6 Contact Center Call Deflection Strategies
We are pleased to present this helpful guide provided by our partners at RingCentral.
It might sound counterintuitive, but when a customer reaches out to a contact center, the best option isn’t always speaking to an agent. The customer might receive faster service through a self-service option.
Call deflection can be an effective method of redirecting customers to other channels so that they have a better customer experience. The technique employs alternatives to live operators, such as live chat or self-service options on a website. When a customer calls a company, they hear an automated message which gives them the option to stay on the line or switch to another channel.
In our experience, we find that many people (including companies that operate contact centers) confuse call deflection with techniques to avoid interacting with customers, such as call avoidance.
Call avoidance can be a natural result of a call deflection strategy, yet it can also be intentional. Intentional call avoidance has a negative impact on the customer experience. Contact center call deflection isn’t about preventing customers from interacting with you; it’s about encouraging them to use other options. Intentional call avoidance, on the other hand, is disempowering and aggravating, something you don’t want for your customers.
Call forwarding vs. call deflection
Some people confuse call forwarding with call deflection. They believe that if they’re forwarding calls to another number, they’re deflecting calls.
That’s not the case; call deflection is only deflection when you direct customers to another channel. Call forwarding doesn’t direct customers to a separate channel; they’re still staying on the phone.
What to remember when building a contact center call deflection strategy
When you’re creating a contact center call deflection strategy, you keep the customer experience at the forefront. Call deflection, when done well, can actually create a better customer experience.
How is that possible? Call deflection gives customers the option to stay on the call or to try another channel. Unlike intentional call avoidance, it doesn’t force them not to talk to anyone.
When thinking about the customer experience, consider whether a call deflection strategy makes sense for your customer base. Do they feel comfortable with channels other than the phone? If so, which channels do they use the most? There’s no point directing customers toward channels they don’t use.
Moreover, whichever channels you’re directing customers to must offer an excellent customer experience. Live chats must be answered promptly and thoroughly; your self-service options must provide useful, actionable advice that solves problems. Think about this research from customer experience expert Shep Hyken: 96 percent of customers say they’ll switch brands to get better customer service. If you’re not directing customers to channels that provide an excellent experience, they’re not going to come back.
Here are our favorite strategies for contact call center deflection:
Seventy-five percent of people below the age of 44 like contacting businesses via text. Texting can be a good call deflection channel because so many people text in their personal lives. They find it easy and fast. Moreover, automation means that companies respond to texts faster.
Each month, 20 billion messages are exchanged between customers and businesses on the Facebook Messenger platform. With billions of people using Facebook, it makes sense for businesses to be on the platform, too. One of the benefits of Facebook Messenger is that you can deploy chatbots. Chatbots can answer simple questions for your customers when you’re not available.
Apple Business Chat
Apple has a huge install base (approximately 1.5 billion active devices), with over three-quarters of them running the latest version of the operating system.
Apple Business Chat offers companies an excellent communication channel; customers don’t need to download another business app to connect with businesses – there’s a native app already on their device. Moreover, when an iOS user searches for a company’s phone number, Apple automatically suggests they use Business Chat to save time and effort.
WhatsApp introduced WhatsApp for businesses in 2018, and it’s been slowly gaining popularity ever since. With over 2 billion users across the world, this app represents an excellent channel for companies to communicate with customers. Contact center call deflection solutions integrate with WhatsApp; when a WhatsApp user calls the contact center, the IVR system confirms the person has a WhatsApp account and then sends a message to that person to start the conversation.
A website chatbot
Since 2019, chatbots have seen a 92 percent increase in usage, and over 87 percent of consumers rate their experience in the range of neutral to positive. Consumers feel comfortable using chatbots because bots respond quickly, which saves time, and they’re always available. Deflecting customers to a chatbot increases the chances that customers will get their problems solved faster. If it’s a problem a chatbot can’t solve, the chatbot will pass it off to a human agent.
A knowledge base on the website
Research from Forbes shows that 40 percent of customers prefer self-service over human contact; moreover, 91 percent of customers would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs. Deflecting calls to a knowledge base can be an effective strategy to boost the customer experience. Provided that the knowledge base is comprehensive and user-friendly, it can help customers quickly find the answers they need.
Develop an effective contact center call deflection strategy with CTI