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What is Call Deflection and How Can it Help Improve Customer Service?

Today’s customers have high expectations. They want their queries resolved quickly and with minimal effort. They also want multiple options for communicating with businesses, and definitely don’t want to wait on hold to speak to an agent. If they can self-serve, even better!

On the other hand, businesses are struggling with increased call volumes and the high costs of providing a voice service. They are always looking for ways to improve contact center productivity and optimize the ratio of incoming calls to solved inquiries, and of course to increase customer satisfaction.

One solution that can really help is to introduce call deflection to customer service operations.

What is call deflection and why is it important?

Call deflection is a technique that transfers incoming customer calls to a digital chat channel. The immediate benefits include:

  • Businesses can divert inbound calls to lower-cost digital channels and improve CX
  • Customers get a quick and more convenient customer experience
  • Agents’ performance is optimized

Businesses can journey customers from voice to digital channels, including self-service chatbots with live agent assistance available for issues the chatbots can’t solve.

How does call deflection work?

When customers call into a business looking for information, the IVR menu gives them the option to continue the conversation over a digital chat channel.

When the customers confirm, our API instantly triggers the transfer, and a conversation is started over the desired channel – with a chatbot or directly with an agent.

All this is supported by Answers our intelligent chatbot building platform, and Conversations our cloud contact center solution.

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3 benefits of customer call deflection

1. A better customer experience

Customers want a smooth and convenient customer journey when reaching out to customer support. Long waits on hold are unacceptable.

According to Hubspot research, 50% of customers rate an “immediate” response as essential or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define immediate as 10 minutes or less.

Call deflection makes this possible by giving customers the option to opt-out of waiting in a phone queue and be redirected to the digital channel.

Another key benefit is that with digital channels callers can be sent information via files and links, which can often help them solve the issue on their own. They are also not tied to the phone indefinitely waiting for an agent to respond to the call – they can simply send their enquiry and be notified when the agent has answered. A great example of this productivity perk is CIAK Auto, whose customers are auto mechanics that often prefer to continue working while waiting for a response from the automotive parts distributor.

On top of everything, digital customer service is the preferred option for those who don’t like to speak to live agents but would rather chat, and for those that appreciate the ability to exchange documents or media files, and have their queries answered outside of normal working hours.

Call deflection use cases

2. Easier management of conversations for agents

Thanks to their asynchronous nature, chats are easier to manage than voice calls. Customers don’t expect an immediate response, and agents can take time to search the knowledge base for the best and most precise information to provide.

Additionally, agents can handle multiple chat interactions simultaneously, which isn’t possible with voice calls.

By bringing automation to chat channels, a chatbot can handle FAQs, send files or links, and reduce the number of inquiries for agents. Agents can track customer and chat history and use rich media to help provide a personalized customer service. The time they save means that they can concentrate on customer requests that require their unique knowledge and skill set.

3. Improved business productivity

The main goal for brands using call deflection should be a better customer experience – it has been shown that NPS and CSAT have improved dramatically for businesses that have introduced this use case.

After that comes cost reduction – call deflection reduces the number of expensive, time-consuming phone calls. According to McKinsey and Company, brands who transition to digital customer service can reduce costs by 30% while increasing customer satisfaction by 19%.

Call deflection strategies

There are many different call deflection use cases and strategies businesses can deploy. Here are just a few:

  • Deflect calls by letting your customer choose their preferred digital channel, including WhatsApp, Viber, Apple Messages for Business, Google’s Business Messages, and more. This is backed up by a recent study of telco consumers that found that 60% of customers said that ‘convenience’ was the main reason they preferred communicating on digital channels. They also mentioned the speed of getting answers, the ability to see previous chat interactions, and the ability to maintain the same dialogue across multiple devices as key advantages.
  • Create a chat self-service option for your customers – automate communication flow with a chatbot that will solve frequently asked questions, while agents can pick up more complex ones. Go further and train your chatbot to recognize intent to provide an even faster service and offer a more conversational experience.
  • Offer customers the option to avoid long waits on hold by switching to digital channels when there are a lot of people ahead of them in the queue. You can define specific rules to provide a consistent experience, for example when the estimated wait time is longer than [5] minutes or when there are more than [10] callers ahead of them in the queue.
  • Redirect customers to chat during non-office hours if you don’t run a 24/7 call center. Enable chatbots to provide useful information using rich media like video or website links that cover their specific question.
  • Offer customers the option to switch to digital channels to send them a link where they can find information (e.g. track order, view their profile, view their account balance, etc.).
  • Continually monitor the types of questions that customers are asking and update website FAQs or other self-service channels to answer these.
  • Offer customers the option to switch to digital channels to automate actions related to sending documentation (e.g. certificates, invoices, terms of use).
  • Sometimes a face-to-face video is necessary to solve a customer issue, which may not be available over traditional voice services. By redirecting customers to chat, your agents can generate a video call link through our contact center solution Conversations, which can be shared to kick off a live video call.

Should my business implement call deflection?

If you want to improve your customer experience, reduce both wait times and call volumes, then the answer is a definite yes – call deflection is the way to go.

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