CallCentreVoice Topic Inbound abandon rate

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Thomas McVey on 17/2/2009 08:58:45.
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Thomas McVey
Telephony Coordinator
Lloyds Banking Group

2 posts
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Inbound abandon rate   [17/2/2009 08:58:45]

Does anybody have any documentation on the industry standard of the above? Currently our department is running at 3% and, as far as I was aware, the standard is 5% and we are therefore hindering our own objectives by keeping it so low.

Any help greatly appreciated!

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Rob Worth
Lean Process Consultant
Worth Solutions Limited

170 posts
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I don't see the problem  [17/2/2009 13:08:53]

Thomas,

I am struggling to see why you are asking for help here. Having a low abandon rate is a good thing isn't it? Why would you think that having a lower abandon rate than some (arbitrary) industry standard is something to be proud of. Keep up the good work. Serve your customers even better than you are and hopefully it will fall to 2% or 1% or lower.

Best,

Rob

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Thomas McVey
Telephony Coordinator
Lloyds Banking Group

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.  [19/2/2009 14:51:31]

Hi Rob,

Apologies for not being slightly clearing in my reasoning on my previous post. I work in a Collections Call Centre and our outbound predictive dialler is our most efficient and productive way of generating revenue and therefore we want to spend as much time on it as possible. Our analysis has shown that for the most part, our customers who abandon will call back and we won't lose any revenue, therefore increasing our abandon rate is actually a good thing for us.

Does anybody have any info regarding my original question?

Cheers.

Tom.

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Dave Appleby
WFM & Business Telephony Manager
Healthcare Insurance

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Abandon rates  [19/2/2009 16:00:41]

Our analysis has shown that for the most part, our customers who abandon
will call back and we won't lose any revenue, therefore increasing our
abandon rate is actually a good thing for us.


My I suggest you're taking a VERY damgerous path here..

Just because they *WILL* phone back doesn't mean they *WANT*
to phone back.

What you're effectivly doing is saying customer service doesn't matter!

Whilst I appreciate that in a collections environment you, to
a certain extent, have the customer tied to you. Have you thought
bout this from their side.

We, as an industry, pride ourselves (normally) on targeting
the best customer experience as something to strive for.

Are you?

Regards

DaveA



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Marianne Marrou
Telecom/Reporting Analyst
Outsource callcenter

339 posts
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Abandon Rates  [19/2/2009 20:06:47]

I agree with Dave that if you are trying to cause customers to abandon that would be bad.
(BTW, I expect that if your agents are aware of the disparity they are probably hanging up on a bunch of callers for you, even after they are 'answered'. Unless of course you are looking at and managing this...)
What is your Service level threshold? Getting the majority of your calls answered in a reasonable amount of time is more important (at least to me and most of my clients) than the % of people who may hang up (although that does impact service level of course).
Industry standard depends on the industry you're in. We've never done collections, but we did customer service for a few banks along the way and I believe they were each targetting a 90% in 60 second service level.
I would suggest that you target handling your customers all in a reasonable amount of time, and then let your abandon rate fall where it may.

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Dave Lee
Business Consultant
Datapoint Customer Solutions

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Outbound better than Inbound?  [20/2/2009 10:58:40]

Thomas,

I am struggling with this slightly. Having worked with a number of collections companies in a consulting capacity, the general consensus was that an inbound call was far more important than an outbound call. The reasoning was the the caller was usually ringing in response to a letter, previous call, etc and was wanting to pay or negotiate. In outbound camapaigns, getting hold of the right party to even have the conversation was a major struggle. Many clients were looking at alternative ways of reducing outbound calling to increase inbound, through the use of SMS, email, etc.

If your outbound is more productive, I commend you - that's excellent. But dont increase your abandon rate unnecessarily - many of the callers may be trying to pay you money!

Also, from a customer perspective (and personal experience), if you get a letter from a collections department in error and cant get through on the phone, it is a very stressful experience. When you finally do get through, you may not be in the right mindset to have a "polite" conversation..... :-)

Dave

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Rob Worth
Lean Process Consultant
Worth Solutions Limited

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Things and ideas  [20/2/2009 11:05:20]

Has this forum crossed over to The Twilight Zone? The other day there was a post asking how achieve a minimum AHT and now we want to know how to increase our abandon rate because we have the customers by the short and curlies and they will call back anyway.

Thomas,

My sarcasm aside, I think there is a way that you can have your cake and eat it. You will have to bear with me if the following sounds a bit patronising or insulting.

The way your first two posts read hints to me that you have massive failure demand in your inbound calls. I say that because your primary focus is money, even if optimising money it is detrimental to customers. Either one of 'managing by costs' or 'indifference to customers' is a pointer to failure demand, but both so blatantly together is a sure fire indicator.

Now I can stop telling you off and say that there is a better way: Look after your customer and the costs will look after themselves. The performance (and cost) is a product of the system. The system should be judged by how well it serves the customer. It is how you think that determines how you design your system.

My prescription (the usual): think about serving the customer; understand our demand (value and failure); design the system against value demand; reap the benefits of lower cost (as an output of everything else).

And forget the service level it is not important.

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Louis Peace
Campaign Analyst
A

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inbound abandon rates  [28/5/2009 15:08:18]

Tom,

I too work in a collections call centre environment and i have to say that i do not agree with any of the above comments.

We use a predictive dialling system and managing our inbound abandon rate at just below 5% means that we are able to run the dialler for longer more effeciently.

Fair comment that we want to speak with customers calling in to make payments, arrangements etc but in order to help with roll rates and actually make contact with customers that do not want to ring in we have to run the dialler as much as possible.

I would be interested to know what sort of figures you have each month, such as APD and inbound abandon rates.

Louis

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Rob Worth
Lean Process Consultant
Worth Solutions Limited

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Why do you disagree?  [29/5/2009 14:31:51]

Louis,

Could you go into more detail as to what exactly you disagree with and why?

The thing I suppose I have the problem with is: why 5%? Why not 4% or 6%? If you take your argument further you could reason that if you had your inbound abandon rate at 10% you could run your dialler for even longer. So why not 10%? Or 20%. Or 50%? Really, why 5%? Is there some empirical analysis of your data that says this is a good figure? Is there some psychological study of inbound collection callers that says this is some optimum level? I am guessing not. So really you are using an arbitrary level that I suspect you can't explain. If you can explain it with evidence I am more than happy to be proved wrong. And evidence that a lot of other people do it doesn't count.

Before started to worry about any of those arbitrary figure I would look at things like:

- How many calls do we make to people who have already paid?
- How many people have to call more than once to complete their payment?
- How many calls are from people querying their payment?

And other similar questions that will reduce both the inbound and outbound calls to make both activities more effective.

Best,

Rob

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Louis Peace
Campaign Analyst
A

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baffling  [30/5/2009 14:23:46]

Rob,

The 5% abandon rate is an OFCOM guideline and when we breach this target we have to report it to them, managing our inbound abandon rate just below this does enable us to use the dialler more effectively.

With regards to our 'empirical analysis' when our inbound abandon rate is just under 5% our service level is around 75%, we measure by the amount of calls which are handled within 50 seconds, this is'nt the same across the board and depends of the complexity of the type of calls that the contact centre has to handle.

If you could eloborate on your questions as you may have a different understanding of how a collections contact centre runs.

Louis

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Rob Worth
Lean Process Consultant
Worth Solutions Limited

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I'm learning  [31/5/2009 11:36:35]

Louis,

Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure why you would be baffled. I was just trying to find out why a collections call centre would stop at 5% and not go further, but you say it is because OFCOM set a limit. Okay. But that is still an arbitrary limit even if it set by OFCOM. And the original question still stands even though it is now directed at OFCOM. Why 5%?

I still wonder why you would want to maximise your abandon rate up to the externally set limit. I know the answer is to run the dialler as much as possible. But I would ask this: if tomorrow, OFCOM raised the limit to 6%, or 10%, would you go up to that new limit so you could run the dialler even longer?

Also you used the phrase "enable us to use the dialler more effectively". More effectively for whom? For the 1 in 20 customers who call you to pay and are forced to abandon?

I genuinely think that you can have your cake and eat it. You could reduce your abandon rate, increase use of the dialler, get a better collections rate and have happier customers. But to do all that you need to forget about abandon rates, service levels, AHT and all that. Instead focus on measures related to the customer. I say that because every organisation that I have worked in that dropped arbitrary activity targets and moved to customer value measures have gone on to achieve performance levels far beyond anything that anyone would ever have dreamed setting a target for.

I'll tell you what, if you are game, how about we have a little challenge? You invite me to your call centre for a day and you can teach me everything that I don't know about collection call centres (maybe we will need more than a day!) and I can tell you what I think I would do. Then we can jointly write it up for Call Centre Voice. I think we would both benefit and CCV gets a paper. PM me if you are interested.

Best,

Rob

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Darryl Beckford
Contact Centre Consultant
DarrylBeckford Limited

1004 posts
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Confused...  [1/6/2009 08:43:28]

...from Macclesfield.

I have no idea what everyone is talking about.

Let's get this straight: inbound or outbound?

There is no OFCOM guideline for inbound abandoned rate.

With regards to industry standard, it'll be a case of balancing abandon with utilisation, often with clever scheduling and tools like queuebuster in order to deal with peaks and troughs.

There is an OFCOM guideline for outbound, but it is 3% and not 5%. In addition, the industry is starting to realise that OFCOM are calculating this in a different way to the rest of us (see Darren from Ultra's posts).

Whilst the "guidelines" are legally guidelines, OFCOM do have the ability to enforce them to a large extent, so don't think that the term is synonymous with "optional".

It could be that some are attempting to blend, which is why there is talk of inbound abandon affecting the dialler. In my view, it's quite tricky to make this work without upsetting the Math's in the dialler. Please correct me if I'm wrong - I and a few others would love to hear about truly successful blended setups.

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Glenn Guino-o
Director for Operations
Member's Edge, llc

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inbound abandon rates   [11/2/2010 18:06:06]

...so is it 5% legally? is this for both UK & US?

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Dave Appleby
WFM & Business Telephony Manager
Healthcare Insurance

1566 posts
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Glenn  [11/2/2010 18:45:43]

Quote from Darryl...

There is no OFCOM guideline for inbound abandoned rate.


With regards to industry standard, it'll be a case of balancing abandon with
utilisation, often with clever scheduling and tools like queuebuster in
order to deal with peaks and troughs.


There is an OFCOM guideline for outbound, but it is 3% and not 5%. In
addition, the industry is starting to realise that OFCOM are calculating
this in a different way to the rest of us (see Darren from Ultra's posts).


Whilst the "guidelines" are legally guidelines, OFCOM do have the ability to
enforce them to a large extent, so don't think that the term is synonymous
with "optional".



There is nothing that says you can't tell your customers to **** off... by
running a 75% Aba rate if you want.


I've actually seen a 60% running as standard until Scott W and I got hold of it!

Regards

DaveA

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Pamposh Raina
Sr.Manager -Workforce management
American Express

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abandon rate definition  [22/2/2010 06:05:36]

As per me, a call is said to be abandoned if customer hangs up due to no response, however I would also term a call abandoned if an agents is unable to answer the call within targetted ASA (even if the call is answered later).

Abandon rate is a direct reflection of customer service generated by a company.
I would suggest to stick tight to stringent abandon % and let cost take its own path.

One satisfied customer will always bring you more customers, and revenue generated from there will always be higher that whatever you save by increasin abandon% thresholds.

Hope it makes sense.

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Pamposh Raina
Sr.Manager -Workforce management
American Express

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Inbound abandon rate ...  [22/2/2010 06:16:28]

Also its not all about picking the call up as soon as possible, what also counts is if customer was happy with the outcome.

Being a customer, I would not be dissapointed if I know that outcome would be great even if I have to wait 20 secs extra on the IVR.

Thats all from me.

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Gene Reynolds
Contact Centre Consultant
GPR Consulting

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Darryl Is Correct  [17/3/2010 20:09:46]

I would just like to concur with Darryl.

OFCOM do not set any mandates on how to run your INBOUND call centre... you fancy trying to have a 99% abandon rate? then go for it. OFCOM does take issue with outbound silent calls however.

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Guy Fielding
Director, R&D
horizon2

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Back to basics  [19/3/2010 11:02:30]

Tom: Can I take this discussion back to basics, and ask you why you think your outbound activity is more productive than your inbound actvity? My experience of working (as a consultant) in collections environments is that the outcomes you are most intersted in are whether or not the debtor pays, and if they pay, what % of the outstanding debt they repay and over what time period (and that's actually pay rather than say they will pay). A comparison of productivity for outbound and inbound would therefore be of the form of "%debt collected+time period per agent hour". Is this what you mean by "productivity"? And what does your analysis tell you? Given that a much higher proportion of inbound debtors are likely to be ready to have meaningful conversations about repayment than cold-called outbound contacts, I would be very surprised if (and keen to understand why and how) outbound activity was more productive than inbound.
Guy Fielding
horizon2

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Steve Helm
Planning
Outsourcing

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OfCom  [23/3/2010 11:07:18]

OfCom may not set rates for abandon calls but other regualatory bodies most certainly do, OfWat for example.

I'm still baffled as to why Inbound calls would be sacrificed at the expense of outbound calls. Why would you dial out when inbound callers are not getting answered?

It's the physical equivalent of leaving a queue of people inside your shop whilst YOU are going out onto the street to find someone to sell to.

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