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What is a deflection rate?

Definition: The deflection rate measures the percentage of customer support requests resolved through self-service channels — knowledge bases, tutorials, chatbots, communities, and portals — without requiring the assistance of a support agent. 

Put simply, it shows how many customers were able to solve their problems without contacting customer support.

The goal is to reduce the workload on support teams and improve the efficiency of customer service operations.

A high deflection rate can indicate that the company's self-service options are effective in providing customers with the information and resources they need to solve their problems on their own.

Deflection rate formula

Deflection Rate = (Number of support requests resolved through self-service channels / Total number of support requests received) x 100

For example, if a company received 1,000 support requests in the last two weeks, and 250 of those requests were resolved through self-service, the deflection rate is:

Deflection Rate = (250 / 1,000) x 100 = 25%

Meaning, 25% of the support requests were resolved through self-service channels, without the need for a support agent.

The role of customer entitlement in deflection rate

Customer entitlement plays a significant role in deflection, as it can influence the effectiveness of self-service channels and the overall customer support experience in the following ways:

  • Resource availability: Customers who have access to knowledge bases, FAQs, video tutorials, or forums as part of their entitlement are more likely to find solutions through self-service channels, resulting in higher deflection rates. 
  • Targeted support content: By understanding customer entitlements, businesses can create content addressing specific needs and concerns of a certain customer segment, based on their product or service tier. 
  • Personalization: Integrating customer entitlement information into chatbots or help centers can improve the support experience. For example, chatbots can provide more accurate answers based on a customer's entitlement, directing them to relevant resources or escalating their issues to a support agent if necessary. This can lead to more efficient self-service interactions and higher deflection rates.
  • Prioritization: Understanding customer entitlements can help support teams prioritize inquiries from customers with higher-level entitlements or urgent issues, while encouraging those with lower-level entitlements to utilize self-service channels first. 

Difference between deflection and resolution rate

Deflection rate and resolution rate are both used to measure the effectiveness of customer support operations, but they measure different aspects of support performance and experience.

The deflection rate measures how many customers were able to solve their problems without contacting customer support.

On the other hand, the resolution rate measures the ability of support agents to resolve customer issues.

What is the difference between deflection rate, automation rate, and bot handled rate?

All of these metrics measure different aspects of customer support. 

As stated above, deflection rate measures the percentage of customer support requests resolved through self-service.

Automation rate measures the percentage of customer support requests resolved through automated processes — chatbots, AI-powered systems, virtual agents, etc. — without requiring the assistance of a human support agent. 

The bot-handled rate measures the percentage of customer support requests resolved strictly by a chatbot or AI. 

Some self-service channels can be powered by AI systems, and their effectiveness can also be measured with automation or bot-handled rate.

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Article FAQs

What is a chatbot deflection rate?
A chatbot measures how many customers could solve their problems through a chatbot or virtual assistant, without needing to contact a human support agent, over a certain period of time.
What is a good deflection rate?
There is no set benchmark for a deflection rate, as it can vary on the industry, the complexity of the product or service, and the quality of the self-service options provided by the company. Note that the deflection rate should not be the only metric used to evaluate the effectiveness of self-service options.
What is a call deflection?
Call deflection is the process of diverting a customer from calling a support line to another channel, such as self-service or live chat. It is used to reduce call volume and improve the efficiency of customer support operations.
Is deflection rate an important customer support metric?
On its own, like any other metric, the deflection rate doesn’t say much. However, when used alongside other customer support metrics, it can showcase the efficiency of customer support operations and customer satisfaction.
What is customer entitlement?
Customer entitlement is a scope of services, support, or benefits that a customer is eligible to receive based on their purchase of a product or subscription to a service. These entitlements can vary, and they usually include warranty, technical support, software updates, training and resources, and discounts.

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