Low Call Answer Rate? It Might Be Your Carrier's Fault


Call answer rates are a big metric in customer service and call centers. Businesses need to answer calls and make sure people are getting what they need. However, even with the best strategies, there are some instances where calls still slip through the cracks. Technology is great, but it also comes with its potential barriers, including the fact that your low call answer rates might be your carrier’s fault. 

There are several ways that you can improve your answer rates and outreach efforts. If you are limited on resources, you might even consider outsourcing to a team like Smith.ai for support with outreach campaigns and more. 

For now, let’s discuss call answer rates and what might be causing the issues so that you can make corrections and move forward. 

What are call answer rates?

Your call answer rate (CAR) percentage is a metric that shows how many calls have been answered in relation to how many have come through in total. For example, if you’ve had 300 calls so far today and 150 of them got answered right away, that’s a 50% CAR. If your business has gotten 500 calls and only answered 100, your CAR would only be 20%. 

Obviously, the higher the percentage, the better, because it means that many more calls are getting answered by your sales team, customer service agents, and others. This is just one of many valuable call center metrics that is used daily, but it’s also an essential element to every business with a campaign that includes phone calls. 

There are also two separate measurements here:

  1. Inbound call answer rates (Inbound CAR)
  2. Outbound call answer rates (Outbound CAR)

The latter is also known as the answer success rate or contact rate and refers to how many people answer the calls made by your sales team or other representatives of your company. 

You need to maximize both efforts. Of course, there are some things that may be out of your control. 

Carrier problems with call answer rates 

The FCC just updated communications rules with a new standard known as STIR/SHAKEN, which basically amps up the need for call authentication and reduces the ability of companies to spoof numbers or make spam calls. Until carriers are on board with this compliance, yours might be costing you valuable calls because your caller ID isn’t showing like it should. 

Another issue with carriers is downtime and service interruptions. A simple “missed call” for a consumer could be an entire line of missed business for a company—that’s why it’s essential for you to have the best communications strategy and the best communications partner. 

Other issues include things like:

  • Spam detection apps and tools 
  • Spam or “likely scam” alerts on incoming phone calls 
  • Automated call screening features 

Sometimes, people will ask for a call and never get it simply because your team tried, but their carrier marked it as “Spam” instead of a valid call.

If it’s your carrier that’s having the issues, you’ll want to make sure that they’re up to date with FCC compliance and they have the best business calling practices and guidelines in place. That way, you can guarantee these issues get resolved and future problems with low call answer rates won’t be a result of a bad carrier. 

The importance of answering every call 

How often are you told that every call counts? It’s repeated time and again because it’s true. Your company needs to be able to answer every call that comes in and reach out to every customer with outbound calls in a timely manner if you are going to get the results and relationships that you want. 

Even one missed call in the grand scheme of your outreach strategy could create a huge hiccup in your plans. Plus, companies that miss calls or keep people on hold lose big reputation points when it comes to ranking them in search results and for general business quality overall. 

In addition to delivering what your customers need, having a good phone strategy in place will ensure that you don’t miss out on good leads or put your business reputation on the line. 

Despite the fact that some big companies think it’s entirely acceptable to call from private or blocked numbers and keep people on hold for endless wait times, that’s the fastest way to lose customers, especially for a small business. If you don’t have the means to keep up with your call volume, you might want to consider another strategy. 

How to improve call answer rates 

In addition to making better efforts yourself (and in your team), you can also improve your call answer rates in several other ways. For starters, you can deliver self-service automated solutions for your audience so that they can help themselves and maybe save the call in the first place. 

You’ll also want to use intelligent call routing and AI tools to help you get the right people to the right place when they ring up your business. Make sure that your carrier is up to date with the latest FCC guidelines and that they’re ready to deliver the solutions that you need. And of course, if you need help, feel free to ask. 

Outsource to Smith.ai for better call solutions and more

If you’re frustrated with the solutions you have in place or you just can’t deliver the level of service customers need on the phone, you should consider outsourcing instead. Not only will this give you access to a team of experts, but when you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll never miss a lead, thanks to our 24/7 answering service with live agents on the call every time. 

Plus, we can help you with your outreach campaigns to generate those leads in the first place. Smith.ai also has solutions for lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even live chat solutions to offer more communication tools to your audience. 

Reach out to hello@smith.ai to learn more or schedule a consultation today.


Business Education
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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