What is Ticket Deflection and Why Does it Matter?

The Key to Happy Support Teams
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A top priority for any customer support team is reducing the number of incoming tickets. When ticket volume increases, it can strain your agents and cause frustration for customers. A business can use many tactics to reduce support tickets, including better onboarding and proactive communication. While those tactics can be preemptive, they won’t make a dramatic difference in ticket volume.

Instead, companies are leveraging ticket deflection as a model to encourage self-service to customers. That can involve several components, including searchable knowledge bases, FAQs, and chatbots. When you put these things in place, customers can resolve many of the simple and mundane issues they have without ever interacting with an agent.

To execute and maintain such a model and for it to be a success for agents and customers, you’ll need the right strategy and technology.

In this ebook, we’ll answer:

  • What is ticket deflection, and how does it work?
  • What’s the state of customer expectations around support?
  • How does conversational AI elevate deflection capabilities?
  • What are the benefits of ticket deflection?
  • What is AI’s role in customer support if self-service doesn’t resolve the customer query?

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Chapter 1

What is ticket deflection?

Ticket deflection describes a model that enables customer self-service. Customers have tools and resources to resolve questions and concerns without intervention from agents.

In most cases, customers will interact with a variety of content resources, including:

Knowledge bases

Searchable repositories of information relating to a product or service

FAQ sections

Pages on websites that feature the most common questions and customers have


Software widgets that have conversations with customers to help them with their issues

Most chatbots include some element of artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver answers. However, not all are the same, and the type of AI you employ is critical to achieving better ticket deflection. Conversational AI is the superior technology, and we’ll explain why in the coming pages.

All these elements work together to support the customer. There’s no ticket creation when it’s successful, hence the “deflection.”

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Chapter 2

How does ticket deflection work?

Here’s a real-world example to illustrate the model.

A customer wants to change settings within their business accounting software. Making these adjustments is critical to the user. They’ve attempted a few tricks they knew about but aren’t finding the fix.

The customer heads to the company’s website. They search around the FAQ page but don’t find the right answer. The next step would be to submit a ticket for help and sit in a queue.

However, the company has an AI-powered chatbot on its website. The customer interacts with the chatbot, which understands the nuances of the question. Based on the data and information available to the chatbot, it provides the correct answer to the customer. The customer is able to make the changes to their setting and never has to wait for an agent’s help. They feel satisfied, and there’s no further strain on your agents.

customer support agents
Chapter 3

What’s the state of customer expectations around support?

You want your customers to walk away after any interaction seeing your brand in a positive light. That’s getting more challenging every day—no matter how well you staff your customer support team or how amazing your products and services are.

Customer expectations are sky-high.

Customer support expectations are higher than ever. Customers want fast and accurate answers, and they also expect businesses to know them and their history. If they experience any disappointments with service, customers will often switch companies.

In fact, 58 percent of consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service, according to one report.

When the service is prompt and excellent, your customers are more likely to stay and remain loyal. According to research by HubSpot, 93 percent of customers will make repeat purchases from a company when its customer service is excellent.

customer experience woman

Customers want fast and accurate answers, and they also expect businesses to know them and their history.

Customers believe you should know their needs and resolve issues fast.

When a customer contacts you for help, they don’t want to tell you their life story. According to research, 63 percent of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs.

Frustrations can quickly rise while customers wait for service. Having to repeat themselves is another factor in their exasperation.

The immediacy they crave for help is quantifiable. Research revealed that “immediate” means within 10 minutes or less to 60 percent of customers who need support.

Customers want support options.

The modern customer doesn’t want to rely on traditional methods of agent interaction. They are fully capable and not indifferent to self-service. Many will attempt to resolve issues on their own if it’s available. The number of customers that want to find answers online is only growing.

According to a U.S. customer survey, 58 percent prefer email and digital channels, which include chat, text, and social media. The minority (42 percent) still favor the phone. You can expect that gap to grow as most customers become digital natives. As a result, companies need to pivot on how they provide service. They’ll need to optimize digital channels for customers and improve self-service.

Most companies don’t have robust self-service options. What’s often missing is conversational AI, which is much more powerful than standard chatbots.

customer service ai forethought
Chapter 4

How does conversational AI elevate deflection capabilities?

As mentioned, not all standard chatbots operate at the same capacity. Conversational AI is much different.

Conversational AI describes chatbots that can have human conversations. What makes it unique is that it understands sentiment and intent. A standard chatbot works only via a predetermined set of if-then statements and decision trees that focus on keywords to respond.

What makes AI conversational is three components:

  1. Natural language processing (NLP) is a term that refers to the automatic computational processing of human language.
  2. Natural language understanding (NLU) is a subset of NLP which involves transforming human language into something machine-readable. It enables human-computer interaction.
  3. Machine learning (ML) is the process of using algorithms and data so that technology can initiate intelligent human behavior.

Conversational AI improves the self-service experience.

In the example of ticket deflection, the key to the satisfied customer was that the chatbot was able to analyze the entire query to provide the answer. Conversational AI understands human language.
That’s the game changer here for self-service.

If businesses deploy standard chatbots, it’s hit or miss if they deliver the best answer. That’s because they can only respond to keywords. In fact, traditional chatbots only resolve issues an average of 28 percent of the time—you can’t expect that will do much to deflect tickets.

customer service agent working

If businesses deploy standard chatbots, it’s hit or miss if they deliver the best answer.

customer support agent ai
Chapter 5

How is conversational AI the ultimate ticket deflector?

This type of chatbot elevates self-service. The AI has lots of data, documents, and previous interactions that enable it to respond more accurately. It can also classify urgency and spam. Additionally, such a framework allows you to build custom workflows, allowing customers to take more complex actions without submitting a ticket.

To understand the opportunity to deflect, let’s look at a case study that features Route.

Route is an app that offers live tracking of packages, making it highly appealing to consumers. However, the company faced challenges with a high volume of inquiries during the holiday season because people were anxious to get their orders.

The company anticipated this upcoming peak and thought the only way to manage it was to hire more agents. It also wanted to reduce the number of tickets making it to agents by boosting self-service since many were the same question types.

The company implemented conversational AI. By doing so, it deflected up to 40 percent of new tickets. Customers received accurate answers fast, and agents had more manageable queues.

The company implemented conversational AI.

positive customer experience
Chapter 6

What are the key benefits of ticket deflection?

By launching a strategy of ticket deflection, your customers and agents will experience many benefits:

Agents are more productive.

If everyday questions are answerable via self-service, they never make it into the queue, and your agents won’t feel so overwhelmed. Rising queues can deliver dread to agents. However, when you deflect, they can concentrate on those customers that need support.

The feeling of being more productive can also reduce burnout. It’s a frequent problem for support teams, and this is one way to curb it.


Support costs decrease.

Deflection is a great way to save money. Support tickets can be costly in terms of labor. You can also lose customers simply because they give up waiting. By deflecting, you won’t need to staff up as often.


Customers have better experiences.

As you know, customers want solutions quickly with little effort on their part. When you have conversational AI-powered self-service options, customers have agency over the issue. They’ll find what they need and realize how easy it is to do business with you.


customer support woman
Chapter 7

How does conversational AI keep supporting the ticket queue?

Effective self-service options are critical to improving the customer experience and resolving issues. However, there will still be customers that need to engage with agents. Conversational AI continues to be an asset to your agents. It can predict, prioritize, and triage tickets with smart automation. Further, analysis of the support ticket accelerates response time by routing the query to the best help.

When agents receive the ticket, AI goes into assist mode with:

  • Smart searching in knowledge bases or websites, providing AI-powered answers for the agent to convey
  • Delivery of existing macros, past tickets with similar inquiries, and current ticket history as soon as they open the case
  • Streamlining of the agent process with autocomplete, in-line commands, and other shortcuts, which saves time
customer support man
Chapter 8

Power the next generation of your customer support with conversational AI.

The relationship between customer and company has shifted considerably. Customers have great expectations. They also want easy access to information and fast resolution to problems. Further, they are relying more on digital channels for communication.

You can meet the new demands of customers and ensure agents are more productive and less stressed by implementing conversational AI into your customer support workflow. It elevates self-service. As a result, ticket deflection increases dramatically. If deflection doesn’t occur, AI can still aid agents as they resolve customer questions.

customer experience agent ai

The relationship between customer and company has shifted considerably. Customers have great expectations.

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