What’s this template for? This is a step-by-step guide for creating a Custom Bot that triages IT requests for faster prioritisation and resolution of issues. This example is based on Intercom’s own internal IT team, who use it to handle everything from account lockouts to AV issues and hardware requests.
The goal of this Custom Bot is to reduce the time spent manually asking clarifying questions, so you know exactly what someone needs when they write in, and can provide it for them faster. The same approach would work for any team that handles a wide variety of issues with varying levels of urgency.
Start with broad options
Our IT team supports a staff of over 650 people in different offices around the world. This means they deal with a huge variety of topics so the first step is to refine the reason for contact with 7 broad categories (6 predefined, and one left open for ‘Something else’):
Pro Tip: With this many options, using emoji is a great way to make each one more clear, and allow for quick identification of the best choice.
These options lead to some very unique paths, but they fall into two categories:
Self serve guidance — providing troubleshooting tips/information.
Clarification of further details, then direct support.
Important: Many of the paths intersect, as people can identify their issues in different ways. For example, if a visitor from another office is unable to access the building, they may choose “Locked out”, “Workplace environment” or “Need access”.
👆All of these options lead to paths where they can chat directly with a member of the team at the office in question.
Clarify the details
Once you have a general idea of the reason for contact, you can ask the right questions to gather more pertinent information
We’ll dive into two of the options for a closer look at their paths. 👇
Clarifies the problem — Hardware issues, app/software issues, office specific issues (printers, WiFi etc).
Tip: Keep this path up to date. If there are any known bugs with the latest OS, or an app you use, there should be an option for it. 👌
Provides first steps to a resolution — Hardware resets, screenshots of a correct AV setup, step-by-step guidance on connecting to printers etc.
Confirms if issue is resolved — The last step is always open ended, in case your teammate still needs help:
If the problem has been solved, the conversation is closed, and tagged for easy reporting on the issues your team are facing:
If not, the conversation is tagged, prioritised, and assigned to a member of the team to help out:
The initial step is the same here, clarifying exactly what is needed:
The following paths diverge a little more:
Basic hardware (laptop chargers, headphones etc):
An open ended question asking for the specs of the item needed. This is simple enough that it’ll be covered in one response, and your IT team can get straight to sourcing the required hardware, with no time spent collecting the details. In most cases it’s just a matter of letting people know where to pick it up. 😁
Specialized hardware (ergonomic keyboards, additional monitors, standing desks):
Some more information is collected first, like specific reasons for the item, and a manager’s name for approval. They can then be looped into the conversation for quick confirmation. This path generally leads to an ongoing conversation if items need to be ordered, and allows your team to keep people up to date when their gear is available.
Follow up and allow for another request
While most requests can be resolved through the Messenger, there are situations where your IT team will need to set up a time to help out in person. Many of these paths end with a message like this:
To keep the process flexible, add a path for “↩️ Back” that allows a user to jump back to the start for an additional request, or to begin again if they’ve picked the wrong option by mistake.