How to Deflect and Serve Routine Call Center Calls by Leveraging AI

Graphic image of a male call center operator handling phone calls with some deflecting to AI instead

The Shifting Landscape of Automated Customer Interactions: Leveraging AI for Low-Cost Call Deflection and Enhanced Customer Engagement – 24/7

In today’s dynamic business environment, customer behavior is undergoing a profound transformation. Empowered by information and equipped with an array of communication preferences, customers now demand interactions that are tailored to their needs. The age of one-size-fits-all communication is waning, making way for a diverse range of engagement channels that cater to the discerning expectations of the modern consumer. In response to this paradigm shift, enterprises & small businesses are harnessing cutting-edge technologies to better engage with their customers. One such strategy is call deflection & engagement automation which not only enhances customer experience but also drives operational efficiency. In this article, we delve into how businesses can do call deflection and automate customer service using AI. 

Understanding Call Deflection: Navigating Towards Optimal Engagement

Call deflection emerges as a strategic imperative in a world where customer expectations demand 24/7 service. The contemporary consumer desires swift and effective customer service interactions which can often span multiple agents and communication channels. Enterprises attempt to attend every customer live through high cost call centers while SMBs, risking business success, miss up to 30% of their calls. Recent research by McKinsey and Company underscores the potential benefits of automation, revealing that brands pivoting to digital customer service can witness a remarkable 30% reduction in costs and a notable 19% surge in customer satisfaction. This landscape necessitates asynchronous support mechanisms that accommodate diverse preferences while maintaining service excellence. Call deflection is pivotal in this context, offering a conduit for businesses to embark on a digital transformation journey, migrating customers to channels that amplify user experience while actually reducing operational expenditures.

Deconstructing High Call Volume & Missed Calls: The Catalyst for Call Deflection

Due to increasing wages and labor shortages, many businesses struggle with limited customer service staff. As call centers and front desk resources are overtasked, the inability to handle call volume triggers a domino effect of prolonged wait times, missed calls, and diminishing customer satisfaction. As business reputation erodes, lead capture and revenue are negatively impacted. Seasonal spikes further exacerbate the problem, with studies revealing a staggering 65% surge in support requests during holiday seasons. Managing these surges within the constraints of limited support availability becomes a formidable challenge. A survey shared by Amazon indicates that 87% of consumers expect an immediate response when contacting a business, 74% prefer not to talk to agents for routine tasks, and 73% prefer to chat over IVR. By steering customers towards digital interaction alternatives, businesses can more effectively manage call traffic, slash call hold times, and generate positive customer sentiments.

Mechanics of Call Deflection: Paving the Way for Enhanced Efficiency

Call deflection functions by intelligently redirecting incoming calls toward digital channels such as SMS, chat, or self-service resources. This strategic maneuver not only relieves the pressure on phone lines but also facilitates a more streamlined customer service process. Repetitive queries are effectively channeled away from the overburdened front desk or call center agents, enabling them to focus on complex issues that necessitate real-time intervention. A telling case highlighted by McKinsey and Company further illustrates the potential: out of 2,000 reasons prompting customers to contact a call center, a mere 60 issues accounted for a staggering 65% of the total volume and 55% of the overall costs. Implementing self-service solutions for these frequently encountered problems significantly reduced the volume, underscoring the efficacy of this approach.

Measuring Success: The Call Deflection Rate and its Implications

The call deflection rate serves as a pivotal metric, quantifying the extent to which alternative digital channels and self-service resources fulfill customer demands that would otherwise necessitate agent intervention. This metric is intrinsically linked to customer engagement, and its optimization hinges on the strategic expansion of digital care options. A higher call deflection rate correlates with effective use of automation, improved agent efficiency and enhanced customer satisfaction, underscoring its importance.

Advantages of Call Deflection: Envisioning a Paradigm Shift

The advantages of call deflection are multifaceted and transformative. Notable benefits include:

Amplified First Contact Resolution (FCR): The metric for successful resolution of customer inquiries sees marked improvement, bolstering overall service efficacy. 

Elevated Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS): By steering customers towards more efficient and tailored interaction channels, brands cultivate enhanced satisfaction and loyalty.

Cost Efficiency: Leveraging low-cost digital channels translates to substantial reductions in operational expenses, a testament to the operational viability of call deflection.

Reduction in Average Handling Time (AHT): The encompassing metric for wait times, call transfers, and after-call activities see a decline, contributing to overall process streamlining.

Mitigated Call Backs and Repetitive Calls: Call deflection negates the need for redundant interactions, aligning with the modern customer’s preference for immediate solutions.

Augmented Agent Efficiency: Agents can direct their expertise towards intricate issues, optimizing their productivity and overall contribution.

Reduced Call Center Attribution: The capacity to deflect calls contributes to a decline in call center attribution, promoting a seamless customer journey.

Strategic Call Deflection Approaches: Navigating the Landscape

Successful organizations leverage a holistic spectrum of call-deflection strategies, each tailored to meet specific needs and capitalize on opportunities for enhanced engagement. Some notable approaches include:

Crafting Comprehensive Self-Service Options: Recognizing that many customers prefer self-sufficiency, businesses consolidate knowledge bases, FAQs, and community forums into a single cohesive platform. Latest AI technologies allow easy creation of a consolidated knowledgebase by simply uploading various documents such as help desk resources and product catalogs. 

Harnessing Google’s Business Messages: Given Google’s pervasive dominance, directing search traffic towards Google’s Business Messages platform becomes a prudent strategy. The integration of messaging buttons within Google Maps and Search and automating those chat conversations using AI, fosters efficient communication and delights customers.

Offering Channel Choice to Customers: With the advent of unified digital channel platforms, businesses can empower customers to select their preferred communication avenue. Asynchronous messaging facilitates seamless interactions and personalized experiences, driving customer satisfaction.

Unleashing AI-Powered Bots: The integration of AI-powered chatbots revolutionizes customer service, enhancing agent support and automating responses through intelligent intent recognition. Facebook Messenger, SMS, Website, Google Chat, and others can be automated using generative AI-powered bots that handle routine inquiries.

Today’s consumers expect efficient and personalized service that eliminates cumbersome navigation and saves them time. As traditional customer service channels, such as 1-800 IVR paths, decline in popularity, the consumer shift towards digital channels is necessitating that businesses also shift. Call deflection and customer engagement automation has emerged as the catalyst to transition and serve customers where they are now.

How Does Agentz Help?

Agentz offers out-of-the-box customer engagement automation solutions to small businesses as well as large enterprises. Agentz solution engages and guides consumers to desired outcomes on multiple channels including phones, SMS, web, and social media making sure no customer is missed 24/7. Built on the promise that effective AI solutions should be made available to all businesses, regardless of their size, our AI automated assistant combines the power of ChatGPT with our no-code, easy-to-use platform that offers many customization options.

Serving hundreds of businesses, Agentz works with integrated partners who desire a best-of-breed AI solution that can be coupled with their existing website, marketing, SaaS, or call center offerings.

About Agentz

Agentz patent-pending technology is designed and built from scratch for SMBs with a focus on simplicity.

Agentz harnesses the power of AI without compromising the consumer experience with a human touch. Agentz technology learns over time and gets smarter. The technology is tested by millions of conversations and many happy customers.

Learn more about Agentz or contact us today.