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How to assess your call abandonment problem

June 11, 2024


Reducing call abandonment in your contact center is crucial for keeping customers happy and loyal. Some common contact center solutions and strategies designed to make customers’ lives easier might actually do more harm than good.

To tackle this problem and find the right solution, you need to understand and address the root causes. Here’s what to look for.

Cause one: IVR design

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are usually a customer’s first point of contact. They often create friction for callers who aren’t sure what buttons to press or keywords to use.

Solution one: touch-tone IVR

Touch-tone IVR systems let callers press numbers to navigate menus, reducing wait times and gathering information before connecting to an agent. However, complicated and restrictive menus can confuse callers, leading to abandonment.

Solution two: simple speech recognition IVR systems

Simple speech recognition IVR systems allow callers to speak instead of using the phone’s keypad to navigate a menu. This experience can be more intuitive, but customers must use specific keywords instead of answering how they want to. These systems also struggle with understanding different accents or dialects, further restricting callers.

Cause two: staffing

If a customer does get through the IVR process, they need to speak to an agent. Not having enough staff can lead to long hold times and increased call abandonment. Some of the following solutions and strategies could impact your employee and customer experience.

Solution one: business process outsourcing (BPO)

Having outsourced vendors handle calls is often a more cost-effective way to provide phone support than in-house staffing, but BPOs come with a whole other set of compromises. Offshoring can be cheap, but rapidly evolving economies leave many companies chasing affordable talent across the globe. With customer calls happening in a silo, your organization can lose all-important customer insights and brand control.

Solution two: employee retention programs

Employee retention programs are designed to improve morale and productivity and reduce recruitment costs. However, the reality is often costly to maintain and doesn’t guarantee you will retain top talent.

Solution three: agent productivity tools

Agent productivity tools are designed to increase efficiency with real-time monitoring and performance tracking. However, they are expensive to implement and learning how to use them requires extensive training. These tools can also pressure agents to handle more calls quickly instead of making every customer interaction meaningful.

Cause three: call peaks

Call volumes can be volatile, peaking during certain times due to seasonal trends or unexpected events. With a lack of capacity to handle calls, customers face longer wait times and increased time to resolution. Some customers will struggle to get through to speak to an agent at all. Managing these peaks is key to preventing call abandonment.

Solution one: temporary hires

Ideally, you would effortlessly scale your support capacity to match fluctuating demand. However, the reality is quite different. Finding enough skilled agents in a limited talent pool is increasingly difficult.

The costs of hiring and training a new agent are significant, estimated between $10,000 and $15,000. Expedited training can also compromise the quality of service. Costs are further inflated by contact center licenses for temporary agents, typically billed annually, regardless of how long they’re needed.

Solution two: BPO

BPO can quickly scale support based on your organization’s needs and offers cost savings on salaries, benefits, and infrastructure. However, charges can be unpredictable during peaks, and the lack of brand control and limited access to customer data can impact service quality.

Solution three: recorded message

Anyone interacting with a customer service line has likely heard the pre-recorded message: “We are experiencing higher than usual call volumes.” While this approach is intended to inform callers about the situation and provide a consistent experience, the experience is impersonal and often frustrates customers in an already stressful situation. In reality, this approach does little to reduce call volume or wait times and can even lead to higher abandonment rates.


Reducing call abandonment goes beyond hiring more staff or outsourcing support. It’s about finding a solution that provides instant assistance, cuts wait times and empowers customers to resolve issues efficiently.

Read our latest guide for a proposed step-by-step approach to reducing call abandonment in your contact center.

How to reduce call abandonment in your contact center with voice AI

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