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Help Desk Automation with AI

Many companies are facing issues such as an increase in internal helpdesk workloads, and a decrease in customer satisfaction with external helpdesks. This is especially true for companies that use Outlook and other general mailers for their help desks. Automation is necessary to streamline helpdesk operations and improve customer satisfaction.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of introducing automation to help desks and the features of useful tools, and we will also discuss AI-based automation.

Communication Business Avenue, Inc. has been helping some of the world’s largest companies to integrate call center systems and digital communication tools for the past 16 years.

 

Table of contents

Two Help Desk Operations

The help desk, in a nutshell, handles questions from employees and customers. These inquires can be broadly classified into two categories: internal and external.

Internal Help Desk Operations

The main task of an internal help desk is to answer inquiries from employees. They answer questions about tools, software, and systems used by employees. After time away or vacations, inquiries such as “I can’t log in” or “I forgot my password” are common.
In addition, they may respond to inquiries about the PCs provided to each employee and the copiers in each department. In many cases, the Information System Department handles internal help desk operations for small and medium-sized companies.

External Help Desk Operations

The external help desk handles customer inquiries. The main task is to respond to questions from new and existing customers. Many companies outsource external help desk operations to BPOs or use their own call centers. In smaller companies, a few employees handle customer support.

Help Desk Challenges

The challenge for help desks is that it takes time to find materials. Help desks are often thought of as “do-it-alls.” Whether it is for internal or external business, people ask the help desk for help when they don’t understand something.

Therefore, the inquiries are diverse, and it is difficult to search for materials to reply to them. They have to search for past inquiries, internal documents, CRM, etc. using a variety of keywords. According to one study, back-office staff wastes up to 38% of their time searching for answers.

The smaller the help desk, the more likely it is that they will be distracted from their core business to handle internal and external inquiries.

Outlook cannot handle help desk tasks​

Help desks in small and medium-sized companies often use mailers such as Outlook to receive inquiries. However, Outlook cannot efficiently handle help desk tasks for the following reasons:

  • Inability to manage knowledge
  • Poor customer database management
  • Inability to share and synchronize information with each system
First of all, if you use a general mailer to manage inquiries, you cannot accumulate knowledge. The content of the responses to inquiries is not stored and shared, so when the same question is asked again, it is necessary to investigate the question again.
When the same customer keeps asking the same question on different dates, the information is not managed, so the same question is asked every time.
To streamline operations and achieve customer success, you need a mailer that is specialized for help desk operations.

Why Automation is Needed for the Help Desk 

Automation is necessary to streamline the ever-increasing helpdesk work. You may be thinking, “We don’t need to automate anything difficult, we just need to add more people to the helpdesk”.
However, the more people you have, the more complicated the work becomes. The more people you have, the more difficult it becomes to share information on response procedures and response details. In addition, the burden of labor costs falls on the company.
Automation is the most efficient and low-budget way to streamline operations. In fact, automation of help desk operations is gaining momentum in various global markets.

Yelk Bezier, Managing Director of Accenture and an expert in AI, says, “Routine tasks will most certainly be automated,” and he predicts that by 2025, 80% of management and back-office matters will be handled almost automatically.

Benefits of Help Desk Automation with AI

AI can help automate help desk operations; helpdesk tools with AI capabilities can automate workflows and organize business processes.
What are the benefits of using AI to automate help desk operations?

Benefit 1: Reduced response time

The use of chat as a method of contacting help desks is increasing each year. However, the chatbot’s response accuracy is not high, so a human has to respond in the end, and the work is not as efficient as expected.

With chatbots that have AI functions, the AI understands the context of the inquiry and automatically replies. If the AI is unable to answer, it will automatically route the inquiry to the appropriate person. As a result, response time can be reduced.

Benefit 2: Cost Reduction

AI excels in the following three areas:
  • Gathering information about the inquiring customer
  • Escalating to the appropriate person in seconds
  • Suggesting the best knowledge to the person in charge
By having AI support the help desk staff, they will be able to handle more inquiries than ever before with the same number of people.
A study on AI and contact center ROI found that adoption of AI chatbots resulted in a 33% cost savings due to fewer calls from the help desk to customers.

Benefit 3: Delivering Quality Service

AI can improve by analyzing daily operations. It becomes smarter by analyzing logs of daily interactions between customers and representatives. It analyzes customer behavior, survey responses, and complaints, and displays them in a way that is easy for humans to analyze. Help desk representatives can see what services their customers really appreciate simply by reviewing the dashboard.

Benefit 4: Eases the burden on help desk personnel

Since AI supports the workload, the help desk staff can work with more time to spare. The handle time for each inquiry is reduced, resulting in less stress on the team.
Help desk staff satisfaction and productivity increases, and turnover decreases. Customer satisfaction also improves because high-performing representatives will be available to help

Benefit 5: Branding

Improved help desk response quality will lead to positive branding, as AI will automatically handle the most common parts of a query, allowing human representatives to spend more time on difficult or challenging inquiries, offering a higher quality customer experience.
Positive customer experiences quickly spread on social networking sites. A company’s image becomes more positive through word of mouth from help desk users.
Furthermore, the fact that a company has adopted and automated AI for their help desk itself leads to positive branding. You will be recognized in the industry as a progressive company and innovator.

Help desk Automation Starts with Visualization

You may be thinking, “I don’t know where to start with help desk automation!”. The first thing you should do is visualize the process of the work you are currently doing. This process is sometimes called workflow visualization.
When visualizing workflow, it is best to do so in each of four genres.

Main workflow ▶︎ Major business operations such as IT, finance, etc.
Auxiliary workflow ▶︎ Support services
Employee workflow ▶︎ HR
Customer workflows ▶︎ Sales, marketing, customer service

Try to visualize the tasks in each workflow. Most help desk work is not documented in a process. In most cases, the work is done by tacit agreement. This is not optimal.
Once you visualize the help desk workflow, you will be able to see where AI should intervene and automate the process. Help desk automation should start with workflow visualization.

Features of the Latest AI Helpdesk Tools

The latest AI help desk tools are useful for help desk automation. What exactly are the features of the tools that are being evaluated in the market?

Ticket Management

Typical help desk tools are good at numbering and managing customer inquiries as tickets. The latest tools take management one step further with AI. They automatically categorize and prioritize tickets.
At any given time, tickets are organized so problems can be resolved in a short amount of time. Customer satisfaction and user brand loyalty are improved.

Multi-channel support

Phone calls are not the only way customers can contact you. Email, chat, social media, and other channels are used. Modern help desk tools centralize inquiries from all channels.
No matter which channel a customer inquiries is from, the information is centralized to ensure ongoing support.

Workflow Automation

Popular help desk tools automate workflows. They leverage advanced technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) and business process modeling notation (BPMN) to automate customer service processes.
When you hear the word “automation,” you may feel that programming is required. However, automation can be done with no or low code. Automation actions can be set up with no technical knowledge using configuration instead

Integration with existing systems

Even if you have a help desk tool in place, if it does not integrate with the systems you are already using, it will not streamline your operations. Products that can be integrated with CRM and CTI used in the company are easy to use.

Knowledge Management

Modern help desk tools perform knowledge management automatically. They share knowledge about the internal help desk and knowledge that customers need through a self-service portal.
Employees and customers can use the portal to find anything they don’t understand on their own.

Security

The help desk stores customer information and information about products and infrastructure used within the company. It is necessary to use tools with high security features.
Most security incidents are related to human error. It is essential that the UI is easy for employees to use. In addition, tools that employ the latest technologies, such as two-factor authentication, can provide peace of mind.

Ease of Analysis

AI-powered help desk tools are easy to analyze. AI organizes and visualizes the huge amount of data collected.
KPIs are also automatically analyzed, allowing early detection of points where operations need to be improved.

Customer Satisfaction Survey

Feedback from customers is essential to improve the level of work of an external help desk. A help desk tool with the ability to conduct surveys is useful. Surveys that use pictograms have a high response rate. If you analyze the survey results, you can find points to improve the customer journey.

How to Choose a Help Desk Tool Without Failure 

There are many help desk tools that can be automated. The key to choosing a help desk tool that will not fail is who decides the rules for automation.

Conventional automated help desk tools require a “human” to set the rules for automation. Automation was done using a rule-based workflow that said, “If A, then A; otherwise, B.” Modern help desk tools are more machine-driven.

 

Modern help desk tools use machine learning to discover patterns in business processes and automate workflows. The AI will take care of the common, patterned processes, allowing the person in charge to focus on the more complex business processes.
When choosing a help desk tool, check if AI automation is possible.

Final Thoughts

To streamline help desk operations, whether internal or external, it is recommended to use a help desk tool rather than a mailer such as Outlook.
The latest help desk tools are equipped with functions that allow AI to automate the management of inquiry emails and correspondence. There is also a function that allows AI to teach the person in charge the knowledge necessary to respond to inquiries.
Automation of tasks eases the burden on help desk staff. The staff can focus on responding to customers instead of organizing and searching for documents, thereby improving customer satisfaction.
To take your help desk operations to the next level, choose a tool that excels at automation.

Contact Communication Business Avenue, Inc. if you need help improving your help desk operations or if you would like to discuss your product selection.

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