What Is Call Abandonment Rate? Definition & Industry Standards

Call abandonment rate is a key call center metric. But what is it and how to measure it? And what benchmarks should you be aiming for.
Published on: Nov 20, 2023
Last updated: Nov 21, 2023


  • Call Abandonment Rate is the percentage of customers who end a call prematurely before speaking with a customer service agent.
  • Call Abandonment Rate is a crucial metric impacting potential sales and customer satisfaction.
  • Surveys show that people are unwilling to wait for more than five minutes on hold, and each abandoned call poses a risk of revenue loss.
  • Factors Contributing to Abandoned Calls include queue length, wait duration, lack of engagement, and past negative experiences are key factors leading to call abandonment.
  • The average call abandonment rate for call centers is around 5.91%, with an industry average between 5-8%. A rate nearing 10% requires immediate action.
  • Improvement Measures include hiring more agents, implementing a callback function, optimizing escalation flows, making use of session replays and cobrowsing to speed up resolution times and agent bandwidth, automating repetitive tasks, investing in self-help resources, and optimizing scheduling.

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No one likes to wait in a queue – even less so when that queue takes place on the phone.

A TimeTrade survey revealed that people aren’t willing to wait for more than five minutes before being passed on to a customer service agent, and with each abandoned call comes the potential for significant losses of revenue.

But what exactly is an abandoned call, how do you calculate abandonment rate, and what tangible impact does this have on your day-to-day business performance?

We’ve compiled some information about this important metric to give you everything you need to know about the topic of call abandonment, as well as some measures you can take to keep your callers on the line.

Read on to find out more!

What is call abandonment rate?

First things first, let’s define exactly what the phrase ‘call abandonment rate’ means.

Put simply, your call abandonment rate is the percentage of calling customers who end a call prematurely of their own volition, before managing to speak with a customer service agent.

This is a crucial metric for your company to track, as each abandoned call could have contained a sale opportunity or sensitive customer issue which could impact a customer’s future spending habits.

Why do calls get abandoned?

There are a variety of factors that contribute to abandoned calls, all of which play a significant role in the customer experience when calling in.

The first, and most common, reason for an abandoned call is the queue length or wait duration. As we’ve already stated, the majority of customers are unwilling to wait more than five minutes before abandoning a call, with the preferred time being two minutes or less.

Closely linked with wait time, customers also abandon calls due to a lack of customer engagement throughout the queuing process. Whilst it may seem a small detail, playing music or regularly updating the customer on their position in the queue can keep callers engaged for a few more precious minutes. Silence is a killer.

There are several other small factors that influence a customer’s temptation to abandon a call, these can include:

  • Lack of voicemail or call back function – providing no alternative to sitting in a queue can frustrate customers and drive them towards the ‘end call’ button.
  • Customers calling out of necessity and lack of customer service support – these calls are often abandoned early as they were not keen on calling in the first instance.
  • Previous poor customer service experiences – the prospect of another negative customer service experience can put a customer off from waiting for an extended period of time.

How to calculate your call abandonment rate?

Calculating and tracking your call abandonment rate can be an invaluable metric for evaluating your customer service performance.

The process of calculating this figure is rather straightforward and one that can be automated through data collected by your call monitoring system.

The formula is as follows: [Number of calls abandoned] ÷ [Total number of calls received].

You can then multiply this number by 100 to see the figure presented as a percentage.

For example, if you received 200 calls and 40 of those were abandoned, you have a call abandonment rate of 20%.

How to improve your call abandonment rate?

So, we’ve established that abandoned calls aren’t good for business, but what can you do to improve your call abandonment rate?

We’ve put together six measures you can begin implementing today to reduce the number of abandoned calls, increase customer satisfaction, and drive revenue.

Hire more agents

The first solution, and arguably the most obvious, is to increase the depth of your customer service team.

By hiring more agents, you increase the number of customers you can simultaneously engage and thus reduce wait times as a result. A deeper roster of customer service agents also means each individual agent has a reduced workload and can give each customer a higher level of care without worrying about rushing off to the next caller.

However, this is one of the more costly measures as bringing even just a handful of new agents on board could accrue costs well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Implement a callback function

Showing your customers that you value their time is a surefire way to keep them onside and happy.

Rather than forcing callers to wait in a queue for an extended period of time, you could implement a callback function to save them time and take some strain off your agents.

A simple callback function allows callers to leave their name, number, and the nature of their inquiry, before ending the call and waiting for a return call from one of your agents. Some systems allow customers to choose a preferred time, whilst others simply place the call in an automated queue to be fed to an agent as soon as one becomes available.

This allows customers to carry on with their day-to-day lives, rather than sitting on hold for long periods and growing more frustrated all the while.

Optimize escalation flows

There’s nothing more frustrating than finally reaching the front of a call queue, to then being asked to repeat the nature of your inquiry, and your personal information, and recount any previous customer service interactions.

Time is valuable, both for you and your customers, so optimizing your escalation flows can really help to streamline things here.

By using an established CRM system, all customer data, information, and previous interactions are logged in the system, meaning each agent receives instant visibility of a customer’s current situation. This allows for faster resolutions and shorter wait times for those next in the queue.

Automate repetitive tasks

Your customer service agents should be focused on the interaction and problem-solving associated with customer calls, not on admin responsibilities or simple data collection.

Advanced call systems can allow customers to provide all the necessary information to an automated call ‘handler’ before they ever speak to a real agent. This can include a customer providing their name, contact information, the nature of their inquiry, and other details.

With this system in play, by the time a caller reaches your agent, both parties are in a position to immediately tackle the issue or query at hand without any of the formalities.

If you’re a tech company with a web app or website, you can also make use of session replay technology so agents have immediate access to recordings of user sessions in your web app or on your website. This enables them to quickly see what happened before a user reached out to you so they don’t have to ask users to explain issues and are in a position to start immediately helping that user when the call is put through to them.

Optimize scheduling and staff peak call times appropriately

When resources are stretched thin, effective scheduling can make the difference between long wait times and fast resolutions.

If the data shows that you receive a significant spike in inbound calls during the middle of the day, consider scheduling higher numbers of staff to work during this period.

In the same vein, you can reduce your staffing numbers during off-peak times, helping you to conserve budget and deliver excellent customer service simultaneously.

Invest in self-help resources to reduce the number of incoming calls

If your customers have no support, information, or any means of self-solving, they will be forced to call in time after time. To reduce the need for support from your agents, you can provide a range of self-help resources for customers to investigate before calling.

With effective self-help resources, your customers will be able to troubleshoot a wide range of simple issues without placing any strain on your staff. Furthermore, many customers would likely prefer to fix an issue themselves rather than call in and wait on hold for an agent.

Invest the time and budget into self-help resources and watch your incoming calls reduce over time.

Call abandonment rate industry benchmarks

When evaluating your company’s call abandonment rate, it’s important to know what is classed as an ‘acceptable’ rate. In an ideal world, no calls would be abandoned – unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.

Abandoned calls are part and parcel of any customer service organization, so to help you evaluate effectively, here are the industry benchmarks.

A Talkdesk global benchmarking report uncovered an average call abandonment rate of 5.91%, with the industry average sitting between 5-8%. If you’re heading towards a rate of around 10%, it’s time to take immediate action.


Whilst abandoned calls are a regular feature in any customer service organization, minimizing them wherever possible is an effective way to increase customer satisfaction and drive higher levels of revenue.

With a range of measures to implement, and some more straightforward than others, there is no time better than today to begin taking steps towards a higher call completion rate.

Put the customer experience front of your mind when managing your call center and watch as your call abandonment rate creeps down month after month.


Shifa Rahaman

Content Marketing Manager


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