Tips & Resources

Unanswered Calls: How to Avoid Lost Businesss

Jenna Bunnell
By Jenna Bunnell
24 November, 2022

Wondering how to fix the problem of unanswered calls? Turn lost calls into leads with these business tools and customer service strategies


Missed calls can seem like an insurmountable problem. Even if you’ve got a 24/7 call center, there’s a maximum number of calls you can take at a time. Add in potential problems like lengthy hold times or a bad connection, some calls will go unanswered. 

However, missed calls don’t have to mean missed opportunities. From call scheduling to instant messaging, to a self-service portal, there are a number of ways to turn unanswered calls into new leads.

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Free to use image from Unsplash

Why do Unanswered Calls Matter?

The simple fact is if you don’t answer a call, you don’t know the extent of the opportunity you missed. Whether it’s a new client calling or a complaint from a long-time customer, dropped calls will lead to dissatisfaction and push customers towards your competitors. 

Unanswered calls can cause:

  • Lost revenue: when you miss calls you don’t only miss a sale but you could also damage your long-term relationship with your clients.
  • Reputation damage: if your customers view you as being inattentive to their needs and are dissatisfied with your service, they could leave negative reviews, damaging your reputation.
  • Decreased customer satisfaction: if a complaint goes unanswered, frustrations will grow. Your customers will look elsewhere and will head to competitors that will likely have tools like a call forwarding service available.

    What Causes Calls to go Unanswered?

    There are often very simple reasons why we can’t answer every call. Here are some of the reasons why calls go unanswered: 

    • Lack of human resources: Sometimes there just isn’t enough staff to answer every call and hiring can be a costly and time-consuming process.
    • Digital-First strategy: many companies are understandably prioritizing digital communication methods but many customers, especially older demographics prefer phone calls.
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    Image sourced from

    • Technical issues: these could be an internal fault or due to your service provider.
    • No out of hours service: offering round-the-clock customer service is a resource-intensive option not available to all businesses.

      How to Reduce Missed Calls 

      So, we’ve listed some common problems. But what are the solutions? From avoiding scheduling mistakes to improving processes, here’s what you can do. 

      Increase Availability

      This doesn’t just mean hiring more staff. As we discussed above, that takes time and money. Of course, you’ll need to grow your support team as you grow your business but there are other ways to increase availability. 

      Analyzing your call statistics can tell you when you receive the most calls. Knowing when calls are likely to be dropped can help you allocate your current staff resources and conversational AI effectively. As well as call volumes, bottlenecks in your support process can cause delays and missed calls.

      If your front-line support or sales staff have to wait for answers from managers or second-line support teams, this can lead to long wait times, missed calls, and dissatisfied customers. Smoothing these processes with a team management app or scheduled callbacks can help.   

      Email & Text

      Having digital alternatives can reduce the overall number of calls coming into your business. Email and text might not be as popular as phone calls for some customers but giving your customers options means they can choose their preferred method.

      Two-way text through live chat or SMS messaging can be a great way to communicate with customers who are hard to reach over the phone. It also enables more accessibility options for customers who have difficulty with phone calls. Just make sure these options are treated as additions, not replacements, for phone calls. Consider adding means for customers to reach you in your next email newsletter templates.

      Scheduled Calls

      If you’re working in sales or account management, you know this pattern. You get a form submission or an email from a customer but you can’t get hold of them when you call back. You leave a message and they call back, only to find you’re in a meeting, etc. 

      Having a way of scheduling calls can help cut down on these back-and-forth situations. If you have a close relationship with the client, then an informal text is fine. If you’re dealing with a larger volume of customers, then an automated scheduling option works best.  

      How to Turn Your Missed Calls Into Leads & Opportunities 

      No matter what measures you take to cut down on unanswered calls, you won’t eliminate them entirely. How you respond to these missed calls matters. Using modern business tools and techniques, you can make opportunities out of calls that would have previously been lost.

      Modernize With VoIP

      If you’re still using a traditional business PBX system, then missed calls will continue to be a problem. Modern VoIP phone systems can handle a wider variety of call functions and offer better integrations with call center software

      If you’re a small business owner still operating on a single phone line, then VoIP is a cost-effective way to start operating separate business lines. For larger businesses, VoIP is still the most easily scalable phone solution.  

      Since VoIP is handled digitally, it can be integrated with your CRM system to identify calls from existing customers, new business, priority accounts, and so on. You can use this to help direct and customize your responses. 

      This also enables further tech solutions, like voicemail to text and auto-replies. Modern solutions like this SAP cloud integration platform can link multiple business tools, enabling these forward-thinking technologies to benefit your business in the long-term.   

      Use Customer Data and Analytics

      We mentioned above that analytics can help you identify the causes of missed calls. Using a digitally integrated service like VoIP makes collecting and analyzing call data much easier. Understanding your customers' habits and preferences will help you meet their needs. 

      Having a phone system that can link to customer account details can give you much more granular information about your missed calls. This means you can do things like sending missed call notices from priority accounts to senior account managers for quick callbacks. 

      A computer on a tableDescription automatically generated with low confidence

      Free to use image from Unsplash 

      Response Time Matters

      The quicker you respond to an unanswered call, the more likely you are to capture the opportunity. Automated replies can help with this, especially if you give the customer alternative communication channels, FAQ links, etc. depending on their issue.  

      Call scheduling can go one step further than that. You can integrate scheduling options with your automated response to give customers a fixed time for a callback. Another option is to use your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to schedule callbacks, so the customer never feels like the call was dropped.  

      Of course, the best response is an immediate one, but that’s not easy to achieve. When you have integrated digital services, though, you can enable quick responses to contact form submissions, emails, and alternative customer contact points.

      Multiple Lines and Smart Routing

      Having dedicated lines for your various customer needs is a necessity as you grow your business. A small business might take every call through their reception desk but eventually this will need to change. 

      Having a digitally enabled solution like VoIP is the easiest way to ensure that you can scale your phone system. This will enable you to set up multiple lines and rout calls intelligently once you start dealing with large customer volumes and multiple departments. 

      Final Thoughts: Don’t Miss Out Due to Missed Calls 

      There’s a difference between a call being unanswered and a call being ignored. When you’re trying to make your customers feel valued, they need to feel like you’re listening to their comments, feedback, and complaints. 

      It’s not so much the missed call itself - instead, think about the way you respond to it. There are many steps between an immediate response and no response, so don’t be afraid to make your improvements one step at a time.    

      Jenna Bunnell

      About the author

      Jenna Bunnell

      Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted multi line phone system for small business that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna Bunnell also published articles for domains such as Attention Insight and Traffit. Check out her LinkedIn profile.

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