What is the future service desk agent? Instead of fearing the future, it’s time to redefine the role.
AI is disrupting almost every part of IT and the service desk is no exception. In fact, service desk agents may be more impacted by AI than any other part of IT.
This has some service desk agents worried about losing their job to a bot. Some of them may even be resistant to incorporating AI into their organization because of this fear.
IT leaders who want to embrace AI must work with their service desk agents to identify opportunities for AI success. Bots are already here and service desk agents should embrace that because bots are ushering in a renaissance for the service desk. The service desk agent role isn’t being outsourced or replaced because of AI. The service desk agent role is being redefined – and this new role is a reason for excitement.
But, before we talk about this new role, let’s first address a common question.
What is the role of the service desk agent?
The service desk agent is typically the first point of contact for IT consumers who need help. Their role generally involves troubleshooting IT consumer issues and providing basic support while escalating complex or more advanced problems to others within IT. Their role involves executing the processes in place to escalate those problems and managing IT consumer expectations and needs. Providing excellent customer service is a critical part of this role.
That description looks good on paper, but what does a service agent actually do?
Historically, service desk agents are performing menial and tedious tasks (like resetting passwords), answering and routing calls and contacts, and strictly following predefined scripts.
But now, bots using AI and machine learning can do those menial tasks service desk agents have historically done – but they can do it faster. Unlike humans, bots are available 24/7, so they’ll never miss a call. Bots will follow those predefined procedures and can perform tedious tasks, like resetting passwords, faster than a human.
So, of course, some service desk agents are looking at this new technology and thinking they can’t compete, or that they are being replaced. But this is where the new opportunity begins.
Finally, with the help of AI, service desk agents can get out from underneath those time-consuming, yet easy-to-solve issues that dominate their days. They are freed from the monotonous tasks that take up their time but don’t utilize their unique skill sets. AI is not going to replace roles. It’s just replacing how low-level tasks are performed.
So what will the service desk agent do when bots and other AI-related technologies are performing those low-level tasks? Here are three opportunities for the future service desk agent.
AI and Automation Experts
You can’t just plug in an automation tool or “turn on AI” and expect it to work perfectly. AI technologies and automation tools only work if they have the proper setup and are managed correctly.
Service desk agents can become AI and automation experts by configuring and managing those technologies. They can be the architects of knowledge bases and automation procedures. Service desk agents can become the go-to experts in helping the organization identify automation opportunities, as well as what needs to be done to implement that automation. We’re just beginning to see how impactful AI and automation can be for organizations and someone will need to continue to lead the organization into the automation age as more technologies are introduced. The service desk agent is perfect for that role.
Not all user issues or requests can be addressed by automation or by a bot. There will always be bigger and more complex issues that need to be addressed. With service desk agents no longer bogged down performing menial tasks, they can tackle those bigger user issues that exist within the business.
IT often becomes so busy with small technical requests that they end up applying too many fixes that are only short-term solutions. With bots and AI-enabled technology dealing with those small requests, service desk agents can use their time to create those long-term solutions. They’ll have the bandwidth to innovate and think creatively to identify their solutions. As an added bonus, this work will contribute to the business in larger and more valuable ways and service desk agents will feel more rewarded and appreciated for their work.
Finally, service desk agents will have more opportunities to collaborate with key users. Service desk agents will be able to invest the needed time to understand the business impact of incidents, educate users regarding technology, and identify ways the IT consumer and IT can work together to create a better overall experience.
Good service desk agents will leverage those outstanding soft skills to communicate with empathy and operate from a place of patience. They become ambassadors for the IT organization. If more IT consumers feel seen, heard, and understood by service desk agents, then users will start to see service desk agents as partners, instead of order-takers. This opens the door for IT to be included in bigger conversations around business objects, goals and strategies.
What Should Service Desk Agents Do Now?
The service desk renaissance is here! IT leaders and service desk agents can help usher it in within the organization by championing AI. Service desk agents should aim to become the experts in this new technology, educating themselves on what is available, and then identifying opportunities for using automation and AI technologies within the organization. Upon becoming knowledgeable about AI and how it can support the business, service desk agents should build the business case for implementing AI into the service desk (just be sure you’re avoiding these 5 signs before you start to do so!).
Disruption due to technology is a good thing. It has been happening since the dawn of time and the best way to protect yourself and your team is to embrace it and learn how to work with it. The sooner that service desk agents and IT teams are able to see that AI use will be an asset and not a threat, the sooner your renaissance will begin.Share