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The Importance of Treating Your Customers Right

Frank Geck
Frank Geck Sales Director, AI and Automation

Contact centers can range from thousands of agent seats to just a few seats. When we look at our customers there is a service level metric that jumps out when we compare our largest to our smallest: The Abandonment Rate.  

What does “Abandonment Rate” mean?  

The Abandonment Rate is the number of times someone calls and waits for an operator for a long time and decides to hang up before getting service.  They “Abandon” their task.  

Imagine you’re on a business trip and you have a connecting flight at dinner time, but you have a tight connection.  You get off the plane and find the nearest fast-food restaurant to just get something in your stomach.  The problem is the line is long and it’s moving slowly.  You get in line while looking at your watch and right as you get close to the front of the line you hear the final boarding announcement for your flight.  You have to abandon your place in line and run for your plane.  Are you happy?  No, you’re pretty unhappy (even more so because you’re hungry).  

This happens all the time with contact centers.  And it’s hard to manage while also being judicious with your company’s resources.  Some Five9 customers have call spikes within a two-hour window.  Or they have heavy call traffic on one day of the week.  And, they have seasonality affecting these call patterns.  You don’t want to overstaff and pay for people to sit around.  You don’t want to understaff and have people get frustrated waiting in the queue and abandoning.  

What we have noticed, when looking across all our customers largest so small, our largest customers have the lowest abandonment rates.  Our largest customers typically have below a 3% abandonment rate.  The average across all our customers has varied.  Before Covid, our total customer average was just under 5% and then it went up dramatically during Covid to over 10% - closer to 12%.  Only in the past few months has the abandonment rate started coming down.  

We find this very interesting.  If the largest companies have exceptional performance in a specific metric – it probably means something.  They realize that the negative costs for abandoned calls are high.  What are the costs? 

  • Negative word of mouth

  • Negative comments on social media 

  • Paying telecommunication fees for customers to hold in queue and then hang up – a total waste of money

  • Lost revenue 

An abandoned call can drive more than one return call.  Sometimes people call back multiple times to get through.  When they finally get through, they’re not happy and take it out on your agents.  If you have trouble with agent attrition, you may want to ask what your abandonment rates are. 

Our largest customers are investing in this performance metric.  

Another interesting point of data we’ve noticed about our customers is that those who deploy AI/IVA for self-service have the lowest abandonment rates. Stay tuned for the next blog where we will explore this trend and more.  

For more insight into how Five9’s Intelligent CX Platform can assist your growing business, visit here.  

Frank Geck
Frank Geck Sales Director, AI and Automation

Call 1-800-553-8159 to learn more about Five9