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Call Deflection strategies in the age of self-service

The call deflection strategies proven to reduce contact center volume

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. 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.

Consider this 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 this alternate scenario:

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!

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 those alternate channels. Let’s explore four proven methods of boosting call deflection:

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.

Proactive customer communications

There’s no better way to deflect calls than heading them off altogether. Taking the initiative in your support strategy by identifying and resolving customer issues before they become problems can go a long way toward reducing incoming calls to your customer care center.

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.

Chatbots

It seems like almost all websites these days have turned toward 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, and as chatbots become smarter, more and more enquiries will be successfully deflected, freeing up agents to deal with 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 smart phone 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 contact center volumes through faster issue identification, smarter routing and enhanced self-service capabilities and has emerged as a core component of the world’s best call deflection strategies. Click here to learn more.

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