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Abandon rate of incoming phone calls

Percentage of telephone calls abandoned by the caller while waiting to be answered.



[number of telephone calls abandoned by the caller while waiting to be answered] percentage of [total number of incoming telephone calls]

Unit: Percentage

Direction: Minimize

Benchmark Results

This KPI is most used for:
Operational Excellence


  1. Mike W.

    Are there any values for industry standard as a guide to what is a reasonable level?

  2. Di Prince

    Is there a ‘standard’ acceptable % of abandoned calls within a customer care environment? This question has been raised previously by someone else but no response has been recorded.

  3. Mike W.

    Hi Di,

    I researched this sometime ago and did not find any hard and fast number. What I did find was that there are a number of factors that need to be considered when applying a percentage level to abandoned call rates. There is a strong cultural element, some people around the world will wait for an answer and some wont. Figures ranging from 2 to 15% of daily rate were mentioned. What is important is your customer, set your rate to what your customers demand/deserve. Its a useful KPI to monitor, but, ts the action associated to address the ‘poor’ performance that is vital.

  4. Ann Marie Jones
    over 8 years ago by Anonymous

    I manage the call center for VW Parts and our answer rate is over 95%; we are seeking to benchmark the answer rate; has anyone actually conducted a survey? How do you set your objectives?

  5. John Rosa

    Answer rate is really based on what you (your company) states as being acceptable versus cost of labor (# of agents required to answer calls) technology, i.e. IVR as an example, and time to answer. As you strive towards 100% answered calls in 20 seconds (4 rings approx.) the cost of labor and equipment goes up, i.e. need more agents potentially and more phones/pcs for each agent added. To begin determining what is acceptable, determine what is the cost of a lost call to the company. Second, determine, what is the % you want answered, peak versus non-peak. If you staff for peak, then you end up potentially with agents sitting around not being productive a lot of the time. Lot more can be covered in this topic as well.

  6. Vanessa K.

    Before you start to strive to meet anything you need to set an acceptable service level and that would be determined in consultation with your customers.
    Success is only determined by how happy your customer is with the service. Even if you are an internal serve centre the people you service are your customers so understanding their expectations is the start of setting your objectives or service levels.

  7. Ann Marie Jones
    almost 8 years ago by Anonymous

    We’re currently preparing a survey to benchmark speed to answer among other companies in our industry. There is a quality component, in that, if you don’t successfully answer the callers need, they will call back until you do. Or, they will not call and there issue is unresolved.

  8. Vanessa K.

    Not to deter you from your benchmarking exercise across the industry but bear in mind unless the service offered is the same across those surveyed your benchmark will be skewed. Abandon rate goes hand in hand with “average speed of answer/ call pickup time” (and the service level attached to that) and “first call resolution”. The amount of time allocated to staff to fix an issue on first call is a significant driver of your results on the other two KPI’s and if that varies from company to company their results will have a different meaning. There are so many variables to consider even down to the way their PABX handles calls to the other means of contact to the call centre (eg emails, self service etc). Also don’t muddle one KPI with another, successfully resolving the callers issue is a separate KPI from ASA/CPT, manage one KPI at a time so you fully understand the implications. By all means try and gauge an industry standard but the most effective benchmarking is your current results with your current level of service and how that varies moving forward with changes to the service levels, staff levels and client base.

  9. Ken G.

    I don’t know if this is an industry practice, but I review time to abandoned very thoroughly. This let’s me see where the “patience” level of my disparate customer populations. In my environment, I have a skill/service that is very impatient. I lose 80% of my abandoned calls within 15 seconds. This is a high visibility population—requiring that I staff it heavily with more seasoned FTE. I also have a very patient customer group that will wait, on average 90 seconds before abandoning. My rule of thumb is 80-90% within the patience level of the customer group. This is some of the information I use to the the story to my management so they can make a cost/benefit decision. Since this is an internal call group—it comes down to what the organization is willing to pay.

  10. Elliott Sidewater

    We added a data point on June 14; the minimum abandonment rate was 1.9 percent and the maximum was 11.2 percent, but the average (not solicited here) was 3.3 percent, not the 6.55 percent that some readers will be led to believe. I think that either a median or average value should be solicited by KPI Library for this metric, in addition to the min and max values.

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