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How to leverage AI to decrease frequently asked questions and enable help desk automation in Slack

frequently asked questions

For scaling enterprises that have internal support (IT) or client facing (Sales & Customer Support) teams that live in Slack, it’s almost certain that you’ve identified a problem with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)—causing reduced productivity and a backlog for your service team. 

Most likely, you have enacted a number of strategies to reduce FAQ, but they continue to reappear. Things you might have tried include:

  • Adopt Slack as the platform of choice to raise internal support issues
  • Assign a weekly round-robin system for who the lucky person is that gets to answer internal questions
  • Leverage distinct channels to triage support issues accurately
  • Invest in a knowledge-base architecture with consideration to the impact of silos
  • Consider using virtual sticky-notes/FAQs over long-form content to store knowledge for easier access to knowledge
  • Explore how AI can accelerate issue resolution without human intervention

But, time and time again, your support team is asked questions like “What is the guest wifi password?”, “How do I reconnect to the VPN?”, “How do we reset a client account?” or “Can I get access to X service?”.

While the aforementioned strategies should yield a noticeable improvement for support teams, scaling across strategic business units would be more easily achieved with a comprehensive solution. That solution would most certainly need to have all of the following features:

  • Integrates with Slack, since that is where your support team communicates
  • Connects to your knowledge base, wherever that lives, so that is instantly searchable
  • Validates that knowledge is verified and up to date
  • Is complementary to existing knowledge stores (Google Drive, Confluence, Dropbox, etc) so that you do not have to move or duplicate data
  • Intelligently deals with support issues automatically within the flow of work, thereby deflecting support tickets before they end up in your backlog

At Obie.ai, we have worked with over 7,000 teams to understand and solve the FAQ problem and deliver a solution that addresses all of these needs.

About Obie

obie

Obie is an intelligent bot that lives in your Slack workspace and his sole purpose in life is to accelerate your internal support. He specializes in providing access to knowledge proactively and on-demand. Obie searches all of your existing knowledge stores, wherever they are, and delivers access to knowledge seekers instantly.

Obie has been designed and tuned to handle FAQs with the goal of increasing employee productivity and reducing service ticket volume by enabling self-serve support.

Next, we’ll discuss how by introducing Obie into your workspace, you can automate responses to FAQs.

Connect your Knowledge Base

Our approach to the solution begins with where you will store your knowledge. Given our experience with the specific FAQ use-case, knowledge is best stored in snippet format. This is why we optimized Obie’s behavior to return relevant FAQ results directly into the conversation. Our native FAQ tool allows for up to 1000 characters of unstyled text (for maximizing simplicity) to be stored and appear directly in Obie’s search results, without having to open up an external document. 

While Obie has its own native knowledge base, which allows you to compile long- or short-form content (ideal for FAQs), he is unbiased toward the location of information. Whether your knowledge is stored in Google Drive, Confluence, Dropbox, or elsewhere, Obie will find it.

Moreover, Obie doesn’t download or duplicate knowledge when he accesses it, so there is no redundancy or privacy concerns. He respects where your knowledge is stored and only returns search results linked to the original content.

Integrate with Slack

After optimizing your knowledge architecture to automatically resolve frequently asked questions, the next step to make knowledge searchable from within Slack. We designed Obie to minimize app-switching by bringing search right into Slack. Once Obie knows where you store your knowledge, be it Google Drive, Confluence, Dropbox or our native Obie knowledge base, all of the data is instantly indexed for search.

Subsequent to connecting your knowledge bases to Obie, you can selectively invite Obie to all the Slack channels where you’d like him to be available. Maybe you don’t need his help in your #random channel, but he should certainly be available in your #it-help channel.

Communicating with Obie

Considering the FAQ use-case, there are two very convenient ways to interact with Obie – by directly asking him a question, or indirectly as he “listens” for questions asked in a Slack channel where he was invited.

Direct Interactions

You can directly ask Obie questions using the /obie command with some keywords. Obie will search the knowledge base and all of the various integrations and provide an answer. This can be done in any channel where Obie was invited or in a DM. 

If no answers are available, the user can ask others in the channel so that the knowledge void can be filled by adding an answer to the question to the knowledge base. This will mitigate the problem the next time the FAQ arises.

using slash obie command
Directly asking Obie a question

Obie’s result set might look like this:

slash obie answer
Obie’s response to your direct question

Indirect Interactions (Help desk automation!)

As mentioned, when invited into a channel, Obie is proactively scanning messages for sentence structures that resemble questions. We designed Obie this way to minimize support backlogs and maximize ticket deflection. Obie uses AI to sense that a question might have been asked and will privately chime in with a result set. We call this Obie Suggest

obie suggest create jsd ticket in slack
Obie sensing a question in the flow of a Slack conversation and privately suggesting an answer.

Achieving your goals of reducing FAQs in Slack

this is the sign you've been looking for

Besides repetition, there are common features of FAQs in Slack. So we have designed and optimized Obie to deal with all of the scenarios that cause increased service ticket volume and reduced productivity. When a knowledge seeker is aware that they have a common problem (eg. wi-fi passwords, hardware requests,VPN setup), they can rely on Obie to be the single source of truth. When they are passively asking a question in a Slack channel, and aren’t consciously seeking direct access to knowledge, Obie intelligently responds with the best available information. This comprehensively addresses the most common scenarios encountered when dealing with FAQs.

Want test it in your Slack workspace? Get a demo today.