Oh, no! Another caller just dropped off. Call abandonment is the bane of existence for those who manage call centers and yet, it happens more than it should.
You can gain valuable insight into your call center’s performance by analyzing your call abandonment rate. It’s a KPI that managers take seriously, especially when measuring customer behavior.
If you’re seeing an increase in call abandonment from your customers – it’s time for immediate action! To help, we’ve identified 6 tricks to incorporate into your call center today to improve customer service and reduce the number of abandoned calls.
What’s an Abandoned Call?
An abandoned call is when a customer hangs up before their call is connected to an agent. These disconnections typically occur because of complicated or unclear interactive voice response (IVR) systems, or frustration with long wait times in the queue. Both reasons are a bad look and may negatively affect your business.
Wondering how to calculate your abandonment rate?
Defining What an Abandoned Call Is in Your Organization
When defining abandonment rate, it’s important to be specific and avoid being too broad. Many companies include this in their service level agreement (SLA).
A service level agreement is frequently used in call centers to align workflow, improve agent productivity and quality of service. In your SLA, you’ll want to state how your organization defines abandonment calls. There are three classifications to consider, which can influence your goals and objectives:
- Missed Opportunity Calls. Inbound calls that go unanswered; failure to connect with a customer.
- Counted Calls. When a customer disconnects before the threshold and is counted as a “call offered.”
- Ignored Calls. Abandoned calls are inevitable and removed when calculating service level.
Defining how your organization interprets abandoned calls can help accurately determine your AR. Evaluate the criteria most crucial to your business, and clearly state the classification you’re using in your agreement. This type of detail will assist in a better understanding and measurement of your abandonment rate going forward.
How to Reduce Abandonment Calls
If your team struggles with high abandonment rates, use our tricks below to help you aim for and achieve your target level.
Increase Satisfaction with Virtual Queueing & Callbacks
Offering callers the option to easily route to the information they need, or request a callback, while they wait can increase your customer satisfaction scores.
A virtual queuing system is an effective way to empower your customers to feel more in control of their call center experience. Enhanced Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) and IVR technologies can enable a first-call resolution response. Intelligible prompts allow customers to easily navigate to the right place, minimizing repeated calls and maximizing customer happiness.
Automated callbacks are another great feature to introduce. When callers select a callback, they have a virtual hold in line and will receive a call from an agent when they move to the front.
Incorporating new media and content can also enhance the experience for callers. New hold music and messaging regarding information your customers need to know – product updates, account information, and shipping delays – might be a good change of pace.
More and more people are looking to get information quickly! Features like these will give your team the bandwidth to answer more calls, decrease average hold times, flatten call volume, and deliver the best service possible.
Be Everywhere Your Customers Are
The emergence of new media and communication platforms have companies on their toes. Consumers today use several channels when seeking assistance from brands and companies regarding a product or service.
If your team only uses one or two channels for communication, you may be falling short on providing exceptional customer service.
Relieve your phone agents from high call volume and stress with a multi-channel communication strategy. To find the touchpoints that work best for your digital-first customers, you need to understand your audience. Below are some channels consumers prefer to use most when communicating with businesses.
Invest in Agent Training
Investment in continuing education and training can make a world of difference for your agents and customers. Call centers that routinely provide training modules, classes, and guides can improve an agent’s confidence when answering the phone, improve productivity with best practices and techniques, and enhance the customer experience.
Providing agents with the tools and the standards of etiquette to do the job well can also help reduce your call abandonment. Invest heavily in your people, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Roll Out a Contingency Plan for Volume Spikes
If your queue becomes overloaded, do you have a plan to get it back under control? A call routing strategy is essential to keep the phone lines operating efficiently.
When unexpected spikes occur, agents from other teams may need to be pulled into action using a skills-based routing rule during these times. Call center platforms, like AVOXI, are used by support teams to manage and route calls accordingly.
Teams can also use these technologies to proactively measure important service-level metrics like time-to-answer, transfer-rate, hold-time, and idle-time, which could indicate a potential surge in volume.
Modify Schedules to Meet Demand or Expand the Team
Managers of support teams will often intimately understand when call volume typically spikes – whether it’s a new campaign that was launched or a seasonal surge – it’s important to make sure you have enough agents to manage the call coverage.
Call centers will typically take two paths to achieve this:
- Schedule modification for employees
- Team expansion
To avoid or stall on having to immediately add headcount, review your data to see if there is a predictable pattern in volume spikes. Does it look cyclical, or take place at specific times of the day? This insight may be able to help you forecast shift coverage and get creative around how you’re scheduling your reps.
If you can’t find a creative way to squeeze out more hours from your existing team, you might need to look into hiring more agents. If you find yourself needing to expand your team, make sure you look for these seven successful traits when hiring new call center employees.
Implement a Digital Knowledge Base
Another creative way to reduce call abandonment rate is to provide channels where customers can answer their questions before they even pick up a phone! A knowledge base on your company website is a great resource for your customers to find answers and information quickly about a product, service, or topic. Think of it as a self-serve digital library for the most frequently asked questions.
How your knowledge base is set up can add value to your business. It’s important to keep your resources educational, insightful, comprehensive, and searchable so your customers can navigate through content with ease. Aside from reducing call abandonment, your knowledge base can also free up additional time for your agents to dedicate more time to more complex customer calls. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
Pro Tip: Monitor the analytics on your knowledge base, and the topics that are frequently searched for, to identify areas where your customers might need additional training. You can do this with on-demand training or best-practice webinars.
Leveraging Call Center Software to Reduce Call Abandonment
Investing in call center software can improve your team’s efficiency and metrics over time.
An optimized virtual queuing experience with callback features, speaking with customers on platforms they are familiar with, and providing a knowledge base can help increase loyalty and retention while reducing call abandonment. Routine agent training, enacting a contingency plan, and adjusting agent coverage allows your agents to give more attention to their customers with meaningful interactions that influence your metrics.
If reducing call abandonment and improving overall customer experience is important to you, try AVOXI for yourself. Get your demo today.
Lauren Ing is a writer at AVOXI, helping readers digest the complex world of cloud communications through storytelling. Lauren enjoys traveling and seeing new places, strong cups of coffee, and spending time with her husband and pup, Athena.