The What and How of Call Deflection

Customer outside in city street smiling while replying to a text

Business text messaging is faster and more efficient than most communication channels, making it the perfect choice for interactions with customers. After all, over three-fourths (76%) of customers prioritize speed to resolution, and companies enjoy the increased customer satisfaction and team efficiency business text messaging platforms offer. It’s no wonder that companies are encouraging customers to contact them with texts rather than phone calls. 

This strategy has been named call deflection, and it can help customer service and sales departments increase their productivity immensely. But while the concept of call deflection is relatively simple, most businesses aren’t aware how to implement it. 

Read on to learn the ins and outs of call deflection—and how you can apply it within your own business. 

Defining Call Deflection

Call deflection is simply the strategy of encouraging customers to text or message instead of call. Call deflection has a number of benefits, including: 

  • Expediting response and resolution times
  • Enabling multitasking
  • Increasing collaboration possibilities
  • Improving reporting capabilities

Each of these benefits improves both team efficiency and also customer satisfaction. 

How To Implement Call Deflection

Call deflection is a simple idea, but implementing it can be tricky. You must ensure you don’t seem like you are discouraging customers from connecting with your business; you have to show customers that they have a better option than phone calls. To implement call deflection, your business can:

Display Messaging Entry Points

The easiest way to encourage customers to text rather than call is to publicize your textable number or messaging platforms on your website. Add your textable number to the front page of your website, any other relevant pages, and your contact page. If you have the data, mention the average response time of your messaging team; if the response time is very low, that might encourage busy customers to text in right away. You can add your phone number to the contact page too, of course, but place it in a less prominent position on the page. Messaging entry points can be displayed on websites, emails, and even advertising.

Platform-Level Call DeflectionTeam of seven sitting at large table working on laptops to answer incoming customer messages

Major platforms such as Apple and Google can now approve your business and allow customers to message you through their native sites. This “message us” option will surface when customers search for your business on their phone (Apple) or web browser (Google).

Mention Other Options in Existing Channels

Some customers will go ahead and call your business even if they know they have other options, or maybe they already had your number saved and don’t know about the possibility of texting in. To encourage those customers to hang up and text instead, mention your messaging capabilities in your voicemail greeting or email auto-reply. To make it even easier for customers, make sure you text-enable your landline; they won’t need to type in your number again to send a text. 

Mention Future Options After Resolution

If someone calls in and decides to wait for a live agent after the voicemail mentions messaging, it’s best for the agent to resolve the customer’s query right away. However, following a successful resolution, the agent can mention that messaging is a faster and more convenient option for future queries.

When to Use Call Deflection 

Some interactions are best suited for phone calls. For example, a customer complaint is best received—and hopefully resolved—over the phone. It’s easier for agents to convey sympathy and, in turn, pacify the customer in those situations.

But most short and simple tasks are better conducted via business text messaging. The following should be sent or conducted via business SMS for the most efficient process possible:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Delivery notifications
  • Order notifications
  • Product information
  • Returns
  • Scheduling or rescheduling 
  • Surveys or feedback requests

Each messaging entry point can be matched with an “intent” that maps to each of the above scenarios. This intent can be passed to agents and your customer service software. It’s great for automated—and efficient—routing as well as reporting.

By completing these tasks via various messaging channels, your teams can expedite service and increase customer satisfaction.

Examples of Call Deflection in Action 

Call deflection may seem logical, but understanding a concept and applying it to your business are two different things. Here are three examples to help you brainstorm ways to apply call deflection to your business. 

Use Case: Call Center Requests

Customer service teams at call centers can become overwhelmed quickly. When too many calls come in, agents struggle to answer and solve problems quickly, leading to a long wait time for customers. By adding a messaging option and employing call deflection strategies, team members will receive fewer calls and far more messages, which they can answer a lot faster. Instead of just surfacing their phone number in search results (Google, mobile OS), contact centers can also publish the messaging entry point, so consumers have a choice right when they want to contact your brand. Teams might be surprised how many select messaging. Some best practices: 

  • DO provide an auto reply to let customers know when they’ll hear back from a live agent
  • DO route messages to the appropriate inbox/agents based on intent and keywords in messages
  • DO check KPIs in reports (especially compared to phone calls)

Use Case: Sales Questions

Leads often think of questions as they look through your website. Depending on your business, you may want to surface a messaging entry point right when they click on your website. Alternatively, you might want to surface an entry point as they get to the shopping cart page. Some best practices: 

  • DO include an intent with each specific messaging entry point so you can route it to the appropriate inbox/agents
  • DO send an auto reply with a link to product/service details (based on the keyword of their original message)
  • DO integrate with your CRM to log messages

Use Case: Operations and Dispatch

Operations and dispatch teams have to both coordinate with in-field workers and answer customer questions. However, when customers and contractors call in about everything, even trivial questions, operations teams can become overwhelmed. By employing call deflection, customers and contractors will start to message more than call. Customers and contractors will receive faster responses, the administrative team won’t feel overwhelmed, and customer satisfaction will improve. Some best practices: 

  • DO set up one shared inbox per city and region
  • DO have one inbox for field techs and another for customers 
  • DO include after-hours and during-hours auto replies to set expectations


Interested in improving your call deflection strategy? Try our business text messaging platform


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