What is call deflection (and does your organization need it)?

Satisfied customer getting quick answers through mobile call deflection
August 10, 2023
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Call deflection is a game changer for busy call centers.

Picture the following scenario as a customer and as a business representative: on a busy day at the contact center, customer calls pile up fast. As wait times grow, so does customer frustration.

Staff may make mistakes in this stressful environment. They may accidentally misroute callers or provide irrelevant or redundant information.

With each passing moment, team morale declines. After all, speed and accuracy are crucial for customers and service representatives. But neither of these priorities seems possible.

Call deflection is a proven solution for these situations. Customers feel empowered to locate answers faster and have more productive conversations with customer service representatives enabled to deliver better service.

What is call deflection?

As the name suggests, call deflection deflects calls. Although often interpreted negatively, the word is a positive action because deflection redirects callers to alternative destinations that can meet their needs better.

For example, let’s say a customer calls a bank’s service line to make a credit card payment and hears a menu of options through the interactive voice response (IVR) system. “To hear your account balance or make a payment, press 2” is one of the choices.

Coincidentally, the customer is also curious about their account balance.

Call deflection allows the customer to immediately check their balance and make a payment. Without that option, they’d have to hold for a customer service representative to assist them, a conversation that would take longer due to verification protocols.

It also reduces inbound call volume and transforms the customer experience by providing quicker resolutions. Here are some of the channels for deflecting calls:

  • Relevant section on your website
  • White papers or webinars on your website
  • FAQ section of your website
  • Live chat
  • Chatbot
  • Virtual assistant
  • Social media platforms

Call deflection and IVR

You should also consider implementing call deflection throughout the entire customer interaction, as offering an alternative channel at the beginning of the call saves everyone time and effort.

For example, a recorded message on your IVR system provides your business hours, address, and other basic business information. And enabling your customers to make a payment with a touch of a button improves the efficiency of your call center team.

Call analytics and IVR

Insights learned from call analytics enable you to update your IVR message to proactively address the most common requests from customers.

For example, you might discover that many people who wish to speak to a representative want to update the PIN for their account. So rather than providing basic business information in the IVR message customers hear while holding, use your call analytics insights to create a PIN change option during the call hold period.

And if you really want to be proactive, don’t wait for your customers to call. Use your analytics to identify the top reasons customers call and craft text messages, emails, or newsletter updates to share the alternate channels they can use to resolve their issue.

Benefits of call deflection

Call deflection isn’t one dimensional. It simplifies tasks for your employees and customers, and when satisfied, your business will undoubtedly thrive.

Let’s explore five key ways call deflection benefits your business:

1. Helps your employees deliver better service

When your contact center receives a high volume of calls, it can compromise your customer service representatives' individual effectiveness.

By redirecting callers with simple queries to alternative solutions, your representatives can focus on providing specialized service where needed most. There will be fewer calls and shorter wait times. And these positive experiences will set your brand apart from the competition and convert casual contacts into loyal customers.

2. Reduces your costs

Factoring in critical customer service situations, call deflection still results in time savings for your employees. This means they can assist more people and accomplish more in a typical day.

This enhanced efficiency can yield significant cost savings. For example, you might find that your newly empowered employees can effectively compensate for attrition since call deflection takes unnecessary work off their plates.

3. Decreases turnover

Call deflection leads to increased job satisfaction and motivation among your workforce. With employee loyalty strengthened, they can feel confident using their skills to deliver great results.

Companies that effectively use call deflection typically see increased employee satisfaction and decreased turnover.

4. Creates better customer experiences

Each time a customer has a positive experience with your call deflection system, they’ll develop greater trust for future interactions. This positive momentum can lead to more purchases and fewer complaints.

However, it’s not only customers with complex inquiries who benefit from call deflection. It’s also callers with basic questions that can find alternative resources built into your system. Autonomy through self-service doesn’t feel like a downgrade—it feels empowering.

5. Optimizes your overall operations

When your customers have the best information, they follow the best processes. So you can expect your call deflection successes to ripple throughout your entire organization.

For example, let’s say you’re an institute of higher education and set up call deflection within your IVR system. Analytics reveal that students get confused about where to find tuition assistance information and when payments are due for on-campus housing.

After adding a recorded message that directs students to resources for these two topics, you find that 25% more students get tuition assistance, and late payments reduce by 18%. Your efforts extend far beyond the contact center, streamlining operations for teams across your organization.

Put your call deflection strategy into play with Twilio’s IVR APIs

There’s no doubt that call deflection can improve your business operations and the customer experience. Twilio’s IVR APIs allow you to create custom workflows that adapt to best serve your customers’ needs.

Additionally, Twilio Flex helps you integrate multiple channels to create a seamless customer experience.

The first step is to create your free Twilio account. There’s no credit card necessary, so click here today to elevate your organization’s overall performance.