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8 ways to avoid calls in a call center without losing customers

Fatima Puri
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Call avoidance is a strategy that businesses use to reduce the number of inbound calls they receive. Companies typically implement a call avoidance strategy to relieve agents from a heavy workload and cut labor costs. The average price for a business call can range from $6 to $12 per call. Non-essential phone calls such as asking a business what their hours are or their location can waste an agent’s time and cost the company hours of labor. 

Image of phones and text: "6 to 12 dollars cost per call"
The average price for a business call can range from $6 to $12 per call

Things to consider when implementing a call avoidance strategy

Customers call a business to solve a problem or answer a question. If a customer calls in for assistance and receives no help, they might feel ignored or like they’re not a priority to your business.

If customers cannot have their needs met, they likely won’t do business with you anymore. According to Harris Interactive, 89 percent of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. So, think of alternative ways to cater to your customers if you reduce calls and see which ones are feasible for your business. Track your data to see which solutions best satisfy your customers and save your business money in the long run. 

8 strategies for reducing calls and call times in call centers

1. Automate responses with a phone tree

You can categorize the priority of calls or answer customer questions with an automated call response system like a phone tree. The series of questions you ask can be simple and answer common customer questions such as your location, business hours, return policy, or special events. 

You can still provide an option for customers to speak with an agent if their questions aren’t answered by the automated message. But this way, you can ensure that only more priority calls reach your agents since all of the low-priority or easy to answer calls are taken care of by the automated voice system.

2. Use a live chat feature

A live chat feature is a great tool to reduce calls and improve your customer service. Some people prefer to chat with companies over a live chat feature, especially if they’re already on their website and see the “chat with us” call to action. Like texting, it is also a cost-efficient option that can help agents reduce overall calls.

You can also couple your live chat with automated messages to answer FAQs, similar to the phone tree.

3. Use business texting

Using a business texting software like Textline can significantly reduce the number of calls your agents receive. An agent can handle two to three times the number of conversations over text than they can on a phone call. In terms of cost, texting is more affordable than a phone call. A phone call conversation can cost support teams upwards of $12 per conversation, whereas texts cost pennies per conversation.

Customers love texting, and with business texting, they can have conversations with your team over text messages like they would with their friends and family. That includes sending images or links back-and-forth like they would in a personal exchange.

4. Offer self-service solutions on your website

Most customers can answer their questions through a self-service page like an FAQ page, help center, or company blog. It’s up to your business to make these self-service tools available and easily accessible, so customers know they exist and use them. You can link your help center or FAQ page in the same place you have your phone number and other contact details displayed.

You can also link customers to self-service pages through an automated text message if they text you outside of business hours or if all your agents are busy helping other customers.

5. Use business texting while on a call

Another way to use business texting is to use it in conjunction with a phone call to lower call times. You can ask customers for permission to text them links to a payment page or send them pictures of a product to quicken the process. You can also transition the conversation from a call to texting if the customer needs continued support but no longer needs to be on the phone with you.

6. Only display your business texting number and email address

You can limit the number of phone calls you receive by gatekeeping your business number. Instead, only share your business texting number or email address on all of your public pages (i.e., contact page, homepage, email headers, social media channels, etc.) 

If your business texting number is the same as your phone number, only publicize it as a texting number with a CTA like “text us!” to encourage customers to text instead. You can learn about more places to display your business texting number in our article “11 top ways to let your customers know they can text your business.”

7. Proactively text or email customers 

Another way to reduce phone calls is to proactively text or email customers that you’re available to support them on those channels. You can text or email customers after they purchase your product or service so that they will use those channels to ask clarifying questions or share concerns. You can also reach out to customers if you know there is an issue that will cause customers to call the phones. That way, you can proactively take care of the situation and avoid an influx of similar calls.

Make sure your customers opted-in to text with your business for you to text them. To learn more about business SMS opt-ins and how to obtain them, check out our article “Business SMS opt-ins: What they are and when you need to use them.”

8. Let customers know they can contact you in other ways

Almost 60 percent of customers say they would hang up if put on hold for one minute or more. You can avoid losing customers by asking customers waiting on the phone if they would prefer to contact you differently for immediate assistance. Something along the lines of, “to get faster service, you can text us at this number,” or “you can go online for more assistance or email us.”

Phone icon with x and 60 percent
60 percent of customers say they would hang up if put on hold for one minute or more

Transferring phone calls to a different medium can make it easier for your agents to manage, and it can guarantee a faster response for your customers.

Why do businesses use call avoidance strategies?

While one of the main reasons businesses use a call avoidance strategy is cost, a few other reasons companies use a call avoidance strategy is to lighten the load for their call center team. A call center with a heavy workload can quickly become overwhelmed with too many calls, which can also impact its ability to deliver good customer service. If a call center agent feels stressed or rushed, they don’t have the time to address a customer’s issues adequately. 

The bottom line: You can reduce calls without sacrificing customer satisfaction

By focusing on alternative ways to assist your customers that don’t involve a phone call, you can implement a call avoidance strategy without avoiding your customers’ needs. 
To learn more about how to use business texting to reduce call volume, read our article “How to use business SMS to reduce call volume but not customer experience.”

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