Missed sales calls

BaseCloud CRM, Call Connect, Sales

Addressing the 30% Unanswered Incoming Sales Calls Issue in South Africa

Missed sales calls represent lost opportunities, lost leads, and lost income.

BaseCloud’s recent analysis reveals a concerning trend in South Africa: on average, 30% of incoming sales calls from potential clients go unanswered. This a shocking statistic and highlights how much South African businesses are losing out on potential new customers.

What are the implications of this issue? In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind it and help you find targeted solutions to handle incoming calls better and double down on these valuable opportunities.

Real South African Call Data

You may be thinking, “There’s no way that my business is part of this statistic; we answer all our calls”. Unfortunately, that’s probably not true.

Our data from businesses across different industries and sizes indicate that they miss 30% of incoming sales calls from potential clients in South Africa. The significance is mind-blowing, and the sheer magnitude of this rate underscores the importance of addressing this issue.

To make matters worse, this percentage remains relatively unchanged during and after business hours. Voicemail has now become an old-school form of communication, and in the age of instant messaging and scrolling to the next listing on Google, one thing is sure: Once a call goes unanswered, you’ve probably frustrated that customer and lost them forever. 

So if you’re missing up to 30% of your sales calls, you’re wasting marketing spend and missing out on a ton of revenue. 

The True Cost of Unanswered Sales Calls

If your business could be part of the trend we see in South African statistics, what is the true cost of missed calls to your company?

Case Study

We found that one of our client’s missed call rate volumes was even higher than the average 30%; their missed call rates were averaging at 50%. 

Missed sales calls case study graph

This client was also under the impression that they weren’t missing many calls; they were baffled at the cost of their marketing spend and the lacklustre return on investment. 

If they get around 260 sales calls per month, and 14% of all sales calls typically lead to a recurring customer bringing in an average of R180 monthly, they would get 36 new clients and a monthly sales revenue of R6 500.

But they were missing 50% of these calls. Therefore, they were losing out in recurring revenue R3 250 every month, which has a compounding effect.

Clearly, it’s crucial for businesses to address the issue of missed incoming sales calls and implement effective call management systems to minimise missed calls and optimise call handling. By doing so, companies can improve their revenue potential and ensure they are not missing out on valuable opportunities.

Additionally, when prospective customers are unable to reach a company, their satisfaction and perception of the brand may suffer, negatively affecting the business’s reputation and future growth prospects.

Addressing the Issue

Since clients often don’t have transparent insights into everything that happens in their company, they operate under the assumption that their systems are already optimised fully. However, our data suggests otherwise.

It’s rarely an issue of gross negligence by employees, it’s simply the need to address inefficiencies that’s missed throughout leadership straight to the call center.

BaseCloud CRM is used by BaseCloud clients to manage their leads and clients more efficiently.  

Part of the CRM makes use of “Tracking Numbers”, which enables us to monitor, on behalf of the client, the call quality, durations and other factors like answer rates.  Typically, BaseCloud team members might listen to some of the recordings to determine if the lead quality is good.  

After consultation and pointing out the high missed call rates an investigation was launched, in which many recordings were also listened to, it was found that the sales team was not negligent. Instead, there was fault with their call system.  

The client made changes to fix their calling system and although not perfect, it has reduced to 24%. This has resulted in a large improvement in overall sales for the company and client experience.   

Are you Missing Sales Calls? These Are Possible Causes:

Several factors contribute to the high rate of missed incoming sales calls in South Africa.

Infrastructure challenges, such as unreliable telecommunication networks, can lead to dropped calls or poor call quality, causing potential clients to hang up before being connected. Other factors include a lack of efficient call management systems, insufficient staff training in handling incoming calls, and cultural factors that might contribute to the reluctance or inability to promptly address incoming inquiries.

Unreliable Telecommunication Networks Due to Load Shedding

Unstable telecommunication networks can result in dropped calls or subpar call quality, thereby contributing to the high rate of missed incoming sales calls.

One of clients said: “Our phone system goes offline every time load shedding occurs. It causes us to miss sales calls and negatively impacts our ability to provide excellent customer service.”

During load shedding, businesses may experience power outages or reduced power supply, leading to phone systems being unavailable or insufficiently powered to handle incoming calls. This can result in potential clients being unable to connect with the business or experiencing long wait times, leading to missed opportunities and potentially lost sales.

Inefficient Call Managing Systems

Inefficient call management systems can lead to missed calls, long wait times, and poor customer experiences. If a business does not have an automated call routing system, incoming calls may be directed to the wrong department or go unanswered, resulting in missed opportunities. Moreover, a lack of call tracking and monitoring tools can make it difficult for businesses to identify and rectify inefficiencies in their call management process.

It’s essential for businesses to implement efficient call management systems that ensure incoming calls are directed to the right person or department promptly and enable businesses to track and monitor call performance to improve their customer experience.

Insufficient Staff Training in Handling Incoming Calls

Insufficient staff training in handling incoming calls is another factor that can contribute to the high rate of missed incoming sales calls in South Africa. Without proper training, staff may lack the necessary skills and knowledge to handle incoming calls effectively, resulting in missed opportunities and poor customer experiences.

Staff who are not trained in active listening or effective communication may struggle to understand customer needs or fail to provide the necessary information, leading to dissatisfaction and lost sales. Additionally, inadequate training in call handling procedures can result in staff being unable to respond promptly to incoming calls, leading to long wait times and missed opportunities.


To reduce the rate of missed incoming sales calls, South African businesses can take several targeted steps:

  • Invest in reliable telecommunications infrastructure and equipment to ensure clear and consistent call quality.

  • Implement efficient call management systems to route incoming calls to the appropriate personnel, minimise wait times, and optimise call handling.

  • Provide staff training in telephone etiquette and customer service to enhance communication skills and ensure that potential clients receive prompt, professional attention.

  • Encourage a culture of responsiveness and accountability, making it a priority to address incoming calls and promptly follow up on any missed calls.

The data revealing a 30% rate of unanswered incoming sales calls in South Africa highlights a critical issue that businesses must address to enhance their performance and seize potential revenue opportunities.

Addressing the Root of the Unanswered Calls Problem

By understanding the factors contributing to this issue and implementing targeted solutions, South African businesses can improve their call-handling processes, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately bolster their bottom line.

But how can you address a problem you don’t know you have?

BaseCloud CRM is world class South African software, specifically designed for South African businesses. Contact us today to see how we can track your incoming calls, improve your customer service, and help your business grow.

Share this post


More Articles

Scroll to Top

Experience 5 Star Service

"*" indicates required fields