The Invisible Metric: Call Deflection

By Liam Ryan, Senior Sales Account Manager

When it comes to customer satisfaction in the call centre, it’s important to implement the right strategies to answer customer enquiries quickly yet accurately. You can determine your effectiveness by looking at key data points like call wait times and call resolution to see how you’re doing once the customer dials your call centre. However, with more and more companies implementing additional channels to reduce volumes to the call centre, you’ll need to add another metric to your toolbox to measure effectiveness – call deflection. We like to call this the invisible metrics simply because you’re measuring actions that dissuade your customers from calling your contact centre. So before we dive in, let’s define it.

What is Call Deflection?

Call deflection is the science of re-routing a customer call to an alternative service channel. Most organisations turn to the web as their main channel, but are increasingly seeing more customer activity in the mobile IVR and social channels. In fact, our recent survey showed that more than ½ of the respondents who had volumes of one million or more enquiries per year saw Help Buttonincreases in their web channel followed by social media at 45%, 42% in mobile and 36% increases in the IVR channel in EMEA.

As a result, companies are focusing their customer service efforts on populating these emerging channels with content that can help answer customer queries, rather than relying solely on the telephone and email to respond to customers. Therefore, call deflection occurs when a customer can go to another channel to get information rather than make a phone call.

How Does Call Deflection Lead to Customer Satisfaction?

Despite increases to these channels, contact centre volumes are still on the rise, and companies have to staff their centres with live agents to handle the increasing call volumes. To that end, companies are relying strongly on FAQs and site search to address the low hanging fruit. But this only works with well-organised web sites and customers that are willing to dig around for information. Oftentimes, companies who don’t take this into account are focused on call avoidance techniques which tries to circumvent calls without truly answering the question.

If customer satisfaction is truly at the forefront of your customer experience strategy, then your goal is to save the customer a call by providing the information in a much more convenient way by offering full scale self-service options that meets the customer wherever they are.

How do I Deflect Calls?

Start by determining how and when to deflect calls based on customer needs. Take a look at what customers are currently asking in your call centre and which questions are getting the most clicks in your FAQs. Also look at the most search terms and phrases from your site search and formulate a plan from there. Then, identify the channels that will be most useful to your audience. Don’t forget mobile. Customers are increasingly accessing the web via mobile devices and apps. In fact, 57% refuse to recommend a company after viewing a low quality mobile site.

Next, choose the right tools for customer support management. Information delivery will be critical. Customers want access to information immediately, and simply don’t want to navigate through your departmental mazes. Implement a knowledge management tool to aggregate data across your organisation, then choose a delivery system. Virtual agents are fast becoming a tool of choice for companies that want to combine the agent experience with a seamless web experience. More and more of our clients are even deploying their virtual assistants on mobile devices and on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In the end, technology is going to play a critical role in how you deploy and deliver content.

Last but not least, gather the right data. You need call deflection metrics to determine if what you are doing is actually working. Are call volumes going down? Are the calls you are answering of higher value or are customers still asking for passwords and login information? Are there any questions that you’re not answering or have poor answers for? Gathering this intelligence will help you create a better experience for your customers overall so don’t forget this key component in developing and executing your strategy.

I referenced our recent survey results above. You can download the 2013 Global Customer Service Outlook Survey for free to learn more about how your peers are dealing with customer experience.

Are Your Customer Service Agents Working like a Dog?

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager

This week marks National Customer Service Week (#NCSW13) and a quick Twitter search shows lots of organisations recognising their service teams and sharing their top tips for providing the best service possible. It’s no secret that the service and support you provide can make or break your customer experience. Hiring the right people for your contact centre is key when it comes Working like a dogto providing superior service, but just like any other profession, your team can’t be successful without the correct tools for the job.

Customers today are demanding and not particularly forgiving if they feel like you’re wasting their time. They expect quick, complete and correct help the first time they contact you. If your agents don’t have the tools and information readily available to provide the expected level of support, then you are doing them and your business a great disservice. You may be forcing them to work like a dog to provide the best service.

With the growing demand for self-service, more and more enterprises are looking to intelligent virtual assistants as an option on their websites.  However, the power of that technology within contact centres is still often overlooked. These systems make the ideal tool for your support agents by providing benefits such as:

  • Goodbye keyword searches – Because virtual agents use natural language technology, your representatives don’t need to perform tedious keyword searches to find an answer.  They can simply ask in the same natural way your customer is asking them.
  • I see what you see – Often it’s helpful for live agents to know exactly what information a customer may have already seen on the website. With virtual agent technology you can provide them with that information side-by-side with more detailed information to further assist the customer with one quick search.
  • Everything in one place – These systems are not only a means for service agents to better help the customer, but also a way for agents to better help themselves. Virtual agents can be used to guide employees through training materials and can be an easy way to access internal guides, manuals and checklists.

As you take a few minutes to enjoy that delicious donut from the staff room in celebration of NCSW (I’ve seen the photos on Twitter!), also take a look at the tools you’ve given your customer service team. Are they truly allowing your agents to get their job done right? If not, then you better grab another donut and read more about how an intelligent virtual assistant can make a world of difference for your agents.

Join Creative Virtual’s Latest Webinar With Forrester Research

by Jessica Cody, Marketing Manager

How Virtual Agent Innovations Can Benefit Your Mobile, Web, Call Center and Social Channels

This event will feature an introduction of Creative Virtual’s smartphone solution that listens and talks to the customer. The first HTML5-based mobile Virtual Agent that doesn’t require the download of an app!

diane clarkson forrester webinar 2Diane Clarkson from Forrester will be sharing the latest insights and hot trends in customer self-service.Also, this is the first public view of our new content management tool, V-Portal™, that enables content to be seamlessly shared across Mobile, Web, Call Center and Live Chat.

The webinar with Creative Virtual and Forrester Research takes place Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 11 am EST/ 4 pm UK time.

Why attend this webinar?  

This webinar will be of interest to corporate professionals who are looking to satisfy the following objectives:

  • Develop a single support strategy that includes Mobile, Web, Call Center and Live Chat
  • Personalize their customer experience
  • Include social media in the support experience
  • Increase web self-service at a low cost

Webinar Agenda

Creative Virtual will show: 

  • How our V-Person™ technology has evolved in the past year
  • V-Portal  managing content for Web, Mobile, Live Chat and the Call Center
  • The role of a Virtual Agent in the Call Center
  • Results we are seeing from our clients
  • New Reporting dashboard, demonstrating the ability to drill down from summary-level data all the way to actual conversations

Forrester analyst Diane Clarkson will talk about:  forrester logo transparent

  • What are customers’ attitudes and preferences regarding Virtual Agents for social media and mobile?
  • Extending the reach of self-service to multiple devices and touchpoints

The event will be hosted by Richard Simons, CEO of Creative Virtual USA, and Diane Clarkson, an analyst at Forrester who services eBusiness and Channel Strategy Professionals.