Customer calls should be given the same level of care as when a customer walks through your front door. Yet we all know the frustration of calling a business and getting put on hold. You dial in, get bombarded with a menu of options to get to a real person, and then you are expected to listen to canned Muzak that does nothing to keep you on the line. No wonder some or many of the customers calling your store, hang up. And when they do, they increase your call abandonment rates and decrease your ability to make a sale – to zero.
Your call abandon rate is the percentage of calls that hang up before a store associate can take the call. The problem is most retailers don’t even have the business intelligence (analytics) to realize how many calls into their stores are being abandoned. Understanding this is the first step to fixing the problem, and the technology to log abandoned calls is widely available (in products like Vertical’s Wave IP platform and Retail Communications Suite). You can quickly differentiate yourself by analyzing this critical data to help facilitate and enrich customer interactions, improve customer service and increase sales.
Don’t abandon your callers
Less call abandonment equals more customers and more revenue. The worst stores we have seen have had call abandonment rates of up to 30 percent! That means that a third of the people who call into the store with a question give up before it’s ever answered. It also means that if you’re losing 20 calls a day and 7 of those callers were planning on making a purchase of around $25, that’s $175 a day -- or $64,000 in lost revenue a year! If you multiply that by your number of stores, it quickly adds up.
While the goal is to answer every call, realistically you want to keep your call abandonment rate between 1 and 4 percent. If your call abandonment goes above 5 percent, you risk losing a substantial amount of revenue and customers.
How to reduce hang ups
There are a number of factors that can influence your call abandonment rate and ways you can improve it.
1. Better phone management
This is a no-brainer. Ensuring you have adequate call center and store-level staff available to take calls and assist customers, especially around holidays or other peak times, is essential. Significant consideration should be given to the effectiveness of your mobility solution for store staff. In order to more effectively serve both customers in the store as well as those calling in, store associates must be enabled with a reliable wireless phone solution.
2. Better training
Your entire staff needs to understand that their response to a customer on the phone can be the start of a good relationship -- or the end of one. Anyone who is required to speak to customers, whether in the call center or on the store floor, needs to be fully trained on proper etiquette and best practices for providing customer service over the phone.
3. Using the right technology
Having the ability to track and record the number of abandoned calls into your store, right down to the department level, is the first step in reducing them. A phone system that utilizes intelligent call management software is key. Solutions such as Vertical’s Cloud Call Manager provide you with full analytics and BI support features, including providing visibility to store and department-level call volumes, and identifying where and when caller abandonment rates are too high. This can help you manage voice traffic more effectively, and manage and monitor store-level performance on this critical metric.
Bottom line, call abandonment rates are a measure of customer satisfaction, or more accurately, dissatisfaction. To ensure your customers are satisfied with their calling experience and to reduce abandoned calls, have staff available to quickly answer the phone, train them on the right way to handle calls, and give them the right tools and technology to do so.
Vertical Communications provides complete voice, data, BI and analytics solutions to some of the largest retailers in the U.S. To find out why they chose our Wave IP Communications Platform and Retail Applications Suite, please visit our Retail Solutions page.