What is your deflection rate and how has AI changed everything?

Natalie Smithson
AI enthusiast | Tea addict | Focused on using AI assistants to win the working week

What is deflection rate?

Deflection rate measures the percentage of customer enquiries or issues that AI chatbots or FAQs resolve without human intervention ― they deflect routine queries away from your teams, so they have more time to work on higher value tasks, which can significantly enhance operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

How do you calculate your deflection rate?

To calculate the deflection rate, divide the number of enquiries or issues resolved through self-service tools like AI assistants by the total number of enquiries received, then multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage. You can calculate it daily, weekly, or monthly for insights into the effectiveness of using self-service options.

By tracking and monitoring the deflection rate, your teams can gauge the performance of your chatbots or AI tools accurately and identify areas for improvement to make sure you provide a seamless customer service experience.

Why does the deflection rate matter?

Deflection rate directly impacts operational efficiency, resource allocation, and customer satisfaction levels. By improving the deflection rate, you can reduce the workload on your human agents, leading to faster response times, decreased operational costs, and higher customer satisfaction. Mastery of this metric positions you as an industry leader in effectively using automation to streamline operations and enrich customer interactions.

What is a good deflection rate benchmark?

In the past, a good deflection rate benchmark has typically between 20% to 50%, but a new generation of AI assistants with deeply complex features (like natural language processing (NLP) and large language models (LLMs) capability) has changed this for good.

Our AI assistants average a 91% success rate, which means it has understood the request from your customer and been able to resolve their issue without any input from your contact team, thus deflecting it away from your teams. Many of our AI assistants get much higher, like Legal & General Insurance and Barking & Dagenham Council who both have a 98% success rate, and Mytime Active with 97% to date.

To find this level of success, there are three important things to note in the age of AI automation:

  1. DON’T overload your AI assistant, just get it live You can launch an advanced AI assistant in just ten minutes using only your website URL and it can go live with as little as three main flows (what we call question and answer sequences). Once your AI assistant is live and chatting with real customers, it immediately starts to learn answers to the topics they most care about, so it can instantly deflect those queries.
  2. DON’T aim for a 100% success rate; 99% is cool There will always be a small percentage of queries coming through to your AI assistant that are irrelevant and so you won’t train it to answer them, say you work in a shoe shop and somebody asks about the weather, or someone says ‘tell me a joke’. You’ll need to account for these in your deflection rate, since they’re not genuine queries.
  3. DO keep scaling your AI assistant (and never stop) You should aim for a deflection rate that continually improves over time and you can do this by training your AI assistant to answer and deflect more queries, and by using integration to make it smarter. In learning to deflect more queries, your AI assistant becomes more valuable to you and your teams every day, freeing up their time to work on your higher value tasks.

“We chose EBI.AI as our provider because they promised a hassle-free process to deploy an AI assistant on their platform, and they absolutely delivered. Their implementation was seamless, exceeding our expectations. We noticed an instant reduction in email enquiries, thanks to their solution. What surprised us even more was the high success rate from the start, and it’s only been growing. Our members have effortlessly embraced and interacted with our AI assistant, and we’re excited to expand its usage even further in the upcoming year.” ~ Rachael Pearson, Head of Marketing and Digital for The Camping and Caravanning Club

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How can I analyse the impact of deflection rate on employee morale?

You can gauge the influence of the deflection rate on employee morale by observing how reducing repetitive tasks through AI automation positively affects job satisfaction. By boosting deflection rates, your team can engage in more challenging and rewarding tasks to help encourage a more positive work environment and boost morale.

How can I use customer feedback to optimise deflection rates through AI assistance?

By analysing customer input on self-service experiences, you can pinpoint areas for improvement, train your AI assistant, and enhance AI-driven deflection strategies for a smoother customer service journey.

How do AI deflection strategies help tackle evolving customer preferences?

Stay receptive to customer feedback, market trends, and tech advancements, and you can customise deflection approaches to provide personalised, efficient, and relevant AI-powered solutions that delight your customers.

What’s challenging about implementing AI-driven deflection solutions?

Customers will naturally be concerned about data protection, so you must use an AI assistant platform that’s secure and reliable. To get ahead today, you’ll also need large language model (LLM) capability like GPT, but must introduce LLMs safely if you want your response to be consistent and therefore trustworthy.