Beyond Self-Service Deflection
The use of deflection as a basis to justify investments in Self-Service fosters an expectation that it is only capable of reducing costs. The fact is that Self-Service delivers more tangible benefits that can strengthen relationships with customers and enhance Support’s ability to fulfill its primary mission to help customers use and apply products.
Beyond Self-Service Deflection
Deflection is a convenient indicator and well aligned to the desire to scale Support and reduce delivery costs. Deflection does not, however, inform about the impact of our Self-Services on strengthening customer relationships.
Why is the technology services industry obsessed with deflection and overly focused on cost reduction as a target benefit? This is due in part to the legacy of Support and the persistent belief that Support is a necessary evil and a costly burden to the company.
The reality is that Support accounts for the largest single touchpoint with customers and is the cornerstone of any strategy to retain customers.
Deflection does not need to be dropped as a metric. When considering future investments in Support — such as additional staffing or technologies to help scale delivery capacity — look at both the cost reduction and revenue potential.
Making Deflection Savings Real
When 20% of case demand is deflected from assisted support channels, it does not necessarily translate to actual savings until companies take action to reduce the cost of delivering support.
Few companies are likely to reduce Support headcount by 20% due to deflection. Companies may, however, curtail future Support staff expansion or reallocate some of the hours of existing staff to alternative activities. Deflection of case volume from assisted support channels is real, but the actual savings are seldom reflected in the accounting ledger. Actual savings can only be realized when action is taken to reduce the cost of delivering support.
How to Move Beyond Self-Service Deflection
It is time to move beyond the assumption that avoiding an assisted support interaction is an effective indicator of our ability to scale Support. We need to know with certainty that the knowledge, self-help, and automation we provide delivers the answers and insights customers need.
To move beyond deflection, we need to reassess the returns we expect from our investments in capturing and sharing knowledge to scale Support. We should focus on the following tenets of Support performance:
- Customers receive the information and insights they need to overcome an issue or defect and/or help installing, configuring, using, and applying your products.
- A quality answer is provided at the lowest possible cost.
- A quality answer is provided in the fastest possible time.
Although Self-Service is used widely across the industry, only 20% of companies cite it as a primary factor for reducing support demand. This suggests that even when Self-Service is offered, overall support demand does not decline, although the percent of support demand handled by support staff is likely to be reduced. This is not to suggest that Self-Service is not worthwhile. It cannot, however, be the only investment Support organizations make to reduce demand.
For additional strategies to scale support, get the ServiceXRG whitepaper: Four Imperatives for Scaling Support.
Ready to define the strategic role of your self-service initiatives?
We’re here to help you get the answers you need.
Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about the best ways to define and measure the effectiveness of self-service initiatives. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.
The Support organization encompasses extensive experience and expertise about how to use and apply products. Access to this Support knowledge is the primary reason customers contact Support. This article explains how companies can maximize the return on the creation and distribution of Support knowledge.
Self-Service deflection can provide both benefits as well as some unintended consequences. This article introduces what to expect from self-service deflection and how to prepare for possible consequences.
Self-Service deflection is the rate at which self-help and automated resources satisfy customers’ service demands that would otherwise be handled by assisted service staff. This article introduces a concise definition for self-service deflection and lays out six steps to reliably measure this metric.
Self-Service deflection has averaged 22.2%. In 2020 self-help deflection stood at 19.8%. The industry trend for deflection has sloped down (-.5%) during the last decade. This article provides a historic view of deflection trends from 2010 to 2020.
Self-service is essential for companies meet growing support demand but should not be the only strategy companies rely on to scale support delivery. This article assesses the state of self-service tech support and examines the use of self-help and service automation.
How do you accurately measure self-service deflection rates? In this post, ServiceXRG CEO Tom Sweeny outlines a highly reliable deflection metric that you can put to work now.