Have you looked at zendesk, there are some interesting AI features that may be helpful for the most common issues, route higher level tickets to level 3 or engineering, devops, etc.
I think there is reducing the service desk efforts and improving the customer experience.
Completely automate everything and/or make everything self service? We use ServiceNOW for a lot of this, but haven’t been 100% successful in eliminating the service desk.
I don't think killing the service desk is the answer. There is always a need for human interaction. Striving for automation is the first step to reducing monotony for the Service desk professionals and providing fast and reliable answers to routine questions. Chatbots, NLP driven solutions can address that space. Have Service desk professionals focus on higher value add tasks, automation, and experience. I had my entire service desk org read the book "Power of moments" by Chip and Dan Heath. Human experience is still invaluable.
My thoughts are on your point of "enhancing the user experience" which may not lead to killing the service desk. I agree with the previous comments here and something we've been doing with respects to automation and at least killing the non-valued repetitive tasks that service desk gets bogged down in. Start small and build the credibility because if you do automation, or chatbots with NLP, then it needs to be perfect otherwise you'll end up going in the opposite direction and upsetting your users. Human interaction of some sort will always be required as some users will just want to speak to a person regardless and that is all about the user experience. Good luck!
Killing the need for a service desk should be the goal, but only to the point where it begins to negatively impact customer success or productivity:
1. The best question is the one the customer doesn't have to ask
- Of the questions your service desk receives, how many are repeats or fairly simple. Find ways to improve the user interface or reduce barriers to utilization instead of getting faster at answering the question (more root cause).
2. Automated processes are great, but they can be frustrating if they are constantly offering solutions to different problems. Most customers don't know how best to ask a question of a computer.
3. The best service desk is the one the customer doesn't know they're using. How can you take the aforementioned sentiment into service delivery and support strategy
4. There is a value to helping customers get back to work. If you can demonstrate a reduced impact on productivity, you can easily justify extra effort on a service that creates less demand for help. On the other hand, if an occasional issue in a specific application or service area does not have a return on investment when "fixed". Then a just in time service like a service desk is required.
5. Tying customer experience (workplace satisfaction) to efforts to reduce issues works more or less depending on the culture of the organization. If leadership truly values a "happy" workplace culture, then improving customer experience is even easier to justify.
6. Keep in mind with support and service desk staff (all staff really); what you ask for is what you get.
- If you want them to close calls quickly they will - but you'll likely end up with higher call volume as a result
- If you want them to get better at answering questions they will - but root cause analysis and actually removing the problem will take a back seat
- etc., etc..
Assuming your business or customers can handle the loss of human interaction, “Killing the Servicedesk” would need automation carefully designed. If cloud is an option...check out building server-less options and take advantage of using things like Amazon Lex for smart chat-bots.
This is really an interesting topic; I think that utilizing analytics and AI to build an Automated service desk system - i.e Siri - for a predefined personalized replies and support scenario according to clients preferences and emotional reactions.
My 2 cents on this topic:
1. understand and analyze your user population and company culture - meaning, how relevant or irrelevant is human interaction to your “customers”? How “machine interaction ready” or “self sufficient” is your organization?
2. should a “tech heavy” strategy, like IoT, AI, chatbots etc be a liable and doable roadmap, strt with the most open minded group among your user population to get great buy-in, productive feedback, opinion leadership etc.
3. in case that you’re on the sunny side of the road with an open minded user population, don’t just consider the servicedesk alone but extend your scope into infrastructure operations as well (routers, switches, servers, firewalls etc) - which in fact may be even the easier part of the exercise as no end users are involved.
4. when looking at products at some stage, have you considered MS-Azure, AWS or perhaps even some custom developed solutions by smaller vendors? I’ve been working with an Indian vendor (they developed for us a custom ERP for shipping industry) who was quite active and keen in that AI enabled / streamlined servicedesk.
Bottom line, I am quite pro your idea unless your industry this user population is rather conservative.
I feel this is a “Multiple right answer” problem. Whether you will be able to “kill” the service desk or not, depends a lot on your organization structure, products & the nature of business/customer Interactions. However irrespective of whether the goal is to kill the service desk or now, every organization should strive towards automating a lot of process & service desk interactions as that is the future. At this point, I will dodge proposing any solution (Chabot’s, AI, ML, etc.), but yes, that’s the direction every organization must be moving either by buying commodity, leveraging partners or building innovation.
Service desk and ops are ultimately the groups that you should strive to cut down. Service desk is more customer focused whilst the ops team is focused on keeping the lights on, business continuity, site security and the like. Service desk can be cut down using self service options for the end customers. The Ops team can be minimized by developing self-healing systems that emphasize on continuous learning (AI/ML etc.)
But IMO instead of completely aspiring to eliminate them, the key is to remove grunt work from them. You should populate them with skilled engineers who are adept at identifying known and unknown problems with your existing ecosystem and trying to slowly automate the solution of the known problems. Gradually the number of unknown problems will come down but it is too sanguine to believe that they will be eliminated completely.
So in short, your Nirvana is to develop a self-healing computer system which is capable of providing customer self service.
But doing so requires constant innovation, emphasis on automation and continuous learning.
It is a good idea to think about applying the principles of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and populating these groups with Site Reliability Engineers.
Although I am a fan of automation, I am not a fan of automating the only means of human interaction with customers. The fundamental question is, are you willing to live with the risks. A couple of things to keep in mind when you are automating any service are; 1) What are your OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)? You need to define smart ones. 2) What is your Risk Management plans, with automation, risks are inevitable, so you need to define strong and doable mitigation plans. 3) What is your customers feedback?
My feedback would be, yes to automation but be ready for the consequences.
I think that human interaction is a big part of what is missing in modern tech (social media, ain’t that social!) and as a corporation, our company strives to provide the best customer service in our class of software. That being said, we certainly rely on zendesk and other tools to cut down on faq’s directed towards our customer services team. The tech tools are meant to compliment the human support, not replace it.
Automating routine items are a must. One-off issues still need skilled human intervention - at least in my organization. Good goal - just not there yet.