10 August 2018

How TOPdesk leverages AI to create the best customer experience


AI and Service Management

AI is hot. If you’ve visited any tech conferences recently, you’ll have noticed that all hosts talk about Artificial Intelligence in one way or another. The use cases presented by big technology vendors also spark the imagination. I’m sure you’ve seen the self-driving cars, Google’s DeepMind winning at Go and Virtual assistants making appointments for you by calling your hairdresser. However, as with any trend, the dust will have to settle before we can start distinguishing where AI can add real value. Many companies are still testing the water: experimenting and investigating applications without fully committing. So, what will the AI trend bring to the service management field and TOPdesk?

AI and Service Management

Analysts point to service management and customer experience as a field where AI is likely to play a central role in the future. At TOPdesk, we believe that any application of AI in service management should ultimately lead to a better customer experience. In the end, that is how service departments add value: by creating an amazing customer experience. This is important when thinking about chat bots, for instance. Are you really helping your customers if 90% of the conversations end with “I’m sorry I can’t help you, would you like to speak to a real person?” Taking customer experience as the basic metric for evaluation can help you avoid this situation.

 At TOPdesk we’re investing in several areas where AI can help increase customer experience:

  • Virtual assistants and chat bots
  • Making life of the operator easier
  • Predictive analytics
  • Customer experience

"OK TOPdesk"

Adoption of virtual assistants is booming, especially in English-speaking countries. Just take a look at the popularity of voice assistants like Siri on Apple’s iPhone or stand-alone devices like Amazon’s Alexa. At the same time, technology hasn’t yet reached the level where we can be confident about the contribution of chat bots to our mission, which is great customer experience. That’s why at TOPdesk we’re currently working with several partners to find real applications for a chat functionality.

During a three-day hackathon this year, our developers experimented with a range of dialog AI frameworks, such as Google Diagram Flow. The goal of the hackathon? To become familiar with the technical playing field we’re dealing with. We’ve seen promising results and we’re now investigating next steps.

We’ve also been working with several customers and implemented prototypes in their production environments, to see how they experience chat bots in real life.

Making life of the operator easier

To make sure every call is handled the right way, many organizations have a number of processes in place. In TOPdesk, for instance, you have to fill in fields like category, priority and target dates. TOPdesk is currently looking into ways to make repetitive tasks easier, for instance by predicting the category based on the input text of a call. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about our first experiments, which are now available for TOPdesk customers in the Labs.

Predictive analytics

We believe predictive analytics to be an area where AI can provide a lot of value. Instead of regularly having to dig through various reports, predictive analytics systems might be able to tell you what you need to know.

TOPdesk is also researching whether machine learning can be used to detect deviations from trends in customer data. For instance: to predict and signal a sudden drop in customer satisfaction or rise in calls. We’re also experimenting with systems that can act based on the emotion read in a call. If the system detects urgency or annoyance, this might be a reason to flag the call or change the priority.

Another example of predictive analysis is automatically signalling bottlenecks in your process, with your suppliers for instance. TOPdesk offers out-of-the-box reporting to help users detect those bottlenecks, and a next step would be to proactively suggest areas of improvement based on trend data.

Customer experience

So, what’s in it for the customer? AI and machine learning are expected to play a major role in supplying end users with the right information at the right time. For a while now, a strong feature of TOPdesk’s Self-Service Portal is that users see suggestions based on the description of the incident, even before they submit the incident. Moreover, the search functionality brings together calls, knowledge, your service catalogue and lots more, and is language-independent.

At the same time, as Gartner states that “Virtual support agents without access to a rich source of knowledge cannot provide intelligent responses, forcing I&O leaders to establish or improve knowledge management initiatives”. To support this, we’re continuously improving and updating our knowledge base.

Want to be involved?

We’re always looking for customers and partners interested in piloting TOPdesk’s beta functionalities. If you want to be involved, feel free to get in touch! Are you a TOPdesk customer? Check out our feedback platform on extranet.topdesk.com. We’ll make sure you can vote for the most popular AI innovations. Alternatively, you can ask your account manager to point you to the right channels.

Erik Pols

Erik Pols, Global Marketing Director