How to… Automate IT Helpdesk Tasks

86% of employees believe that automation will help them to be more efficient, and increase their productivity. As a result, part of the benefits of using a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool is the ability to streamline work to support the customer, and reduce manual tasks through IT automation.

While traditionally, organizations may have been worried about the impact of automation on customer experience, today – customers value efficiency and convenience over human interactions, as long as it correlates with an improved level of service. The results are firmly in; whether it’s for back-end functions or to support the customer, automation rules! So, let’s look at some examples of how to automate Helpdesk tasks, with some categories to think about that will allow you and your customers to see the benefits.

 

Incoming customer requests are some of the most stressful parts of being an IT business owner, and one of the reasons why you may feel at times like you’re working around the clock. Whether you’re in charge of internal IT at a large company, or you own your own business, if you don’t get a response out quickly – you end up with a frustrated user, and likely a large backlog of items on your own to-do list. Now imagine that your inbox was automatically reducing as a result of IT automation rules, even while you slept or took a vacation day. Sounds great, right? You can merge duplicate tickets, or create a parent/child relationship to form a thread where tickets are related to one another. You can also automate whole tasks, knowing that certain repetitive or manual jobs are being taken care of behind the scenes.

Here are some ideas for automating requests as they arrive.

 

  • Password management: Allow users to request password changes, password resets or forgotten passwords.
  • Folder creation: Automatically create a new folder with the right corporate settings and privacy according to predefined rules.
  • Email to ticket: Open or escalate tickets automatically from an email, tagging the right admin or technician for attention.
  • Skill or urgency routing: Assign a priority level to correspondence, or channel to the right member of staff based on sender or keyword.
  • Process management: Repetitive tasks like onboarding journeys for new hires or install wizards for downloading software can all be automated to save you time.

Back-end Processes

As well as customer requests, you can also manage your own internal systems using automation from your Helpdesk software. Think about automatically applying rules such as copying documentation to the right folders, notifying users of escalation or resolution, integration with your own Knowledge Base to send one-click responses, and even configuration and management of your devices. This last one can include internal tasks like tracking inventory and automatically ordering replacements, or externally pushing software updates, and ensuring security patches are installed. Another great example is automatically assigning time in a technician’s calendar to deal with a service request, from an email request that is sent by a user. In that situation, without any action from the administrator, the customer request can be received, the work scheduled, the technician appointed, and the customer notified, all at any time of day or night and entirely hands-free.

Having a PSA that integrates with a robust Remote Monitoring and Maintenance solution really takes your business and your automation potential to the next level. Not only can you serve your own users in terms of ticketing and support, you also have the tools in place to fix problems and troubleshoot or uncover the root cause of issues, all from the same desk. When you find a task that crosses over both sides of the business, you can automate a whole process or event, such as receiving a ticket about the need for a software download, and automatically sending a wizard process that can simply be accepted by the user in one click.

Reporting and Analytics

Other helpful automations can come from a goal of getting more insight into your employee behavior and your customer experience. For example, you might want to learn how your customers feel about the service they have received. Why not automate a survey that gets sent after support interactions, and asks users whether they are satisfied with their experience?
New innovation is allowing this to go even further, as service desk employees can use this kind of automation to get instant feedback on how they’re doing. When augmented with tools that provide natural language processing or sentiment analysis, guidance can be provided in the moment to help users resolve friction or end a service call with a better outcome.
If you have the reporting infrastructure in place, you can correlate helpdesk surveys as your qualitative research with quantitative data on how long it took for an incident to be resolved or responded to, finding out the ideal amount of time to include in contracts and SLA moving forward, or improving staff training.

With a robust Helpdesk dashboard, you can also use automation to get more visibility and control into your user and employee behaviors. You can answer complex questions such as:

Which users send the most ticket requests, and are they repeat challenges?

Which employees resolve tickets fastest, and what is their associated satisfaction rate from the customers?

What time of day, month or even year prompts the most ticket requests, and can we identify the cause?

 

Say Yes to the Benefits of Automation

In the IT service business, time is money! If your tasks aren’t billable, then it’s in your best interests to reduce or replace them with automation as much as you can. If they are billable, then the more you can hand over to an automation rule, the more you can scale up and take on new customers, users, or value-added tasks. Your customers are looking to you to do more with your time, and delight them with technology that can ensure you provide 5* service around the clock. Lucky for you, automation is the key to making that happen.

Automation rules and Automation profiles are a powerful part of using Atera’s all-in-one IT management software, and have been made even easier with the use of our Shared Script Library. This is a community-driven feature that allows you to benefit from the success and know-how of your fellow Aterans, so make sure not to miss it! In the meantime, if you want more information on automation and scripting – look no further!