What are Abandoned Calls?

Abandoned Calls

Abandoned Calls

What are Abandoned Calls? 

Abandoned calls are calls which are abandoned or disconnected by the caller before reaching/connecting with the agent. Call may have been abandoned by the caller due to excessive wait time in the queue or due to some connection error. Abandoned call may also be referred to as abandoned contact. 

Both inbound calls and outbound calls can be abandoned.

Outbound calls can be abandoned due to no agent being available at the time and the ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) dropping the call. Inbound calls are generally abandoned due to the caller being frustrated with the excessive wait time. 

Some Important Abandoned calls metrics

Call Abandon Rates

Call abandonment rate is the percentage measure of customers who terminate their calls before it is answered. This metric is closely tied to your Service Level KPI and Customer Satisfaction metrics. 

Looking into these abandoned rates can help you to identify patterns in your call center that you can fix through staffing or technical solutions.

Call Abandon rate is termed as a lost call. Lost calls include missed calls, abandoned calls and dropped calls. Missed calls are those which are not even picked up by the ACD due to agents being completely occupied. Dropped calls are calls which are disconnected by the centre due to some technical/network issues.

The call abandon rate is formulated by the following formula ; – 

Call Abandon Rate (%) = No. of calls offered – No.of calls handled X 100/No. of calls offered


You receive 100 calls in one hour. Of those calls, 20 people hang up before speaking to an agent, so your abandon rate for the last hour has been 20%.

Abandon Time 

 Abandon time is a metric that measures the amount of time it took the caller to disconnect the call before connecting with an agent. They are usually in the queue and have been greeted by the IVR recording. 

Calls that are not in the IVR for long enough are usually filtered out from abandoned calls. These calls are very short in nature and probably dialled by the caller by accident. These calls are called Short Abandons or Abandoned Short Calls. 

The different stages of call abandonment 

  • IVR – Here the calls are abandoned by the caller as it reaches the IVR. This may be due to long IVR greeting messages or dislike on the callers side on being greeted by the recording.
  • Call QueueCalls abandoned when the caller receives the welcome message of a particular call queue. This could happen if your welcome message is too long or the welcome message is not relevant to the customer’s IVR option selected by the customer.
  • Wait QueueCalls are abandoned in the wait queue , if it takes the caller a long time to be connected to the agent.
  • Ringing – Calls can be abandoned by the caller while ringing to the agent.if the agent doesn’t pick up the call on time.
  • Voicemail – Calls abandoned by the caller as they hear a voicemail recording.Could be because they do not wish to hear a voicemail or if the voicemail message is too long.
Abandoned Calls

Ways to predict Call Abandon Rates

  • Erlang A Formula – This formula by Swedish Mathematician Conny Palm was designed in 1946. It is a measure to predict the number of calls that would be abandoned based on high call volume, caller patience and no. of staff available . This can be calculated using the Erlang Calculator.

  • Based on Service LevelAssessment of the relationships of abandon rates with queue times and service level will help predict call abandon call rates. The first step to predicting call abandon rates would be to identify periods where the contact centre was operating at its best and worst service levels, noting the abandon rates at each.

Then, make a note of the service level and abandon rate during each thirty-minute reporting period over the past couple of weeks.

Next you want to find the correlation  between the service level and abandon rate . Based on these 2 measures and the correlation found, now you can plot a graph. 

Based on this graph you will  be able to predict call abandons when operating at a certain service level.

For example, if the graph above represented the old data from a contact centre, and it was operating at a 70% service level (10% below the industry standard), we could predict that the contact centre was losing over 3% of callers who are phoning in.

Ways to reduce call abandon rates 

  1. Increase staffing – This would be the holy grail when it comes to reducing abandon rates. The reason why callers abandon their call is majorly due to long waiting time which in turn is a result of all agents being occupied. If you have more agents the lesser will this problem be faced. 
  2. Modify your welcome message – Modifying your welcome message and the length of the recording can have an impact on the abandon rate. When callers hear a welcome message such as ‘your call is important to us,please hold’ repeatedly, they are bound to get frustrated. Also if the welcome message is too long and irrelevant , callers may drop out. Keeping these messages short and to the point would help.
  3. Increase Ring Time – Instead of having the callers hear the automated message quickly, adding some extra seconds of ringing time could encourage the callers to not drop the call. People prefer hearing the accustomed ‘ring’ rather than an automated message. 
  4. Change your on-hold music – Try experimenting with music which the callers would prefer to listen to. Boring music would tempt the callers to drop the call. With good music, callers may hold on to the call while resorting to do other activities they desire to do like scrolling through the phone or checking email etc. 
  5. Allow callers to opt for call back – Giving your customers the option to request a call-back can also reduce your call abandon times. This is because call-backs enable your customer to be removed from the immediate call-waiting list, and therefore from your statistics, without the risk of you losing their custom.

You may also find that providing this option improves the public perception of your business, as your customers are spared the frustration of waiting on hold.

Advanced ways to deal with abandoned calls 

Finally, what can one do to deal with abandoned calls in a way which is efficient and technology forward? 

This is where Emitrr can help you.

While the above mentioned methods to reduce abandoned call rates are the norm , these are quite frankly, old and outdated. Why rely on these when you can have  better techniques that provide better results? 

With Emitrr you can smartly deal with these abandoned calls or missed calls. How? 

Whenever you receive a call that you are not able to attend , Emitrr’s Backup receptionist quickly sends that customer a text message. (Why text message? Well text messaging has a whopping 98% read rate and studies have shown that customers actually prefer texting. You can read more about text message marketing and it’s benefits  here.)

It then engages in intelligent conversation with the caller. This technology is AI powered and can handle all customer queries and needs. You can be assured that all your callers are attended to and that their needs have been heard. 

Learn more about emitrr and how it can help you with your abandoned calls here

Emitrr and dealing with abandoned calls

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