One of the most common issues office workers face is accessing critical information in their online systems and platforms. Nowadays, even small companies accumulate large volumes of data that need to be properly stored and organized to be usable. Employees of all levels waste their valuable time searching for product or customer information thus creating delays, making data–related mistakes, and jeopardizing customer experience.
ServiceNow offers an enterprise service management suite that includes IT integration services and aids businesses in process optimization and automation. The system allows employees to structure their data, eliminate duplication, and provide easy access. On top of data organization, the suite enables AI-powered chatbots that speed up data searches and help employees to find accurate, relevant information. In this article, we will talk about ServiceNow virtual agents, explore their functionalities and components, and take a look at the benefits and use cases.
ServiceNow is a cloud-based IT management platform that mediates digital transformation and helps companies automate tasks across departments. By consolidating data in one location, the portal aids companies in fostering a well-organized and technically advanced business. The applications that the platform provides are vast and pertain to every part of the business. Sales, marketing, legal, IT, HR, and other departments can gain something from using this versatile platform.
Part of the so-called Now Platform, virtual agents play an important role in the business optimization strategy that the service offers. Based on ServiceNow data, AI-powered chatbots can solve up to 92% of IT-related issues and enhance productivity and efficiency. Even though some tickets do require help from a physical agent, the vast majority of issues can be solved by a smart chatbot. Especially with Natural Language Understanding (NLU) models, the ServiceNow virtual agent is capable of identifying various user statements and offering relevant information. These systems learn from consuming new information and interacting with users, meaning that your virtual agents will gradually become more conversational and precise.
A ServiceNow bot offers a multitude of benefits for customers, employees, live agents, and businesses themselves. Let’s discuss the most important advantages that you will gain from utilizing chatbots in your organization.
Your customers can greatly benefit from AI-powered chatbots. By automating common requests, you will reduce the response time and provide a better user experience. Although some questions will require customer support involvement, typical inquiries can be handled by a ServiceNow virtual agent. Moreover, this eliminates any potential human error factor that can be caused by an inexperienced support agent.
The ServiceNow experience also provides chatbots with access to product and customer information thus allowing them to personalize the interaction. They can retrieve previous inquiries and customer data to deliver personalized responses and come up with a more precise and relevant resolution. Additionally, chatbots enable omnichannel customer support and provide multiple ways of communication to appeal to any user.
One of the biggest advantages of chatbots is customer support scalability, which allows businesses to process thousands of requests without utilizing live agents. As a result, companies save a lot of money while streamlining processes and improving operational efficiency. On top of that, chatbots can also collect customer data which can be used in both virtual agent interactions and marketing activities.
Virtual customer support can also increase user engagement by providing immediate and accurate help. When your customer knows that they will receive an instant response to their inquiry, they are more likely to contact the chatbot and solve their issue. Furthermore, a ServiceNow virtual agent can take the initiative and reach out to the customer before an issue occurs. For example, if a customer visits a certain page and visibly struggles to perform some task, a chatbot can send them a message offering guidance.
Whenever an issue occurs, employees have to send an email to raise an incident or contact support to solve their problem. Later, they have to log in to the portal again to check the status of their inquiry. This takes a lot of time as well as requires them to understand the navigation of the portal. Although this can be taught during onboarding, forgoing these steps will save your company valuable resources.
With the ServiceNow chatbot, employees can simply ask their questions and receive immediate answers. The chatbot will autonomously categorize the query and assign the request to the person in charge. Moreover, an employee will receive a notification whenever their request was updated or resolved.
Chatbots can be a great help internally and allow employees to quickly find information, reset their passwords, access company tools, and more. Instead of wasting valuable time looking for internal information to make a certain decision, your employees can focus their attention on business-related tasks.
Maybe surprisingly, even live agents can benefit from using chatbots. While virtual assistants can swiftly answer common and repetitive queries, live agents can use their skills and knowledge to resolve more complex issues. A ServiceNow bot can smoothly transfer the customer to a physical agent by summarizing the main concern.
Basically, the process is twofold: user-request analysis and returning the response. The former refers to identifying the intent behind the inquiry and picking out the essential keywords and cues. The latter is supposed to generate the best possible response in various forms. For example, a chatbot can answer in the form of a text, link, citation, or action.
Chat interface: as the name suggests, the chat interface is the client side of the portal where customers interact with the virtual agent. They can use the chat interface to send requests that are passed through the Virtual Agent Runtime engine and receive responses.
Virtual Agent Runtime engine: this is where the user request is broken down and analyzed by the virtual agent. The results of the analysis are transferred to the NLU engine to conduct further investigation.
NLU engine: this is the last step where the system uses the previous analysis to come up with the appropriate answer and formulate a response.
Declarative: the most common types of virtual agents, declarative chatbots follow the if/then conditional algorithm and provide automated responses to user requests. Albeit incorporating some elements of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), declarative agents are mostly straight to the point and do not offer conversational experience. These types of bots still deliver good customer experience and effortlessly handle common user inquiries.
Conversational: a less common type, conversational chatbots act as digital assistants and deliver a human-like experience. A good example of a conversational bot is Alexa or Siri, virtual assistants that can maintain long and interactive dialogues. These types of virtual agents are based on complex machine learning and predictive intelligence and personalize the experience using previous user behavior and data, including even cultural nuances. Conversational bots are able to anticipate customer behavior and make personalized recommendations in a realistic human-adjacent manner.
ServiceNow allows you the freedom to pick and choose the features of your chatbot to maximize its effectiveness for your organization and business needs. In this part, we will go over the best practices that will help you build the most suitable ServiceNow virtual agent for your company and product.
Instead of launching an all-around chatbot, start by focusing on the essential features that will solve your main problems. For example, your organization wishes to reduce email volume and decrease the burden on live agents. Make sure you set up clear and tangible goals that can be measured in the future such as cost savings, user engagement, solution rate, etc.
Identify the most common incidents and offer automated responses to these issues. There is no need to create a fully-featured virtual agent that can solve any issue and maintain a human-like conversation. You can have this goal in mind for the future, but it’s recommended to begin with just a few common topics. Use ServiceNow Performance Analytics to quickly identify high-volume issues and formulate solutions. Once you have them done, you will be able to use your experience and insights to build a more complex ServiceNow virtual agent.
Even without utilizing advanced technologies, you can offer a personalized experience when greeting the user. You can achieve this by inserting their name in the first message, showing the latest requests, or sending relevant announcements. For example, you can mention information about upcoming holidays, pin some popular relevant topics, or provide links to other helpful resources. Even if your chatbot is declarative and does not offer a smooth conversation experience, adding the personal touch will surely enhance user satisfaction.
Make sure to keep the topics narrow and clear. The goal of the chat is to deliver a tangible result and help the user solve a concrete problem. If the chatbot provides information that is too broad, the customer may quit the conversation and ask the live agent instead. When the conversation is over, the ServiceNow virtual agent should ask whether the user requires additional help. After that, ask for feedback to ensure continuous improvement.
Your chatbot will likely not be able to answer any query possible, nor should it. This is where you should add a fallback topic that will steer the conversation back to familiar territory. If the ServiceNow virtual agent cannot find a suitable topic, it can resort to defaults like suggesting live agent assistance or sending links to the service catalog.
When collecting chatbot data, it is important to establish clear permission management procedures. Otherwise, someone from the IT department can gain access to an employee’s payroll information, which is serious misconduct. Maintain separate governance and assign roles that are relevant to the respective scopes. At the same time, make sure to preserve a holistic tone of voice and branding across the departments to ensure a consistent style.
Finally, you cannot adequately assess the performance of your ServiceNow virtual agent without measuring the results over time. Start by identifying the most vital metrics for your company such as solve rates, feedback scores and others. Build a separate dashboard to keep track of said metrics. Don’t forget to collect the topic data to appropriately distribute the resources spent on different topics.
The documentation from the company suggests beginning with the exploration stage in which you learn the chatbot system as well as investigate how your employees and customers use the bot. It’s recommended to study the chatbot from ServiceNow, its components, features, types, and options. Finally, learn the art of live agent transfer where the conversation jumps from the AI-powered bot to a real person. Figure out the best prompts that trigger the transfer and how the transition occurs. For example, how the customer gets notified about the agent availability and where the live agent will communicate with them and at which times.
The next step requires the configuration of the ServiceNow chatbot. Based on the previous findings, your team collaborates and builds a virtual agent that works for your company, product and customers. ServiceNow offers a comprehensive guide on how to set up and configure the virtual assistant to allow even non-tech employees to make their contribution. Using customizable templates, you can design, build, and test conversations and create a chatbot that works best for you. The system can also be integrated with third-party applications such as Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other popular communication platforms.
Finally, utilize the ServiceNow Analytics and Reporting Solution to continuously track the performance of the chatbot and make necessary improvements. The platform offers the Conversational Analytics Dashboard that captures all the virtual agent interactions and highlights the most important topics. Using the dashboard, you can increase the amount of resolved cases and refine topics.
Nowadays, every other website comes with its own virtual agent that handles user inquiries and helps newcomers with onboarding. In this section, we will discuss three use cases that can greatly benefit from a chatbot.
If your company has a call center that drains a lot of money from the budget, a ServiceNow chatbot can be quite useful. You can significantly reduce operational costs and enhance the user experience by building even a basic AI-powered chatbot. Especially when dealing with mundane tasks like scheduling, password resetting, and providing basic company information, chatbots will help live agents automate these requests and focus on more challenging topics.
Similar to customer support, employee support can also benefit from request automation. Instead of spending time looking for a tool or information, employees can simply chat with a bot and immediately receive helpful links. Virtual agents can also streamline incidents and speed up the decision-making process for employees.
A more advanced ServiceNow chatbot can go beyond basic inquiries and perform sophisticated tasks such as event booking or personalized recommendations. Using predictive intelligence and data analytics, virtual assistants can anticipate customer needs and understand the intent behind natural language. These types of chatbots are also more inclusive and help users with disabilities navigate your website without any additional assistance.
ServiceNow virtual agents can be a great addition to your company. When deployed correctly, they can reduce your costs, eliminate human errors in customer service, and increase overall efficiency. If you would like to learn more about ServiceNow products, get in touch with NIX United. We will help you identify the main topics for your chatbot and develop a virtual assistant that will enhance customer experience and improve your productivity.
Eugene has more than 5 years of experience in business development and practice with ServiceNow and Salesforce software. This allows him to provide professional consulting, bringing clients real business value such as helping them integrate digital workforce solutions to improve planning and employee productivity, and redirecting investments into business scaling initiatives.
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