Call Answer Rate: Everything You Need to Know

Glossary: Call Answer Rate

What is Call Answer Rate?

Call Answer Rate (CAR) is a call center metric that shows the percentage of answered calls in relation to the total number of calls.

Along with other critical contact center metrics and key performance indicators, a Call Answer Rate is an important metric to measure. When defining a Call Answer Rate in a call center, it’s essential to differentiate between inbound and outbound call center operations.

Inbound Call Answer Rate

In the inbound call center context, a Call Answer Rate measures the percentage of incoming calls answered by agents within a specified time frame compared to the total number of received calls.High answer rates in inbound call centers mean the majority of the incoming customer calls are answered by the agents, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction. It also means that the call center is appropriately staffed, and there are always enough agents to handle incoming calls.

Outbound Call Answer Rate

In the case of outbound call centers, a Call Answer Rate (also known as the Contact Rate or Answer Success Rate) measures the percentage of attempted outbound calls that are answered by the recipients (prospects or customers). It is commonly used to evaluate the effectiveness of outbound calling campaigns. A high sales Call Answer Rate means more leads are picking up phone calls, and agents can engage in more conversations that may lead to increased sales conversions.

How is Call Center Answer Rate Calculated?

How to calculate Call Answer Rate for inbound calls:

The Call Answer Rate for inbound calls is calculated by dividing the total number of answered incoming calls by the total number of incoming calls received during the given period, then multiplying by 100.

The inbound answer rate formula for call center is the following:

CAR = (Total number of answered incoming calls / Total number of received incoming calls) x 100

E.g., if a call center receives 100 incoming calls and answers 90 of them, the CAR is 90%.

How to calculate Call Answer Rate for outbound calls:

For outbound call centers, the Call Answer Rate (Contact Rate) is calculated by dividing the total number of answered calls by the total number of outbound calls initiated by agents and then multiplying by 100.

CAR = (Total number of answered outgoing calls / Total number of outgoing calls made) x 100

E.g., if an outbound call center makes 1000 outgoing calls and 300 of them are picked up by the leads or customers, the CAR is 30% for the defined period.

When tracking call center statistics and measuring KPIs to evaluate the overall efficiency of a call center, managers should also pay attention to some other top call center metrics such as the Average Speed to Answer, the Average Call Duration, the Average Handle Time, First Call Resolution, Service Level, etc.

How to Improve Call Answer Rate for Inbound Calls

A high Call Answer Rate in inbound call centers indicates that the agents are able to efficiently handle the inbound call volume – while customers don’t have to wait in long call queues before being connected to a live agent.

On the other side, a low Call Answer Rate means more abandoned calls, frustrated customers, and poor customer experience.

There are several strategies to improve CAR for inbound calls:

  • Intelligent call routing: By implementing a smart call routing strategy through an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and call queues, inbound call centers can shorten wait times for callers, reduce Call Abandonment Rates, and improve Call Answer Rates.
  • Optimized call center staffing: An inbound call center must be properly staffed, with an adequate number of agents available to answer customer calls and handle high call volumes, particularly during peak hour traffic.
  • Self-service options: When customers are empowered with self-service tools such as chatbots, knowledge base, and FAQs – they can locate the necessary information on their own without having to reach out to support reps, which means fewer inbound calls to handle by agents.

How to Improve Call Answer Rate for Outbound Calls

In outbound call centers, a high Call Answer Rate is an indicator of the efficiency of outbound calling campaigns, which means agents can engage in more interactions with prospects and convert more leads.

A low Call Answer Rate, on the other hand, shows that an outbound call center isn’t connecting with leads efficiently and may need to make some key adjustments. Using AI Dialer solutions, which are often part of call center software tools, and enabling local presence, can improve the Call Answer Rates in outbound call centers.


What is a good Call Answer Rate?

For inbound call centers, something between 80%-90% can be considered a good CAR. However, any inbound call center should aim to answer 100% of incoming customer calls and eliminate abandoned calls altogether.

For outbound call centers, the answer rate between 25%-35% is typically considered good, but that number can vary based on the industry and other factors.

What is the 80/20 rule in a call center?

The 80/20 rule in call centers typically refers to another call center metric known as the Service Level. It means that about 80% of incoming calls should be answered by agents within 20 seconds or less, which can serve as an indicator of a good Service Level in a call center. By adhering to this rule, call centers can ensure high customer satisfaction levels and a positive customer service experience.

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