As we move into the era that is attempting to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning more and more, one emerging technology gaining momentum is RPA - robotic process automation. While most businesses are already familiar with RPA in a generic sense, as an automation solution for backend processes, a new form of RPA is arising on the front end, one who is delivering effective, cost-saving solutions to customer service technological and operational challenges. This “customer-facing” RPA is thus helping call centers achieve more, and as a result, profoundly improving the customer experience.
Many companies have already begun to leverage the power of RPA on the back end, using this automation software with machine learning capabilities to standardize tedious, repetitive and high-volume back-office tasks, including HR administration, data migration and data entry, sales and invoice processing and more. As opposed to workers who are prone to errors and varying productivity, not to mention limited to established office hours or shifts, RPA can simply do the same job with total accuracy, while doing it with a 24/7 productivity capacity, creating a virtual workforce is simply transforming the operational speed and productivity. To this end, 53% of organizations have already started their RPA journeys, and that’s expected to increase to 72% in the next two years!
Customer facing RPA
At the same time, the customer journey begins with the very first impression that a customer forms of the brand and encompasses all the experiences and interactions at every touch point across the entire customer lifecycle, including all their needs, preferences, and pain points that emerge along the way. It’s at these various touch points where RPA can truly be transformative. Indeed, while back-office automation is crucial to lessen the strain and provide support to the front office, customer-facing RPA can completely transform the entire customer experience:
- Shorter Transaction Times: Delivering fast customer-facing service is crucial, especially for call centers that aim to please and would like to help contribute to customer satisfaction and not hinder it. Without customer facing RPA, customer service agents often must navigate between multiple systems during a single call to access stored data, record new information, and answer questions for a customer. This process is time-consuming, frustrating to the agent and the customer alike. Now with RPA, data is synced across all systems enabling it to be automatically transferred so that it can be immediately retrieved from only one place. This not only boosts operational speed but prevents irritating customers – now call center agents will not have to repeat questions to obtain the same information. This tremendously helps call center agents deal with large volumes of newly incoming requests, as well as eliminate current backlogs, increase the productivity of employees while allowing them to focus more on the customer himself. Basically, customer reps can get much more done in much less time and during one call. Seems like the best customer service that one can expect!
- Error Reduction: Just like on the back end, once properly programmed and mapped, customer service RPA software can perform and streamline a large number of business processes all without any concern for human error. The difference being it now directly impacts the customer, resulting in fewer customer complaints and customer callbacks, and simply a better customer experience.
- Expanded Front End Automation: At the same time, RPA can be used in the front office to enhance customer communication along with other points of the customer journey. For example, it can trigger a notice when it’s time to follow back up with certain customers, or if a customer has submitted an inquiry or complaint, or even send automated messages to customers regarding new services or products offerings. At the same time, by automating many of the redundant tasks that call center agents normally deal with on a daily basis, robotic process automation tools offer a golden opportunity to focus more on building a relationship with customers. This fosters a deeper awareness of customer expectations, and how to best meet these expectations through customer service, both present, and future.
The above is not a comprehensive list of the full capabilities of customer service RPA. The possibilities are limitless as new applications of the technology are discovered daily.
RPA is helping companies improve their back-office operations. Customer-facing RPA (also referred to as customer service RPA) is helping meet the demand of speed, convenience, and efficiency in customer service operations. The result is a revolution in customer relations and customer relationship management in call centers, where automation is finally making a seamless customer experience the new reality.
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[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.