What can chatbots do for your service desk?


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Do your service desk employees perceive chatbots as a threat? Put their minds at rest. Chatbots don’t work under their own steam, but rather in collaboration with people. Keen to learn more? Frank Smit, Chief Innovation Officer at OBI4wan, explains what chatbots are and which processes you can (and cannot) utilize them for.

‘I forgot my password’. How often does your service desk receive this call? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could automate the processing of this type of simple request, so that your service desk employees could focus on more interesting tasks?

This article has been written in collaboration with Acacia Kooij, copywriter en scrum master at TOPdesk.

Enter the chatbot

Good news. Chatbots can make life easier for service agents. How? Chatbots capture queries in an automated way. Here’s how it works: a customer asks a question using written language. The chatbot analyzes the text and interprets its meaning. Based on that interpretation, and what the user has previously said, the chatbot knows what to ask or say to the customer. A database containing your FAQs is essential for this process to work.

Which tasks can you assign to chatbots?

Chatbots can intercept queries. But not all of them. So, how do you determine which processes should be automated? Below is an overview of the types of queries received by a typical service desk and whether they’re suitable for interception by a chatbot or not.

1. Queries that are important for your customer, but not the organization.

In other words; simple, recurring queries. Such as? Password resets. Employees continually forget their passwords. This is something that you can’t prevent. And it’s extremely important that they receive a new password promptly. But for the service desk employee who’s having to reset the umpteenth password, this is pretty tedious work. And for the organization, staffing a service desk for this type of request is a waste of money.
Chatbots are the perfect solution: they understand the query and know what to do to ensure that the customer receives a new password. The customer is happy that they’ve been assisted and your service desk employee is happy that they can focus on more rewarding work.

2. Queries that are important for your organization, but not the customer.

As a service desk manager, you’ll naturally want to know what customers think of your service provision. This type of query isn’t necessarily useful for customers, but is highly beneficial for your service desk. Such as asking customers how easy it was to source the relevant information for example. This is an ideal job for a chatbot. The chatbot collects qualitative feedback while the service agent talks to the customer. This doesn’t directly help the customer, but does provide your service desk with valuable input for service improvements.

3. Processes that are too complex for the customer.

Some processes are too complex for the customer, resulting in multiple calls to the service desk. Such a situation occurred in the Education & Student Affairs department of Erasmus University. Students from abroad needed to supply 20 variables to determine the amount of their tuition fees for the coming year. This caused considerable uncertainty for the students and made it difficult for the service desk to process the resulting queries.
How did OBI4wan resolve this? They created a chatbot that engages in conversation with the students to establish their precise circumstances and then responds to their tuition fee query accordingly. Erasmus University didn’t directly benefit from this and it consumed a significant amount of time. For the students, however, it was invaluable.

4. All other queries

The remaining types of queries are generally more complex and unsuitable for outsourcing to chatbots. It’s best to assign these more challenging queries to your service desk employees.

There are also situations in which customers prefer to call and speak to a real person. Such as when phoning an insurance company to report a car accident. In this scenario, the customer is looking for empathy and reassurance. They want to be told that everything will be okay.
Chatbot benefits

Eager to get started with chatbots? You’ll realize the first benefit right from the word go: processing queries more efficiently. You decide which queries require the human touch and which can be automated.

Once the more straightforward queries have been automated, your service desk staff will have more time for more challenging work, resulting in happier employees.
And the customer? They’re guaranteed a friendly response 24/7, even if they’ve forgotten their password for the umpteenth time. And if the chatbot is unable to resolve their query? Then a service desk employee immediately intercepts it, ensuring that the customer is seamlessly assisted.

Linsey Jepma
As a content marketeer, I'm daily occupied with the latest developments in the field of online customer service, chatbots, social media monitoring, reputation management and data insights. I'm always looking for interesting stories. Let's get in touch!


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