Conversational AI & The IT Service Desk

In a career spanning two decades in enterprise software, Ram had worked in various positions, such as an Engineer, Product Manager, General Manager, CMO and many others.

Financial institutions like banks are embracing the power of artificial intelligence. In fact, they now offer virtual assistants that can help new customers create bank accounts and even explain the nuances of mutual funds. This has provided the industry with an opportunity for new forms of engagement with both customers and, more importantly, with employees. It is imperative that technology serve and support employees of financial service firms if they wish to provide excellent customer support. A great employee experience is at the core of a great customer experience. Hence, all businesses should consider implementing employee self-service, which is the `next big thing' in service desk automation.

Like most businesses in the new millennium, financial institutions with a large number of employees have for much too long relied on the standard service desk to offer technical support to their employees. New hires need to contact a service desk employee and will usually have to wait for a few days to be on boarded and provided access. Once they are in the system, routine tasks like requesting access to a particular system or updating a software calls for raising a ticket and patiently waiting for assistance.

In the early 1990's the IT service desk was developed as a revolutionary service for employees. However, the truth is that the service has become redundant in this digital age. Studies have revealed that, despite all the cost saving exercises, companies are only spending more money on service desks and associated costs with no particular benefits. Conversational AI, a multifaceted system that enables computers to interact with employees and consumers in a lifelike way, can re-invent the longstanding service desk while also slashing costs.

Conversational AI technologies have initiated a new turn in human-computer interaction through humanization and it's helping financial firms reimagine how they work from the ground up

Routine requests will be easily solved
A recent report by Gartner revealed that a large majority of all service desk requests are pass-word resets and these cost a business between $15 and $20 for every call. Employees usually turn to the service desk with the simplest of requests and integrating virtual assistants that rely on AI means that they can be trained to handle repetitive service requests like re-setting passwords or even more complex tasks like increasing storage and wiping or disabling devices. This frees up service agents to focus on the trickier tasks and enables businesses to save both human and financial resources. Many IT departments also have to deal with incompetence and security challenges; hence the IT help desk is a low-risk, high upside approach for business to hitch on in the era of conversational computing.

Virtual Assistants Will `Learn' to Solve Problems
If an employee arrives at their desk on a busy Monday morning to discover that there is an issue with their computer, chances are that it will not be solved for at least 24 hours. Dealing with the issue will take up a majority of their day since it includes having conversations with a desktop support analyst who will at times have to reroute to an expert in the particular incident area. However, every time the virtual assistants interact with someone, they learn from these conversations. They also draw on the history that is available from existing interactions that human service agents had with the employees to solve problems. When the virtual assistant senses that it is unable to help, it routes users across to a service agent who will be able to help immediately since they are not swamped with requests. Hence, the service desks can improve service, significantly boost engagement, and help employees feel like more than just a number to their employers.

Better Service Means Happier Employees
The information technology industry has spent millions in their quest to improve employee self- service. Virtual assistants are no longer dull programs that use the same answers. With advances in AI, they can initiate and engage in a multi-turn meaningful conversation to solve any problem. Conversational AI technologies have initiated a new turn in human-computer interaction through humanization and it's helping financial firms reimagine how they work from the ground up. They can eliminate customer queues and provide world class service 24/7 without bad days or bad moods.