Internal Customer Service: Will AI Offer Employee Self-Service a Lifeline?
The issues with employee 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 employee support.
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 tech 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 Employee Support for things like IT and HR questions.
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 or to your co-worker. Unfortunately, the Internet’s answer isn’t tailored to your organization. So that doesn’t help. And your co-worker doesn’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 or send an email.
There must be a better way. Employee 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 helpdesk teams.
Seemingly helpful knowledge base articles have zero views, yet tickets and questions 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. These knowledge bases are often hidden in places that aren’t easily accessible. Or, if they are handy, the content may be outdated or hard to understand. 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 internal customer support teams have the best of intentions, traditional knowledge portals often don’t live up to the expectation, leading employees to skip self-service all together and go right to the helpdesk for every single problem. Issues that could be easily closed through self-help are taking days to resolve and take IT, HR, and other support individuals 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 employee 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 employee support. Especially because a bulk of requests are repetitive, 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 transition to the right human support channel and notify helpdesk teams 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 a support resource to be freed up to get them back to work. Similarly, requests that need a personal touch should not languish in a queue. AI is offering a broken system a lifeline – making employee support better for all of us.