How to Define and Measure Self-Service Deflection Rates

How to Define and Measure Self-Service Deflection Rates

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How to Define and Measure Self-Service Deflection Rates

Using an accurate measure of deflection is imperative. If deflection is not measured correctly, it is easy to overstate the impact of self-help and service automation on assisted support demand. ServiceXRG has developed a proven reliable formula for measuring self-service deflection rates in your operations.

What is self-service deflection?

Self service deflection is the rate at which automated and self-help resources satisfy service demand that would otherwise be handled by assisted service staff. The average rate of case deflection within the technology industry is 23%. The attainable rate of deflection is highly dependent upon factors such as:

  • the maturity and complexity of a product
  • the skills of the users
  • the quality of tools and content provided by the service provider.

It is easy to overstate the impact of self-help, community, and service automation by equating their overall effectiveness with a direct effect on assisted support. Yes, many issues may be resolved through self-help and automated means. Yet not all are destined for or entitled to resolution through assisted support channels. For a case to be considered as successfully “deflected,” it must meet the following criteria:

  • The customer submitting the case must be entitled to assisted support.
  • An issue must be successfully resolved.
  • The customer submitting the case requires no further action from assisted support resources to validate or clarify the answer provided through self-help or automated means.

How do you measure self-service deflection rates?

ServiceXRG has developed the following approach to measuring self-service deflection rates. Each of the inputs for the deflection calculation are described below. Here are the steps:

  • Multiply the number of Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers for a specific period of time by the Success Rate: the rate that these customers indicate success in finding an answer using self-help resources.
  • Multiply this result by the Intent Rate: the percentage of entitled customers who successfully found an answer and indicated an intent to request assisted support if required.
  • Multiply this result by the No Further Action Rate: the percentage of entitled customers that successfully found an answer and indicated an intent to request assisted support if required and indicate that no further action is required to resolve this issue.
  • Target Value
Target value for deflection:

Deflection = Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers  X  Success Rate  X  Intent Rate  X  No Further Action Rate

I’ll now explain in greater detail some of the key terminology undergirding this formula.

Why does “entitlement” matter when measuring self-service deflection rates?

The idea of “entitlement” is critical to the accurate measurement of self-service deflection rates:

  • For a case to be considered successfully “deflected,” it must be submitted by a customer ENTITLED to receive assisted support. In other words, the customer had a choice and opted for self-help over assisted support.
  • A case cannot be deflected from assisted support if it is submitted by someone that is not entitled to receive support assistance.
  • Including visitors that are not entitled to assisted support in your deflection calculation will overstate the impact of self-help on assisted support demand.

How to determine customer “Entitlement” status

To establish if customers are entitled to assisted support, you must authenticate that they have engaged in a self-help event (e.g. support site and community visitors and those served through other automated means). Again, only customers entitled to assisted support should be included in your self-service deflection rate calculation.

Target Value for Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers:

Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers = The number of self-help and service automation events within a specific period of time for customers entitled to receive assisted support.

What is “Successful” deflection?

For a case to be considered deflected it must be successfully resolved using self-help resources or through unassisted automated means.

Customers will come to a support community or portal for a variety of reasons. They may come to view a discussion thread, read an article, browse documentation, view a video, or download a file. While this use of service resources is positive behavior, these “service events” do not always equate to a successfully resolved customer issue. Customers indicate that on average they find useful information 70% of the time when visiting a support website and 68% of the time when browsing support communities. “Useful,” however, does not directly translate into complete and successful answers.

How to measure Success rate

Success rate is the rate at which service events result in successfully resolved customer issues.

The best method for determining success is to ask customers directly. We suggest on-site pop-up surveys, post-transaction event surveys, and questions embedded in service resources.

In fairness, customer response rates to these types of data collection methods can be low. Nevertheless, customer feedback is essential to establishing the effectiveness of self-help resources and automated issue resolution tools.

Target Value for Deflection Success Rate:

Success Rate = Rate that self-help and service automation events within a specific period of time are successfully resolved.

The importance of “Intent” when measuring deflection

A deflection will occur when there is intent by the customer to seek assisted support to find an answer.

In situations where customers are “browsing” available support resources, but do not intend to seek support assistance, there is no opportunity to deflect from assisted support. Including “browsers” (visitors with no intent to seek assisted support) in the deflection calculation will overstate the impact of deflection on assisted support.

How to measure Intent rate

The best method for determining intent is to ask customers directly. We recommend on-site pop-up surveys or post-transaction event surveys to establish the reason for a community or support web site visit. Determine if the customer intends to seek assisted support if the self-help event is unsuccessful.

Target Value for Intent Rate:

Intent Rate = Rate that entitled customers indicate that their reason for using self-help or service automation is a first step in problem resolution and intend to seek assisted support if necessary.

“No Further Action”—the end of the deflection journey

For a case to be considered deflected, the customer must indicate that the answer found through self-help has completely resolved the issue and that no further action is required.

Some customers may successfully receive the information they are looking for but may still request assisted support to verify the answer. Customers that request assisted support to confirm the answer provided through self-help or automated means should not be included in the measure of deflection.

How to measure No Further Action rate

Determine if any further action is required to resolve a customer issue. We recommend on-site pop-up surveys or post-transaction event surveys to establish if a customer sought assisted support to validate, clarify, or confirm an answer received by an automated or self-help event.

Target Value for No Further Action Rate:

No Further Action Rate = Rate that self-help and service automation events within a specific period of time are successfully resolved andrequire no further action.

Implementing a Deflection Metric

Using an accurate measure of deflection is imperative for establishing the true impact self-help and service automation resources have on your assisted support demand. The inputs and process I’ve described above are stringent, yet necessary to developing effective Service and Success strategies in your organization.

We’re here to help.

Reach out anytime to start the deflection conversation. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

 

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Best Practices and Metrics for Assisted Support Delivery

Best Practices and Metrics for Assisted Support Delivery

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Best Practices and Metrics for Assisted Support Delivery

Making it easy for customers to get help depends upon the channels available to access support resources and request assistance. Many companies offer assistance by phone but there is a clear shift towards electronic channels.

Assisted Support

The time, effort, and costs required to provide assisted support make it imperative for companies to find ways to expedite issue resolution and bolster efforts to prevent issues.

Companies offer a variety of channels for customers to request assisted support. These include interactive channels like chat and phone, and passive methods such as e-mail, Support communities, and web case submission. Customers have embraced electronic channels and are relying less on assistance by phone.

Key Trends

  • 83.1% of companies offer both phone and electronic channels for support. Only 14.9% offer electronic-only support contact methods.
  • Support case submission by web-based form is the top channel used, followed by phone and e-mail.
  • Phone support use has declined by 8% as electronic channel use grows.
  • The use of chat has grown by 26% while use of e-mail has risen by 24%.
  • The reasons customers request support assistance are equally distributed across three primary categories of “How To,” “Bugs or Performance Issues,” and “Installation, Configuration, Setup.”
  • Most support interactions are reactive, although proactive engagement is on the rise.

Best Practices

From case open to closure, case management and resolution processes must be efficient and effective.

  • Apply structured data collection to assure that submitted cases are complete.
  • Encourage adoption of web-based case submission.
  • Apply intelligent automation to triage and routing of new cases.
  • Deflect as cases are created.
  • Collaborate.
  • Leverage case closure automation.
  • Completely document closed cases.
  • Trigger knowledge process upon case closure.

Key Metrics

It is important to track how your customers engage your Support organization as well as the types of issues they need help with. Consider using the following metrics and measures:

  • Cases by Channel
  • Assisted Issue by Types
  • Support Access Point

What more insights about assisted support best practices and metrics?

For insights about how support is changing and the opportunities and imperative for 2021 please review ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics.  This report examines current trends in Support delivery and offers tangible guidance for Support, Success and Service professionals to meet growing expectations of both customers and company executives.

Download your copy now

Make a Plan to Optimize Assisted Support

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies optimize support performance and apply best practices.

Let’s make a plan to optimize support.

Contact ServiceXRG by chat or e-mail now or click on my calendar to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs.

Fresh, authoritative, actionable insights for Support leaders

Exclusive Research Report:

Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics

Download the ServiceXRG Support Transformation 2021 research report

The 2 Keys to Preventing Support Issues

The 2 Keys to Preventing Support Issues

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The 2 Keys to Preventing Support Issues

Our research has revealed that nearly a third (32%) of Support demand stems from questions related to either installation, configuration, or setup. This understanding gives companies an immense opportunity to reduce this demand—and we see two major keys to preventing Support issues on an ongoing basis.

Preventing Support issues starts with customer knowledge.

The more that your customers know, the more capable they are with your product, the less they will require Support. Therefore, we see the two keys to Support issue prevention as Onboarding and Training. It then follows that effective customer onboarding and training will require planning and action on the part of your organization.

The opportunity for greater Support issue prevention is very real: Currently, fewer than a third (28%) of companies have proactive engagement efforts in place to help prevent Support issues. What’s working for them?

Key #1: Onboarding

Proactive Support includes formal efforts to onboard customers with planning resources, as well as guidance and expert resources to assist with installation and configuration. Proactive Support is also triggered by remote monitoring, alerting, and product “call-home” features.

Formal onboarding allows companies to proactively engage customers before they need assisted support. Onboarding practices and resources may consist of digitally available “getting started” checklists, best practice guides, or self-paced training (“tech touch”). Onboarding may also include formalized planning, account management, and coaching with onboarding experts (“high touch”).

Key #2: Training

“How to” questions are another significant source of Support issues. Companies can head off such questions with formal efforts to help customers develop proficiency with their products. These efforts can include (but aren’t limited to) training, knowledge transfer, best practice guides, and coaching.

Be proactive, be early when it comes to preventing Support issues.

Companies that can help customers with formal onboarding and training programs in the early stages of new product adoption are best positioned to mitigate Support demand because:

  • They better equip customers to use the product(s) (and get maximum value) from the start.
  • They connect customers to the resources they need to resolve issues themselves.

Not only do proactive, early onboarding and training prevent more Support issues, they also contribute to Customer Success and increased customer lifetime value.

What more insights about onboarding and practice customer engagement practices? Download the research.

For insights about how support is changing—plus the most urgent opportunities and imperatives—download ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics.  This report examines current trends in Support delivery and offers tangible guidance for Support, Success and Service professionals to meet growing expectations of both customers and company executives. Download your copy now.

Make a plan to get proactive

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies maximize customer value through better Support performance.

Contact us anytime to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

 

Fresh, authoritative, actionable insights for Support leaders

Exclusive Research Report:

Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics

Download the ServiceXRG Support Transformation 2021 research report

Take These 5 Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

Take These 5 Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

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Take These 5 Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

The future success of your Customer Support organization relies on your ability to scale Support delivery. By taking these five actions, you can effectively scale Support delivery to not only meet the expected demand growth, but also fulfill an expanded, Success-focused mission.

When you can scale Support delivery, your team can add more value.

I recently blogged about my POV regarding Support demand in 2021 and beyond (spoiler alert: Support demand will increase). While increased demand presents an opportunity for Support to take on more high-value customer engagement activities, it first requires increases investment in diversified, targeted actions that will enable Support delivery at scale. Focus on these five action areas that have been proven to drive results.

  1. Prevention – Support must take the lead in identifying the root causes of support demand and aggressively advocate for mitigation of these circumstances. Support must work with Engineering groups to improve product performance and usability issues and work across the company to promote effective customer onboarding and skills development activities.
  2. Self-Help – Support teams represent a repository of product expertise and must work to make their knowledge available to customers. Many new support cases can be avoided if customers are able to access the knowledge and expertise of Support. Transferring knowledge to customers to help them become more self-sufficient should be high on the list of strategic imperatives for all Support organizations. Read more about self-help and Knowledge management.
  3. Proficiency – Companies need to look beyond just helping customers help themselves and consider how they can build customers expertise so they can use and apply products more competently. Proficiency will require companies to move beyond a reliance on self-help-focused strategies and invest in building the foundational technical and business skills customers need to apply products successfully.  For a great example of building customer proficiency, read our article about Salesforce Trailhead.
  4. Automation – Support has always been a labor-intensive function that relies on the skills of product experts. Support cannot scale based solely on human power. Read 6 Ways to Apply AI to Technical Support.
  5. Augmentation – The ability to rapidly adjust staffing levels is difficult but may be a business imperative in situations such as high growth, seasonality, fluctuating demand, or in response to an unexpected shock. Maintaining redundant sources of capacity and leveraging trusted providers of on-demand expertise to augment your team provides a viable way to scale support.

Want to better understand Support demand trends? Download our research.

Are you ready for the challenges your Support organization will face in the year ahead?  Are you ready to capitalize on new opportunities?  How will you scale and transform Support?

For insights about how Support is changing and the opportunities and imperatives for 2021, download ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics. It examines current trends in Support delivery and offers tangible guidance for Support, Success and Service professionals to meet growing expectations of both customers and company executives. Download your copy now.

Make your plan to meet the Support demand in your organization—we can help.

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies maximize customer value through better Support performance. Contact us anytime to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

 

Fresh, authoritative, actionable insights for Support leaders

Exclusive Research Report:

Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics

Download the ServiceXRG Support Transformation 2021 research report

Poor Support Case Management Practices = Missed Opportunities

Poor Support Case Management Practices = Missed Opportunities

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Poor Support Case Management Practices = Missed Opportunities

The time and effort to capture what is learned during the Support case management and resolution may seem untenable and an added cost that Support cannot afford. But the missed opportunities and long-term costs are far higher when insights from customer interactions are not fully documented and analyzed.

Support case management missed opportunity #1: incomplete case records

According to ServiceXRG’s new study on Support Practices and Metrics more than 90% of the time and effort spent on Support case management and resolution goes into issue determination and formulation of a response to the customer. As a result, this leaves little time for some of the most important actions necessary to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Support: advancing product quality and innovation and retaining and expanding customer relationships.

The study further finds that only two-thirds (67%) of companies formally document the circumstances of each case in their ticket management system. Even then, their compliance to completely fill in Support case record details is lower than 50%.

These incomplete Support case records diminish Support’s ability to identify root causes of support demand and plan mitigation efforts such as enhanced self-help, product improvements, and training.

Support case management missed opportunity #2: knowledge base neglect

Only 42%, of companies indicate that a knowledge base article is updated or created when a case is closed according to ServiceXRG’s research. The fact that a case was submitted by a customer indicates that there may be a need for information to possibly prevent future support cases from being submitted or help expedite resolution of a case by sharing knowledge among Support team members.

Turn around your missed opportunities with these Support case management best practices:

Apply structured data collection to assure that submitted cases are complete.

Leverage processes and tools to assure that new cases submitted include all information required to begin meaningful issue diagnosis and resolution. Use structured data collection tools such as web-based forms and conversational chatbots. Discourage use of unstructured case submission channels such as e-mail.

Encourage adoption of web-based case submission.

Electronic submission of new cases using structured web-based form is more conducive to automation. Create opportunities for customers to submit support cases through web forms and incent customer adoption of this channel by providing enhanced service levels or other incentives.

Completely document closed cases.

When cases are closed, assure that relevant data attributes and circumstances of the case have been captured.

What more insights about Support case management practice and metrics?

For insights about how support is changing—plus the most urgent opportunities and imperatives—download ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics. It examines current trends in Support delivery and offers tangible guidance for Support, Success and Service professionals to meet growing expectations of both customers and company executives. Download your copy now.

Make your plan to optimize Support case management—we can help.

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies maximize customer value through better Support performance. Contact us anytime to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

Fresh, authoritative, actionable insights for Support leaders

Exclusive Research Report:

Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics

Download the ServiceXRG Support Transformation 2021 research report

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