How AI technology crushes data to delight customers

Imagine having to be both a historian and a journalist at the same time. That’s an extremely tough job, and it’s also an accurate picture of what it takes to be a help desk, or IT support, worker. They face the constant challenge of keeping on top of the latest technologies, programs and applications, while also addressing help questions related to older legacy technologies. The bigger and older the company, the greater the chance that aging applications and systems are used by some departments, and that people in those departments will eventually need help.

Then there are the expectations. When people call a help desk, they expect to be connected with someone who knows the subject well, and they want to resolve their issue right then and there. Sometimes it works out that way, but more often than not it doesn’t. That uncertainty—whether the information needed to resolve the next service ticket can be found—puts a great deal of pressure on help desk personnel, to the point that it can sharply reduce their job satisfaction.

Compounding this problem is the fact that highly experienced and knowledgeable IT help desk personnel are getting harder and harder to find. A big reason: the vast majority of IT graduates gravitate toward app development. With fewer grads choosing IT support, the loss of experienced personnel—through job changes or retirement—are much harder to replenish.

Disrupting the traditional IT support model

Having run a managed IT services provider for the past two decades, those of us at CrushBank witnessed this dynamic up close and personal. We saw our clients—from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies—coming under increasing pressure on the IT support front. With the unstoppable trend behind it—an already taxed support corps forced to master an ever-expanding body of support knowledge—we saw a golden opportunity to bring AI to bear.

We founded CrushBank with the vision of disrupting the traditional IT support help desk model by using AI technology to revolutionize the way problems are solved. Our answer was to develop a cloud-based support application that uses the IBM Watson Rank and Retrieve service to enable help desk personnel to quickly find the most relevant technical support information to help solve a problem. Designed as a supplement to a traditional help desk system, our solution provides a single screen for querying all of the resources that help desk personnel typically access to find product and customer information, including knowledge bases, technical manuals, blogs, spec sheets and the like.

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Crushed data plus machine learning equals fast, accurate answers

The “crush” in our name reflects what we do with the data: absorb every bit of unstructured support information a client company has—think knowledge bases, technical manuals and blogs—and “crush” it using machine learning algorithms to optimally organize the Q’s and A’s. This continuous filtering creates a bank of intellectual property that help desk workers can tap into for instant answers. With CrushBank at their fingertips, help desk personnel are far more likely to resolve service tickets the first time, without the need to escalate, resulting in higher caller satisfaction and happier and more productive help desk staff.

The broader benefit for companies using the service is that it helps them preserve and manage their technical support knowledge base. When a help desk technician leaves, that company also typically loses a chunk of its institutional knowledge. When a company uses our solution, that knowledge is not only retained, but also made more accessible via the power of AI. If you want your IT support staff to learn and grow on the job, you want a system with curated content that is properly vetted, compiled and accessible. We deliver all of that through our Watson-powered service.

Watch Evan Leonard discuss how IBM Watson is helping Crushbank deliver higher caller satisfaction: