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What Is Call Deflection and How Does It Help?

Customer experience has become the key brand differentiator as it’s slated to overcome price and product in that regard by the end of 2020

Thanks to an oversaturated market, customers have become demanding and picky, meaning that they don’t want to stay a minute longer with a company that doesn’t offer them the best possible experience and level of satisfaction. 

Although considered an unnecessary expense a couple of decades ago, customer service has become one of the most important factors when it comes to customer retention. 

This means that when a customer reaches out to you with a question about or issue with a product, they expect a timely answer and solution – being put on hold is out of the question. 

That’s where call deflection comes in to save the day and offer instant and resourceful help to your customers, thus preventing them from churning. 

What Is Call Deflection? 

Call deflection is defined as the practice of rerouting a customer’s call to an alternative customer service channel. 

Call centers receive a massive amount of calls, and this either means that companies have to hire additional customer support reps, which is expensive, or let their customers wait, which significantly reduces customer satisfaction. 

One way out of this is optimizing call center operations by reducing call center volume. 

Call deflection helps both customer service reps and sales departments significantly increase their productivity, all while boosting customer satisfaction. 

The only problem is that many companies see call deflection as avoiding customers and don’t know how to properly implement this highly effective strategy. 

Here are some of the best call deflection strategies that you should consider. 

Implement Self-Service Channels 

67% of customers prefer self-service over having to talk to human support reps. 

Establishing intuitive self-service channels that your customers can use to solve their issues effortlessly is the first step of an effective call deflection strategy. 

This requires ensuring that your every self-service channel is fully operational as well as that all your resources are proper. In other words, check all your links and remove dead ones, write all the information and manuals in a clear and understandable language, avoid using technical jargon, and provide all the necessary information. 

It’s also a good idea to monitor your conversion funnel and determine at what point customers abandon a particular self-service channel so that you can improve and optimize it. 

Communicate With Your Customers Proactively 

The best way to deflect calls is to prevent them from happening, and you can do that if you keep the lines of communication with your customers open from the very beginning of your relationship with them. 

Instead of waiting for an issue to develop, onboard your customers and offer them all the support they need the moment they convert. Similarly, if you’re offering a service, inform them in advance if there will be downtime so that they don’t flood your call center with questions about what is going on.

That’s how you’ll strategically deflect potential calls and allow your support reps to deal with their usual workload. 

Leverage Chatbots 

Chatbots will help your support reps deal with call overflows efficiently and pick up the slack by taking over some simple and repetitive customer queries. 

These smart algorithms have become a staple of customer support because they significantly cut operating expenses, reduce waiting times, and improve customer experience. 

Namely, thanks to the fact that they are available at all times, and not just during office hours, as well as that they can handle multiple customers simultaneously, chatbots are very customer-friendly. 

At the same time, support reps can focus on more complex queries and issues without having to waste their energy on simple problems such as forgotten passwords.

Remind Them of Other Options in the Existing Channels

As call center numbers are usually among the most prominently displayed, people have a tendency to memorize them and simply use a speed dial option. 

Or maybe they don’t know that there’s another, faster way of reaching you, such as texting or using a chatbot. 

In order to change this, create a voicemail greeting or email auto-reply in which you’ll mention the other options they can use in order to solve their issue quickly and without waiting for a support rep to become available. 

This will encourage your customers to hang up and text or use a chatbot or any other more convenient channel. 

Identify When to Use Call Deflection

It’s of critical importance to determine in what situations you should use call deflection and when it’s best for your customers to have a phone call with a support rep.

For example, if there’s a complaint that has to be sorted out, a phone call and a direct interaction with a support agent is most certainly what it takes for a successful resolution. 

Namely, at that point, your customer is already disappointed and unhappy over your product or service, and a phone call with a support agent is the best way to iron things out. 

The very fact that support reps will have an opportunity to empathize with a disgruntled customer, hear them out, apologize, and calm them down will prevent that customer from churning. 

However, some tasks are simple and easily completed via an SMS or email, meaning that support reps don’t have to waste their time on them. These are, for example,

  • Reminders about appointments 
  • Delivery notifications 
  • Return notifications
  • Scheduling and rescheduling.  

If properly planned and executed, call deflection can streamline your communication with customers and provide them a greater level of satisfaction. This strategy will ensure that they can always get the information they need and successfully solve their product or service issues without having to wait for an available customer support rep. This will, in turn, reduce your churn rates and help you keep your customers.