Modern service desk automation tools demonstrably improve customer service. They give people tools to fix their own problems, leading to faster resolutions. They keep customers up-to-date on the status of their requests and let support teams pay more personal attention to complex problems.
Support automation also allows help desk teams to do more with less. This is crucial because today’s workplaces are using more technology and supporting a fragmented workforce, yet help desk budgets aren’t necessarily increasing to meet demand.
So how do you implement the types of automation that boost productivity while improving service quality? Consider the following top service desk automation tools.
Imagine that an employee needs to set up SSO to their iOS device. All the steps are listed in an Okta help article in the company’s knowledge base. The employee can follow this guide to get their phone set up in minutes.
Instead, she contacts the help desk and interrupts a service desk team member who directs her to the relevant guide. This process isn’t a good use of anyone’s time.
While a single request doesn’t seem like it would have a huge impact on productivity, it interrupts IT’s focus on other work and help desks tend to get these “little”, interruptive and repetitive requests frequently.
IT service desk tools like atSpoke give employees a place to ask questions and get answers from the company’s knowledge base without interrupting help desk teams. atSpoke uses artificial intelligence to build and manage knowledge or integrate with a company’s existing knowledge base, to provide answers and solve problems for company employees over chat, email, and SMS without involving the service desk. This empowers employees with self-service to get answers to their questions immediately from where they work, decreasing the response time from hours to seconds.
How much time does your team spend fielding software requests and requesting approvals? Even if it’s only a small amount of time, it’s time you could be spending on more important tasks. Service requests like these are ripe for automation because they have defined workflows that can be completed without any human intervention.
IT service management (ITSM) tools like ServiceNow, Avatier Service Catalog, and atSpoke allow help desk teams to create service catalogs that users interact with in the same way they would an ecommerce site. On the frontend, users request things like software, devices, and access. These requests interact with backend workflows that secure permissions and initiate processes automatically.
This gives end users access to the things they need more quickly and removes the need for the support team involvement outside of creating, updating, and maintaining backend workflows.
There are a lot of ways to measure service desk performance: cost-per-ticket, rate of resolution, average time-to-resolution, etc. But the bottom line is that none of these metrics matter if the quality of the services you provide is poor. High resolution rates and low resolution times can be measures with service level agreements(SLA’s). However these aren’t metrics to brag about if teams achieved them by closing tickets with unresolved issues.
One possible solution is to create and send help desk surveys regularly. But doing so is often a manual process that’s easy to forget and easy to put off due to more urgent priorities.The best way to ensure you’re constantly collecting feedback and optimize employee satisfaction is through automation. If you always send an email when a ticket closes—either manually or through your ticketing system—use a tool like Hively to include surveys in every email you send. atSpoke also monitors help desk performance by allowing requesters to rate their support interactions, surveys are immediately sent to a requester when they are resolved. This feedback provides measures to monitor continuous improvement for service desk agents.
How often does your service desk staff get assigned to tickets that should have been assigned to someone else? How much time do employees spend each morning triaging and routing new issues? Not only is ticket triage a waste of time for support teams, it lengthens response and resolution times, hurting the employee experience.
Most IT support ticketing tools have built-in features that automate the process of getting issues to the right department, teams, and/or people, though some are more helpful than others:
To satisfy your employees, you have to keep them in the loop about your progress on solving their issues. Most ITSM tools have built-in features that send email updates automatically for triggers like updated ticket statuses or new comments.
But another way to boost service quality and performance is to use an email marketing program like ActiveCampaign to build and send onboarding emails that walk new company employees through the process of setting up and using new systems and software.Automated onboarding campaigns can be as simple as sending a single email to new users with a long list of to-dos and instructions for setting up their systems, or as complex as a series of emails that are each triggered when new users do/don’t take specific actions. This optimizes the user experience to streamline onboarding.
Ordering, configuring, maintaining, and managing company devices and software is another set of support tasks that automation eliminates.
IT asset management (ITAM) tools like Oomnitza provide an agentless approach that consolidates all assets in an integrated portfolio.
While major corporations may have support teams working around the clock to manage their IT organization, most SMBs have periods in the evening and over the weekend where no one is actively monitoring tickets or system issues. In this case, it’s important to have an automated system that escalates major issues and incidents to the right people when resolution can’t wait for normal business hours.
Tools like PagerDuty, AlertOps, and Everbridge send automatic voice, text, and email notifications to designated personnel when major incidents occur and let teams set up on-call schedules for who to notify—depending on when the incident occurs.
Adopting service desk automation tools makes life better for everyone. It improves the quality of service you provide to customers. It makes work more fulfilling for your help desk employees by eliminating redundant and uninspiring tasks. And best of all: it lets your support teams accomplish more—even with a budget that’s never quite enough.