For years, IT teams have sought to ensure their employees
can work as smoothly from outside the office as they do
while on-site. To achieve this increasingly critical business
objective, companies have come to recognize the
importance of making IT services, SaaS applications, and
communication tools available not only from anywhere but
also at any time, since work-from-home (WFH) schedules
tend to be unpredictable. Moreover, because remote
employees are completely reliant on these technologies
to stay productive, any problems they encounter are
showstoppers until they’re resolved—increasing the urgency
of IT support.
But due to the trend toward physical help desks, employees
don’t always know where to go to address their tech issues
when they’re not in the office. Many end up emailing their
questions and requests to IT, rather than taking advantage of
hard-to-find self-service portals, forms, and knowledge base
(KB) articles they may only need once. For all these reasons,
the average IT issue still takes three days to resolve, which
limits productivity and causes tickets to pile up for the IT team.
The reality is that legacy technologies and approaches
have proven incapable of supporting a remote workforce.
For instance, without the ability to hold company-wide
meetings in person, communicating important updates to
the right employees is a challenge, as mass emails tend to
get lost in the inbox. And because such updates generate
more questions than they answer, they inundate the IT team
with more tickets than they can handle in a timely fashion.
Ultimately, companies looking switch their teams to WFH
must fundamentally rethink their collaboration tools and IT
Fortunately, a number of existing tools are facilitating this
transition to working from home, including one-stop-shop
collaboration platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Via
these remote-friendly platforms, AI chatbots are delivering
instant support to employees—on their terms. At the same time, AI chatbots enable companies to maximize the ROI of their other investments, from portals to forms to KB articles to enterprise software. Here are the five essential chatbot capabilities that IT teams are leveraging right now to support remote employees:
1- Order equipment for home office
AI-powered chatbots can instantly serve up the right IT form for employees’ hardware requests—like ordering a new monitor to make the home office feel just like the real one. Chatbots that have deep integrations with ITSM systems can then leverage existing service request workflows to automate the fulfillment of the form.
2- Ensure employees stay up to speed
Keeping remote employees informed about company policy is both critical and challenging. Mass emails from IT tend to get lost in the inbox, since few emails are relevant to everyone on a company-wide distribution list. In addition, email as a communication channel doesn’t facilitate real-time interaction, and as a result, only about 1% of recipients reply to mass emails with questions.
By contrast, your chatbot should allow IT teams to send out broadcasts on the messaging tool to groups targeted by seniority, department, time zone, and more. Such chatbots can therefore boost that employee engagement rate to an average of 30%, since employees can pose their questions directly to the bot, which searches the company’s knowledge base to find the exact answer.
3- Proactively manage and unlock accounts
In the office, when employees are locked out of their corporate accounts, they can meet with coworkers to stay somewhat productive. But at home, when these employees are completely reliant on their accounts to stay connected, getting locked out is a showstopper. AI-powered chatbots let employees unlock accounts, change passwords, and reset multifactor tokens in seconds—avoiding hours of wasted time. Plus, chatbots proactively alerts employees when their account is about to expire or has become locked out.
4- Provide access and troubleshooting help for software in real time
Remote workers can’t afford delays in gaining access to Zoom or in figuring out permissions on Google Drive before the big meeting, while IT teams don’t have the manpower to address thousands of software issues in addition to other projects.
The latest AI chatbots solve both problems—all while improving employee experience. By understanding the natural language employees use to describe IT issues, AI bots cut through all the noise to recognize their intended request. These bots then resolve the issue autonomously, without burdening the IT team.
5- Facilitate collaboration between remote coworkers
When coworkers are out of office, they still turn to one another for tech support—often via #ask-IT channels on the messaging tool. But when these channels get flooded with IT questions, help desks are hard-pressed to ensure nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Your chatbot should be able to read each message posted in the #ask-IT channel and provide resolution, before posting
the answer to the channel to pre-empt future questions. Of course, when employees simply need to find their colleagues’ contact info as soon as possible, the bot should be able to handle that too.