5 Reasons Why Customers Abandon Calls

Around 5%-8% of inbound contact centre calls are abandoned

Customers Abandon Calls
Contact CentreInsights

Published: May 20, 2021

Anwesha Roy - UC Today

Anwesha Roy

Call abandonment is inevitable in any contact centre, but it is important to keep your abandonment rate in check as much as possible. As per industry estimates, around 5%-8% of inbound calls are abandoned because of a variety of reasons, but this number can rise due to unnatural circumstances. For example, between 2019 and 2020, average abandonment rates increased from 8.53% to 8.93% as a result of long call queues, customer queries in the wake of COVID-19, and more time spent on resolving each query (228 seconds in 2020 vs. 191 seconds in 2019).  

Understanding the reasons why customers mighty abandon calls is the first step to reducing abandonment rates at your contact centre.  

  1. There is a long queue, and customers are waiting without explanation

Lengthy queues will already cause frustration as customers are eager to resolve urgent matters, and this sense of frustration is exacerbated when there is no explanation as to the unnatural delay. If typical wait times are 1-5 minutes, then the customer is unlikely to stay on hold for 10+ minutes without some sort of explanation (“sorry for the delay, we are currently facing peak volumes” or “all our agents are busy at the moment, we would request you to wait for X minutes”).  

  1. The wait time isn’t tuned for customer engagement.

Even if the caller has time on their hands, they might abandon the call out of sheer boredom or because they were distracted by some other task. That’s why it is said that silence is a CX killer, and it is vital to keep the customer engaged through music on hold, a replay of recent announcements, promotional messages, etc. You could also inform the customer about their queue position, at regular intervals.  

  1. A poor CX the previous time can reduce the customer’s interest

If the customer has previously contacted you but faced a dissatisfying experience, they are unlikely to stay on hold to converse with your agent. In such scenarios, long call queues or a poorly designed IVR menu will definitely cause abandonment.  

  1. Customers who don’t want to call you are forced to do so

There can be myriad reasons why the customer doesn’t want to physically call the contact centre – they might be extremely busy, with no time to devote to waiting/talking. Or, their personality type might make them less inclined to reach out telephonically. Linguistic barriers (for instance, when a non-native English-speaking customer does business with a global brand) might also get in the way. These customers might be forced to call your contact centre as there are no other options like chatbots, only to change their mind halfway and abandon the call. 

  1. There’s no option to leave a voicemail or request a call-back

Even if your agents are too busy to attend to customers, voicemail and call-backs make customers feel empowered and encourage them to pursue a different resolution channel. Without this capability, your queue will become a blind alley, causing a high abandonment rate during peak periods.  



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