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Does Answer Rate Tell the Whole Story? These Key Call Metrics Can Give More Insight

Is your answer rate the answer blog image

Every business sets its own KPIs to measure success. You can reach a revenue goal for the year or onboard more clients this year than last. You can also measure how successful your communication methods are with customers through voice, text, email, chatbot, or other channels. 

For many call centers, answer rates seem to be the most popular metric for measuring the effectiveness of calling programs. Which makes sense: they’re the easiest to understand. You call a client, and they pick up (or they don’t). 

But what if we told you answer rates only tell you part of the story? What if going beyond the answer rate – and looking at more robust metrics like engagement rate, contact rate, and success rate – could tell you more about the success of your calls? 

What is an Answer Rate? 

The first step to going beyond the answer rate is understanding what it tells you. 

On its face, your answer rate is simple to grasp – it’s the measurement of how many times customers answer your outbound calls, shown as a percentage of your total calls. 

For example, let’s say you’re an enterprise that makes 1,000 outbound calls per day. Out of 1,000 calls, around 500 of those calls were answered – the answer rate is 50%. 

Typically, a high rate indicates that your calls are a success. However, that’s not always the case. 

In some cases, your answer rate can decrease because your clients are too busy or simply uninterested in talking to you. 

Think about it: we’ve all been in a situation where our attention is focused elsewhere – like our kids, spouse, work, or pets – and a phone call is the last thing we want to focus on at that moment. 

Because answered calls don’t explain call success or not, it’s not always the best metric to go by. 

So, if your answer rate isn’t the answer, what is? 

Better Metrics = More Complete Story 

What do we mean by better metrics? Other important data points to focus include your engagement rate, total treated calls, and decline rate.

Engagement rate is a First Orion proprietary measurement. It shows your answer rate adjusted to reflect the percentage of answered calls with a call duration of 1 minute or longer. 

With engagement rate, you don’t just see how many of your calls get answered; you also get insight into how many clients were engaged when they answered. 

You may see a decrease in your overall answer rate, but an increase in your engagement rate and other KPIs. 

One of our call center clients recently noticed that a decline in their answer rate worked in their favor. When using INFORM, the call center saw a 16% decrease in their answer rate. However, they benefited from a 10% boost in their engagement rate and a 48% lift in their conversion rate. That means they made fewer calls but more efficient ones, with customers that were ready to engage. 

It’s not surprising that highly engaged customers are inclined to buy more, promote your business more, and demonstrate more loyalty to your brand. 

In addition to engagement rate, when you adopt INFORM® to brand your calls, you get access to other Basic Analytics.

Basic and Advanced Analytics: Which One is For You? 

Basic Analytics comes with key data points that can indicate if your calls are efficient and effective.


Basic Analytics (which includes engagement rate) includes helpful metrics that show your call performance, including: 

  • Total treated calls – This shows the total calls where an INFORM branded text display name was presented. This is the reach of your calling program and shows how many INFORM calls were successfully made. 
  • Decline rate – The percentage of calls declined by users, which shows whether people want to answer an INFORM call when they see it. When consumers expect your call, your decline rate is likely to decrease. 

If you need more robust analytics, First Orion offers advanced metrics as well. 


Advanced Analytics gives you more insight into your calls. With this, you can view additional metrics such as: 

  • Contact rate – The number of times a client was successfully reached. Shows you what percentage of your target list has been contacted at least once, and helps you understand the overall effectiveness of your program. 
  • Success rate – Shows the percentage of unique called numbers with at least one call lasting as long as the Successful Call Duration control (typically 2 minutes or longer but is variable based on client preferences). This rate helps to indicate which calls resulted in a likely conversion. 

Advanced metrics, like call duration buckets and program comparison, also help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your calling programs. Additionally, centers can compare metrics between programs for a more in-depth analysis of which ones are a success and which aren’t. 

Plus, you can view your call Success Rate using a state-by-state heatmap. The heatmap shows you where your calls work and gives you a visualization of your highest and lowest success rates by state. 

The Industry Leader in Call Analytics 

First Orion is the industry leader when it comes to comprehensive analytics for branded communications programs. When you dive into the metrics provided by our Basic and Advanced Analytics solutions, you can turn rich call data into actionable insights. This can increase your ROI while creating unique branding experiences with your customers. 

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