What is service desk automation?
Service requests are among the most critical aspects of the work IT teams and help desks do. They operate as both task conveyors and communication lines between the customer and the service provider. Companies that get service requests right provide quick help and ample assurance to clients that their issues are a priority. When they get service requests wrong, it conveys disregard for customers (or employees) and the sense that the business is ill-equipped to resolve issues. Both leave a bad — and lasting — impression.
Service desk automation is the implementation and use of workflow automation software to streamline, simplify, and speed up the service request process for IT teams and customers. It has drastically changed how service requests are resolved and continue evolving with artificial intelligence developments.
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What impact does automation have on a service desk?
When we say “drastically changed,” we mean it. Manual service desk support entails a mix of answering phone calls, monitoring email in real-time, spreadsheets shared among multiple people, and, at minimum, hours of repeatedly dispensing the same solutions to different clients.
Automation alters every part of help desk operations, starting with the customer experience. Most service desk workflow platforms provide digital request forms in which the client answers a series of questions. The responses trigger several actions at once, routing the request to the appropriate team member. That person receives a new task alert. The job is added to their work queue, along with an allotted amount of time to complete it.
Benefits of service desk automation
If you’re looking to increase your business’ productivity by implementing service desk automation, you’re on the right track — but think bigger. Imagine a transformed experience for your customers and record-setting resolve times.
Here are a few specific ways you and associated stakeholders can benefit from automated service desk processes.
- Improved customer experience and satisfaction
Resolving clients’ issues quickly and efficiently will not just make their service desk experience better – it will make their day better. Cloud-based computing systems allow access to service teams from anywhere, so clients will never be left in the lurch. Your employees will see that you value their time and work, and customers will choose you over the competition every time.
- Less errors
Automation helps error-proof the ticket submission process by allowing you to set customized rules and conditionals to guide clients through the submission form. Self-service knowledge bases (for IT team members and clients alike) also help resolve common issues like blue screens and malfunctioning audio.
- Better meet Service Legal Agreements (SLAs)
Falling short of service agreements you’ve made with customers is not an option. Automation solutions include self-service portals and customizable alerts that give your team the tools to acknowledge, prioritize, and resolve customer requests on time, every time.
- Increased productivity and efficiency
Self-service portals resolve some requests before they ever reach the service desk by guiding users through steps to resolve common issues on their own. The latest data can be conjured at any time by quickly generating a report. If you can think of a process, you can probably automate and streamline it.
- More time to work on core and critical activities
Every repetitive task removed from your team’s workload grants them time to brainstorm, research, and develop the software and apps that keep your business competitive.
Service desk automation examples
We understand that these benefits sound extremely helpful, but may leave you wondering how these help desk process automation can be applied to your business on a practical level.
What follows are just a few of the many tasks that can – and should – be automated, and they may spark a few service desk automation ideas of your own.
Many service desk automation software solutions provide digital forms to do the heavy lifting of ticket processing for both your customers and your service teams. Forms allow clients to enter as much information as they need; you can customize mandatory fields for precise troubleshooting. Completing the form triggers a data transmission to the best-equipped and first available person for that request.
Alerts and notifications
We all know the frustration of feeling ignored after submitting a request for technical support. Automated help desk alerts and notifications establish accountability in every phase of a request and give you easy-to-use tools to remind colleagues – and yourself – to complete tasks before they become overdue.
For many help desk professionals, manually composing outgoing emails is a frustrating way of life, but it doesn’t have to be. Every acknowledgment and confirmation email can be automated with no-code automation software.
With a user-friendly visual interface, your service team members can create email templates to convey their message, then set up a trigger for exactly when and to whom it should be sent.
Ticket status tracking
Every stakeholder should have access to the status of their service request, but that level of visibility into help desk operations simply wasn’t possible until fairly recently. BPMs track the movement of a request through its phases and provide self-service portals to allow customers, technicians, and management to find the status of that request and the team member(s) who own that process.
Manually circulating documents to their various approvers, or even sending them via email, makes this important process vulnerable to time-consuming bottlenecks. No-code automation software completely revamps approvals by moving documents through approval chains with one signature triggering the document’s movement to the next reviewer. Prevent one person’s delay from causing a missed deadline on the part of the entire business by setting customized time-sensitive reminder alerts to warn stakeholders of approaching due dates.
The ability to quickly escalate a request to a senior support representative is crucial if your business purports to value fast response times and customer satisfaction. Clearly, no one can foresee a customer’s emergency needs, but the right automated alert settings, request routing rules, and user-friendly interface can get them the help they need as soon as possible. Take what you learn from each escalation, especially in the first few months of software implementation, and create workflows based on that data.
If you’ve agreed to provide specific services in an allotted amount of time, it’s important to monitor those SLAs to prevent possible breaches. This is challenging for businesses because it requires tracking large amounts of many different types of data sets. Automation can do the heavy lifting here, providing easy-to-read dashboards and easily generated real-time data reports to keep you and your team informed of the latest request close times.
Use the following service desk KPIs to create a baseline for performance measurement:
- Average ticket resolution time,
- The number of tickets received, and
- The number of tickets closed.
These numbers alone will shed new light on your service desk operations.
Some good news about automating your service desk: the new software will most likely replace a few of the apps you use daily. The better news: it will integrate with the ones you need to keep. It’s possible for one PeopleOps request to involve DocuSign, Slack, and a spreadsheet.
Most help desk automation systems not only work with these and many other widely-used apps, but also act as a conduit between them, allowing them to function together in a solution known as stack extensibility.
The ability to gather and centralize requests into workflows in one repository is yet another solution automation software offers, and it has truly transformed the realm of help desk operations. Service management workflows:
- Compile all requests, from all channels, into one place.
- Apply your customized rules to prevent missing information (mandatory form fields and simple drop-down menu choices, for example).
- Automatically route the request to a designated team member.
- Provide all stakeholders with a means to track the request status at any point in the process.
Centralized requests improve every aspect of the help desk experience by adding process visibility, accountability, efficiency, and cost savings.
Ready to automate your service desk?
Your service desk teams are already working hard, so why not give them the tools they need to work smarter.