What is 'Abandon Rate'

Abandon rate is the percentage of tasks that are abandoned by the customer before completing the intended task. There are two common industries where abandon rate is a commonly used metric. The first is in call centers, the second is online retailing.

For an inbound call center, abandon rate is 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 as people get tired of waiting for assistance and hang up before reaching an agent.

For an online retailer, abandon rate is the percentage of shoppers who abandon their virtual carts without completing check-out procedures. It is calculated by the number of abandoned shopping carts divided by total initiated transactions. Even when carts are abandoned, online retailers can use the customer information gleaned from the cart contents to improve their marketing and sales techniques.

BREAKING DOWN 'Abandon Rate'

Abandon rate is an important metric. It provides the company with information regarding their customers' habits and can be a predictor of customer satisfaction levels. For call centers, 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.

For online retailers, it might indicate that the retailer has prices that are higher than its competitors. It is possible that before checking out, a customer searched other sites for a price comparison and ended up buying their goods from another online source. Often times, online retailers will use the information provided by abandoned carts to enhance their marketing techniques and may end up selling promotional items to the owner of the abandoned cart in an effort to complete the sale. The retailer can also look for trends as to what types of products are most often abandoned and then increase their sales efforts around those products in an attempt to decrease the abandonment rate.

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