Automation isn’t new. Technologies like Interactive Voice Response have been around for a long time. But while advancements like these have reduced costs for the contact center, they’ve also managed to annoy customers. In the case of IVR, callers often get stuck in menu loops or struggle with systems that don’t understand what they’re saying. Enter robotic process automation.
Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence
Contact centers are in the business of serving the customer, and in an effort to improve the customer experience, technologies are always emerging. Robotic process automation (RPA) is one of them, automating tasks and freeing up agents to personally handle complex issues. RPA uses Natural Language Processing, which is related to artificial intelligence, an even more advanced type of automation that can make human-like judgments about tasks.
Interactive Text Response for Customer Service
Interactive Text Response (ITR), more casually referred to as chatbots, goes hand-in-hand with the increasing popularity of messaging apps. Brands that want to improve the customer experience are making themselves available on chat – and it’s working. More than 70% of 1-800-Flowers’ chatbot orders come from first-time customers, and the company’s commitment to new tech has attracted tens of thousands of users. Chatbots are more effective than IVR because text input is easier for the system to understand than spoken language. AI can then be used to gain a deeper understanding of what the customer is saying, accounting for the different ways a customer may phrase a sentence or question.
Sample Phone Call with RPA
RPA can also be used with phone calls, not just chatbots. Here’s an example of how RPA can help with a live call:
- Jane calls to speak with an agent.
- Your RPA takes the call and authenticates Jane by confirming her account number and call-in PIN.
- Your RPA analyzes Jane’s account and sees that she has an open ticket and that she’s just been on the website to look at the status.
- Your RPA says something like, “I see that you have an open ticket with us. Is that the reason for your call?” Jane confirms that this is the reason for the call.
- Jane is transferred to an appropriate live agent.
Contact center technology like RPA can help customers solve their issues more quickly, but it can also provide much-needed support to agents by making them more efficient.