Is Call Abandonment Rate A Trustworthy Metric?


IT service desks are probably the most measured metric in an IT organization (in terms of performance). The IT teams are leaving no stone unturned for improving the quality of IT support and, increasingly, the end-user work or customer experience.

These service desks are usually accused of not delivering the best service (cheaper & faster). Moreover, the need to reduce costs, the general pressure n IT service desks over the past decade has been increasing. The speed of resolution (or provision) is also important, as indicated in the list of most commonly used IT support metrics below.

But there is another general metric in the list that must be considered and discussed in the context of improving the end-user experience – Call Abandonment Rate, which is the number of discarded calls (meaning the customer hangs up before the agent answers).


Frequently Used Support Metrics

The Technical Support Practices and Salary Report shows the top 10 metrics followed/rated by IT support organizations:

  1. Average time to resolve tickets
  2. Customer satisfaction with ticket adjustment
  3. Leaving rate (phone)
  4. Customer satisfaction with all support
  5. The average number of tickets resolved per job
  6. Average response speed (phone)
  7. Average talk time (phone)
  8. Medium handle time (phone)
  9. Average time to respond to desktop support tickets
  10. Average time to resolve desktop support tickets

It shows that the number of calls abandoned is the third most commonly used method, as well as the average response speed of the sixth. Such telephone metrics are common because IVR / ACDs spit numbers automatically and support managers do not have to design or calculate metrics.

However, where desktop support is not included, as is the view of the support center only, the report shows the top 5 metrics followed/rated by support centers as follows:

  1. Average time to resolve tickets
  2. Leaving rate (phone)
  3. Customer satisfaction with ticket adjustment
  4. Customer satisfaction with all support
  5. Average response speed (phone)

Both the drop-off rate and the response rate are rising – and it’s important to note that the drop-out rate is now higher than “customer satisfaction with ticket adjustments.”

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Let’s Discuss The Telephone-Based Metrics

  1. Dealing with IT problems is important – which is why organizations have IT service desks.
  2. Dealing with IT problems quickly, and consistently quickly, is important – which is why IT service desks provide SLAs that aim to achieve the 90% + goal.
  3. Telephony is an important desk station for IT service – still the most popular of many organizations (and their staff).
  4. “Call Abandonment Rate” and Speed Of Response are the most popular IT service metrics for desks.

But does the following make sense? We are in a situation where:

There is an extremely high rate of phone calls but it still meets the relevant SLA of 91-100% of the time, which is OK for people to block due to delays in answering calls.

Response speed only reaches its SLA of 81% -90% of the time, i.e. calls are not answered quickly enough and are “important.”

Some people believe that the high rate of phone calls does not adversely affect our customer satisfaction scores (CSATs). Agreed. The caller does not receive a ticket entry and therefore does not have the opportunity to complete the CSAT survey.

So, maybe the level of phone dropping is more vast than we comprehend.


How Do Call Abandonment Rates Affect Your Organization?

The First question to answer- Is the discarded call the last call to the IT service desk to be made by the end-user (unless they need to call again)? If so, then this is not going to be good.

After that, most metrics reported by the IT service desk may be incorrect. Lastly, does the call to dump also disrupt other IT service desk metrics, even though they are less important? For example, the trend of ticket volume, the percentage of tickets resolved by the standard (say, if discarded calls are related to easy-to-resolve tickets), or the percentage of tickets received by the channel. It can also affect CSAT on other channels where the end-user has tried, unsuccessfully, to drive.


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