficiency

High call abandonment rates can hurt a business’s efficiency, leading to more costs and less productivity. Companies might need to spend more on extra resources to manage the dropped calls, causing higher expenses and possibly wearing out their customer service team.

When call abandonment rates are high, it shows the customer service setup might not handle all calls well. Stressing the business’s efficiency. To fix dropped calls and customer unhappiness, extra steps like hiring more staff or using better call management systems are needed.

Adding resources costs money. Hiring and training new staff, upgrading tech, and adding call-back systems need funds. Also, more work for customer service reps can cause burnout and lower productivity, affecting efficiency.

Furthermore, high call abandonment rates mean lost chances. Each dropped call could have been a customer or partner. These misses can lead to lost sales or partnerships, hurting the business’s growth and success.

In summary, high call abandonment rates affect customer happiness, reputation, and efficiency. It’s vital for businesses to lower these rates to improve customer experiences, keep a good reputation, and enhance operations.

Identifying Causes of High Call Abandonment Rates

Understanding the causes behind high call abandonment rates is crucial to addressing the issue effectively. Let’s explore some of the common reasons customers may abandon calls.

Long Wait Times

Long waits with repeating hold music or messages can frustrate customers, leading them to hang up. Being on hold for ages, hearing the same tune, can test anyone’s patience. Customers might feel their time is wasted and hang up. Plus, interrupting messages like “Your call is important to us” can make them feel ignored, raising the chance they’ll abandon the call.

Inefficient Call Routing

Customers who can’t quickly reach the right department may hang up due to discouragement. Poor call routing that sends calls to the wrong place can increase hang-ups. Imagine selecting options on a call, only to end up in the wrong department. This frustration can make customers feel the company is disorganized and prompt them to seek help elsewhere.

Poor Customer Service

Customers with bad past service experiences may hang up more. Poor training, rudeness, and no empathy lead to more hang-ups. Picture calling and meeting a disinterested rep giving vague answers. This bad service leaves a negative mark. Customers want respect and empathy. Facing untrained or rude reps can push them to look for better service elsewhere.

Call Abandonment Rate

Strategies to Lower Call Abandonment Rates

Fortunately, businesses can take steps to lower call abandonment and boost customer happiness. Let’s look at some effective ways to do this.

Improving Call Routing

Investing in better call routing tech ensures customers quickly reach the right rep. Smart routing, using customer likes or past talks, can greatly cut hang-ups.

To improve call routing, you usually need technical expertise. This means having developers who understand your customer management and telephony systems. If you don’t have the needed resources, consider hiring consulting services from specialized companies.

  1. RingCentral – Offers call routing features with its call center software and services.
  2. Five9 – Five9 is a leading provider of cloud contact center software for businesses.
  3. Genesys – Genesys offers a robust suite of contact center solutions that include call routing capabilities.
  4. Cisco Systems – Its Unified Contact Center products include intelligent call routing, call treatment, network-to-desktop computer telephony integration (CTI), and multichannel contact management.
  5. Avaya – They can offer call routing options for the businesses of varying sizes.
  6. Aircall – provides a call center software suite with advanced call routing features.
  7. Vonage – Their contact center solution offers intelligent call routing in the cloud.
  8. Talkdesk – Their contact center solution includes Advanced Call Routing to ensure customers are directed to the right person.
  9. 8×8 – A cloud-based phone system that offers several features, including call routing.
  10. Twilio – They offer flexible programmable voice solutions which include call routing capabilities.

Reducing Wait Times

Monitoring call volumes lets companies shorten wait times and ease customer annoyance. Tactics such as callbacks or self-help choices offer clients ways to avoid holding on.

Here are 14 methods to cut wait times in your call center:

  1. Improve Call Routing: An efficient Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that quickly directs calls to the correct department can greatly cut down on wait times.
  2. Utilize Call-Back Options: Let customers leave a message for an agent to call them back once they’re next in line.
  3. Increase Staff during Peak Times: Adding more agents at busy times reduces customer queue time. Use a workforce management system for better staffing forecasts.
  4. Training and Development: Ensure your call center agents are well-trained and confident in quickly and effectively resolving customer questions.
  5. Use Efficient Call Center Software: Good contact center software automates tasks, shortens call duration, and quickens response times.
  6. Prioritize Calls: Not every call needs urgent care. Use a system to prioritize and first route urgent calls to your agents.
  7. Measure and Analyze: Track data and analytics to spot trends, issues, and chances to get better. KPIs like Average Wait Time and Service Level help boost efficiency.
  8. Introduce Self-Service Options: Virtual assistants, AI chatbots, and FAQ support portal can solve common problems, cutting down on unneeded calls.
  9. Automate Routine Tasks: Automate routine tasks like data entry using AI and ML, by doing this your agents can focus more on resolving customer queries.
  10. Keep Customers Informed: inform your customers the estimated wait time. This manages their expectations and helps avoid frustration from long waits.
  11. Multi-Skill Your Agents: Train your agents to handle various calls and questions. This boosts their efficiency and flexibility, reducing wait times.
  12. Improve First Call Resolution: Giving agents the right knowledge, tools, and resources to fix issues on the first call can reduce overall call volume.
  13. Review and Optimize Call Scripts: A well-crafted script helps agents lead the caller quickly and effectively. Cutting down average call handling time.


Reducing call abandonment needs ongoing work and a focus on customer happiness. Businesses must understand why hang-ups happen and use smart strategies to improve customer experiences, boost their image, and enhance efficiency.

Navigating the complexities of call abandonment rates can be daunting for any business striving for excellence in customer service. HelpSquad BPO offers tailor-made outsourcing solutions designed to elevate your customer service experience to new heights. With virtual assistance and 24/7 customer service, your company will operate smoothly and efficiently. Our bilingual agents are trained to handle a variety of tasks, from customer support to back-office operations, starting at just $8.50 per hour. Start your trial with HelpSquad today and leave the concern of high call abandonment rates behind.

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Customer Service
Michael Kansky

Michael Kansky, Founder of LiveHelpNow and HelpSquad, has leveraged his 20 years of industry experience and innovative support strategies to revolutionize customer service approaches, making LiveHelpNow a leading customer service software provider, and establishing HelpSquad as a bridge between businesses and customer needs. You may contact Michael on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mkansky/