Seeking Call Center Excellence?

Call centers are driven by data and key performance measures. Setting those KPMs is both the challenge and the opportunity. One measure I frequently find for call centers is abandon rates. The averages I typically see are 5-8%. But, be careful of measuring yourself against peers on this measure because if you are just a good as peers, you are just average; is that what you want your call center to deliver to your members?

W need to be very careful in measuring ourselves against other call centers. It is not uncommon for call centers to eliminate “quick” abandons from their statistics and often this is done without organizational knowledge or agreement on what “quick” means. Some will eliminate immediate abandons; some will eliminate any abandon after a certain amount of time, say 15 seconds. You can see how this measure can be manipulated to meet goals versus reporting on the true picture of the quality of service the call center is delivering.

One of the reasons we want to understand abandon rates is because it is directly associated with member satisfaction. Therefore is is imperative you approach this measure strategically. Maybe the question should be, “What is a reasonable abandon rate?” This question should also include an understanding of  “How do abandon rates impact our member satisfaction?” Consider these steps:

  • Understand the impact of the abandon rate on member satisfaction.
    • Determine the satisfaction level of members that abandoned after 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. Do this by sending a Net Promoter Score Survey to each of these member segments.
    • Determine the satisfaction level of members that were answered after 5 seconds, 10 seconds (same timing as in A above) by sending them an NPS Survey.
  • Using this data, determine your optimal abandon rate and time to answer goals based upon when the above NPS scores shows a significant impact.
  • Using this data with your current info on abandon rates build your project list that will improve take the Member Solutions Center service to reach this goal. These projects will likely include the following:
    • Staffing needs by day of week and time of day
    • Tools or software that will
      • Transform the Member Solutions staff making it more efficient (less toggling between screens
      • Provide a better knowledge center for answering member questions ((SilverCloud))
      • Enhanced call routing
      • Capture call purpose by volume
      • Learn call times based upon call purpose
      • Enhance agent training for subject matter experts

Setting a goal is important, but his goal must be based upon current capabilities and capacities are also important. Also, analytically looking at the goal to determine what needs to change to achieve this goal is how this goal will be ultimately attained. If you want to drive Call Center efficiency and efficectiveness, let’s talk.


Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at

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