Why Call Deflection Doesn’t Work in Customer Support
Corporate strategists can’t seem to agree on a unified approach to customer service strategy. Some companies, driven by the short-term bottom line, see customer support as a cost center, and do everything in their power to trim the support budget, regardless of the consequences. On the other end of the spectrum, others see customer support as a key part of their customer strategy. Zappos is the most extreme example, and while that model may not be practical for everyone, it seems to work for them.
One of the common tactics in the support arena is call deflection. In this model, the support center is driven by metrics, with the goal being to maintain the shortest call time possible. This approach looks good on paper at first, but companies that work on a deflection model are missing a greater opportunity.
Deflection – or turning around callers in the shortest time possible – may work well in some environments. In a fast food restaurant, there may be a clock with a second hand at the drive-through window, and they keep detailed metrics on how many seconds pass between the time a customer places an order, and burgers and fries are handed out through the window. Unlike the burger shop, where a primary value is speed, most companies want to offer something more – like quality, a unique product line, integration with other products, and a support environment that not only fixes problems but also generates an additional revenue stream.
The deflection model is typically built around a marginally trained support staff, often using little more than canned responses. The fact is, scripted responses do work in a large percentage of calls, and as long as those responses are derived from a thoughtful analysis of call patterns and previously effective fixes, it should be a part of the support strategy. What’s missing in many cases is a strategic approach to those scripts, and that’s what the Digital Service Cloud delivers.
Efficient calls should seek to take only as long as is needed, no more and no less. But as part of that, a true knowledge centered support (KCS) approach draws on a detailed knowledge base that is constantly growing, analyzing common calls and responses, and creating a set of best solutions for each situation. This approach also allows for the call center to analyze each customer and each situation, and offer appropriate cross-sell and up-sell opportunities designed to match each caller’s specific needs.
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