Among the best customer service practices, ticket deflection is a mainstay. People (especially support people) jump at the prospect of lower support costs. But if reducing support costs is the endgame, you might be missing out on the bigger picture.

When you talk about ticket deflection, what you should be stoked about is creating product experts.

Assessing the ROI of KM for Ticket Deflection

Evaluate the potential ROI for contextual help on the ticket submission form

Limitations to support-centric ticket deflection

It’s only natural that organizational stakeholders tout ticket deflection as a way to cut support costs. It’s business 101: lower costs should contribute to higher profits. But lowering costs by increasing ticket deflection can lead to some unsavory results for your customer.

Let’s look at some of the shortcomings that accompany common approaches to ticket prevention.

Support forum

Let’s differentiate a support forum from a community, right off the bat. Communities are an effective way to connect your brand with your consumers. We use support forums, on the other hand, to enable customers to help other customers with minimal interaction from the company itself.

The support forum is, at best, a simple problem solver. Ask a question, get an answer. But this comes with a lot of conditions:

  • How soon will you receive an answer (if at all)?
  • Will that answer be specific to your product?
  • Is the answer accurate and helpful?

Of course, you also hope the answer you receive isn’t coming from a competitor, or from a customer who is frustrated with your brand.

FAQ/knowledge base

Your support team is constantly helping customers solve problems. Some companies make the knowledge captured in solving these problems available to their customers through an FAQ or a knowledge base. But FAQs are usually just collections of disconnected break/fix articles that lack the technical depth users need. They don’t always offer a good user experience for customers who want to search, explore, and learn more.

Posting PDFs online

Have you ever tried to read a PDF manual on your phone? Not fun. Still, it happens. Unfortunately, PDF manuals represent a poor user experience. They also affect Google’s ability to index your content, alongside website metrics like bounce rate.

Ticket deflection goes beyond support

It’s a little baffling that companies still get so many repeat tickets when the people have the most powerful information network ever known to mankind inside their pockets.

Our smartphones and our always-on internet connections have fundamentally changed the ways we connect to businesses. It’s for this reason that ticket deflection is more than a support issue. It’s more than a cost-cutting issue. Ticket deflection needs to come from the desire to promote your customer’s success with your product—to transform them into product experts.

A key part of the customer journey

If you want to create product experts, a powerful web self-service portal is a great place to start. It’s a way to seamlessly integrate your product content across the customer journey. By meeting your customers where they are with the information they need, they can quickly learn about your product or service on their terms.

Here’s a few ways how:

Search engine optimization

Everyone turns to Google these days when they have a question, even before they turn to your company’s website. It’s second-nature. By breaking up unwieldy PDFs into microcontent that is optimized for search engines, your customers’ searches will turn up the answers they need with minimal effort. Otherwise, failed Google searches will turn into costly support tickets that your agents have probably already seen fifty times that day.

In-product

When your customer is using your product, the last thing you want them to have to do is to leave because they’re not sure how to do something. With properly structured in-product help, you can deliver contextually relevant content to the customer that helps them become product experts while actually using the product. By tracking the number of in-product self-service uses, for example, you can track how effective this ticket deflection touchpoint is working.

Ticket submission form

Some customers skip Google and go straight to the case submission form. This is the perfect time to deflect that ticket by offering contextually relevant articles. The odds are that your company has the information to answer this question already. By offering up relevant content at the last step of your ticket submission form, you can track how many tickets submissions were abandoned thanks to your self-service content.

What we talk about when we talk about ticket deflection

All of these customer touchpoints reduce the effort it takes to create product experts. By minimizing the need for customer support interactions, you’re ensuring the best possible experience for your customers—experiences they’ll remember when they enter the renewal phase, or when they’re advising friends and colleagues about the value of your product.

Let’s stop talking about ticket deflection as a cost-cutter for support. Let’s start talking about ticket deflection as part of our commitment to creating product experts as quickly as possible.

Additional categories: Customer Support, Knowledge Management