When a customer has a support question or needs help to solve an issue, they should encounter a smooth experience all the way through to resolution. But that’s not always the case. At ServiceNow, when customer feedback revealed areas ripe for improvement, our employees listened and upgraded two important support workflows: case creation and auto-agent.
“We try to provide customers with self-service content,” explains Vikas S., a product manager at ServiceNow. “At the same time, we want to ensure that if self-service content doesn’t give them the answers they need and they end up creating a case, the journey to create that case and what happens afterward is seamless and a great experience for them,” he says.
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Upgraded case creation
Previously, a customer had to create a case and wait to hear back from a ServiceNow customer support agent. Now, when a customer opens a case, they go through the process of defining their problem using our issue record producer. Once the support team receives the case, they go to work.
“We really wanted to be more dynamic about how we thought about automation,” explains Lott C., director of business process management at ServiceNow.
When developing the built-in automation, the most impactful feedback Vikas and his team received came through a case creation dashboard, where customers commented on and ranked their needs. Customers consistently reported they needed a bigger screen to enter information.
The refined user experience includes expanded screen size and flexible text boxes, a simplified flow with fewer screens, and more visibility for customers into how their case is prioritized.
Simplifying support administration
We also created auto-agent workflows to help automate administrative and follow-up tasks for technical support engineers (TSEs) and eliminate downtime on cases.
“Our TSEs are skilled engineering resources whose time we value,” Lott says. “With up to 20 cases in their queue on any given day, removing the administrative overhead enables them to better manage their time and focus on the technical issues at hand.”
Automation includes follow-up, closure, and acceptance of issues. “We’ve made this configurable, so we can continue to grow our workflows. This is just the beginning.”
Since launching, the auto-agent workflow has saved our support team an enormous amount of time and reduced context switching. About 60% of open cases are not directly actionable by the TSE or would be largely administrative actions.
This administrative work accounts for about 30 to 60 minutes of TSE time per day and includes tasks such as pursuing internal stakeholders for follow-up/review, providing status updates, and nudging customers to review and close cases. Focusing on actionable activities and automating a portion of that work have significantly boosted morale and productivity.
Personalizing the experience
“This is a completely custom solution, what we’ve built here,” Vikas says. “This is how we learn and listen to our customers and improve their experience through our support team, because we want them to be successful.”
Building this product gave Vikas firsthand customer experience that led to career growth. “I was always in the mentality of ‘How can I make a ServiceNow engineer’s life better?’” he notes. Through this experience, he found the perfect way to meet the needs of both the customer and ServiceNow internal support.
While Vikas manages the front end of case creation workflow, Kellie W., senior product manager of customer support workflows, manages the back end. “We meet in the middle and overlap a lot on how to solve case creations,” Kellie explains.
Once a case is created, she builds automated workflows that cut down the manual effort and repetitive tasks a TSE must perform during the case lifecycle. “What we're trying to get is a more personalized experience for the user,” she says.
Before customers know they have a problem, our product managers want to know. This allows Kellie and her team to be more proactive at making a user’s life easier.
Kellie used to be a customer of ServiceNow and attributes that experience to helping her anticipate customer needs. “My role every day is to make our customers’ day-to-day lives work better, and that makes our internal employees’ day-to-day work better. That is what this product is all about,” she says.
A balanced approach
Kellie and Lott align weekly with Senior Software Engineer Vaibhav K. to exchange ideas, discuss customer feedback, and make plans. “The collaboration between engineering, business, and product teams has been exceptional,” Vaibhav says.
Having been with ServiceNow for four years, Vaibhav has played a large role in developing auto-agent workflows. He believes the best is yet to come. “In the future, we’re trying to be even more proactive,” he says. “It gives us an opportunity to extend ourselves, go above and beyond, and think about how we can improve the customer experience.”
“There were a significant number of moving parts in the development of case workflow,” Lott adds. Although Lott and his team encountered issues, they were able to resolve them quickly. Directly collaborating with development teams resulted in delivering this product and solving issues.
“I'm glad that it's serving the purpose it was intended for and making an impact,” Lott says. “At the end of the day, it allows us to be more efficient and do our best work. If we’re helping others do that, it’s phenomenal.”
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