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  • NETMEDIA International

Call deflection towards digital channels can enhance the customer experience

How can call deflection be used to manage a portion of the telephone call traffic?

73% of customers believe that waiting time is the main frustration when calling a company (source: RingCentral survey). This observation prompts companies to innovate and find solutions to address this concern. With the growth of digital communication tools, organisations are increasingly shifting to new points of contact, especially using call deflection.

Call deflection is a technique used in customer relations to deflect a call to an alternative channel. This channel is usually digital, e.g. e-mail, live chat or messaging. It can be cheaper for the company, while being more convenient for the customer and in line with their daily habits. The first consideration is cost. Telephone calls tend to be more expensive than digital channels: according to McKinsey, implementing digital channels can reduce costs by up to 40%. In addition, the synchronised nature of the telephone makes it more challenging for teams to manage. These inconveniences sometimes lead companies to implement strategies that undermine the customer experience: for example, hiding their phone number, automatically lengthening waiting times or restricting customer service opening hours. As opposed to these practices, call deflection prioritises the customer's experience and allows him/her to choose the desired channel.

Another reason for implementing call deflection is to reduce call abandonment. This is important because calls are synchronous: once the user has dialled a number, he has to wait for it to be answered. If the call is interrupted, there is no way to resume the call during the conversation, the customer has to start the whole process over again. Switching to another asynchronous channel solves this problem: the customer no longer has to wait, he can send his message at any time and be notified when the company has responded. In addition, the message history is kept, which helps to keep track of the context and avoid repetition.

On which channels is it appropriate to deflect a call?

Two conditions must be met to launch call deflection: to match the user's telephone number with the user's identity on the targeted channel and to have a means of directing the user to that channel. Some of the most common digital channels used to implement call deflection are the following:

SMS is often used because it is versatile. SMS messages are reliable, fast, can integrate text and links and do not rely on consuming mobile data.

Facebook Messenger is one of the most widely used messaging channels for businesses. Its features such as m.s.links and customer matching perfectly support a call diversion strategy.

Apple Business Chat is a service that allows a brand to communicate directly with its customers via the Apple Messages application. The links to initiate a conversation and the "Chat Suggest" feature are fully relevant to call forwarding.

WhatsApp Business Solution allows businesses to communicate with their customers via a verified account. For call deflection, WhatsApp provides businesses with the ability to confirm that a customer is registered on that channel and retrieve their customer ID.

What are the main objectives of call deflection?

With the Covid-19 epidemic, the current environment has prompted companies, employees but also consumers to change their habits. We spend more and more time connected remotely and online shopping is favoured to avoid travelling to shops. With the upcoming arrival of end-of-year shopping peaks, such as Black Friday and Christmas, consumers will mostly turn to e-commerce. With containment, the time spent on online content has increased considerably. According to Adot, nearly 80% of customers now say they do online research before completing their purchases, and more than 55% do so on mobile devices, which are particularly well suited to messaging channels.

This rise in online purchases will have an impact on the number of digital interactions sent to businesses. The implementation of call deflection can enable customer services to better manage these peaks and improve the shopping experience.

When relevantly integrated into the business process, this approach can improve the customer experience and streamline the management of the company's business.

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