How to Define and Measure Deflection
Deflection is the rate that 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, and 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 its overall effectiveness with a direct impact on assisted support. 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 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.
ServiceXRG offers the following approach to measuring deflection. Each of the inputs for the deflection calculation are described below.
How to Measure Deflection
Multiply the number of Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers for a specific period of time by the rate that these customers indicate success in finding an answer using self-help resources (Success Rate). Multiply this by the percent of entitled customers that successfully found an answer and indicated an intent to request assisted support if required (Intent Rate). Multiply this by the percent 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 (No Further Action Rate).
Deflection = Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers * Success Rate * Intent Rate * No Further Action Rate
For a case to be considered deflected it must be submitted by a customer entitled to receive 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 Measure Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers
Establish entitlement to assisted support. To accomplish this, you will need to authenticate customers engage in a self-help event (e.g. support site and community visitors and those served through other automated means). Only customers entitled to assisted support should be included in your deflection calculation.
Self-Help Service Events by Entitled Customers = # of self-help and service automation events within a specific period of time for customers entitled to receive assisted support.
For a case to be considered deflected it must be successfully resolved using self-help resources or through unassisted automated means.
Visitors 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 the use of service resources is positive, 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 web site and 68% of the time when browsing support communities. Useful does not however translate in to complete and successful answers.
How to Measure Success Rate
Identify the rate that service events result in successfully resolved customer issues. The best method for determining success is to ask customers directly. Use on-site pop-up surveys, post transaction event surveys and questions embedded in service resources. Unfortunately, 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.
Success Rate = Rate that self-help and service automation events within a specific period of time are successfully resolved.
A deflection will occur when there is intent by a 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
Identify customer intent to request assisted support. The best method for determining intent is to ask customers directly. Use 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.
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
For a case to be deflected a 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. Use on-site pop-up surveys or post transaction event surveys to establish the if a customer sought assisted support to validate, clarify or confirm an answer received by an automated or self-help event.
No Further Action Rate = Rate that self-help and service automation events within a specific period of time are successfully resolved and require 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 assisted support demand. The inputs describe above are stringent, yet necessary. If you require any assistance in defining and implementing a proper deflection metric please contact ServiceXRG for assistance.
As knowledge management initiatives take hold and mature, it is essential to conduct a formal cost – benefit analysis to determine the proper level of investment for knowledge management and define the expected return on this investment. Continued success will come from efforts to enhance content creation processes, employ enhanced technologies and deliver tangible business value by leveraging knowledge assets. This research report introduces an approach to measure the return from knowledge management initiatives.
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