How Guided Decisions improve customer service for everyone


Customer service: A smiling man sits in front of an open laptop with a cellphone to his ear.

Rahul Guha, product management director for Customer Service Management, co-authored this blog.

When customers request help from customer service agents, it’s usually because they can’t find the answers they need or are unable to resolve problems on their own. When they do turn to customer service, they expect representatives to know how to fix their issues quickly and completely.

This isn’t easy for new or less experienced customer service agents, who may not know what to do, whom to ask, or where to go to provide customers with support. Even seasoned employees may be similarly challenged when they face an issue they’ve never seen before.

The need for a friction-free solution

Organizations use a range of custom tools and technologies to support agents and provide organizational knowledge that addresses the problem at hand. Often, these tools fall short. They offer piecemeal solutions that can be extremely labor-intensive and difficult to use, increasing agent “swivel-chairing” and creating additional maintenance and cost issues.

For example, agents at a leading European telecommunications provider had to manually key data into a custom decisioning tool, which pulled results from hundreds of decision trees that were manually maintained in an Excel spreadsheet. The results were often clunky and out of date, resulting in frustration all around.

A leading automotive technology provider felt similar frustration. The company had agents reference a Word document when customers contacted them. This document advised agents to ask the same static list of questions, regardless of the reason for the call, to determine how to proceed. This created a slow, mind-numbing experience for both customer and agent.

Changing the customer service experience

ServiceNow Guided Decisions helps solve service inconsistency problems. It uses institutional knowledge and experience to give every agent quick, easy access to specific guidance tailored to the problem in front of them. Guided Decisions helps new agents ramp up quickly, supporting data-driven decision-making for consistently good service, regardless of experience level.

With Guided Decisions, organizations can automatically suggest the agent’s next best action to help a customer based on the circumstances of the interaction. These recommendations are integrated directly into customer service processes and presented in the Agent Workspace—all on the Now Platform—to reduce swivel-chairing and increase productivity.

Complementary to Playbooks for Customer Service Management—which are designed to help companies define, visualize, and orchestrate complex workflows end to end—Guided Decisions are meant to help agents perform a specific task or take the appropriate next step in a workflow. This guidance pulls from multilevel, nested decision trees defined by the organization to offer agents a clear, consistent path forward:

  • Decision nodes consider the context of the current situation to determine what possible steps can be taken. They look at:

    • Business context – what products and services the customer bought in the past, what they’re using, what their last interaction was about, etc.

    • Customer input – what type of issue they’re dealing with, what they’d like to do, etc.

    • Data from internal third-party systems – what they ordered, how recently they made a purchase, etc.

  • Guidance nodes contain the recommended next steps for the agent. These can be a range of suggestions, such as:

    • Attach a knowledge article to the case.

    • Create a work order.

    • Propose a resolution for the customer.

    • Offer the customer a 20% discount on a related service.

There are two modes for the decision tree. The first mode asks agents simple questions to determine the optimal path forward, and then uses embedded decisioning logic to identify the appropriate guidance. The second uses the business context to directly surface the right guidance, which gets presented as the next best action in the Agent Workspace.

Either way, agents can feel confident they know what to do to help their customers. This increases agent productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction.

Making customer service work better

In the Now Platform Rome release, we enhanced Guided Decisions (see Figure 1) to help organizations:

  • Recommend best actions to agents through either of the two available modes—walking through a decision tree, where the system prompts the agent to get more information (via questions) first, or directly accessing guidance on what their next step should be.

  • Dynamically rank next best actions based on the business context, and always display the optimal recommendation for each interaction along the customer journey.

  • Quickly develop and deploy new guidance via configuration. This no-code/low-code approach makes it dramatically easier to create new guidance to meet various business needs.

Guided Decisions can help organizations recommend the best actions for agents to take.

Figure 1: Guided Decisions can help organizations recommend the best actions for agents to take.

With these enhancements, customer service works better for the benefit of everyone. Organizations can dynamically guide agents to take the next best action to troubleshoot and resolve complex issues fast, increase their revenue generation, and deliver high-quality experiences that satisfy both agents and customers.

Learn more about Customer Service Management.

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