Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning, provide unprecedented opportunities to transform the efficiency of IT service desks.
It’s crucial, however, that these technologies be applied in ways that evolve service desks and empower organizations, without disrupting them.
Users expect more
Research shows that a major reason why people avoid interacting with IT organizations is that they feel that if they start an interaction with the support team, it will result in a draw on their time that they have no control over.
This leaves service management teams with a significant challenge—not only are support analysts already overworked managing a dizzying array of apps, devices, and systems; now they must also present tools that resolve technical issues in ways that align to end users’ preferred style of communication.
From a user’s perspective, a satisfactory interaction with technical support hinges on attributes such as:
- Assistance on my schedule
- Access to help at any time of the day or night
- Connection to the correct expert immediately
- Conversations which are free of technical jargon
- Communication via the messaging applications they already use
- Not needing to provide basic information
- Rapid resolution of issues.
So how does a support team provide support that not only helps drive support efficiency, but does so in a manner that improves users’ overall satisfaction? The answer lies in applying breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing, and a focused effort on building more conversational support experiences.
Technology holds the key
Of course, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing are being combined in very different ways. One of these is the development of chatbots. Here too, terminology such as “answer bot”, “virtual assistant”, and “virtual agent” are used frequently and often interchangeably. However, although the concepts may be similar, some have the potential to transform service desks much more than others.
- Answer bot—deflects some tickets by accessing a knowledge base to return the best answer to a user’s query.
- Virtual assistant—assists in the creation of tickets by entering the information provided by a user into an IT support system on their behalf, in addition to the deflection of some tickets.
- Virtual agent—impacts the role of a support analyst more dramatically by reducing their involvement with mundane tasks associated with a ticket by ensuring tickets are accurate and complete, correctly assigned and, subsequently, closed with a user’s approval, in addition to the deflection of many tickets.
Revolutionary Benefits, Evolutionary Changes
Innovation is often associated with disruption. Consequently, organizations are often forced to choose between getting by with outdated systems and processes or suffering from immature technologies which are not yet ready for deployment at scale.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing are not new. What is game-changing, however, is combining these technologies in ways which are purpose-built for service management. Adding a virtual agent to your existing ITSM solution allows you to align the pace of change with the needs and capabilities of service desks. Seamlessly and painlessly.
Somebody once famously claimed, “The revolution will be televised”. Well, in this case, it won’t be—because service desks are going through an evolution, not a revolution.
As always, we aim for our white papers and posts to inform and start conversations. If the topics pique your interest, but leave you wanting more, let us know.