There’s a certain irony that although the telephone is still the preferred choice when it comes to customers dealing with your brand, they’re often very happy to go online if it means they can help themselves quicker or more efficiently.

Be warned, though – getting your “deflection” options wrong has the potential to backfire hugely if mishandled. After all, there’s a big difference between giving your customer alternative options and simply fobbing them off.

The key word here is options, and with our top 5 tips, you can highlight how well you’ve incorporated deflection into your IVR.

1. Lay out the alternatives

If large groups of your callers enquire about the same thing, and if the help they need is available online, then make sure you tell them how they can do it themselves. Sure, they might still stay on the line. But they might not. And more importantly, once you’ve educated your callers about the options available on other channels, they may very well “deflect” in the future.

2. Get callers to “be prepared”

If a caller is on a line where they’ll need a reference number, take a few seconds of your “on hold” time to let them know. If it’s left to your agent to remind them, it may take a couple of minutes per call to gather the relevant information, which can add up to be a significant waste of time.

3. Offer a joined service

With customer service, communication is king, and letting your customers know what types of things they can do by deflecting online makes them feel informed. This leads to new sales and upsell opportunities, and as you’re only informing them of what they can do if they want to, it’s not at all intrusive.

4. Be open to viewing your stats differently

Call centres, more than most industries, use statistics to measure their success, but sometimes information can be viewed incorrectly. If “abandoned calls” is something you mark your business down on, make sure you factor in the heighted amount of positive abandonment that can come as a result of deflecting callers away from your agents.

5. Always let the caller end the call

Anyone who has ever had a phone put down on them can attest to how infuriating it is. Therefore, even if a customer’s initial query has been dealt with in your IVR, the smart move is to always assume they may need something else. Therefore, instead of making the call end, you should always provide options such as returning to the main menu or visiting your website for online services. Although the options your offer will include deflection, it still has a magical way of making the caller feel loved.

Adopt these 5 tips to your telephony channel and you’ll be the masters of deflection – but in the nicest possible way.

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