DEFINITION of 'Abandon Rate'

The percentage of inbound phone calls made to a call center or service desk that are abandoned by the customer before speaking to an agent. It is calculated as abandoned calls divided by total inbound calls (in percent). Abandon rates have a direct relation to waiting times. The longer the time that customers have to wait before being connected to an agent, the higher the abandon rate is likely to be.

BREAKING DOWN 'Abandon Rate'

For example, if a call center receives an average of 1,000 calls a day, of which 40 are abandoned by customers, the abandon rate is 4%.


High abandon times may indicate under-allocation of resources to the call center or help desk by the company, and can saddle a company with the reputation of offering poor customer service. It may also result in lost sales opportunities and highly dissatisfied customers, as anyone who has spent a significant amount of time waiting in a virtual queue for customer service can attest.

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