Why deflection rates are NOT enough when starting a chatbot project

Zoran Slamkov
 on October 22, 2021

A high-level average deflection rate often gets used as the north star — the guiding star for any chatbot implementation. However, there is more to a great chatbot experience than a single performance measure.

While the deflection rate is essential, it is only effective when used with other metrics such as customer satisfaction, new customer data, and engagement.

Thus, when creating the company’s first chatbot, Technical Product Managers or developers must define the goals they want to achieve and then work backward to discover necessary KPIs. Once they have this, instead of lumping their implementation to a single, siloed measurement, Technical Managers and Developers can design and construct their chatbot to meet these goals.

This article will discuss the difference between deflection rate and resolution rate and why focusing on both the resolution rate and the deflection rate provides optimal results.

Defining Deflection Rate

Chatbot deflection enables businesses to effectively and efficiently reduce support volumes while also improving customer satisfaction. Furthermore, chatbot deflection lessens the pressure of human customer support employees, allowing them to focus on more complex issues rather than being overburdened with minor problems.

Deflection rate in this context refers to the percentage of support requests that are handled by self-service or self-help technologies rather than by agents. In other words, it is the number of tickets a team will not have to deal with because of automation.

While the deflection rate is useful for tracking tickets that do not get forwarded to the agents, it ignores the customer experience side of tech support, ignoring whether or not they handled customers’ concerns.

In a perfect scenario, the requests get fulfilled, and the customer is satisfied. Such a simple and sought-after outcome is not always the case, though. These requests frequently get overlooked because they have timed out, the chatbot has failed to offer appropriate information, or the user has become frustrated and terminated the chat session. The deflection rate takes into account all of these bad user encounters.

Defining Resolution Rate

The Resolution Rate is a metric that represents the percentage of support inquiries that became addressed entirely through self-service or support automation. In other words, the resolution rate defines an organization's capacity to handle problems for its clients.

When it comes to tickets, an organization's purpose should be to finish the loop and resolve its customers' complaints, not just deflect them. This loop is why the resolution rate is so important: it shows that an organization's support cycle is complete and that its users' issues have gotten resolved.


Most chatbots are not particularly adept at addressing problems, so they aim to impress businesses by boasting about their "deflection rates.” On the other hand, measuring the resolution rate reveals what matters most to the company: how often support automation processes requests appropriately.

Unlike the deflection rate, the resolution rate takes into account the customer's point of view. Customer-centric support organizations understand that measuring the performance of their support automation and comprehensive consumer service requires including a customer perspective.

Organizations looking into embarking on a chatbot project must put greater importance on the chatbot’s ability to show resolution rates than mere deflection rates. Ultimately, the resolution rate is more accurate when ticket loops are closed and precise insights into overall customer satisfaction.

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