When the rate of abandoned calls in your contact center is high, you’re likely to see other success metrics take a hit — like customer satisfaction and retention. We’ve all been there as customers ourselves: the looped recording of hold music is slowly making you lose your mind, and you’re just over it. So, you hang up. Your question is left unanswered and you’ve wasted a chunk of your day. It sure doesn’t leave you with the best impression of that company’s service.

But, how do you even begin to reduce abandoned calls in your call center? 

Globally, the average call abandonment rate is around 5-8% of calls abandoned. But unfortunately, COVID-19 made it worse. Staffing shortages paired with increased ecommerce  during the pandemic has contributed to more calls coming into call centers, and more calls abandoned.

Higher Abandonment Rates Could Result from Higher COVID call volumes

Image Source

How then can you increase efficiency in your call center and avoid this pain point in your customer experience? 

Implement Business Texting to Exceed Customer Expectations

We’re all pretty tied to our phones. In fact, the average American spends a little above 5 hours daily on their mobile phones! To get even more specific, the top 10% of heavy phone users have an average of 5,427 touches on their mobile phones every day. And, 91% of Americans keep their mobile devices within arm’s reach at all times. Any time our phones light up, we’re quick to check out whatever the latest notification could be. 

Within customer service, consumers are much more inclined to communicate through text on their phones with businesses than via email or phone calls. Specifically 85% of smartphone users prefer mobile messages to emails or calls. Why? 

Recent studies show customers and leads respond to a text faster than anything else. On average per channel, you’ll see: 

Overall, businesses are discovering the power of texting because it’s what customers are wanting! 

Just think about it — texting is fast and personal. It lets customers send direct and specific questions to agents without interrupting their own day. And, it gives agents the freedom to respond to a customer’s question or problem while taking on several other texts, resolving more customer interactions, faster.  The conversation is likely pretty casual, giving agents a chance to take a personalized approach with each customer.

Texting Erases Call Center Abandonment

It’s logical really. If you provide easy to use and accessible texting technology, your customers will likely choose texting over calling. In turn, you’re reducing the volume of calls even coming into your call center. When you provide customers a way to connect with you over text, you’re more likely to see your abandonment rate plummet.

We’ve seen it firsthand at Textel. Our friends and customers over at Vera Bradley switched to a two-way texting model to give their customers the option to text back and forth with agents using their existing business line. The result? Vera Bradley experienced a 0% abandonment rate while communicating over text.

Another pro of texting in your contact center is cutting down the overall inbound support volume. By a lot. Instead of calling or emailing in and hoping to get a reply – eventually – customers can text in and start an interaction with an Agentless SMS. You can pre-program automations to run when your customers text in, whether they’re sending a specific keyword or just general text or picture-based questions. Agentless SMS is getting greater adoption because:

  1. It deflects incoming calls to text, which reduces your center’s average handle time (AHT) and calls on hold.
  2. It doesn’t shift volume from one channel to another. Instead, it lets customers resolve their issues via text without requiring an agent.

So, then your phone support becomes cheaper and customer retention rises. Your agents can optimize their time while your call center helps more customers. Strengthen your two-way texting capabilities and see it benefit every aspect of your call center.

Abandon a Call-First Approach To Change the Game

Give your customers the freedom to decide how quickly and easily their interactions with your business will be. Give them what they want — the ability to text you. Customers are sick of waiting on hold. They’re tired of taking tons of time out of their day just to get a question answered. When you embrace the right channels and text-enable your call center, your call center team can reduce abandoned calls and retain customers. 

This post was originally published on March 26, 2021 and was updated on February 2, 2022.