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.
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