For companies that employ a full service IT support desk, powered by technology like Jira Service Desk and Slack, there is likely a nagging need to increase the ticket deflection ratio with self-serve strategies.
Strategies that have been implemented to some degree of success might include:
- Investing in a comprehensive knowledge base, powered by a solution such as Confluence
- Creating dedicated channels in Slack for #it-help
- Integrating Confluence with Slack so that articles and work spaces can be shared more efficiently
But you might note that after all of these tactics, your ticket deflection ratio remains stubbornly stagnant month after month. The problem has less to do with your support stack and more to do with a workflow issue.
Identifying the workflow problems
Before Slack, email and telephone were the primary request channels for tech support. But upon its arrival on the scene, Slack changed the support landscape dramatically. In many ways, it became the de facto workflow for support teams. While this was a far better tool for managing support, it created new problems as well. Slack often becomes a graveyard of unanswered support requests, which become lost in the system. This often occur as a result of a workflow failure with self-serve or ticketing options. These lost support issues add to the support backlog and reduce ticket deflection.
Jira Service Desk
Jira Service Desk (JSD) is a robust ticket management solution for high-volume support environments. IT support departments often adopt this technology (or similar software) when support request volume exceeds manageable levels in informal channels, such as a Slack #it-help. Typically, support seekers prefer the ease of requesting help directly in Slack, and even with a ticketing system available to them, prefer to stay in the Slack workflow when seeking support. Much like above, the support backlog is no alleviated.
Confluence is a popular choice for knowledge management for a number of reasons. It scales nicely, it has numerous integrations, support is good and if you use other Atlassian products, its works nicely with those. The big drawback that many cite, is search. While Confluence has robust search functionality, it fails connect this to common workflows, like support-related conversations in Slack.
So, IT managers frequently struggle with the fact that a robust knowledge base exists in Confluence, but employees do not use it because of a lack of confidence in Confluence’s native search tools. Even with Confluence’s Slack integration, sharing of knowledge is somewhat improved, but the search problem is not addressed.
As a result, employees continue to ask questions in #it-help channels in Slack, creating an unmanageable backlog of requests.
Ultimately, this is a workflow issue. If there were better searchability for content contained in Confluence, directly within Slack, more tickets could be deflected.
Envisioning the ideal outcome
Given the combined circumstances described above, here is an review of the state of affairs given this support stack.
The company has uses Slack as the preferred internal communication tool, which has become the default support-seeking channel. This is problematic because, even though self-service tools exist internally (Confluence and JSD), they are underutilized because of poor search functionality or a lack of integration within the Slack-based workflow of support seekers.
So what does an ideal outcome look like?
Ideally Slack is unified with both Confluence (for self-serve support) through Slack-based search and JSD (for tickets) within the flow of work. When self-service channels are exhausted, the employee can create a ticket immediately and optionally communicate a knowledge gap in the Confluence knowledge base for authoring by a subject matter expert, all directly from within Slack.
Connecting Confluence, Slack and JSD with Obie
Obie is designed to be the fastest way for employees to find, capture and share knowledge within the flow of work. Obie’s Slack integration addresses this fragmented workflow with a very thoughtful approach to keeping employees on track and maximizing self-serve support resources.
With the tech stack described earlier, Obie integrates seamlessly and connects Slack, Confluence and Jira Service Desk in a way that no other knowledge product does. It is the glue that keeps support seekers on task and accelerates them to success. Support teams also benefit by channeling the highest quality support issues directly to JSD, and routes lower quality issues to self-serve channels. This maximizes ticket deflection and makes tech support teams run efficiently and at lower cost.
By adding Obie to Slack, support teams gain these features:
- Dramatic improvement to Confluence search by bringing access directly to the place where support questions are asked
- If a knowledge gap is detected, the knowledge seeker is prompted to “Ask a Channel” to crowd-source an answer
- Prompts support seekers with a “Create Ticket” option directly within Slack when a Confluence search is conducted
To add to this feature list, Obie is an intelligent bot that has the ability to sense questions in the flow of conversations in Slack (in channels where he has been invited) and suggest relevant Confluence resources. Furthermore, Obie maintains the highest security standards by not making any duplicate copies or backups of your Confluence data on its servers.
To summarize, Obie dramatically improves ticket deflection ratios for teams that use Slack, Confluence and Jira Service Desk, by fixing the workflow disconnect between all of these tools.