How does Virtual Agent help organizations in achieving better results in CSM?

Virtual Agent has been available since many releases on ServiceNow and is now a mature tool. It frees up time for service desk agents and offers a better service to your users, who are either internal, as in the case of ITSM processes, or external, as in the case of Customer Service Management (ServiceNow CSM). How can Virtual Agent leverage our reactivity to the needs of your users?

What is Virtual Agent?

Virtual Agent provides user assistance through conversations within a messaging interface.  The interface is not available only on ServiceNow Service Portal but also on various messaging systems, like Microsoft Teams, Slack or your existing corporate website.

ServiceNow Virtual Agent is proven to help organizations in achieving better results in several areas, including ITSM, HR, and CSM, while constantly improving user experience and satisfaction.

Axel Starosta, ServiceNow Developer at SPOC

Virtual Agent allows you to create tickets, manage them, respond to questions, and fulfil user requests. If it is needed, it transfers the user to the live agent. Thanks to the natural language processing engine, the tool analyzes the keywords and considers the context of a conversation. It has a significant impact on customer experience, and agents’ work, and it enables customers to resolve their issues in real-time.

Virtual Agent
Sources: SPOC

Virtual Agent’s top 3 additional features

Virtual Agent is not just a chatbot – there is so much more to it! It has many solutions to provide the best customer experience. Based on our extensive ServiceNow knowledge and clients’ cases, we believe the following features are the most essential and effective for the ServiceNow instance: NLU engine, pre-built conversational topics and Virtual Agent Analytics.

NLU engine

Natural language understanding allows your Virtual Agent to understand, process and respond optimally to the customers’ needs. Currently, ServiceNow provides an NLU engine with 17 languages supported in the Tokyo release.

You do not have to use ServiceNow NLU. If you opt for Microsoft LUIS or IBM Watson, it is possible to implement it with your Virtual Agent. By applying NLU, your users are free to use natural ways of communication, as if they were in a conversation with an agent, and at the same time, they will receive relevant answers.

In practice, your Virtual Agent will perform more accurately, providing a more positive experience. It can also help derive actionable insights from interactions by removing bias and errors.

Virtual Agent
Source: ServiceNow

Pre-built conversational topics

There is no need to start from scratch and build dialogue flows. Your agents can save precious time with ServiceNow Customer Service Management, HR, and ITSM. Pre-built conversations and reusable topic blocks make it easy to start using the Virtual Agent. 

You can install the pre-build conversational topics that contain a list of topics ready to use and make them available to customers in just a few clicks. Also, the pre-defined conversation flows help users with the most common self-service tasks in each business area.

With Customer Service Management, two topics are available immediately for creating and updating cases. The pre-built models are read-only, and you can’t edit them, but you have the possibility to clone the models and create your own NLU models.

Virtual Agent Analytics

Once VA is installed and active, you will want to see and measure its effectiveness. This is when Virtual Agent Analytics comes in handy. ServiceNow created the analytics tool to measure and objectively evaluate it so the business can value and assess its impact. It is built based on User Experience Analytics

Just as with User Experience Analytics, you can see: 

  • the number of deflections,
  • the amount of active VA instances,
  • conversations occurred,
  • information on most used categories,
  • most used languages.
Virtual Agent
Source: ServiceNow

There are also other useful indicators that can help you understand the usage of VA and how to make it more impactful. You can, for example, refine topics and increase the percentage of issues resolved by VA.

ServiceNow CSM and Virtual Agent

Predefined VA topic conversations enable your customers to get the customer service help they need quickly and efficiently. Integrating NLU models with your virtual agent topics allows chatbots to analyze, understand, and navigate the user to the right topic based on the inferred intent. 

To start with it, you need a Customer Service Management Professional. VA is usually for organizations that automate processes, so it should not be implemented in the first iteration. At this point, you need to understand which requests take up most of the agents’ time and the difficulty in deflecting them. Do users waste much of agents’ time asking about an update on their cases? The deflection is simple and makes a perfect VA use for your ServiceNow Customer Service Management.

To fully use the VA capabilities, you should first activate it and install the appropriate plugins for Virtual Agent and the pre-built conversations. Then it is time to enable the pre-build exchange or create new ones based on the requests identified before to start freeing up your agents’ time. With connected digital workflows, you can drive customer satisfaction.

Take advantage of Virtual Agent in your CSM

By using the VA and all related plugins in your ServiceNow CSM platform, you can create better process workflows and improve the omnichannel experience of your customers. By applying VA with the NLU engine, you not only improve the resolution times but also allow proactive customer service and clear communication. Your agents can manage the tasks better, as they have more time for more complicated issues, and at the same time, your organization reduces costs. Read more about Virtual Agent here, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us!

Virtual Agent
Source: SPOC

Busting the 6 myths around ServiceNow Predictive Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive intelligence have been hot topics for many years, and the presumptions around new technologies still bring mixed feelings in the business area. You might have heard some of these before, or perhaps you are still very cautious regarding machine learning. We are here to debunk these beliefs and set the record straight about what embracing predictive intelligence can bring to your organization and the ServiceNow platform.

MYTH #1   Using AI and predictive intelligence is not safe

Using the ServiceNow Predictive Intelligence function is as safe as having ServiceNow. The infrastructure and data security are highly resilient with its cloud-based services. Predictive Intelligence, formerly known as Agent Intelligence before the New York release, works on dedicated servers, which are as safe as the instance itself. Of course, cybersecurity requires regular checks. That is why ServiceNow enables you to access dashboards, which are crucial to the security and give the proper insight into what is happening with your data. 

Source: ServiceNow

Additionally, by using performance analytics, you can foresee any safety threats. Since the decisions are based on data, the risk of errors is lower with artificial intelligence. Analyzing data through AI tools, you are less likely to commit any bias – the machine is objective and does not choose one data over the other.

MYTH #2   Giving space to AI makes me lose control

Concerns about losing control of the technology are standard. Fortunately, ServiceNow gives you complete power over the AI function. You are the one who determines how to configure the Predictive Intelligence and when the algorithm should be decisive.  

Source: ServiceNow

For example, using Virtual Agent Professional, you can set an 85% accuracy threshold to automatically assign incoming requests from your users. This allows for the agents’ last word on giving less straightforward cases. At the same time, the most apparent tickets get posted automatically, improving the response time and customer satisfaction.  

By choosing the correct parameters, you check random cases occasionally to verify the predictive intelligence correctness. Thanks to the generated reports, you see the comparison between the agent and machine decisions and have the proper insight to take further actions in customer service management. So, long story short – you are in charge.

Source: ServiceNow

MYTH #3   My ServiceNow platform doesn’t need AI

What is wrong with service desk manual work? The agents have managed it until now, so they can go on without artificial intelligence. Indeed, they can. But isn’t it worth using predictive intelligence to make things quicker, more convenient, and more accurate? Wouldn’t automatic ticket assignment or predicting possible problems make your agents more effective? Also, what about the user experience? Nobody wants a separate channel just for sending requests.  

Virtual Agent lets your users contact the agents through their channel of choice, with integration in Microsoft Teams, Slack or Messenger, and many others. That leads to customer satisfaction and less frustration when the bot guides the user, resulting in fewer mistakes. So you get improved workflows, smooth and fast user experience, resources for more complicated tasks, fewer human errors, and predictive capabilities based on raw data. It’s a win-win.  

Source: ServiceNow

MYTH #4   Predictive intelligence is too expensive

Applying tools like Virtual Agent Professional or Performance Analytics might not be the cheapest solution, but it depends on how you look at it. AI in ServiceNow brings pretty fast ROI, not only improving the work but also letting you rearrange the assignments to your resources. It is more of an investment.  

The agents get time for other, more complicated tasks while machine learning solutions are doing repetitive jobs. In the long run, it should result in time and money savings. Obviously, every company has different needs, so machine learning capabilities should be adjusted to these specific requirements. By knowing how to optimize the ServiceNow paid solutions, you can get a pretty good deal.  

Source: ServiceNow

MYTH #5   Introducing AI solution is too confusing and complex

Every new implementation takes a little effort. If you look at the outcomes, though, there is no confusion or complexity. On the user end, it gets easier. They receive the right help and instructions straight away, through the communication channel of their personal preference. It becomes a streamlined path leading to a resolution. 

Source: SPOC

Conversely, agents have access to everything in their Agent Workspace, which is very convenient. Predictive intelligence is there to get all the information and displays it in a user-friendly way through the dashboards. All the historical data is in one place, and the overview is straightforward. Your agents do not need to know how to code due to the simplicity of the Predictive Intelligence feature.

MYTH #6   ServiceNow Predictive Intelligence is designed for simple tasks

The functionality is expected to affect the automation of repetitive tasks, solving issues faster, based on machine learning. All this is true. But Predictive Intelligence is a more advanced solution.

Predictive Intelligence ServiceNow is just opening the door to the world of AI capabilities. And what is behind those doors? Machine learning, automation, ticket rewriting, ticket clustering, performance analytics, event prediction, and response planning, Classification Framework Dashboards – and still only a part of the possibilities that ServiceNow Predictive Intelligence provides. You will be able to get acquainted with the description of all the possibilities and functionalities in the next article dedicated only to ServiceNow Predictive Intelligence. Stay tuned!

Source: ServiceNow

Maximized ServiceNow or the basic ITSM version? 

Adopting predictive intelligence is a great way to take your ITSM process maturity to the next level. But since it’s an important step, we always advise our clients to analyze their needs and see how such a solution might streamline processes and workflows.

With your implementation partner or even alone, you should be able to determine the most critical areas – sometimes the essential solutions can address your needs, e.g., when users mainly send requests about resetting passwords or ordering equipment. It can be easily handled by the Virtual Agent Lite solution and does not require a high investment or a long time. On the other hand, an experienced implementation partner can help you with more advanced needs and get the best value for the chosen solution. 

Sylwester Jassa, ServiceNow Presales Manager & Business Solutions Consultant at SPOC

Machine learning solutions are great tools, ensuring a better work experience and more satisfied agents and users. There are many scenarios in which the Predictive Intelligence feature makes sense, e.g., you want to cut time spent on resolving tickets, improve customer experience or know about possible issues through predictive models. Different frameworks, like classification or similarity frameworks, can be used to fulfill these various goals.  

Indeed, deciding to maximize your ITSM instance with predictive intelligence is not easy, especially when you consider that you need historical data in significant volumes to benefit from it fully. If you are interested in more and want to know how you can adjust the AI processes to your needs, contact us. 

How to choose the right Virtual Agent for your platform?

Every business can take advantage of an automated tool to assist its users quickly and efficiently. The question is, which type of Virtual Agent is the right choice for your company to enable a better user experience on your ServiceNow platform? We are here to help you find the right solution!  

The power of ServiceNow Virtual Agent

To make it simple, a Virtual Agent is a sort of chatbot that uses Artificial Intelligence to take communication to the next, more sophisticated level.

With Virtual Agent, you can create tickets, manage them, respond to questions, and fulfill user requests. If it is needed, it transfers the user to the live agent. Thanks to the natural language processing engine, the tool does not only analyze the keywords but also takes into consideration the context of a conversation. Smooth integration with all communication channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams makes it easy for the user who doesn’t need to login into the ServiceNow portal.  

ServiceNow Virtual Agent is proven to help organizations in achieving better results in a number of areas, including ITSM, HR, and CSM, while constantly improving user experience and satisfaction.

Axel Starosta – SericeNow Developer at SPOC
Source: ServiceNow

The idea behind Virtual Agent is to save users’ and agents’ time and lower the effort and the mistakes in the process. Faster, easier, and more pleasant. And greater customer satisfaction with the use of the chatbot. And it learns over time! The Virtual Agent technology is constantly improving through data analysis to give your users the best conversation path. The more data, the better results. Analyzing the user’s request helps the Virtual Agent to become a well-oiled machine, better understanding the user’s communication patterns and guiding the user through the process. The Virtual Agent currently supports 8 languages, but as every organization uses its own, ‘inside language’, the tool’s learning skill is priceless. Preparing a chatbot for work is very simple. It is based on the popular no-code or low-code platform model. As shown in the graphic, an example conversation just needs to be prepared in a drag-and-drop interface.

Source: SPOC

Building a chatbot in Servicenow via Virtual Agent is as easy as doing it on different competitive cloud solutions like Google Dialogflow or AWS Chatbot!

Adam Goździewski – ServiceNow Developer at SPOC

Empower your users by finding the best match 

Respond to a few questions to determine which type of Virtual Agent fits you the most. Choose your answer and check which kind of Virtual Agent you need.

1. What processes do you wish to make self-serviceable? 

a) basic ITSM actions like checking ticket status or reporting an issue – A 

b) more advanced ITSM actions like password reset, run knowledge base search or transform a caller to the Live Agent aid queue – B 

c) my own, custom, not necessarily ITSM processes – C 

2. What languages should your chatbot be able to understand? 

a) English – A 

b) any of the following: – B 

Italian, Norwegian, Japanese, Canadian French, Finnish, Polish, Korean, Danish, Swedish, Brazilian Portuguese, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, German 

c) other

3. Is there a need for Teams/Slack Integration with your system? 

a) yes –

b) no – A 

5. Should a chatbot have access to a knowledge base to suggest helpful articles? 

a) yes – B 

b) no – A 

6. Are their surveys required to gather user feedback to supervise virtual agent activity? 

a) yes – B 

b) no – A 

Basic needs for self-service
– Virtual Agent Lite 

Your answers indicate that the lite tool is probably enough for your needs. The limited version of Virtual Agent gives you access to the keyword-based conversation in web chat and other messaging apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Messenger. It has an introductory collection of topics for your IT support. Virtual Agent Lite can improve your ITSM system self-service experience, giving you a primary conversational interface. Your users can check their ticket status or report an issue. It is a stiff path, but if you want to improve the response time and do not have many complicated tickets, then go for it.  

This version is free for ServiceNow license owners, so it is the most economical option. Keep in mind that the lite version does not allow any modifications to topics in Designer, like creating new topics, topic blocks, or custom controls. You will not have access to Virtual Agent Analytics Dashboard or Natural Language Understanding support either. The two available paths let the user check the ticket status or report an issue.  

Source: SPOC

Extended support with natural language
– Virtual Agent Professional 

Virtual Agent Professional might be a perfect choice for you. The extended version of the tool offers all core functionalities plus customization and NLU. What does it mean for you? The tool improves over time and can give a better, more personalized customer experience by applying the information from previous conversations. With NLU, your Virtual Agent understands, processes, and responds in an improved way to the users’ needs. Thanks to access to Virtual Agent Designer, you are free to develop, test and deploy tailored automated conversations. It allows you also to build new topics and topic blocks that can perform certain functions or custom controls during the interactions with your users. 

Virtual Agent Professional covers different communication channels and third-party messaging apps, making it more convenient and easier for users to resolve their issues. The available channels are broader than in the Lite version, thanks to conversational custom chat integrations. Your users can choose a channel familiar to them, making the whole user journey smoother. The technology in the full version of the tool supports also: 

  • answering FAQs; 
  • providing tutorial (“how to”) information; 
  • querying or updating records, e.g., to get status on cases or incidents; 
  • gathering data, such as attachments, for the live agent; 
  • capabilities performing diagnostics; 
  • resolving multi-step problems. 
Source: ServiceNow

Specific needs for improved customer satisfaction
– a dedicated solution 

Sometimes even the extended version does not meet the company’s needs. You might as well need a customized AI bot for your ServiceNow, written accordingly to your specific requests. Perhaps you have different communication channels that need to be covered, or you want to automatically assign tickets to a particular person. You might also want to take a step further and make your Virtual Agent more fun, enabling it to chat about the weather or the latest news. The sky is the limit thanks to unlimited integration possibilities with NLU engines like IBM, Watson, Microsoft LUIS, or external APIs. Your Virtual Agent solution can be anything you want and need. 

Read about the 6 most common myths around ServiceNow Predictive Intelligence.

We helped AMS to build a customised chatbot with the app engine. With 400K recruitment interviews organised each year, the custom solution was a perfect choice. It allowed AMS to automate and coordinate the interview process at every step of the way – from the first online to the last face-to-face meeting. Results?

Using ServiceNow, and its elite partner SPOC based in Poland, AMS Interview Scheduling automates and co-ordinates every aspect of the process, enabling everyone involved to focus on getting the maximum value from the interview.

Natalia Mikrut, Head of Digital Automation at AMS

Read more about this success story. And find out more about our experience in developing custom applications

Source: ServiceNow

How to get better business outcomes with Virtual Agent? 

Based on 10 years of experience and extensive ServiceNow knowledge, we believe that choosing the right version of the tool is critical. First, consider your company’s needs and how this tool can improve the user experience. Do you need more advanced help, or is it just a question of a basic solution to improve the response time from your agents?  

So our tip is to go for adjusting the tools towards the needs, keeping in mind that any automation will be positive for your agents to free them from repetitive tasks and let them focus on more complex user needs. When we analyze our clients’ instances and provide them with a health check, we usually come up with a reasonable solution that will be both appreciated by the agents and end-users.  

Please tell us more about what you want to achieve, and what are you prerequisites or expectations – contact us.