Five forces driving the need for Intelligent Automation in the Service Desk

By Dion Williams on Oct 23, 2017

Service Desks are under siege on numerous fronts from forces within the business that are challenging the fundamental function of the Service Desk – to service customers. Chatbots and more generally intelligent automation (AI-powered human augmentation) are emerging as key tools in the fight to balance these competing forces.

Porter's Five Forces model, named after Michael E. Porter, identifies and analyses five competitive forces that shape every industry, and helps determine an industry's competitive weaknesses and strengths. We can draw parallels to this model in the customer service management domain. Organisations are under increasing pressure to improve the customer service experience whilst begin shaped by external forces.

In this blog, we explore these forces and how they impact our ability to deliver exceptional customer service, and how Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are being used to assist in addressing these forces.

Service_Desk_Five_Forces.jpgThe diagram above shows how customer service experience is under pressure from these forces. Let's examine each of these.

  1. Service Experience - the key objective of any service organisation is to deliver outstanding service experience to customers. Increasingly internal shared services organisations like IT and Human Resources are measuring their performance by using Net Promotor Scores (NPS). Customer satisfaction and service experience along with cost management are the two key measures of success for most service organisation.
  2. Cost reduction - whilst budgets aren’t generally decreasing, we are being asked to increase our service levels with no increase in resources. A simple equation of “do more with less”
  3. Knowledge Retention - Knowledgeable staff build trust and confidence with customers. The challenge of retaining and democratising knowledge across your service organisation is a clear threat to providing a consistent, quality customer service experience. Each time a Service Agent leaves an organisation, the knowledge gained is lost and we need to retrain.
  4. Business Agility – As digital transformation becomes a key strategic imperative for organisations to remain competitive, service organisaitons are needing to cope with new services and demands for modern, consumer-oriented support channels. Shared services models are driving a consolidation in tools, people and processes.
  5. Outsourcing – SIAM and other sourcing models often result in a loss of business knowledge and customer intimacy at customer engagement points like the Service Desk. That challenge is to balance the cost benefits of outsourcing with the need to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction that traditionally only come from internal teams with years of organisational experience and knowledge.

All these forces are fighting against the fundamental reason a Service Desk exists; to deliver service. Finding that right balance between these forces is critical; move too far in any direction and service experience is impacted.

 We must re-imagine the Service Desk model to make a step change in how we deliver these services. There has of course been improvements over the years. Process improvements came with frameworks like ITIL and KCS (Knowledge Centred Services); improved tools came with the advent of modern SaaS delivery models; cost reductions came with outsourcing and offshoring. However, improvements in these areas were incremental.

 A step change will come with the augmentation of humans and processes with AI-driven automation that will create a ‘cognitive’ Service Desk. Cognitive Service Desks will capture and learn from each interaction, generating reusable knowledge that can be deployed through omni-channels to reduce call handle times and truly empower users to self-service.

 Machine learning, augmented support, and intelligent virtual agents are the tools that will bring the forces affecting your Service Desk back into balance.  To understand how they how they could benefit your organisation, download our Service Desk Intelligent Automation ROI Calculator.

To find out how your Service Desk could benefit from Intelligent Automation using, use the link below to download the Service Desk Intelligent Automation ROI Calculator.

Download ROI Calculator