Six trends impacting the helpdesk software industry

Key points:

  • Support organizations and help desks are experiencing a dramatic shift with the evolving technologies and smart applications leading to demanding user expectations
  • Customer satisfaction is now at the forefront as new technologies enable more efficient communication, which is both boon and bane to IT support
  • Virtual Assistants are replacing agents

The helpdesk software industry is undergoing a period of transformation, as we speak. What remains static is that agents will continue to use software to help them solve customer problems. What will change significantly is the intelligence of those machines?

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are sweeping the world of technology and their application has already begun to alter what machines can do. This will have an enormous impact on every industry, including helpdesk software.

Although artificial intelligence operates based on the data fed into a system, machine learning works differently. Machine learning enables computers to think and act like human beings.

Trends we predict for the future of the helpdesk software industry:

1. The rise of smart technology

Patients Technology that allows customers to be better informed about their expectations and that empowers agents to be smarter in offering resolutions to customers is going to be the trend. Customers call with multiple questions at a time, for example, order status, delivery schedules, refund timelines, network. Technology that can read and predict customer expectations and offer agents solutions to close customer queries quickly and accurately is going to be leading the wave of next-gen technology. For example, if you are a Netflix subscriber, you may have noticed that the recommendations you receive are based on your past behavior. That’s AI in action. Through big data insights, Netflix seamlessly delivers personalization for each customer.

2. Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI will find use in virtually every industry, primarily as an interface with customers. No doubt, the helpdesk support industry, in particular, will be a dominant area where intelligent automation finds manifold applications. Many processes will be automated based on AI, and only those actions and issues that require human interference and decision-making will rely on human support staff.

For example, in the transportation business, artificial intelligence can be employed to predict traffic flow on a particular stretch of road. Or, for instance, smart personal assistants like Alexa can accept voice commands to help you create to-do lists.

3. Machine learning will threaten jobs

Machine learning is based on the idea that machines can be taught to think and make decisions like human beings, with a certain degree of accuracy. The higher the accuracy, the higher the probability of machines replacing human jobs.

We are bound to experience high levels of automation if machines become as intelligent as human beings. However, the quality of this intelligence will be a source of contention for the next few years to come.

4. Self-service could be a game changer

If automation becomes as big as some experts are predicting, companies will try to eliminate human interference as much as possible. Customers will instantly be able to chat with bots, who can understand their query, think through a solution or postpone the resolution, if needed, and update the customer on theirquestion.

The idea is to be able to help customers to help themselves, as long as it saves them time and effort in getting the query resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

Imagine, for example, you are in the hardware business, and a customer is having a problem with storage space on her system. She could login to the helpdesk page, where she enters her question. The bot, which has been programmed to understand the query, would respond to the customer with possible solutions, such as an expansion of the hard drive or a division of space.The bot would be powered by AI or machine learning, and operate based on keywords customers enter into the system or use in chat boxes.

5. Agents empowered by AI

While we can’t fully foresee how far and in what new ways AI and machine learning will impact our world, human interference will always be needed until machines are able to think and act exactly like human beings. Therefore, helpdesk support staff, which has been the bedrock of helpdesks across the industry, is not going to go anywhere anytime soon.

However, machines will be able to analyse agent behavior vis-à-vis customer behavior and suggest solutions to customer problems. Machines that employ reciprocal intelligence will make agents smarter and more efficient in solving customer complaints. The AI-based software will not be a passive participant in the customer resolution process but will become a “colleague” of the helpdesk staff. They will be able to engage with the software and vice versa.

6. Big data, big picture

Data in itself is useless unless it helps to make meaningful decisions. Machines can be taught to analyse huge amounts of data from across the company and to help leaders identify business opportunities not visible to the “naked eye.”

In some case, systems can make smarter and more effective decisions than humans. If nothing else, they could provide possible solutions the leadership can then brainstorm. For example DeepText, a new AI initiative by Facebook, allows the company to analyse the textual content of several thousand posts per second. So, if you are a celebrity, DeepText can help you sort through millions of comments to find the most relevant information about yourself. 

To conclude, helpdesk software of the future will be able to do much more than it has done in the past. AI-based helpdesk software will no longer be just a tool to support staff — it will become a valuable decision-making tool for the leadership.

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