Why You Should Consider a Community as Part of Your Call Center Deflection Strategy

Gary Lungarini & Sara Campbell

Call deflection is a strategy used to divert some of your inbound customer service calls to digital support channels to lessen the workload on your call center staff. While the main driver of call deflection is the cost benefit to you – call center tickets are expensive, community support typically less so – there is actual benefit for your customers as well.

In the past, call deflection has always been thought of as solely a cost-control measure. Now, companies are realizing that call deflection is about creating the optimal customer experience. In essence, you can lower call volume by encouraging proactive self-support from your customers. The goal is to make sure that customers get the information they need as quickly and easily as possible and to reduce the number of calls that have to be sent to a person.

With call deflection, customers are given proactive help or sent to other digital channels where they can find a solution to their problem without having to talk to a customer service representative. Some examples include:

  • Visual Self-Help (Visual Journeys)
  • Live Chat
  • Knowledge Bases
  • In-app Guidance
  • Community Forums
  • FAQ Page(s)

Call deflection makes sure that only issues that are unresolvable through the channels above are then routed to call center agents. Studies show that customers prefer using self-help resources over contacting live agents. In fact, according to research by Zendesk, 69% of consumers first try to resolve their issue on their own, but less than one-third of companies offer self-service options, such as a knowledge base or support forum.

Benefits Of Using Community For Call Deflection 

Call deflection reduces customer annoyance by allowing them options to answer their questions quickly. When a customer calls your customer service number, they may hear a message telling them to email or text your support staff. These messages may also direct customers to your website, where they can chat with customer service reps in real-time or leverage self-help tools, like a knowledge base, a frequently asked questions page, or a community forum.

By using your digital channels and automating some of your customer service tasks, you can quickly help more customers find a solution.

Cost Savings

Typically, digital assistance channels are much more affordable than conventional phone-based channels. Calls/tickets into a ticketing system have a substantial cost which is expensive for a company. Call deflection uses other ways to send that call away and answer the question in a cheaper way. Ideally, the community can be used to answer that question at a much lower cost. 

Some of our clients have calculated using their community for call deflection this way: Every five questions asked and validated in a community forum equals one deflected service center phone call. From there, you can factor the potential cost savings with and without the community. 

Total Call Center Costs ÷ Total Calls Answered = Average Cost Per Call

Additionally, community support forums empower your consumers to find solutions by responding to customer inquiries more promptly and consistently.

Visualizing The Ideal Call Deflection User Journey

A typical call deflection self-service user journey timeline could be as follows:

  • Awareness: The customer becomes aware of your self-service options through marketing or promotional channels, or instructions on your website.
  • Adoption: The customer begins using the self-service options (and possibly receives guidance on how to use it effectively.)
  • Usage: The customer uses the self-service options on a regular basis to manage their issues and reduces the number of calls that you need to be answer directly.
  • Feedback: The customer provides feedback on their experience with the self-service options, which helps you improve the service and make it even more user-friendly.
  • Loyalty: The customer continues to use the self-service options and becomes a loyal user, recommending the service to others.

Let’s talk! 

If you manage a call center or are an existing customer community owner interested in learning more about using a community to enhance your call deflection strategy, we can make it happen. Contact us today to get started!