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The telephone is still consumers’ preferred channel for contacting a company. On the professional side, there are many challenges involved in managing a large number of calls. Many companies are in need of solutions to best manage customer expectations so as to optimise resources and create a seamless customer journey.

The growing use of digital channels is therefore an opportunity for companies. They make life easier for users by simplifying interactions with their customers. Managing multiple channels is complex, however, and creating a seamless customer journey between those channels is a real challenge. A survey from BVA’s 2019 Customer Services Barometer reveals that the main challenge for customer services is to provide a seamless experience between different contact points.

Call deflection, a new asset for customer relations

Call deflection has become more common in the quest for the seamless customer journey. It is a process by which a call is redirected to another channel, often a digital one.

The benefits of putting call deflection in place are significant, both for companies and for users. It optimises internal resources, improves the cost allocation, cuts down the time taken to get in touch with an advisor and therefore improves customer satisfaction thanks to a smoother journey.

How does call deflection work in practice?

Call deflection can work in different ways. When a customer contacts your company, depending on the reason for the call, your staff’s workload and other external and internal factors, you can offer them an alternative channel through which they can find an answer to their problem.

SMS, e-mail, live chat, chatbot, there are a multitude of alternative channels through which your customers can find their answers simply. The aim of call deflection is to prioritise queries by processing some of them by other means.

Call deflection has many different uses.

Call deflection can be adapted to many situations. Here are three examples of how companies have put call deflection in place.

1. To handle call centre overload or closure

Call deflection can be used as a tool to avoid losing potential customers during call spikes and call centre closures.

For remote sales companies, among others, missed calls when the contact centre is closed can mean a real loss of revenue. In this case, you can use call deflection to redirect the user to a form, through which they can be called back. Then, each day, an outbound call campaign can be organised during opening hours to deal with orders that were missed the day before.

In the case of frequent call peaks (key moments such as Christmas, school holidays or other special events), call deflection can enable you to handle the extra calls without additional recruitment. It allows you to optimise internal resources while still fully satisfying customer demands.

2. To qualify incoming contacts

Call deflection can be used to qualify incoming leads. This is the option that Stanley Security France chose to handle support requests from its technicians. Using a traditional Interactive Voice Server was not an option for the company, as there would have been too many choices for the caller.

Thanks to call deflection, partners who contact the company are redirected by SMS to a link through which they can qualify their request. Step by step, they are guided through describing the reason for their query, and the type of equipment they are working on. Once the information has been collected, the technicians are directed to the physical resources who have the necessary skills to handle the request.

As a result, calls are highly qualified and the partner experience is streamlined and optimised as they spend less time navigating the voice server. If you would like to find out more, we suggest you watch the replay of the webinar where we explain this process.

3. To increase debt collection productivity

Call deflection can also be used to make debt collection easier. The premise is that it is not necessary to take up an operator’s time entering bank card details when the user can do it themselves, via self-care.

Many customers do not need support for payments. When it is the customers who are contacting the company to settle their accounts, it is more appropriate to suggest a secure payment link by SMS or email than to put them through to an advisor.

However, it is also possible to manage debt collection by voice, without an operator and without going to a point of sale, using an Interactive Voice Server. In this case, the customer is guided through entering his or her bank details using their telephone keypad.

Many late payers can therefore settle the outstanding amounts independently. Operator involvement then becomes the final stage in the debt collection customer journey. The number of advisors dealing with this aspect is therefore optimised.

What are the takeaways of using call deflection?

In summary, call deflection makes it possible to provide appropriate alternative solutions to contact with an advisor, while still optimising customer satisfaction. The aim of call deflection is to reduce the time it takes to get in touch with an advisor, to make the customer relationship smoother, but also to keep operating costs down.

Most importantly, call deflection is not a deterrent to getting in touch with an advisor. Used correctly within the customer journey, call deflection is merely an alternative suggestion for solving issues.

It is important to bear in mind that the customer is free to choose the route he or she takes; there is no standard path. If they choose to use an alternative channel, they can still switch to contact with an advisor at any time The primary objective is to meet the needs of the consumer on the channel of their choice so as to avoid a negative experience.

When and how to implement call deflection?

Call deflection must be designed to be part of a proper, successful customer redirection strategy. Its implementation must be optimised so that it does not become an obstacle in the customer journey. Support from customer relations experts is essential to ensure that it is well integrated and becomes a real opportunity for your customers. Our staff would be delighted to discuss your issues and explore the solutions that best address them!

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