The £126 Million Problem: How Call Abandonment and Misrouting Are Costing UK Contact Centers


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Introduction to the Call Abandonment and Misrouting Problem

We’ve all been there — stuck on a phone call with an automated service, unable to reach the right department, or worse, giving up on the call out of sheer frustration. According to a recent joint study by and ContactBabel, these common customer pain points result in abandoned calls and misrouted calls costing UK contact centers an astonishing £126 million annually.

The Impact of Call Abandonment and Misrouting on UK Contact Centers

The report reveals a significant inefficiency in telephony self-service: of the 3.2 billion calls in the UK handled annually via self-service, a startling 9% are not resolved immediately. This lack of resolution results in staggering annual costs for UK contact centers. Phone support remains the top choice for consumers, with 31% of UK customers preferring it.

Understanding the Causes of Call Abandonment and Misrouting

Caller authentication is slower due to stricter testing, with a 90% increase since 2010 in the UK. This delay often leads to customer frustration and contributes to the high rates of call abandonment. Moreover, 66% of UK organizations agree that customers should call the contact center for complex queries, which often leads to misrouting.

The Financial Losses Incurred Due to Call Abandonment and Misrouting

UK businesses spend £5 million annually on customer identification alone. The cost of an abandoned call is not just a lost sale but also a potential loss of customer loyalty. Telephony self-service saves UK businesses around £2 billion annually, but the cost of unresolved issues is far greater.

Overview of Existing Solutions and Technologies in the Market

While there are several technologies designed to tackle the issues of call abandonment and misrouting, many fall short of providing a seamless customer experience. Traditional phone keypad-based menus and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems have been the go-to solutions for years. However, these technologies often lead to customer frustration due to their limitations in understanding user intent and efficiently routing calls to the appropriate department.

The Rise of Conversational IVR Systems

Emerging technologies like Conversational IVR systems show promise in addressing these challenges. When implemented correctly, these advanced systems can improve intent recognition by up to 95% and cut around 8% of the total call volume cost. This not only results in significant cost savings for businesses but also enhances the overall customer experience.

Innovative Solutions in the Pipeline

The tech industry is continuously working on innovative solutions to transform the customer experience in telephony self-service. Advanced algorithms and machine learning are being employed to understand the intent behind customer queries better, ensuring that calls are routed to the most appropriate department for resolution.

Benefits of Implementing Advanced Solutions

The advantages of implementing these next-generation technologies are twofold. First, they can result in substantial cost savings for businesses. By reducing the number of misrouted and abandoned calls, companies can save millions annually. Second, they significantly enhance the overall customer experience by making interactions smoother, more intuitive, and effective.

Case Study: Swisscom’s IVR Earns Top Marks in the Connect Award

In a rigorous test conducted by the Connect Award, network operators in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany were put to the test in a three-country comparison. The evaluation involved 296 testers contacting customer service hotlines over several weeks. The service test assessed various parameters, including the quality of statements, availability, waiting time, speech dialog system (IVR), and the friendliness of customer service representatives.

Remarkably, Swisscom’s IVR system stood out, receiving the maximum result of 15 out of 15 points. This accomplishment underscores the potential of advanced IVR systems to not only improve customer service but also to set new benchmarks for the industry.

Trends and Developments

As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more advanced solutions to address the issues of call abandonment and misrouting. The future of customer service promises more efficient and user-friendly systems.

Marie Angselius
Marie Angselius-Schönbeck is Chief Impact Officer and Chief Corporate Communications at Artificial Solutions, a company in Conversational Customer Experience. In 2019, she founded Women in AI by Amelia, an IPsoft-company, a global initiative to help close the gender gap in STEM. She has worked in th Conversational AI-industry for 5 years.


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