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Artificial intelligence help desk: How does it enhance customer support?

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Artificial intelligence is dominating conversations among support leaders. In fact, our State of AI in Customer Service Report for 2023 revealed that 69% of support leaders are planning to invest more in AI in the year ahead, and 72%  even think that it offers companies a competitive advantage.

Our study also suggests that some businesses are already reaping the rewards of AI and automation – 66% of leaders say they’re achieving their key performance indicators (KPIs) and meeting service-level agreements (SLAs) thanks to the technology.

In addition to these benefits, we found that 66% of support leaders are excited about leveraging AI and automation to increase team efficiency. By freeing reps from repetitive and manual tasks, companies can give them more time to deal with situations that require skills that only humans have – like the empathy necessary to handle complaints from frustrated customers, or the creativity required to solve complex problems.

In this article, you’ll learn what an artificial intelligence help desk (AI help desk) is, and how it can benefit your support team. You’ll also discover how to use the technology to improve some of your core CS metrics, and some best practices for implementing an AI help desk.

What is an artificial intelligence help desk?

An artificial intelligence help desk is a support system built for an AI-first world. It utilizes advanced AI capabilities to improve the efficiency of support representatives, automating tasks like summarizing conversations, fine-tuning message tones, and elaborating bullet points into detailed responses.

The system also seamlessly integrates with other AI-powered solutions like chatbots, which extends the range of optimization and automation possibilities that AI can deliver.

What are the benefits of an AI help desk?

1. 24/7 support

It's impossible to predict when a customer will have a question about your product or service, and sometimes, it will happen when your support team isn’t on the clock. But that doesn't mean that you need to leave them with zero support.

With an artificial intelligence help desk, you can offer your customers personalized and contextual support at any hour of the day. Our State of AI in Customer Service Report for 2023 revealed that many support teams are already taking advantage of the opportunity this technology presents – 44% of support leaders say that AI and automation are enabling them to provide 24/7 support to their customers.

So how are they doing it? AI-powered solutions, such as chatbots, can be integrated into the help desk experience to help both your customers and your team. Leading AI bots are capable of resolving the majority of common queries, enabling your customers to get fast, accurate answers to their questions. If further help is needed, the AI bot can gather information about the query before handing it over to a support rep, who will then have all the context they need to start resolving the issue as soon as they receive the ticket or engage in the conversation.

2. Better customer experiences

Our AI research also revealed that for 29% of support leaders, AI and automation are allowing them to provide better customer experiences (a number that is all but certain to grow as AI gains more widespread adoption).

Companies can deploy AI-powered solutions to reduce the time and effort it takes for customers to get a resolution, which can lead to greater customer satisfaction.

The importance of this becomes evident when we look at numbers like those highlighted in a Statista study on customer wait time when using live chat. According to the study, the consumer services and transportation industries have the longest wait times, with an average of around 140 seconds. Even in the case of the media, entertainment, and recreation industry, which has the shortest average wait time, customers still have to wait about 40 seconds for a response.

When integrated with an artificial intelligence help desk system, an AI-powered chatbot can take care of the simple, low-level queries, providing instant responses and freeing up team resources for more complex, high-impact issues and VIP customers. Plus, the bot can automatically transfer customers to a human support rep when tricky questions arise that it can’t solve on its own.

After a question has been escalated to a human support rep, the AI continues to play a valuable role in assisting the support team in responding more efficiently. Team members can provide quick responses using short notes or bullet points and rely on AI to expand these into comprehensive and detailed responses.

When responding to customers, editing text for tone can be a time-consuming task. Fortunately, modern customer service platforms offer AI tools that you can use to make this easier – and faster. Whether you want your message to be friendlier or more formal, you can use AI to adjust the tone of your replies in just a couple of clicks.

Another helpful feature of a help desk that's enhanced by AI is the ability to rephrase your messages. Crafting responses to customer questions is a skill that requires practice and patience. If your message conveys the right meaning but you're not satisfied with the wording, cutting-edge help desk software allows you to automatically rephrase it. This feature can save you time and effort while ensuring that your message is always clear and concise.

3. Fewer manual tasks

When it comes to saving time, our State of AI in Customer Service Report for 2023 reveals that 28% of support leaders are already benefiting from fewer manual tasks by leveraging AI and automation solutions.

AI-driven features, such as conversation summarization, can be extremely useful when a rep needs to escalate or hand over a ticket or conversation to another teammate without losing any details. The feature enables the support rep to effortlessly generate a comprehensive summary of an entire customer conversation with just a single button click.

Main metrics that can be improved with AI help desk software

1. Time to resolution

Time to resolution is a metric that reveals the average time span between the creation of a customer interaction ticket and its resolution.

How to calculate: Time to resolution = Total resolution time for all tickets solved ÷ Number of tickets solved

According to our 2023 report, 45% of support leaders expect to improve their time to resolution ratio.

By implementing an artificial intelligence help desk system, companies can use generative AI to quickly resolve most queries, accelerating the speed and efficiency of support processes.

2. Customer effort score

As the name suggests, customer effort score (CES) is a metric that indicates how difficult it is for a customer to complete an action with your business. Examples of such actions include closing out a transaction on your website, getting a response from your support staff, or returning an item. 

To objectively measure customer responses, companies create surveys with questions that may include the following: 

  • How easy was it to get the information you were looking for?

  • How easy was it to move from self-service capabilities to a human agent?

The predefined set of answers is arranged on a number scale, typically ranging from 1 to 5 as follows:

  • 1 - Very easy

  • 2 - Somewhat easy

  • 3 - Neither easy nor hard

  • 4 - Somewhat hard

  • 5 - Extremely hard

How to calculate: Customer Effort Score (%) = (Sum of customer effort ratings ÷ Total number of survey responses) x 100

Our 2023 study demonstrates that 39% of support leaders believe they can reduce their customers' effort as a result of the implementation of AI-powered tools.

For one thing, AI help desk software can reduce customers’ frustration by promptly offering contextual solutions. It can also empower them to find answers to their questions at their own pace, via an FAQs section and other actionable content. 

Additionally, modern artificial intelligence help desks can analyze historical data, identify patterns, and use predictive algorithms to anticipate customers’ needs before they even arise.

Want to stay ahead of the curve and delight your customers? Read this article: Provide Help Before It's Needed With Proactive Support.


A Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) measures how satisfied customers are with the products, services, and experiences a company offers them. Responses are typically collected via brief surveys shortly after a key interaction, such as completing an order or ending a conversation with a support representative.

Some examples of survey questions might include: 

  • How satisfied are you with “Product A”?

  • How satisfied are you with the support you received today?

  • How satisfied are you with the delivery of your order?

A customer’s possible answers are numbered from 1 to 5:

  • 1 - Very unsatisfied

  • 2 - Somewhat unsatisfied

  • 3 - Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

  • 4 - Somewhat satisfied

  • 5 - Extremely satisfied

How to calculate: CSAT (%) = Number of satisfied customers (those rating their experience a 4 or 5) ÷ Total number of responses x 100

The data from The State of AI in Customer Support shows that 22% of support leaders believe that leveraging AI solutions can help them improve their customer satisfaction scores.  As AI-powered solutions become more common and their practical benefits become more evident, this number is likely to increase considerably over the next few years.

Best practices when implementing an AI help desk

1. Cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement

Never settle: that’s the mindset of an organization committed to the continuous improvement of its processes. This is especially true for companies that use technological solutions to improve the efficiency of their operations, including those harnessing the power and potential of artificial intelligence help desks.

It's crucial to keep up with the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, especially as companies explore new opportunities to apply this technology to their products. By staying open and attentive to new developments, you can identify ways to enhance your customers and support reps' experience. 

To adopt a mindset of continuous improvement in your day-to-day business, you can:

  • Make room for learning new ideas and applying them to the reality of our business.

  • Be willing to acknowledge that things change and your business needs to adapt accordingly.

  • Create a peer network you can collaborate with and gain perspective from.

2. Learn how to work with tech, rather than against it

Part of staying on your A-game means being informed – and that goes for every area of your business, including ticketing systems and chatbots for help desk.

The more you learn about emerging technologies and their features, the more you’re able to understand how to work with them rather than against them.

So while your competitors might be fretting about how this or that new app or platform might be transforming their industry, you’re making actual progress in learning how to use what’s in front of you to make things better for your customers and employees.

3. Leverage your help desk data to make decisions

What are the questions your customers ask the most? When do they need help from a human rep? What kinds of problems do they solve on their own and which ones require them to access further resources?

These are just some of the questions that can provide you with relevant information for your marketing, sales and investment strategies. By leveraging this data from your artificial intelligence help desk, you’re able prioritize the kind of deep, substantive problem-solving that saves you time and money.

Which companies are already using AI help desk tools?

Many companies are already using AI help desk tools to improve their communication and efficiency.

Kala Burdo, owner of Kala.Burdo Consulting, finds Intercom's new expand feature to be a game-changer for her team: "It allows us to quickly jot down notes during customer calls, which can then be expanded to full replies that we send as follow-up messages after the call. This saves us a ton of time and enables us to assist even more clients. It’s an essential tool for any business looking to streamline their communication and improve efficiency.”

Richard Moyles, Head of Customer Relations at Buymie, was really impressed with the capabilities and the intuitive user experience of our AI Inbox features: “Our team has been using the new AI Inbox features a lot. We operate a q-commerce grocery delivery company, and have found the tools useful for generating new responses to customer issues, adding variety to our usual canned responses.”

Likewise, Robin Salimans, Founder & CTO of Luna, has found the AI Inbox summarization feature to be great for catching up on conversations his colleagues have had with users and for quickly entering a summary into their bug-tracking system.

And that's not all. Barak Elisha, Customer Success Manager at Gifted, is excited about the summarize option, which makes it easy to summarize long conversations and saves a lot of time.

Dean Kahn, CX Lead at RateMyAgent, loves the ability to instantly summarize conversations between his team and the customer, which is a huge time-saver and helps to highlight areas for improvement within the team.

Make life easier for your employees and your customers with Intercom

After reading this article, you might feel that your current support tools need an upgrade – and there’s a good chance you’d be absolutely right. Meeting ever-changing customer expectations with an old, outdated toolbox simply won’t suffice anymore. You must adapt now, or you’ll run the risk of being outpaced and outperformed by your competition.

The good news is that Intercom can help you get more done faster with our artificial intelligence help desk. This solution allows you to connect your inbox, tickets, and help center into one central, AI-enhanced workspace.

Designed for efficiency, our AI helpdesk is fully configurable, which means your team can customize our solution to fit its needs.

Start your free trial today and enjoy the benefits of a simpler, more efficient customer support platform.