Call Deflection Strategies in the Self-Service Era
Companies are using different call deflection strategies to reduce call center volume, lessening the workload of their staff and allowing them to focus only on the most complex cases.
What is call deflection?
Call deflection is the process of routing a customer enquiry to an alternative service channel. The goal is both to ensure customers receive the answers they are seeking in the most efficient manner and to reduce the number of inbound calls routed to human agents – deflecting the calls.
For that reason, successful call deflection strategies allow enquiries to be deflected to self-service channels such as FAQs, live chat, community forums, knowledge center databases and virtual agents.
Real life scenario
James is having trouble programming his smart sprinkler system. He navigates to the Contact Us page of the supplier’s website and easily finds the Customer Support phone number. He calls, waits on hold for a few minutes and then a Customer Service agent walks him through the steps until he has the system programmed exactly as he wants it. Success! Or is it?
Now consider the alternate scenario below::
James is struggling to set up his smart sprinkler system. He visits the Contact Us page of the manufacturer’s website and is prompted to click on the issue he is experiencing: identifying parts, installing the system or programming it. He clicks on programming and is met with a series of videos explaining exactly what he needs to do. He follows the video instructions until he has the system programmed exactly as he wants it. Now that’s true success!
Four proven methods of boosting call deflection
As self-service becomes more widely adopted across customer care, contact center innovation leaders are seeking better call deflection strategies to help route costly customer enquiries to alternate channels. Let’s explore and expand upon the four methods below:
- User-friendly self service channels
- Proactive customer communication
- Computer Vision AI
User-friendly self-service channels
With over 50% of customers preferring to solve issues themselves rather than relying on customer service agents, companies must ensure that their self-service channels are intuitive and efficient as part of their call deflection strategies.
Make sure each of your self-service channels is fully functional. Remove any dead links, awkward or confusing language or irrelevant information. Make sure the entire help funnel is seamless and crystal clear.
If necessary, use conversion-funnel analytics to determine exactly where customers are abandoning the self-service channel, and implement a solution to overcome that barrier. This is a positive step towards engaging and helping solve your customers’ problems while simultaneously reducing the volume on your call center.
Proactive customer communications
There’s no better way to deflect calls than heading them off altogether. One way you can take initiative in your support strategy is by identifying and resolving customer issues before they become problems. This goes a long way toward reducing incoming calls to your customer care center, saving your staff unnecessary tasks and calls that could have been completed without their involvement.
Utility companies can proactively notify customers about outages in their area, software platforms can flag technical issues, and consumer electronics companies can check in with customers to see if they need help with new features.
These proactive communications eliminate huge volumes of incoming calls to report outages, open support tickets or enquire about product functionalities and are essential elements of the most successful call deflection strategies.
It seems like almost all websites these days have turned towards conversational AI platforms – known as chatbots – to automate and scale one-on-one interactions. The business case is clear: studies show that it’s realistic for companies to aim to deflect between 40% and 80% of common customer service enquiries to chatbots
As the technology becomes more sophisticated, chatbots are becoming smarter and successfully deflecting more and more enquiries. This frees up agents to deal with the more complex cases.
Computer Vision AI
Computer Vision AI refers to the processing and analysis of digital images and videos to automatically understand their meaning and context. The technology allows a virtual assistant to quickly identify a customer’s issue via their smartphone camera, enabling it to easily diagnose the problem and visually interact with the customer in self-service mode.
The virtual assistant can also use Augmented Reality to automatically guide the customer toward a resolution via a clear, visual step-by-step process. Computer Vision AI can also detect motion, enabling the virtual assistant to correct the customer in case of errors, ensuring that the resolution is successful.
As a highly effective method of deflecting unnecessary calls, Computer Vision AI has been proven to have a positive impact on reducing contact center volumes through faster issue identification, smarter routing and enhanced self-service capabilities. It has emerged as a core component of the world’s best call deflection strategies. To learn more, read our report on Reducing Call Center Volume with Computer Vision AI
All of the above are positive steps you can take towards engaging with and helping solve your customers’ problems while simultaneously reducing the volume on your call center, using call deflection strategies.