Call deflection is among the most frequent conversations I have with clients. As I’ve said many times, call deflection is not call avoidance. Rather than ducking customers' inquiries, successful call deflection will save potentially millions of dollars in contact center costs and boost satisfaction among consumers who prefer to be self-reliant.

I’ve recently come across two examples of simple and effective call deflection tactics that I wanted to share.

Guide customers to the channel you’d like them to select. Overstock does this extremely well. Here is a screen shot from Overstock’s Contact Customer Care page. The online retailer offers chat, email and telephone care. Chat is offered first in the list. Consumers are enticed by benefits of Overstock's “fast and friendly” chat — it is “the most popular option and the quickest way to get service.” Further, Overstock provides the wait time for chat — in this case, less than five seconds — delivering on the promise of fast. With this information, consumers will not feel herded: They will feel guided.

Put self-service content on your Contact Us page. Some customers will skip self-service and go directly to Contact Us. Consider putting self-service options in their path. eBay does this effectively. While consumers can easily click through to contact the company, there is a variety of self-service options available for those consumers who — when it’s put in their path — may find what they want in self-service and no longer require live assistance.

I hope this is helpful. If you come across other effective call deflection tactics, I'd love to hear about them, so please comment here or email me directly at