IT service desks provide structure to ticket handling, and process really matters when it comes to creating a smooth-running operation. Even so, the service desk team can still get tripped up with redundancy, delays and tickets bouncing from analyst to analyst, or tier to tier. Strategic use of artificial intelligence (AI) in a Microsoft Teams ticketing solution alleviates many of these issues. Here’s how.
Common Ticket Handling Pain Points
Redundant Tickets and Self-Service
Mistakes happen. It could be that an end user submitted a request on two different channels, an analyst neglected to categorize and/or escalate a ticket, or tickets were created for each interaction with an end user—instead of one ticket per issue. However they happen, redundant tickets create confusion and slow analysts down.
Then there’s self-service. It’s a resource for end users to find simple instructions to resolve common issues, but is the self-service portal (or knowledge base) easy to navigate, intuitive to search or otherwise helpful in finding answers? Do end users use it, or do they prefer to contact support directly for a more human interaction instead?
Any of these common scenarios could create waste: more tickets, a portal that might not be fully adopted, and multiple channels where requests come in.
AI-powered virtual agents in a Microsoft Teams service desk solution help prevent these issues, because they intercept and assess requests that are submitted via email and/or chat. Whether the end user reaches out on either channel, one ticket is created and updated throughout the lifecycle.
Virtual agents proactively create tickets, assess requests, identify relevant knowledge base (KB) resources and serve them to end users. End users can often apply KB instructions to resolve simple issues, without involving the analyst.
The key benefit here is that instead of offering a self-service portal for end users to do the work of searching for help, AI virtual agents proactively find relevant resources and serve them to end users. And because the virtual agent acts proactively as the first line of support it usually creates tickets (instead of multiple team members), reducing ticket redundancy. End users are free to submit requests via email and chat (while continuing conversation in those channels), but the Adaptive Card structure captures and documents relevant ticket information in one place. It basically consolidates ticket data in a way that analysts can easily track and understand.
Ticket Prioritization and Queue Management
You often have a choice in how a service desk team organizes ticket handling, whether by order they arrive (First In, First Out) or priority (usually by assigned urgency). Each presents potential stumbling blocks:
- Chronological order: simple issues could get stuck behind major ones and business operations could stagnate.
- By urgency: delays could still happen when tickets land in a service desk tier that isn’t manned by analysts with matching skill sets. Urgency doesn’t help you align specialized knowledge with the right ticket.
Microsoft Teams ticketing gives you triage functionality in Teams channels, but it goes beyond that, allowing you to categorize tickets according to pre-determined buckets (like type, urgency, department, product, etc.) route tickets to specific support groups—these groups could be organized by type (hardware, software, etc.) or specialized knowledge.
You just have more levels and methods to use using a Microsoft Teams ticketing solution, because it combines channel triage, ticket categorization and support group routing. You can get more granular with ticket handling and avoid questions around when and where to escalate tickets.
Incomplete Service Requests
Even with service requests, there can be a fair amount of back-and-forth conversation to find out what is actually needed. For example, the end user may request a laptop, but you may need to know:
- What is the requester’s department?
- What type/model of laptop is issued to that department?
- If there are any accessories or specific software that also needs to be installed on the laptop?
The time you spend waiting on this information is time you could be spending fulfilling the request.
A Microsoft 365 service desk solution, the more mature Microsoft Teams service desk edition, treats incidents, service requests and change requests (ticket categories) the same. In all cases, the AI-powered virtual agent actively communicates with and supplies information to the requester and/or gathers more information for analysts.
When templates are used in the ticket handling process, for example, the virtual agent places choice in front of the requester. So, if they request a laptop, the virtual agent asks them to choose “laptop a, b or c” from a list of options.
Conversational Ticketing Process
We live in a digital world, but human connection is an innate desire. Many end users like to contact a service desk analyst directly. If you’ve helped them in the past, they might prefer to just deal directly with you.
The helpfulness of AI virtual agents supports end user requesters and analysts alike: it chats with users proactively and provides a conversational experience, while giving analysts more time to focus on more complex issues.