Putting the customer first: An effective approach to call deflection

Topic: Call Centres, Customer Service, Finance & DCAs, Utilities

While the UK’s vaccination programme is reason for optimism, the reality is that for businesses to successfully navigate the financial challenges associated with the pandemic, customer retention is vital. 

A key component to driving client retention and loyalty is the delivery of great customer service. So much so that even prior to the pandemic the Serial Switchers report, found that poor customer service was costing businesses more than $75 billion a year and as Jeff Bezos puts it, customer expectations – “are never static – they go up”. 

So how can businesses adapt to meet continually rising customer expectations? Particularly in the current climate when there has been a 44% increase in call volume and many companies are having to manage this influx while addressing operational challenges such as, reduced staffing and social distancing within contact centres.

Really the question comes down to this, do your customers want or need to call your business?

This is the basic premise of call deflection. A successful call deflection strategy focuses on understanding the needs of the customer and redirects their enquiry to enable them to receive a quick and accurate result – more often than not, this is via a self-serve channel. This allows businesses to offer a better customer experience, while reducing the burden on contact centre staff. Afterall, Gartner predicts that 89% of businesses compete mainly on customer experience, so being able to use these strategies to continually improve and optimise enquiry processes can prove very valuable. 

Creating an effective call deflection strategy

Broadly speaking, there are three main areas businesses should consider when creating an effective call deflection strategy: proactive customer communications, increasing self-serve options and technology implementation.

Proactive customer communications

As 65% of consumers blame their bad customer service experience on it taking too long to resolve, for any call deflection strategy to be successful, customers need to be able to receive the answer to their enquiry almost immediately. With proactive customer communications businesses can take this a step further – implementing automated communications to deliver information before a customer picks up the phone. For example, once a loan application is submitted, finance organisations could send an SMS landing page or create a Mobile Journey with Esendex to inform individuals on what to expect throughout the next steps of the application process, provide them with answers to FAQs and reassure them that they will be updated via SMS throughout. 

As is the case with any communication strategy, for this to be effective the messages need to be both received and read. Hence why it’s important businesses carefully consider which channels to use. As 69% of consumers across all age groups want to contact a business via SMS and text messages benefit from an average user response time of just 90 seconds utilising SMS, could be particularly effective. 

Increasing self-serve options

Empowering customers to resolve their own queries is essential for effective call deflection. A report by Aspect Software found 73% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own. However despite 77% of consumers reporting that they have used a self-service support portal, over half say the main reason they cannot resolve an issue on their own, is because there is too little information online. 

By monitoring contact centre calls, businesses can identify patterns and build understanding of the top intent behind call types. This then enables companies to create and adapt information and resources like FAQ web pages and how-to videos, and perhaps even implement appropriate technology to support self-serve actions. If for instance, a lot of customers are calling to make a payment, implementing a Mobile Payment solution to notify individuals when a payment is missed and allow them to make payment via their mobile, could be a great resource saver. 

Implementation of technology 

It is important to remember that 57% of customers rate voice call support as their preference for issue resolution during a crisis. While most calls won’t be considered a crisis, this does highlight the importance of freeing up agent time, so staff can focus on the most complex cases in a more effective manner. 

By implementing appropriate technology, businesses can support the efficient delivery of customer service processes, resolving customer queries via alternative channels. For example, with Esendex’s omnichannel chat, once logged in all contact centre employees can view ongoing customer service conversations, with a full backlog of messages. This not only enables employees to manage multiple queries at a time, but in cases where employees are absent or on holiday, outstanding conversations can easily be picked up by another member of the team.

Utilising Esendex’s bespoke solutions, we have helped our clients not only reduce overall call volume, but also:

  • Increase recipient response by 32.8%
  • Increase Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
  • Reduce costs associated with both resource and direct mail

So if you’d like to get started with an effective call deflection strategy, please get in touch with our team on 0333 258 1722, or email [email protected] where we’ll direct you to one of our expert team for your industry and requirement.

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