Bots

IT Helpdesk Bot: Single Access for Employee Support

By 5 Minute Read

What is an IT Helpdesk bot or chatbot and why is it important?

An IT helpdesk bot or virtual assistant offers a convenient self-service solution to resolve common employee IT issues. Based on the artificial intelligence technologies of natural language processing NLP and machine learning, the bot can understand the intent of an employee’s support request and execute the required workflows to fulfill that need and resolve their issue, either fully or partially. In this sense, helpdesk chatbots or virtual assistants automate repetitive and routine requests and processes, enabling human support agents to focus on the more complex and higher value requests from workers.

An IT helpdesk bot is all about automation – saving costs and enhancing the employee experience.

The Role of the IT Helpdesk Bots

The IT Helpdesk is a critical support function for today’s enterprises that rely heavily on IT infrastructure and services to enable their employees and power their business. It supports employees ‘ IT needs, managing critical incidents and enabling access to essential resources and knowledge. It thereby plays a significant role in overall worker productivity.

The Cost of IT Helpdesk Functions

But the IT helpdesk or service desk is also a costly function, relying on technical support and live chat agents to respond to incidents and service tickets. In this sense, the helpdesk bot is like a customer service bot except the target audience is internal employees, and the use cases are related to IT and technology enablement. This spawned the related terms IT service management and IT service desk.

IT Helpdesk Bots Simplify the Diverse Landscape of Tools

Today’s business landscape grapples with diverse solutions that meet the needs of their employees – whether that is onboarding a new hire, resetting passwords, provisioning software, troubleshooting device issues, procuring a new laptop, or knowledge management. An IT helpdesk bot can play a very valuable role across all of these areas.

There is a plethora of internal business collaboration channels and tools, from Slack and Microsoft Teams to Asana, Trello, and more. Then there are 3rd party tools and apps for payroll (Gusto, Workday), IT Service Management (Zendesk, ServiceNow, BMC, Jira),  PTO management (ApogeeHR, BambooHR), expense management (too many to even begin to list these), and the list goes on. While online portals are accessible by users 24/7 and help workers self-serve, there can be a lot of friction for workers resulting in low adoption rates of self-service portals.

IT Helpdesk Bots Accessible on a Single Channel

An IT helpdesk bot helps address this by providing a single access point and channel where workers can make their requests – no drop-down menus or clicking through multiple web pages and FAQs – the employee just texts (or speaks) their request into the appropriate message channel and the bot responds, gathering any further details that it may need to act on the request. By understanding the intent, the bot can then either fully or partially automate it, and when needed, hand it off to a live agent or gather details for deferred handing by an agent.

The Use Cases for IT Helpdesk Bots

Whether a worker is fully remote (i.e. during the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic), in a physical office space, or bouncing between the virtual and physical workplace, they need access to company resources and knowledge bases. The faster they can have their issue resolved the better their experience is, not to mention their productivity. 

Typically the IT service desk uses a ticketing system to better track, organize, and manage incident and service requests. Requests can be handled by agents either via phone calls, email, or messaging via collaboration channels. While all the available channels and tools have positively impacted employee access to information, collaboration, and efficiency, the landscape can be daunting to navigate as an employee. So anything that simplifies this and reduces the friction is a welcome bonus. That’s where the AI powered help desk bot comes in!

So what can it do? Here are just a handful of examples, but there are many more:

Password Management

Probably one of the most frequent requests that we make during our work is for forgotten logins and passwords, especially considering the number of online tools that are in use by the average knowledge worker. Instead of contacting the help desk and incurring the time and cost of an agent handling something as simple as this, the employee can request a login or password reset via Slack, MS teams, or another channel. The user can be authenticated by the chatbot and it can then automatically generate and update the user’s login/password.

Equipment Requisition & Software Provisioning

Today’s worker is equipped with laptops, printers, mobile phones, and other essential pieces of equipment to do their job effectively. When onboarding a new hire they need to get started with equipment and software. Similarly, existing employees need a way to request new or updated hardware and software updates or access. Often a business will have a catalog of approved devices and workers can “shop” and make their choices, subject to approval and policy. Instead of technical support agents spending valuable time talking through options and submitting orders for equipment, the IT helpdesk bot can handle this, on the same Slack or Teams channel as other help desk requests, simply by saying or typing “I need a new laptop” – and so the conversation begins and ends with the bot submitting a request to a manager for approval and then following with an order. Along the way, the bot can answer questions about software requests, company policy regarding devices, timelines for delivery, and specifications. The bot can also identify the user, their language and their region so can customize the catalog and responses according to geo-specific policies. The bot can also update the worker on the status of the due delivery of equipment.

Troubleshooting

We all recognize that technology isn’t perfect so calling on the service desk to help identify problems with devices, software integrations, authentication, and configurations is commonplace. This is a perfect example of where the chatbot can assist users and increase self-service levels, ultimately lowering support costs for troubleshooting. The bot may not be able to troubleshoot and resolve all issues but it certainly can be used to automate the common troubleshooting issues and offer a path to a tech support agent for anything more complex. In doing so it can pass the context of the conversation to the agent so that the employee doesn’t have to start explaining everything from scratch. The overall impact is faster resolution times, getting employees back up and running so that they can be productive. The worker can request the same digital channel using chat, so no additional friction is incurred.

FAQs

IT helpdesk agents can be inundated with basic requests around IT policy, troubleshooting, software configurations, and devices. This is a poor use of their time when they can be working on higher-value issues. Even though businesses use FAQ pages on their support site, there’s a lot of friction searching and finding the information needed. Often it is more convenient to contact the help desk. But by training the IT helpdesk bot with the responses to common IT-related queries, the user can simply text their question into the channel and the bot can immediately return the information. This can deflect a lot of traffic from the agents, reducing costs but also making it a more positive experience.

Proactive Notifications

IT Helpdesk bots can also be proactive, alerting employees to outages, incidences, software updates, maintenance schedules, IT policy updates, and system training. This keeps employees in the loop on important IT issues that may impact them. Alerts can be tailored to specific regions or teams.

Ready to Deploy an IT Helpdesk Bot?

As you can see there are plenty of advantages to using a virtual assistant alongside the human skills in the IT helpdesk. By automating many of the routine requests and workflows, the bot helps service managers overcome the challenges of responding to employees’ needs in a fast and efficient manner and using a single conversational access point. Lost time waiting for a ticket to be resolved means less productive workers. Using human resources to respond to routine IT queries represents poor utilization of skills as well as the high cost implications.

To learn more about how ServisBOT can help you build and deploy great employee IT helpdesk bots and other digital workplace chatbots please contact us. We are happy to chat and show you how this cool technology can work for you.

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