October 25, 2018 | By

Will AI Offer IT Self-Service a Lifeline?

When we have a question or need help with something what is the first thing we do?  If I had to guess, the answer most of us would give is “Google it”.  Sure, I could call my friend Todd the IT guru to help me set-up my WiFi and I might even still have to, but the first thing I do is try to solve the issue myself (and I know I am not alone).  There are so many resources at our fingertips today that it’s a lot easier and more efficient to try to crowd-source the issue than to wait for your friend to call you back.  The same holds true in the world of IT Support.

When something goes wrong at work, chances are you need to get it solved ASAP – and waiting around for the next available support person is not an option.  So you turn to Google.  The problem with that approach is that the Internet’s answer isn’t tailored to your organization, so that doesn’t help.  Then you ask a co-worker.  But they don’t really remember how they solved the problem when it happened to them a few months ago.  So after you’ve exhausted all “self-help” resources you log a ticket.

There must be a better way.   IT self-service is nothing new — searchable knowledge-bases have been around forever.  But adoption by employees has been slow, curation of content can be difficult and maintenance hasn’t made the long list of priorities for overtaxed IT teams.

Seemingly helpful knowledge-base articles have 0 views, yet tickets on the same subject continue to pour in.  As consumers we want self-service, but as employees we tend to shy away.  Why? Honestly, it’s lack of education and execution.  Often these knowledge-bases are hidden in places that aren’t easily accessible.  Or if they are handy, the articles may be outdated and/or written for the tech reader, not the average employee.  In general, the experience is less than perfect.

The Truth About Employee Self-Service

Fixing employee self-service means getting honest about why employees are slow to adopt self-service.   So let’s dig into that.

First, it’s not that employees don’t want to self-serve – in fact, more employees than ever are seeking out self-service options to resolve their issues.  With 81% of consumers saying they prefer to take matters into their own hands, we can only assume those same folks want to self-serve in their work life as well.

Second, while IT has the best of intentions, traditional knowledge portals often don’t often live up to the expectation, leading employees to skip self-service all together and go right to the IT teams for every single problem.  Issues that could be easily closed through self-help are taking days to resolve and take IT away from more critical work.

Finally, a mismanaged knowledge-base with too many support documents or missing articles lead employees to find other channels to resolve problems.

Will AI Change the Game?

The issues with IT self-service are age-old, but AI-powered tools and technologies are emerging that could make these challenges a thing of the past.  Where AI is taking customer service by storm, it also offers a compelling option for IT support, where a bulk of requests are common, easily resolved questions.  An AI-powered self-service solution can help understand employee intent and direct them to the best resource to help answer their question or if that resource isn’t available it can open a ticket and flag for the IT team that documentation on a particular issue needs to be created.

In the end, not all support issues are not created equally.  Employees with simple, easily solved questions should not have to wait for an IT resource to be freed up to get them back to work.  Similarly, tickets that need a personal touch should not languish in the queue.  AI is offering a broken system a lifeline – making IT support better for all of us.


Want to learn more?  Check out what Forrester Research has to say around AI and the Employee Experience here.

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