Jun 6, 2023

AI for Ticket Automation: Benefits and Must-Have Features

You’ve seen this problem countless times: A customer support agent receives a ticket they have no idea how to explain, let alone solve. It gets handed off from one agent to another, extending the case cycle and frustrating the customer. Even if someone manages to resolve the issue and close the ticket, this will probably happen again — unless you turn to AI-powered ticket automation.

AI-powered ticket automation is the next frontier in customer support. It intelligently matches agents with cases to reduce resolution time and case friction. Better case matching streamlines your support processes, resulting in higher agent productivity and greater customer satisfaction.

What is AI-powered ticket automation?

Standard ticket automation rules trigger specific actions when predefined conditions are met, like ticket status or ticket creation. However, these rigid rules don’t effectively streamline today’s customer support workflows. Plus, ticket routing systems that use keyword, round-robin, metadata, or rule-based methods still require constant maintenance as ticket volume grows, which is ultimately unsustainable.

However, when enhanced by artificial intelligence, an automated ticketing system is much more adaptable to the constantly shifting customer support environment. An AI-powered ticket automation platform intelligently assigns tickets to support agents based on their workload, availability, experience, and relevant skills.

A 2021 survey of nearly 12,000 consumers found that 52% of respondents expect a quick resolution to their issues. Although standard ticket automation assigns incoming tickets to support agents as fast as possible, this doesn’t always result in a speedy resolution. AI-enhanced ticket automation does more than simply connect customers to the next available agent. Natural language processing (NLP) interprets incoming tickets to identify their issues, while machine learning matches each case with the agent best equipped to handle it.

Benefits of AI-powered ticket automation

Fast and effective ticket resolution is the key to creating an exceptional customer support experience. A manual ticketing process might get cases to the wrong agent, which means longer case cycles, a higher likelihood of case escalation, and, ultimately, a higher mean time to resolution (MTTR).

In comparison, automating the ticket distribution process with AI eliminates time-consuming manual tasks for your support agents while speeding up response and resolution times for your customers.

Reduced mean time to resolution (MTTR)

AI-enhanced ticket automation enables faster, more accurate case assignments so support agents can quickly close tickets and meet customer expectations.

Matching cases to the best-suited support agents reduces the likelihood of case escalation, resulting in a shorter case cycle overall. When assigning tickets to agents, an AI-enabled ticket automation platform considers several variables, like an agent’s availability, backlog, and bandwidth. Intelligent case routing produces clear results: within six months of using an AI-powered ticket automation solution, Coveo reduced MTTR by 53% (from four days to two).

Greater customer satisfaction

The customer experience needs to be effortless. A Gartner study found that customers are 96% more likely to be disloyal to a brand after a high-effort case resolution. If a customer needs to talk to several support agents just to resolve one issue, they won’t be satisfied with their experience.

AI-powered ticket automation enables support agents to focus on quickly and effectively resolving customer issues they know they can handle. Machine-learning algorithms assign new tickets to the most qualified agents the first time so customers don’t spend time bouncing between agents to get their problems fixed.

Increased agent productivity

Customers aren’t the only ones impacted by inefficient ticketing processes. Agents are often frustrated by cases they don’t know how to solve, and their productivity drops when they have to spend extra time attempting to figure them out. When support agents are assigned cases that align with their experience and availability, they can focus on resolving customer issues with fewer handoffs.

AI-powered ticket automation accounts for factors like case complexity, bandwidth, and customer history to ensure support agents are only assigned cases they have the time and knowledge to resolve. Every customer interaction fuels the machine-learning algorithms to make smarter ticket assignment decisions in future cases. This empowers agents to concentrate on the support experience instead of trying to fix unfamiliar problems.

3 essential features of AI-powered ticket automation

Not every ticket automation solution is made equal. To reap the benefits of ticket automation, you need AI-enabled support software that streamlines every part of the ticketing process for your support team.

Continuously updated machine-learning algorithms

Rule-based ticket routing is too rigid and requires manual adjustments to support changing support workflows. In comparison, machine-learning algorithms automatically adjust their thinking to be more accurate with every case. With machine learning, a ticket automation system “teaches itself” over time to constantly improve case assignments.

Machine learning accounts for several factors when comparing support agents with your case queue to assign the best-suited agent for each case. These algorithms use real-time data on factors like skill relevancy, case complexity, time overlap, and experience with the customer to make assignment decisions that will improve case resolution and customer satisfaction.

Let’s say a customer support platform receives a new ticket, and the next available agent has no experience with the customer. But another agent who isn’t ready yet has already handled nine cases from this customer. While a typical rules-based ticket routing system would immediately assign the first agent, machine-learning algorithms would understand that the second agent is better equipped to handle this case.

Natural language processing (NLP)

Keyword-based case assignment isn’t always accurate, so this approach might accidentally route a case to an underqualified agent. Natural language processing empowers your ticket automation system to match cases with support agents based on customers’ needs.

Natural language processing analyzes each support ticket to extract critical data that provides context about the case. Say a customer writes that they are considering taking their business elsewhere. This ticket signals a possible revenue impact, so the system will assign the case to an available agent equipped to handle a churn risk. The AI-powered system enables the support team to proactively reduce the risk of case escalation rather than waiting until it’s too late.

Backlog management

Along with learning from previous cases, an AI-powered ticket automation solution should monitor existing tickets to identify which ones need more attention or may escalate. By proactively managing your backlog, you’ll avoid cases slipping through the cracks and reduce customer frustration.

To get a handle on your backlog, you can’t rely on lagging indicators like CSAT, which don’t tell you how to improve the support experience as it’s happening. Instead, you need a customer support solution that tracks leading indicators like customer sentiment, which measures how customers feel about your product, service, or brand. An AI-enhanced ticket automation solution measures sentiment and other real-time customer data to enable more proactive customer support.

Once your support team can more effectively resolve cases and minimize the chance of escalation, the team will easily attack the backlog and even prevent it from growing. After transitioning to leading indicators like sentiment and attention scores, business data integration and analytics platform Qlik reduced customer escalations by 30% in just six months.

Supercharge your ticketing process with AI-powered ticket automation

Rule-based and manual ticket routing is a thing of the past. By leaving case assignments in the hands of an intelligent ticket automation system, support agents will spend less time asking for help or passing around tickets and more time working on the cases they know best. AI-enabled features like natural language processing and machine learning enhance the ticket routing process so the system constantly adapts to your customers’ needs and your support team’s workflows.

To learn more about how an AI-enhanced ticket automation solution can help your support team, request a demo today.

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