Improve your ITSM delivery with AI Chatbots – Don’t be afraid, we can ‘assyst’ you!

by Craig Whytock, on 04-Mar-2019 13:40:00


Imagine for a second, you’re in Edinburgh on a chilly winter night. You’re looking for the best restaurant that serves haggis. You type a few keywords into your search, which immediately returns results with user ratings and more importantly, directions.

Why should the experience of our end-users be any different when they seek to solve an issue or request information through a self-service portal? 

When I chat to my customers, they’re telling me that real-time engagement is key to delivering a greater experience for their business. They’re telling me their businesses are looking for 24/7 availability, faster ticket resolution and if possible, an instant response. Now adding more agents to the issue is not a practical solution at all, so another option is necessary. 

Axios Systems is introducing AI chatbot integration capabilities into its next release, so let’s explore how chatbots can improve your overall ITSM efficiency and productivity. 

Which support channels do you use?

 First of all, let’s take a look at some interesting stats

  • According to SDI, only 4% of service desks are using chatbots as a support channel even though let’s face it, we’re all very familiar with them on commercial websites and social so the potential has always been there in terms of user adopting this particular type of channel.
  • A bold statement was made by Gartner at the Help Desk HD17 Summit in which they predicted that 99% of AI initiatives in ITSM will fail due to lack of an established knowledge management foundation. This is something I need to talk about later on as that does raise an important point.
  • Only 32% of the companies surveyed by Axios Systems believe that spending on IT would increase in the next 12 months. So the majority of Service Desks are being asked to improve their performance, but with less resources. 

This is something I see with every customer I visit.  IT service desks are dealing with increased numbers of interactions, but are getting fewer resources each year. Are you for example using expensive highly trained resources for fairly low level tasks because you have no choice? 


Solid foundation

Before you can even consider a chatbot you definitely need to have a solid foundation in place first. What I’m talking about is a self-service portal that’s been adopted by the business over a period of time, one that is familiar and already has high usage in terms of day-to-day enquiries and requests. Within the self-service portal, a one-stop-shop, the Service Catalog and an easily accessible knowledge base of FAQs. 

The chatbot technology has moved on very quickly too and you can choose to add additional AI type capabilities over time. 

AI capabilities and techniques

For example, the more advanced chatbots will include Machine Learning (where it’s self-learning to provide better future responses, I’ve seen that before in knowledge engine products like KPS), Natural Language Processing (where it’s learning syntax, semantics and conversations effectively) and Sentiment Analysis (where it can spot and escalate when a customer is frustrated and adapt the responses accordingly). I think that’s pretty amazing. 

itSMF say that if you just type keywords in, without Machine Learning, they are probably not going to be relevant to the user. The result is that users will get frustrated looking around for a solution. If you look for something on Google, who goes beyond the second page of results? Nobody I suspect. Why is this? Probably because we all have an expectation that it should be there in the first set of results and that it’s your own fault for not typing the relevant keywords in the first place. So the more context aware you can make it, the better. 

Chatbot integration capability

In terms of your chatbot benefits the sky’s the limit really. By integrating a chatbot which is right for your business, you can achieve the following: 

  • Allow your users to find the right service request in your Catalog first time without searching around
  • Link your users’ questions straight to your knowledge base articles
  • Provide step-by-step instructions on some of your simpler high-volume type tickets
  • Automate the provisioning of passwords or access requests 

Once a ticket is raised – AI can be used to auto-route the ticket to the most appropriate agent with the right skills. Workflow Balancing comes into play now with availability, skills, annual leave, shift patterns. This is a whole different topic we could talk about. 

Agents need the right Knowledge Base to help them and they may not always know the right questions to ask to find the right information. For example, AI could be used to help identify seemingly unrelated Incidents for Problem Management and would suggest that the agent then opens a Problem record.    

Forecasting issues

AI could also start to forecast issues based on previous experience. That would be quite interesting as the engine could start to do an impact analysis before users are impacted and escalate this information to Service Desk Manager. 

Gartner predicts by 2019, IT Service desks using AI capabilities will free up to 30% of support capacity. And also by 2020, 55% of all large enterprises will have deployed at least one chatbot in production. 

When fully adopted and driven by senior management the benefits will justify the time and effort you’ve put in. From 24/7 availability, faster ticket resolution, proactive engagement and cost optimisations. 

 How do you go about defining your requirements? 

  1. Review your resources and bandwidth to implement and maintain the chatbot
  2. Ask your customer base what their expectations would be first
  3. Involve customer advocates at the earliest opportunity
  4. Research each chatbot to see which provider will suit your services
  5. Build the chatbot in line with your Service Catalog (Offering by Offering) and Knowledge Base (FAQ by FAQ). 

So this is the end of my journey today, but hopefully this is just the beginning for you.

If you’d like to learn how an AI Chatbot integration can transform your ITSM, you can watch my webinar free, visit here.



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