How IT help-desks can leverage AI for ticket deflection

We all want more ticket deflection, don’t we? If you work in IT support, you most likely have an opinion on its value relative to your workload and role. For many, IT helpdesk ticket deflection is the holy grail of internal support. Amid the seemingly never ending flow of service ticket requests, we can all agree that it is prudent to explore strategies to increase ticket deflection, thereby increase your help-desk’s self-service score, which ultimately reduces the cost of your service desk and makes a business more profitable.

To be clear, when we speak of your ticket deflection ratio (a.k.a self-service score), we mean the ratio of:

Number of Self-Service Events / Number of users that submit tickets

The higher the ratio, the more self-service activity you have within your employee base. This is an important measure because it is a strong indicator of the effectiveness of your self-service platform and strategy.

Self-serve support = Access to Knowledge

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”


By investing in processes that capture and codify knowledge, you are taking the most important step in facilitating self-serve support. To be effective in enabling self-serve support, your knowledge base must be:

  • Comprehensive (with limited knowledge gaps)
  • Up-to-date and accurate
  • Verified by experts
  • Created with rich content (rich-text, images, videos, audio – whichever is most appropriate)
  • Universally searchable through a single source of truth

Maintaining the knowledge base will also require an investment and commitment, ideally lead by a passionate champion, to ensure that the knowledge base is optimized for self service, and ultimately, ticket deflection.

Inevitably, knowledge gaps will surface. This can originate from a number of influencing factors:

  • Changing business practices, products or strategy
  • New employee technology or updates
  • Employee onboarding

Regardless of the cause, gaps need to be identified and addressed before employees lose confidence in the quality of the knowledge base, thereby defaulting to requesting service tickets. Since it can be costly for humans to identify these gaps, you might consider exploring how an automated solution, like using intelligent technology, might help.

How to leverage AI to deflect tickets

Artificial Intelligence (and in some cases, Machine Learning), can be used to identify knowledge gaps that form over time in a company knowledge base. While the term AI is grossly overused, using an algorithmic approach to search query analysis and using it to identify trends is really where it shines. In a lot of ways, the perfect application of AI is to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to find frequently asked questions in search query data. To take things one step further, you can use AI to capture FAQs in real time to provide knowledge seekers some guidance as to where their solution lies.

Once the gaps are recorded, classified and collated, you can enlist experts to populate the knowledge base with accurate, up-to-date documentation that enables employees to self-serve and thereby deflect tickets.

With an AI strategy in place to identify knowledge gaps, your IT helpdesk will be better positioned to maximize your support desk’s ticket deflection ratio.

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