Have you ever waited in a call queue, trying to reach the customer support?
How did you feel?
Frustrated? Yes, that’s what most customers feel.
If you run a contact center, you are aware of the large volume of incoming calls. But most of these calls are low impact and doesn’t require dedicated human attention. Some of the issues can be resolved through other means and it is your duty to redirect your customer to these resources. This is what call deflection is all about.
What is call deflection?
Call deflection is a call center practice to ensure that customers are redirected to different convenient resources, in absence of immediate agent assistance. It is faster, efficient and mostly self-sustaining. Implementing the right call deflection strategy can improve your average handling time, reduce your incoming call and increase efficiency.
Deflecting calls doesn’t mean abandoning customers. It means redirecting them to a quicker solution like automated services or self-services. It has more positive impact on your customer’s experience rather than making them wait for their turn. Diverting your inbound calls is essential to reduce the stress on your customer support agents. Instead, you can respond to these customers on a no wait channel such as Visual IVR, social media, WhatsApp, live chat or chatbot or even in the FAQ section. The overall intention is to prioritize the customer even if your agents are occupied.
How to improve call deflection?
While there are several benefits to call deflection, the main intent is to help the customer efficiently. To do so, you have to learn about the customer, arrange resources for support, automate some of the conversations and importantly eliminate the queue time. It sounds easy but it needs a proper planning and the right technology. Let’s discuss in details:
Find out why your customers are calling
Before redirecting your customers, you need to know why they called. Without a reason, you can just provide an alternate option to select for self service. This is essential if you have high-volume inbound calls. Deploy a conversational bot or an IVR that will find out the customer’s intent of calling. Through NLU, the AI powered bot can decipher what the customer wants without much effort.
In case a customer is insistent on speaking to an agent, you can arrange for that as per the need. Or else, leverage the speech recognition tool to just find out the reason and redirect them to the most relevant resource. For example: If a customer called to renew their plan, they do not need agent assistance. They can be redirected to the payment portal through a link via SMS, email or WhatsApp and the customer can do the rest.
Automate the conversation with WhatsApp Bot
WhatsApp is a popular channel, which brands are adopting for customer support. Many industries already consider WhatsApp to be a more personal and easy-to-use channels for customers. Hence, when a customer is on hold, you can offer them the option to switch to WhatsApp support. 4 out of 5 customers are more likely to have a WhatsApp account and will feel free. Once the customer is ready, deploy your WhatsApp Bot to continue the conversation. WhatsApp is a bot-friendly channel, where your customers can exchange multimedia, conduct payment, track status and more. Customers can acquire any sort of assistance via WhatsApp Bot. Further, if the customer is unsatisfied, then an agent can be routed in for more guided help.
Consider Visual IVR, a modern alternative to regular IVR
Visual IVR is a self-service solution that literally allows the customers to engage with an IVR menu on screen. In other words, when the customer is waiting in the queue, they are offered an option to choose a digital self-service / Visual IVR support. Upon selecting that, the customer receives a link on their phone via SMS. That link opens up a the self-service portal. The customer can browse through the menu and seek the required help.
The visual IVR menu is more diverse than the regular IVR menus. Here, the customer has the option to self-service, and resolve the issue within the IVR itself by following the menu-tree. However, for some customers, interaction with a live agent will be required. With live chat and video chat integrated, the customer can opt also for live agent assistant. It is one of the best method to deflect customer calls but also responsibly ensuring that the user is satisfied.
Develop resources to redirect your customers
To redirect customers, you need to know what all resources you might need. It can be prepared for a chatbot menu, IVR menu or even a FAQ page. To know which topics to cover, you must have thorough insights into customer’s primary and secondary problems.
Create a survey or analyse your usual queries from customers. Inspect previous phone calls and ask your agents, what is the customer’s most common pain points. Once you have gathered these information, create a dedicated FAQ page and relevant menus to help your customer. When these resources are created, you can seamlessly redirect your customers towards these options.
Leverage social media with chatbot integration
Well, telephones are not the only lines where your agents are available. Digital channels are often not as crowded as your telephone lines. It is a low-cost way of offering customer service as well, because one agent can handle multiple conversations at the same time. With a handful of agents and a chatbot, you can deliver top tier customer service on social media.
Your brand must be present on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or TikTok. Utilise these channels to support your customers. While most people might call, the upcoming generation prefers texting. So investing in these channels is a win-win.
When a customer has called, instead of putting them on hold, offer them an option to connect with your agent via social media. If they choose yes, then SMS them links to your accounts to make the process easier. Once your customers are on social media, you can attend them with a chatbot or spare agents who are free at the moment. Be sure to promote your social media handles through marketing campaigns, so more people are aware of these channels.
Don’t bet on calling back, unless the customer insists.
There is no point in calling back a customer, if it can be resolved through other means. It is again increasing your call volume, keeping some other customers on-hold. The purpose of the call deflection is to improve productivity and assist customers immediately. Unless and until a customer is assured that they definitely need an agent, make sure you always redirect them to other resources.
However, sometimes customers do want agent assistance for various reasons. Maybe the customer is aged or disabled and cannot access other resources. In those times, schedule a call back and follow up as soon as possible.
Call deflection can be multi-variously beneficial to a company of any size. While small businesses with limited agent head-count can save up on financial resources, on the other hand, large businesses can reduce call volume because of it. With so many benefits at bay, call deflection is an essential component for the customer support industry. It can be used strategically to improve and elevate the customer experience. It can also allow you to meet essential KPIs to be ahead of your competitors