You have hired pay per call companies that are sending more calls to your business. Your call center is busy, and all you can see is an increase in sales and a good return on investment. But wait. There is a significant problem hindering your progress and ability to scale; call abandonment.
The truth is nobody enjoys spending a lot of time waiting for their call to be routed to an agent. In fact, research shows that most people tend to drop calls after 60 seconds of waiting.
So, what can you do to ensure you are not losing such qualified leads? In this post, we outline some of the simple strategies you can implement to bring down your call abandonment rate.
But first, let us start by defining what call abandonment is and how to measure it.
What Is an Abandoned Call?
An abandoned call refers to a call that disconnects or is terminated by the caller before he/she is routed to an agent. Inbound callers originating from pay per call companies can abandon in the IVR or waiting queue.
In today's fast-paced world, where customers expect a personalized and seamless experience, it is critical to ensure that you are connecting with as many inbound leads as possible.
Every abandoned call represents a qualified lead that might have left you for your competitor.
What Is Call Abandonment Rate?
The abandonment rate refers to a percentage of how many calls hang up before routing to an agent versus the total number of your inbound calls.
The rate is usually expressed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the exact number of abandoned calls by the total number of your incoming calls.
If your CRM is configured properly, it should track these numbers to make your work easier.
Abandonment Rate = (Abandoned Calls/Total Calls)×100
Whether you receive calls from pay per call companies or have an internal team that generates inbound calls, a high abandonment rate could mean:
- The IVR is too long or complicated.
- IVR prompts aren’t clear to leads
- You have inadequate agents causing callers to wait longer in the queue.
- Routing hasn't been set up properly, driving up waiting time for certain groups of callers.
How Can You Reduce Abandonment Rate?
Call abandonment is costly because it has a detrimental impact on lead conversion, customer retention, and lifetime value. Understanding caller behavior is key to making sound staffing decisions and optimizing your call center software settings to reduce call abandonment rates.
Here are some of the things you can do to bring down your call abandonment rate:
1. Learn how to use data to reduce call abandonment rates
One of the best ways to reduce your call abandonment rate is by leveraging the available call data. So, if you have not been reviewing your call detail reports, you need to start doing so right away.
Identify the peak periods when your customers call and how long they are waiting on the queue ( Average Speed to Answer) and how long it takes to resolve the call (Average Handle Time).
If customers abandon calls, try to figure out how long they wait before they terminate the call. The truth is that you cannot fix what you cannot measure.
Call detail reports provide you with vital information and insights into your calls, including those that never got answered.
If you know who abandoned a call, when they contacted you and how long they waited on the queue before hanging up, you can make informed decisions on how to resolve the issue.
2. Increase the initial ring time
You should also consider increasing your initial ring time other than connecting callers directly to an automated message. While this might sound counter-intuitive, it is a highly effective tactic of bringing down the abandonment rate.
The average mobile phone rings for about 18 seconds before transitioning to a voicemail service. With this in mind, you could experiment with letting the phone ring for between 15 and 20 seconds before you start playing your automated message.
This will buy your call center agents vital extra seconds at a relatively low risk since it is highly unlikely that your customer will drop the call during this time. This is because listening to the repetitive ring sound is familiar for most people, and it won't irritate them at all.
3. Offer customers a call-back option
The other effective way of bringing down your call abandonment rate is to offer callers a call-back option as an alternative to waiting on hold for too long. Also referred to as “virtual hold” or “hold-time with a call-back,” this option allows customers to hang up so they can receive a call-back when one of your agents is available.
The primary goal is to handle the call volumes effectively while lowering caller frustration. So, you can give your customers an option such as “press 0 to receive a call-back when one of our agents is available.”
Besides reducing the abandonment rate, a call-back option can also improve customer experience drastically and lower the cost-per-call. The option to remain in the queue even without staying on the phone is highly appealing and can produce tremendous results.
In this case, customers save a lot of time while companies save money. Why hold a customer for 60, 75, or 90 seconds when you know they'll most likely hang up before an agent speaks to them? Instead, offer to call them back and earn their loyalty.
4. Try to change your on-hold music
Research shows that at least 70% of callers love to listen to music while on hold. However, your music choice could be causing your callers to hang up sooner than they want to.
If you plot your call abandonment rate curve and discover that the steepest drop-off happens a few moments after your on-hold music kicks in, then you need to change it.
If you don’t know what people like, try searching for ideas on Twitter from #OnHold to see what people enjoy listening to while on-hold.
If you can't seem to find something that is appealing to a large segment of your callers, experiment with different music genres and stick to what performs best.
5. Adjust schedules and hire more agents
The obvious way to lower your call abandonment rate is to reduce the hold time, and the only way to achieve this is by hiring more call center agents.
So, if you believe that your inbound call volume is overwhelming and you have a budget to expand your team, simply hire more agents to handle the other calls.
Unfortunately, budgets in the real business environment are always constrained. Therefore, this might not be a viable solution for you.
This is especially true if your call center experiences occasional volume spikes. In such a case, staffing to the peak might not be a good idea because you will have an excess agent capacity when you are not experiencing the spikes in call volume.
Reducing call abandonment rate has proven to deliver a better call center experience, improves customer satisfaction, and lower costs. Now that you know how to bring down your abandonment rate, we are ready to blow up your business with highly qualified inbound calls.
We are among the leading pay per call companies specializing in performance-based digital marketing to help our clients grow. We understand performance marketing from every angle, and our team is ready to help you take your business to the next level.
Contact us today and let us discuss your pay per call marketing needs.