By Tobi Paton. The UC Davis Service Hub has a new equine resident. A ServiceNow virtual agent, or chat bot, galloped onto the service portal in February.
The bot has been dubbed Botrock, a play on the name of UC Davis’ mustang mascot, Gunrock. Botrock, pictured above, is Gunrock’s helpful and tech-savvy cousin. “From the outset, we thought it was important to brand our bot and give it a little personality,” said Anita Nichols, director of Client Success at UC Davis. “We wanted to make our chat bot fun to interact with.”
Botrock is more than just a cute face; she’s smart too. She can answer a host of technical questions by harnessing the power of UC Davis’ knowledge base and service catalog, the latter of which was integrated into ServiceNow last fall. Botrock can also open help tickets and check ticket status, and she has skills in development.
Botrock also appears on the Information & Educational Technology (IET) support page, bringing the features of the Service Hub to other places where students, staff, and faculty may look for help. Plans are in the works to add Botrock to other websites as well.
Support Desk Supervisor Walter Allen views the bot as a critical component of the support framework at UC Davis. “If we automate simple transactional services,” he said, “our support analysts can focus on resolving more complex issues.”
Botrock’s timing could not have been better. March began the service desk’s busiest time of the year—applicant season. This year, with a record number of applicants to UC Davis, even more inquiries to the service desk are expected. Botrock is saddled up and ready to help. She has been answering questions about creating computing accounts, passphrase problems, and more. This is reducing calls and emails to the service desk and providing convenient 24×7 support.
Tobi Paton is knowledge manager, Service Management Office, Information and Educational Technology, University of California, Davis.