Customer experience is now more than a buzzword. Organisations are making operational changes, not just paying lip service, according to research. Read more.
Do your customers want (or need) to call you?
This question is what call deflection is all about. The term refers to ways of reducing inbound calls by encouraging customers to get in touch using other channels, many of which allow them to self-service.
In other words, call deflection is about offering a better customer experience while reducing the burden on your contact centre.
How do your customers want to resolve their queries?
Much of the time, customers don’t actually want to ring you up. They have a simple question and want a quick answer.
We highlighted the importance of easy issue resolution before – the idea (confirmed by Harvard Business Review research) that delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty but reducing the work they must do to get their problem solved does.
And people associate call centres with work. Research shows that 82% of them find dealing with call centres to be an “unnecessary stress.” They want to choose their preferred customer service channel (be it telephone, web chat, email, social media or SMS) and resolve their issue with minimal impact on their day. It’s why 62% of consumers find it frustrating when businesses only offer a couple of ways to get in touch.
Improving your cross-channel service means you deflect calls from your contact centre and improve customer satisfaction.
How can you boost call centre performance?
It’s the big contact centre challenge – balancing capacity and resource with performance. Call deflection helps you achieve that balance.
First of all, it reduces call volume, helping you save time and money on operations. Secondly, it means the calls coming through are from people who actually want to speak to you, which has the added benefit of improving morale.
As a result, you improve operational efficiency and offer a better customer experience, because people aren’t dealing with excessive waiting times.
How do you optimise the cross-channel customer experience?
There are 3 important elements to this. The first is about proactive customer service. The telephone is reactive and is only available during certain times. Improving the support you offer via your website makes it easier for customers to find answers to their questions – think knowledge centres, web chat and forums. Reviewing your online user experience and user journey is crucial here, it needs to be easy for customers to access the right information.
The second element is consistency. Call deflection helps you improve the telephone-based customer experience because it gives you time and resource to streamline contact centre operations. But you also need to ensure that your responsiveness via SMS, web chat, Facebook Messenger, email and social media meets (or exceeds) expectations. We recently integrated a cross-channel call deflect programme for a client, introducing digital alternatives such as interactive voice response, SMS and email. We reduced inbound call volume by 96%, but – crucially – we also improved overall satisfaction rates because customers got the fast, convenient resolution they were looking for on all channels.
The final element relates to data. Leveraging digital customer service channels opens new opportunities to track and analyse data, so you can make evidence-based decisions on how to allocate resource, continually improve the customer experience and track return on investment.
Call deflection drives efficiency and loyalty
What’s the cost to your business of not deflecting calls? Not only is there the added spend on contact centre resource, but you lose out on future sales because your reputation suffers.
So are you missing out on this opportunity?