10 ways call deflection can reduce call volumes
The contact centre should be the first port of call for customers eager for an in-person response, and a place of last resort for others when all other avenues have proved fruitless. But while it is a key part of the customer experience machine, it must not be the only place a customer turns to in their journey. In fact, deflecting calls away from the contact centre and onto other, more appropriate, digital channels, can be just as effective, if not more so, in resolving customer queries – and reducing call volumes at the same time.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to call deflection, but with the right combination of tools and tactics that suit your needs and those of your customers, the desired effect of reducing call traffic to your contact centre and resolving customer queries can be met.
10 tips for using call deflection effectively
It is first important to start by assessing your customer base to understand their preferred channels of communication, outside the phone lines, from chatbot to SMS. This will inform your overall deflection strategy on how and where you will divert customers.
- Proactively contact customers. Anticipate customer needs and enquiries through ‘agent-less’ means like SMS and email. These keep customers up-to-date with offers and issues or explain recent changes in services, without effort on their part. Include links to self-service capabilities where possible.
- Introduce self-service on your website. Whether updating addresses or paying a bill, enabling customers to undertake a number of processes themselves keeps them away from the phonelines.
- Use AI-enabled chatbots. Another self-service functionality that allows customers to find information from a pre-prepared knowledge bank. Since chatbots can also be integrated into customer systems to allow for guided, self-service process completion, customers can have their questions answered and issues resolved without them needing to get on the phone.
- Create online communities. Here, customers can share knowledge and find answers from each other.
- Use recognition tools. The likes of Caller Line Identification can identify customers while they wait in line, and well-designed IVRs can share pertinent information that can resolve their query or arrange a call-back, satisfying their need to speak to an agent.
- Implement voicebots. These can automatically complete customer tasks whilst they wait, using speech recognition technology to automatically complete simple tasks, such as change of address, or notify customers of changes in service.
- Gather data with an IVR. Before passing a customer on to an agent, an IVR can collect pertinent information in order to effectively triage your calls, diverting them to the right department and lessening the overall call time.
- Introduce an automated ID&V process. This can remove necessary call admin ahead of putting the customer through to an agent, saving valuable handling time and enabling agents to spend more time on more complex or valuable calls.
- Use conversation history. By securely presenting the agent with a customer’s history, such as web pages visited, reasons for past calls, previous deflection points, an agent can resolve an enquiry more quickly, without having to get the customer to repeat themselves.
- Offer a call-back solution. Whilst this won’t deflect the calls away from the contact centre, it will enable your team to better manage call volumes at a time convenient to them.
When implemented correctly, call deflection can effectively reduce the volume of traffic into your contact centre, leading to happier agents and a better overall customer journey.
With over 20 years’ experience in contact centres, I spent the first half of my career in operational roles across the contact centre industry, with a particular focus on technology, workforce engagement and leadership. Since then, I’ve worked with leading brands across the globe, helping them utilise the latest technology and optimising their...