Understanding Ticket Deflection + 11 Strategies That Work

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August 14, 2023
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 min read
Jonathan Sidor

Stop us if this sounds familiar. Your ticket totals are on the rise, placing greater pressure on agents. Shoppers grow more frustrated as wait times balloon, and you worry the entire customer experience will crumble.

Talk about a devastating chain reaction.

But it’s also an avoidable one. Self-service options can sustainably keep support tickets in check thanks to one thing — ticket deflection. 

A high level of ticket deflection can ease the strains support agents face to ensure your team keeps running like a well-oiled machine. 

What is ticket deflection, and how can it help you reduce your incoming tickets? Let our guide put you on the path to success.

What is ticket deflection?

Ticket deflection, also known as automated ticket resolution, occurs when a customer successfully solves their problem without needing the help of a customer support agent. Rather than opening a ticket, a customer turns to a self-service option, like a chatbot, FAQ page, knowledge base article, or tutorial, to answer their questions. 

Since ticket deflection means fewer tickets are getting created, it helps support teams enjoy a reduced backlog and a more manageable workload.

How do you measure ticket deflection?

To calculate your ticket deflection rate, divide the total number of customer self-service interactions by your total number of support tickets.

Ticket deflection rate = # of self-service interactions / # of support tickets

Now, you might be thinking, How do I know how many self-service interactions I have? It’s not like your FAQ page comes with a counter that dings every time a customer’s case is resolved.

This is why chatbots are some of the best tools for capturing a support team’s deflection rate. These solutions track deflection rates and can easily tell you how many cases the bot has resolved vs. how many tickets make it to an agent.

Ticket deflection example

Here’s a common example of ticket deflection from ecommerce.

a chatbot conversation that shows ticket deflection

Robert is shopping online for a T-shirt. He has a question about shipping and asks the site’s chatbot: 

How much is shipping?

The chatbot, which has already been fed the company’s shipping policy from its knowledge base, replies: 

Domestic shipping is $4.99. For international orders, shipping costs are $14.99. Did that answer your question?

Satisfied, Robert answers: 

Yes, thank you.

Boom — the ticket is deflected, with Robert getting the answer he needed without a human agent’s attention ever being needed.

Unsure where to start looking for ticket deflection solutions? Our ebook makes it easy. Download Finding the Right Customer Service Automation Software today.

Benefits of ticket deflection

Customer support teams care about ticket deflection because it can positively impact their daily work in several ways. Here are some of its biggest benefits:

benefits of ticket deflection: shorter wait times, lower support costs, enhanced CX, unlocked scalability, more consistent service
1. Shorter wait times

With shorter ticket queues, customers should naturally wait less. Overall, customer support teams can perform more efficiently as agents are no longer overwhelmed by endless backlogs. This’ll boost their well-being and lead to faster response times.

2. Lower customer support costs

As more customers get their issues handled via self-service options, companies need fewer agents for their help desk. With tools like chatbots deflecting a fair share of tickets, businesses face less hiring pressure. Even as they grow, their volume of tickets doesn’t need to.

3. Unlocked scalability

With higher levels of ticket deflection, customer support teams are able to meet greater customer demand. As more shoppers turn to self-help, a growing customer base doesn’t mean equal growth in the overall number of tickets. This allows businesses to focus on growth without straining their support resources. 

4. An enhanced customer experience

More customers are clamoring for instant answers — even if they have to find them on their own. Self-service choices that can effectively deflect tickets are key to bringing greater customer satisfaction. 62% of shoppers would rather use a chatbot than wait for a human agent, so don’t limit them to a single choice.  

5. More consistent service

When customers interact with agents, they often receive inconsistent service. Reps are bound to give users slightly different answers each time. Customers crave consistency, and self-service via a chatbot or knowledge base is an effective way to standardize your support and give all customers the same information — and a positive experience. 

To learn 5 (more) benefits automation brings businesses, check out our blog post: 5 Advantages of Automated Customer Service [Complete Guide].

11 ticket deflection strategies to reduce incoming traffic

Customer service teams have numerous tactics at their disposal to decrease their support ticket volume. Here are 11 effective ticket deflection strategies worth trying:

1. Create a comprehensive knowledge base

How does your help desk operate? Do you just have one member who knows how something works? Are your policies spread across different files?

If so, it’s time to unify everything into a single knowledge base that holds your most vital information. 

Adding this self-service resource to your website is an important first step. It’ll help you get organized and ensure everyone has access to the same definitive answers, keeping agents and customers alike on the same page.

Your knowledge base will also serve as the foundation for any ticket deflection strategy you wish to develop further.

2. Identify common questions

Before you start trying to deflect answers, it’s useful to know your most asked questions. 

There are multiple ways to do this. Using a chatbot to track your top questions and check your page’s metrics is perhaps the easiest solution. You can also take a more personal route by polling your support reps or going through the customer journey yourself. Roleplaying as a shopper is a great way to uncover any customer frustrations or confusing policies.

3. Build a better chatbot

A knowledge base and FAQ page can help deflect tickets, but they’re still static resources that won’t impact the customer experience too much.

To really wow your shoppers, you need an interactive tool capable of having full conversations with customers. You need a chatbot.

Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots can be trained on your knowledge base to ensure customers get instant, accurate answers without having to hunt any information down on their own.

They also leverage machine learning to provide natural, human-like responses. They can also self-learn and add automated answers to more questions, meaning they’ll only drive deflection rates higher over time. 

Leading tools are capable of instantly cutting your customer support tickets by 50%, making AI chat one of the most effective routes to take when it comes to boosting ticket deflection. 

“With Zowie, customers don't feel like they're talking to a bot, so we had excellent automation and deflection rates right from the start.”
— Emily Spatucci Pages, Customer Service Manager at EmpireCovers
Discover how EmpireCovers deflects 59% of chats with Zowie.
4. Integrate systems

Chatbots can be powerful, but they’re only as good as the information they receive. To let customers successfully self-serve, ensure your solution can pull the necessary data from your knowledge base and the rest of your tech stack. 

Can the bot instantly offer tracking codes and shipping updates? Can it update a user’s cart or even supply a custom discount code? 

The best tools are plug-and-play solutions that can be dropped into top ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce.

5. Reach out proactively

Small customer frustrations can escalate to serious tickets in a heartbeat, leaving agents handling time-consuming complaints.

The good news? Many of these major problems can be prevented altogether with proactive messaging. 

Customer service software can detect when customers appear stuck on your website. Maybe they’re unsure about payment, shipping, or asking for a refund.

Don’t wait for them to contact you. Have your chatbot reach out with helpful information, or let shoppers know it’s there if needed. 

6. Offer omnichannel support

Websites aren’t the only place customers will contact you. Automation on your chat widget is one thing, but applying it to all customer touchpoints is vital.

Tickets can also be deflected on channels as diverse as email, mobile, and social media through omnichannel support. Make yourself available wherever customers want to contact you and sync these channels together to prevent repeat tickets and foster a more cohesive experience.

The fact that there are over 300,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger alone highlights how more businesses are realizing the value in coordinating their customer service across multiple channels.

300,000+ chatbots are on Facebook Messenger
7. Analyze customer feedback

Remember, AI chatbots learn and get smarter as time goes on. One treasure trove of information for these tools is customer feedback.

With simple surveys, chatbots can find out what answers are missing or inaccurate. Take these customer insights to improve your solution’s automated responses. Over time, this’ll let your chatbot give better answers to more customers and drive deflection rates higher.

How does this process look? Here’s an example:

Katherine has the following exchange with a chatbot for a company that recently entered Canada.

Conversation with a chatbot about shipping Katherine: How long does shipping take to Canada?Bot: We ship anywhere in the USA within 5 business days. International shipping may take longer. Did I answer your question?Katherine: Can you be more specific?Bot: Please wait while I transfer you to an agent.

Here, a ticket is created, but Katherine can leave feedback that the chatbot’s answer wasn’t helpful. Seeing that more Canadian customers are leaving similar feedback, the customer support team trains their chatbot to answer this question better. So the next time a shopper asks this same question, we’ll see a deflected ticket.

conversation with a chatbot (b) Jean: How long does shipping take to Canada?Bot: Shipping to Canada takes 7-10 business days. Did I answer your question?Jean: Yes, thank you very much. 
8. Collaborate with agents

Customer insights are invaluable, but don’t leave your agents hanging. Your reps know your customer service infrastructure better than anyone, so ask them what measures can be taken to maximize your deflection rates.

Find out what questions get escalated most often, and see if it’s possible for a chatbot to deflect these cases. It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch — chatbots can deliver helpful, accurate responses to 95% of ecommerce questions.

And the benefits here are two-fold. Ticket deflection ratios will rise, and agents will also have fewer frequently asked questions to handle. So seek out your support staff’s opinions — they’ll be eager to help. 

9. Provide multilingual support

As online businesses grow and begin serving an international client base, deflecting tickets in a single language will likely become a roadblock to success.

Equipping your chatbot with multilingual capabilities lets a far larger audience come to your self-service portal. Make it easy for shoppers to converse with the chatbot in their preferred language, and you’ll see ticket deflection rates rise.

Not only that, but you’ll take a huge weight off your own shoulders by not needing to hire an army of multilingual agents. Today’s best chatbots can offer support in over 175 languages, enabling ticket deflection with a global reach.

10. Personalize content

Personalizing customer interactions is crucial if you want to maximize deflection rates. And the reason is simple.

Not all of your customers’ support requests look the same. Shoppers will want detailed responses about different items in your catalog, and generic answers probably won’t satisfy them. The more precise your automated answers can be, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve full deflection. 

Can your chatbot pull up a shopper’s order history and note when something will arrive? Can it recommend relevant products? 

By addressing specific customer needs with personalized answers, you’ll be able to deflect more tickets.

11. Conduct A/B testing

The best part of chatbots is that they’re flexible tools that evolve with your business. If something isn’t working, you can change it with a single click.

That’s why these tools are an ideal testing ground for finding the right messaging that resonates with customers. 

Try out different answers for the same customer queries and see which leads to more deflection. Tinker with new automations in hopes that more customers opt for self-service and fewer cases get transferred to agents.

You don’t need to hit maximum deflection on day one. Embrace experimentation, and check back regularly to make changes as needed. Once you find a winning formula, you’ll have a sustainable method of keeping deflection rates climbing. 

Increase your ticket deflection with Zowie

Reducing your support tickets is well within reach. You just need the right tool to get you across the finish line.

Zowie is the only AI-powered customer service software built with ecommerce brands in mind. Our chatbot puts ticket deflection front and center, boosting efficiency and unlocking revenue-generating potential in the process.

To see how Zowie can increase your deflection rates,book a demo today.