Many businesses—such as medical offices, car dealerships, HVAC companies, and other service organizations rely on telephone calls as its revenue lifeline to provide customer service, book appointments, take orders, etc. Have you ever placed a caller on hold, only when you return to the line you discover they’ve hung-up? This is known as caller abandonment, a call that is ended before any conversation occurs with a representative at your company.
When inbound calls are abandoned, it is often because the caller is frustrated with the on-hold experience. Are you aware those abandoned calls are causing you to lose customers, and are negatively impacting your bottom line? To put it bluntly, abandoned calls equal abandoned customers, and each abandoned call represents a missed opportunity not only to provide a customer with excellent service but to also generate additional revenue.
If you had to guess, what would you say caller abandonment costs you each year?… Maybe 10%, 15%, or 20% of your revenue? It’s actually a lot more than that. Research estimates caller abandonment accounts for as much as 40% in lost potential revenues each year.
Here are two examples of how caller abandonment is costing you money:
1) Every time that phone rings, you’ve paid for that ring to occur. If you’re spending $20,000 a month on marketing to receive 1,000 inbound phone calls that means each of those calls costs you around $20. If you lose 40% of those calls, you’re throwing $8,000 down the toilet every month.
2) To take things further still, if you know around 20% of your phone calls convert into a sale worth $5,000, and of the 40% of lost calls you in which multiply 80 lost calls by 5,000 and you’re essentially losing $40,00 every month in lost sales.
That’s $48,000 combined between wasted marketing dollars, and lost revenues each month or $576,000 annually. Whatever numbers you’re working with, it’s not a good situation.
So, what can you do about caller abandonment? For starters, you need to provide for a better on-hold experience. When callers are forced to wait in dead-silence, what your customers are really hearing is “You are not important. You are not of value.” Is this really what you want your customers to hear and feel? While placing callers’ on-hold is unavoidable, the good news is you can reduce caller abandonment, and keep callers on the line longer through the use of on hold messaging.
A survey by North American Telecom found that callers hearing messages on hold and music will stay on the line for up to 3 minutes longer. Research firm Jefferson Denneandrus also found that callers presented with messaging while on hold, compared to silence or a radio commercial, stayed on hold longer, were more likely to show interest in the product advertised in the on-hold message, were more likely to retain that information, and were less agitated.
Not only will an message on hold help to reduce caller abandonment, but it’s also proven to be an effective tool in increasing sales. Call Center Management Magazine found that 88% of callers prefer on hold messages to the alternatives (silence, radio or canned music), and what’s more, 20% of that survey’s respondents said they were motivated to make a purchase based on an offer heard while on hold.
Remember, every caller who hangs up while waiting on hold is a potential loyal customer who may be easily tempted to choose a competitor, and even worse, abandoned calls are missed opportunities, and costly to your business.