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HappyFox today announced that it is using conversational AI to automatically resolve requests made to help or service desk platforms it supports via a Slack communications channel.

Assist AI from HappyFox analyzes each request made via Slack to determine if a way to solve that issue already exists within an IT organization’s knowledge base. If it finds an appropriate fix, it will automatically generate a solution that is shared with the end user via the same Slack channel the request was made in, HappyFox CEO Shalin Jain said.

Each end user is then asked to rate how well that proposed solution addressed their problem, feedback that over time increases the overall accuracy of Assist AI from HappyFox, Jain added.

The interfaces end users are asked to navigate when requesting support via a help desk or customer service desk application are increasingly being replaced by communications platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. As end users spend more of the day interacting with one another on these platforms, it becomes much simpler to request help from IT departments via those same platforms. That approach can also be applied to any requests made to human resources departments, Jain added.

Most of those requests for support being made via a Slack channel are fairly routine. Assist AI from HappyFox is designed to automate what would otherwise be an ongoing set of repetitive tasks that tend to increase turnover among help or service desk personnel, Jain said.

Requests for services made via Slack are automatically mirrored into the platform to enable support personnel to keep track of requests. That capability allows them to escalate any request for service that Assist AI from HappyFox is unable to resolve, Jain said. Once resolved, the support staff can also update the knowledge base to address an issue in a way Assist AI from HappyFox can learn to automate.

That mirroring capability also creates an audit trail for requests made via Slack, Jain added. Many organizations require a system of record — such as a help desk — to comply with a wide range of mandates, Jain said. Without some means of capturing interactions with end users via a communications medium such as Slack, the whole support function becomes chaotic. “It ends up being a complete nightmare,” Jain said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed help and customer service desks to the breaking point. With more people working from home, the number of individuals navigating unfamiliar processes and applications has increased exponentially.

Since COVID-19 vaccines are not expected to be widely distributed until the second half of 2021 at the earliest, a considerable number of employees are expected to be working from home for the next nine months or more. Even once people do return to the office, most will find it easier to rely on Slack or Microsoft Teams to communicate. And many people will likely working from home more often long after the pandemic recedes.

The goal is to enable organizations to leverage AI to provide a better user experience for customers and employees alike. In most routine cases, customers and employees might not even be sure whether their issues are being resolved by a machine or a human. Of course, the cost of providing that support should decline as conversational AI becomes more robust, but plenty of complex support issues will continue to require a more human touch for the foreseeable future.

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