What is the Difference Between Lost Call, Abandoned Call, Missed Call and Dropped Call

July 30, 2021

When it comes to contact center terminology, it’s easy to get confused. In this article, you can learn about the difference between four similar call-related terms: lost call, abandoned call, missed call, and dropped call. 

Lost Call

‘Lost call’ is an umbrella term that refers to any call that gets disconnected before the caller would reach the agent or another answering service. A lost call can happen on purpose (one of the parties hang up) or involuntarily (due to limited capacity or a technical error). 

Abandoned Call

An abandoned call is a type of lost call. We talk about an abandoned call when the caller hangs up the phone while in the waiting queue or in the IVR, before an agent answers, or, if prompted, before leaving a voicemail

Abandoned calls usually happen because the client gets bored of waiting. 

According to industry standards, an abandon rate of 2-5% is considered normal.

With automated dialers, outbound calls can also get abandoned. In this case, the client answers the call but hangs up before the system connects them with an agent.

Missed Call

While in the case of abandoned calls, it’s the client that hangs up the phone, inbound missed calls are usually terminated by the contact center. 

In this scenario, the incoming call rings for a certain amount of time, but agents either don’t answer it soon enough or reject it. Most often, contact centers miss incoming calls when the ringing time reaches the maximum threshold determined in the inbound call settings.

A lost call can also receive the ‘missed call’ disposition if the client hangs up the phone before the IVR menu or the waiting queue, for example, during the welcome message. 

Missed calls can also happen during a call transfer where the new agent doesn’t answer the phone in time, and the first agent is already in another call by the time it happens.

Dropped Call

For inbound calls, a dropped call refers to a lost call that is accidentally disconnected due to a technical error or miscalculation. 

The term is more commonly used in the case of outbound calls initiated by a predictive dialer.

While predictive dialers are highly reliable with their intelligent calculations, it can happen sometimes that the estimation is off. 

For example, the dialer predicts that out of 10 dialed clients, only 5 will answer the phone, so the calls can be initiated as soon as the contact center has 5 available agents.

But, instead of 5, 6 contacts answer. In this scenario, only 5 clients can be connected to an agent, and the 6th one gets disconnected and received the “dropped call” disposition.

How to Reduce the Number of Lost Calls? 

Although you can’t save every lost call, there are a few ways you can reduce the number of missed calls, abandoned calls, and dropped calls.

  • Reduce the queue wait time, so your clients don’t lose patience
  • Play a message every 30 seconds informing callers about the approximate wait time
  • Monitor incoming calls and usual wait times in real-time monitoring
  • Put more agents on incoming calls during peak hours
  • Assign callbacks to incoming lost calls and automatically send them to an outbound campaign

Of course technology can be of great help to ensure these metrics are in line with your KPIs. Ensure your contact center uses automatic call distribution, interactive voice response (both inbound and outbound), and that there are solid ways of tracking and analyzing all metrics in real time.

Explore more key terms

To learn more basics, feel free to head over to our comprehensive list of 50 terms from the contact center space.

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