When there’s a high influx of calls, it can feel difficult to provide each customer with a stellar experience. Many companies find it’s nearly impossible to staff enough employees to answer every call and question, especially during periods of influx for unforeseen reasons. So what can be done?
Call deflection is a powerful way to provide your customers with better customer service while balancing business constraints and lowering per interaction costs. Read on to learn more about call deflection, its benefits, and how to implement call deflection to help your company craft a strategy for better customer service.
What Is Call Deflection?
Call deflection is the strategy of diverting customer calls to alternate channels to provide them with accurate, and oftentimes superior, customer support. Call deflection isn’t call avoidance or call forwarding because it’s still focused on providing customers with the right type of support, rather than avoiding customer interactions. Call deflection can be cost-effective for your company and more convenient for the customers.
A call deflection strategy might send customers to a new channel that directly answers their questions, provides self-service options, or—our favorite—route a customer to SMS messaging with the team. Why SMS? People generally prefer texting and getting started with their needs instead of waiting on hold or hoping they don’t get disconnected. Or even worse, getting connected or dropped after a long wait!
Once a customer reaches your company, they are presented with a few options: they can visit a self-service channel, switch over to texting, or stay on the line to speak with a customer service representative. The key with call deflection is that the customer is in control. They are the one who chooses a more cost effective channel because they actually prefer it. Talk about a win, win!
The Benefits of Call Deflection
Call deflection is beneficial for both the customers and the company. Companies benefit from call deflection because it reduces costs and handle time, thus, improving agent efficiency. SMS call deflection comes with the added benefit of improving the customer’s experience because they’re only moving to SMS if that’s the channel they prefer. Instead of spending company resources by staffing more agents than needed, a company can use call deflection to better utilize resources.
Agents at the company benefit as well from a more unified agent desktop. Customer support agents have many tasks to focus on and an unending demand for their time and attention. Regardless of how it’s designed, call deflection can often prioritize resources and produce efficiencies without reducing the customer’s experience. Instead, their time and efforts can be allocated appropriately for customers who want to communicate via phone, text, or email, etc.
For example, with Acquire’s customer support software, a customer can call your call center, decide they’d prefer to continue via text, and then later decide they’d like to escalate to video/voice from their phone (they’d route from their SMS platform to your website’s widget). In this instance, you’ve routed them to a digital channel and then kept them there even when they decide they’d like to speak to someone.
For customers that prefer human interaction and support, they will always have the option to talk to a human agent, whether that’s bypassing the option to move to text, or escalating to a live voice after routing to SMS. When a customer starts at your call center, any choice to move to a digital channel improves their experience, while reducing your business’ costs. Everyone wins!
Additionally, call deflection can be used to route customers to self-serve options such as knowledge bases or bots that help answer questions with clear answers (tracking orders, for instance). Some companies find that providing tracking orders can reduce call volume by 20–40%.
How to Implement Call Deflection
With those benefits in mind, let’s look at how a company can implement call deflection. These are five practical tips to get started with call deflection.
Offering SMS is the lowest hanging fruit. Customers like it, it’s in their control, and your business saves money when they use it. Everyone wins when you have SMS available. It’s customer support at your fingertips. To utilize SMS, your company just needs a call deflection tool that supports SMS, and you’ll have your customers texting for support in no time.
Identify Common Reasons for Calls
The first step to implementing call deflection is to identify common reasons for calls. Using tools to analyze customer calls can help you identify the top reasons why a customer might be calling. You might learn that customers regularly call about billing. Depending on your company billing processes, you might now know you need a channel for billing or a way to automatically redirect those customers to an agent. The key is to identify these reasons, so you can provide the right channels.
Understand Customer Needs
Beyond knowing the reasons, it’s important to understand the intent behind the calls. What are customers looking for? Do they need information? Do they need someone to solve a problem they can’t? Do they need to make a payment? All of these needs require different responses, which is why it’s important to understand the intent behind calls.
Create Alternate Channels to Meet Needs
Once you understand the types of calls you receive and customer intent, you need to create alternate channels to meet the needs of the customers. That could include setting up self-service options, like providing forms to fill out and chatbots/ sequence bots that can answer a variety of questions. It could include more information on your website that can direct customers to information. Call deflection channels can even include setting up recordings of information customers regularly call for.
Utilize Data Analytics and Customer Feedback
With alternate channels in place, call deflection isn’t over. It’s important to set up a way to use data analytics and customer feedback to continue to improve your call deflection strategy and refine your customer support. Utilize that data and feedback to understand what channels are working and where customers still need options.
With data analytics, you might find that customers don’t call as regularly about a certain topic anymore, so you can adjust your call deflection strategy accordingly. You might learn from feedback that there’s a customer need that could have a new channel, and you can continue to implement those as you utilize feedback.
Customers who still prefer to speak with a live chat agent need personalized support options still. It’s important to implement personalization to ensure your company is providing optimal customer support.
A Strategy for Better Customer Service with Acquire
By redirecting customer inquiries to more efficient channels, businesses can improve their customer service experience while also reducing support costs and increasing agent efficiency. The key to creating better customer service with call deflection is choosing the right call deflection tools.
Acquire offers a call deflection tool that’s designed to reduce business costs while increasing customer satisfaction. With this customer support platform, you can redirect customer calls to messaging or even video calls for more complex support requests. Book a demo to try call deflection for your company.