Patient Scheduling

Call abandonment rate: how to measure and improve it in your radiology practice (+free calculator)

Learn everything about Call Abandonment Rate, how you can calculate it and why it is important to improve your patients' experience.

Abandoned calls are a common problem for many radiology practices. They can be both costly and frustrating, having a real impact on your bottom line.

In a recent survey, the United States healthcare industry  discovered that its average abandoned call rate is 20%—which means that 20 out of every 100 calls received by your practice will be abandoned before they can be completed. That might not seem like much… until you consider what happens next:

When patients call a healthcare center to make an appointment or resolve an issue, it's usually because they need help right at that moment. They may not have time to wait on hold or deal with automated menus. If they don't get through quickly enough, they lose patience and hang up before anyone has a chance to help them—and this leaves them feeling frustrated and unconnected from their medical team.

What’s a call abandonment rate?

The call abandonment rate is a metric that measures the percentage of calls that are abandoned before they're completed. It's measured by the number of callers who hang up before reaching their destination.

Abandoned calls are an issue for businesses because they cost money and frustrate customers. A high call abandonment rate can also indicate problems with your business, such as poor customer service or an untrained staff.

The call abandonment rate is just a part of a set of important metrics that will allow your business to improve customer positive outcomes at the lowest cost. 

What are the main reasons behind abandoned calls?

  1. Poor call quality—if your callers can't hear or understand you, they may not want to continue talking with you.
  2. The inability to get the right person on the line—if your callers can't reach the right person, they won't want to continue talking with you.
  3. Lack of information—if your callers don't have enough information about who they're talking to and what they're calling about, they might not want to continue talking with you.

How is the call abandonment rate calculated?

The call abandonment rate is calculated by subtracting the number of calls handled from  the total of calls received. Then divide the result by the total of calls received and multiply it by 100.  The formula looks like this:


Calls received - Calls handled/ Calls received x 100 = Abandonment Rate

Abandoned Calls are the total number of calls that were not answered by an agent, while Total Calls are simply the sum of all completed calls (both answered and unanswered).

Example: If you receive 1,000 calls over a period of one week, but only 800 made it through to an agent for some reason (perhaps because there were no agents available), then you would have 200 abandoned calls. That means that 20% of all incoming calls were not answered—which would make your call abandonment rate 20%.

27% of total abandoned calls can become a patient for another practice.

What is a good call abandonment rate?

Your call abandonment rate is a critical metric to monitor, especially if you're in the business of taking customer calls. If your call abandonment rate is too high, it means that you're not answering calls quickly enough, or customers are unable to understand how to reach you or what they should do once they've reached your company.

According to TalkDesk Global, the average call abandonment rate for any industry oscillates between 6% and 7%, this (low)  percentage usually means calls are being answered on time.

Now, while a low abandoned call rate generally indicates that patients are able to easily understand how to reach a representative and aren’t getting stuck in a long queue, it doesn't necessarily mean customers are receiving a great experience. The call may not answer their query satisfactorily or their issue may require multiple calls to resolve.


Graphic illustration


What percentage of abandoned calls call you back?

The best way to get a complete answer to this question is to look at the data from every company that has ever been in business. That’s because every company will have different numbers and different reasons for their numbers, so it’s impossible to get a true average without looking at all of them.

That said, there are some things we can do: 

1) We can look at the average number of callbacks for abandoned calls over a time frame(this will give us an idea of how many people are calling back). 

2) We can look at the percentage of callbacks that actually turn into sales (this will tell us how many people who call back actually complete a request). 

How to reduce the call abandonment rate?

In the world of healthcare, it's not enough to just get a potential patient on the phone—you need to keep them there. A high call abandonment rate means that people are hanging up before they even get through to someone at your practice/hospital, and that can be devastating for your bottom line.

The good news is that this is something you can control with some careful planning and research. 

First, you need to understand where patients are dropping off in their interactions with your practice—are they calling from a mobile device? If so, are they using an app or dialing the number directly? This will help you figure out what kinds of solutions might work best for different groups of patients.

Integrate Call-Backs in your contact center process

When a customer calls your business, it's important that you offer them the option of requesting a call-back instead of waiting on hold. This way, they won't be stuck waiting for too long —or worse, hanging up because they've lost interest or patience!

Automate scheduling to reduce average handle time

If you have too many calls coming in at once, then your agents may not be able to answer them all within a reasonable amount of time and some customers may get frustrated and hang up before they're answered. It's important that you monitor your call volume so you know how many calls are coming in at any given time so that you can schedule enough staff members so that all calls are answered promptly and with enough time left over between calls so that your agents aren't rushed through their workday with no breaks or downtime between calls (which can lead them feeling tired and stressed).

Improve processes and automate where possible so that everything runs smoothly without much human intervention needed; this means fewer mistakes and more time dedicated to offering excellent patient care. 

Create an Interactive Queuing Experience

If your customers have to wait in line before being connected with someone on your team, make sure that experience is as pleasant as possible. Consider using text messaging notifications so they know where they stand in the queue—and why! 

You also want to consider what type of content might be most helpful for each point in the process: maybe some people just aren't ready when they call in because they don't have all the information they need yet (like the name of the scan they need). That's why we recommend having alternative communication lines (live chat options, SMS) on your website or through an app that allows visitors to engage with representatives before making a decision.

Do you know how much revenue your practice is losing from abandoned calls?

Abandoned calls not only lead to potentially lost long-life patients, they impact your revenue negatively as a result of underutilized resources. If a patient does not show up to their appointment and you can not fill in that spot, you lose.

Enter your daily call volume, estimated dropped call rate %, and revenue per appointment on our calculator, and find out how much revenue CCD Health can help you recover.



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