Here’s a look at the functions ripe for service desk automation, from our guest blogger, the service desk manager for a leading UK organisation.

Automation on your IT service desk is most definitely the direction you need to be heading. I would suggest that it is critical to the success of your desk because it takes away the tasks that are laborious and repetitive and lets your analysts get on with what really matters – fixing stuff and providing top-notch customer service.

However, you need to make sure your automation is smart and working for you. Done poorly automation can actually cause your agents more work and decrease your customer satisfaction scores, something that no service desk would wish to do.

Below we talk through some of the simpler tasks you can start automating along with the damage you could do if the automation isn’t done with proper thought and consideration of the end result.

What to automate
Triaging incoming tickets

Why?
Quicker resolution – This will get tickets to the correct resolver team first time, every time. Not only does this help to avoid delays it can also increase your first time fix (FTF) rate (not to be confused with first call resolution – FCR).
No delays – Tickets are being triaged 24/7 – if your desk closes at 10pm and a customer raises a ticket at 10.10pm, rather than waiting for an analyst to come in and open the desk the next day the ticket is sent straight to the resolver group it needs to go to.

Customer satisfaction – As delays are avoided by ensuring the correct team has the ticket right away you are more likely to meet your SLAs which means your customers don’t need to chase and their issues get resolved in a timely manner.

Getting it wrong
You could face delays if you automate tickets to the incorrect resolver group.
– The ticket you automate might not have all of the required information meaning the resolver team has to send this back to your desk
You could be sending tickets their way that your analysts could fix at first line

Getting it right
To avoid these issues ensure each resolver team signs off on what you send their way and involve your service desk analysts in the process – they, better than anyone, can tell you exactly which tickets they can resolve and which they need to triage to other teams.

What to automate
Dashboards

Why?
Time saving – You’re a super busy person. Imagine if those reports you produce displaying your service desk stats were automated and presented on a user friendly dashboard.

You could access them at any time, they would show you real-time data and you wouldn’t need to do a thing.

Imagine the time you would save.

Getting it wrong:
Flawed data – This could go one of two ways and both of them would be detrimental to your desk.

1. Your data shows that you’re breaching more SLAs than you actually are because your automation is reading the wrong information in the background. This means that your reporting to management is incorrect and isn’t displaying how well your desk is actually doing.

2. Your data shows that you’re meeting a higher percentage of SLAs than you really are because the automation isn’t setup correctly. This means you’re reporting to management that you’re doing well when in actual fact you could really use some help.
They can’t help you if they don’t know the true stats.

Getting it right
Both of these points can lead to unhappy staff and reduced morale so it’s important that when you do automate your reports you ensure the data is tip-top.

What to automate
SLA breach alerts

Why?
If a ticket is due to breach SLA wouldn’t it be great if you got alerted to the fact so you could do something to avoid the breach?

An automated alert to the correct people can mean the ticket will get picked up and escalated thus ensuring it receives the immediate attention it needs.

This will increases your SLA stats and in turn will improve your customer satisfaction ratings because less tickets will be open for unnecessary amounts of time.

Getting it wrong
This one needs some careful thought – if you alert people every time a ticket is due to breach you might find that they become overwhelmed with notifications and simply ignore them.

If your desk is suffering with aged tickets it might be worth holding off on this one until you have a handle on what’s coming in.

You could also look to set up alerts on certain ticket types to trial the process before releasing it across the board.

What to automate
Customer Notifications

Why?
Improve customer satisfaction us humans can only do so much in a day, your system can do so much more, so let it. You might be in a position where you have too many tickets and your staff can’t possibly get to all of them and update everyone. This leads to customers calling the desk to find out what’s happening with their ticket which leads to decreased customer satisfaction and an increase in your call stats. If the system is sending these updates for you then your customers can rest assured that you have their issue in hand.

Time Saving rather than your analysts emailing customers to advise them of their ticket reference or an update or a change in status, have the system do it for you. You will save countless hours if your basic admin work is picked up by your ticket application instead of your staff.


Getting it wrong
Too many notifications – If you automate everything you run the risk of bombarding your customers with notifications they don’t care about. When building this automation in it’s important to think about what needs to be said and what can be left alone.

Too impersonal – automation doesn’t have to equal robot but it often does. There’s loads of ways you can customise your automated messages and it’s essential you do this.

One robotic notification is okay but several of them just suggest to the customer that their issue isn’t worth your time. Customise them to make the end user know you care – just because it’s an automated message doesn’t mean they have to know.

Author Bio:
James West

James West

Editor, SITS Insight

If you have service desk news to share or would like to become a SITS Insight blogger, please get in touch with James

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