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. 

What is the difference between a missed call and an abandoned call? 

An abandoned call is one which is disconnected or ‘abandoned’ by the caller while it is ringing. In other words, abandoned calls are those which do not achieve the stage of ‘talking’ or ‘voicemail’. A missed call on the other hand, is when the call is not attended by the agent. The call may have been deliberately missed by the agent as he/she was busy with another call. Other scenarios of a missed call are : 

  • Call initially answered by an agent, then transferred to another agent who did not attend the call. 
  • Call disconnected by the caller while it was routed to voicemail
 Missed call vs Abandoned call

Missed Call

Abandoned Call 

Call not attended by the agent 

Call dropped by the caller usually owing to long waiting time in the queue.

Call disconnected by caller after ring ends and goes to voicemail

Call disconnected by caller after being routed to voicemail by the IVR after a wait time in the queue.

Call willingly dropped by either the agent or the caller

Call willingly dropped by the caller or dropped due to technical issues


Some Important Abandoned calls metrics

Call Abandon Rates

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

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 also called 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 Automatic Call Distributor (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 calculated by the following formula ; – 

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


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 are being greeted by an IVR recording. 

Calls that have been in the IVR for only a short period 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. 

What are the reasons for abandoned calls?

The reasons for abandoned calls can be divided into different stages. These are :- 

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. If by any chance the IVR message isn’t in sync with the IVR option selected by the caller or if the welcome message is too long the call can be abandoned.
  • 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 because the caller did not wish to hear a voicemail recording. This could either be because of a long voicemail recording or an irrelevant one
Abandoned Calls


Ways to predict Call Abandon Rates


  • Erlang A Formula – This formula was coined by Swedish Mathematician Conny Palm in 1946. According to high call volume, caller patience and no. of staff available, the no. of calls abandoned can be predicted. 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 rates. 
What is the maximum abandon rate allowed by TCPA?


The maximum abandoned rate allowed by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act is 3%. Of all the incomings calls in 30 days only 3% calls can be ‘abandoned’. This is the call abandonment rule.

How to avoid abandoned calls?
To start off, with identifying the call abandoned rates, you need to identify your call center’s best and worst service level operations. Make sure you take a note of abandoned rates at each level. 

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 center, and it was operating at a 70% service level (10% below the industry standard), we could predict that the contact center was losing over 3% of callers who are phoning in.

While the solution you opt for will be highly subjective based on the data you collect here are a few common ways to reduce abandoned calls for your business–

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 extended waiting time which  is a result of occupied agents. If you have more agents more the number of calls you will be able to entertain. 
  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 using different music to see which one the callers would prefer listening to. Boring music would tempt the callers to drop the call. With good music, callers may not mind holding on to the call while resorting to other activities.
  5. Allow callers to opt for call back – Allowing callers to have the option of a call-back will help improve your abandoned call rate statistic. If the callers are not in the IVR for too long, they won’t be considered as a call abandoned. 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% open 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


Abandoned Calls negatively impact any business from customer perception to actual potential leads Abandoned Calls are a problem that need to be addressed to maintain brand reputation and customer loyalty

Capturing relevant data is always the first step to make an informed choice on the solution you wish to implement, Some new age solutions like the one discussed above can help you address the problem at its root and automate your business operations.

Read our case study of ‘Dr. Mary Tilak and associates’ who faced a similar problem with missed and abandoned calls and were able to save $390,000 in revenue just by converting these missed calls into text conversations.

Emitrr and dealing with abandoned calls

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