Digital Strategy

Robotic Process Automation: Bridging the Widening Gap Between Customer Demand for Service and Real-Time Agent Availability

Driven by the instant gratification offered by ubiquitous handheld devices, consumers want all their issues resolved a minute ago and any other questions answered instantly. In the current contact center environment, these constantly rising expectations have reached a level where it’s simply no longer always humanly possible to meet them.

While call routing and scheduling software are constantly improving, even these solutions have difficulty keeping up with the demand for agent availability in real-time. Add in the ongoing corporate mindset of lowering costs and keeping headcount to a minimum and you often have the proverbial irresistible force meeting the unmovable object.

Fortunately, there is a rapidly emerging technological transformation that is changing this seemingly insoluble equation. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) gives companies the capacity to meet the growing challenges of maintaining service levels while improving efficiency and providing greater bandwidth. RPA automates the routine, repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can slow contact centers down to a crawl, enabling front-line personnel to pay greater attention to more complex interactions that require empathy and a human touch in decision-making.

The improvement starts from the point of contact. In traditional contact centers, when a customer reaches the agent, he or she needs to identify them within the system to get the necessary information such as status, order number, pending support tickets and more This puts the agent in the awkward position of having to interact with the customer while simultaneously toggling from one system to another. Multiple logins can also further slow down the agents, as can silos pertaining to different systems.

By implementing RPA, contact centers can significantly diminish the time required to identify a customer in the system, viewing all necessary details associated with them in one screen. When customers don’t have to wait for the agent to load all the details, it reduces the average call duration, contributing to an improved customer experience.

In addition, the technology can make it far easier to make necessary data updates to a customer’s account during an interaction. Instead of having agents entering data manually across multiple fields in different systems — a tedious and error-prone process– RPA enables integration of data across various fields of associated systems using a single agent entry. RPA can create auto-fill templates that enable simple copy-pasting of information, with limited human intervention. Integrations with CRM and other third-party tools almost totally eliminate the need to spend time on cross-application desktop activities. RPA can also help consolidate customer information over a variety of channels, giving agents information they need to help the customer no matter what touch point the conversation is taking place on.

What is the economic impact of RPA for businesses? According to a KPMG study, use of RPA in financial institutions can help reduce operational costs by as much as 75%. “In terms of its potential to reshape the economy, it will be as significant as the Industrial Revolution,” said noted industry analyst Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting “It’s going to create a whole new class of employees, a technically savvy generation of workers coming from the Millennial and Generation Z cohorts. The AI/RPA revolution will be a game changer for companies that welcome the opportunity to improve the timeliness and accuracy of their work processes.”

Fluss will present a detailed analysis of the economic advantages, operational efficiency gains and customer experience enhancements made possible by RPA in a complimentary CRMXchange webcast on Wednesday, October 16 called “Attended Robots Improve Productivity and Agent Efficiency.” Among the topics covered will be

  • An explanation of what RPA entails and present top use cases in the contact center
  • A discussion of the effect of RPA on employees
  • An outline of best practices for implementing RPA

The webcast, sponsored by NICE, is complimentary and those unable to attend it live can download it approximately 24 hours after it is completed. Register now.

3 Barriers to a Winning Digital Strategy

When it comes to your contact center’s digital strategy, there’s a never-ending amount of information to wade through and technology to choose from. All of these options can make it almost impossible to decide what you need to change or update and how to prioritize everything. When you do start planning, you can get so wrapped up in the digital side of things that you forget your very real audience.

Let’s go over three common barriers to creating a digital strategy that serves your customers.

Barrier #1: Assuming You’re Behind Everyone Else

One of the biggest assumptions about digital strategy is that every other contact center is doing it better. You know you have to create or improve your digital strategy but, feeling like you’re already behind your competitors, your don’t have the drive to do it.

Think of it this way, though – you wouldn’t skip over writing a business plan just because every other business has one, right? The same is true for creating your digital strategy, which is an integral part of your broader IT and business strategies.

Barrier #2: Focusing Solely on the Technology

Digital strategy is about so much more than the specific technologies you’re going to use. When you focus only on the tech, you can miss the bigger picture: connecting with people in the digital age. Your agents, employees and business partners have different expectations than in the past, and that’s due to the digital environment we now live, work and communicate in. Digital strategy has to take this into consideration. Instead of a replacement for relationship building, tech is best when used to uncover the better ways to connect and customize that connection.

Barrier #3: Converting Through Digital Interactions Alone

Your digital strategy only truly works if it makes your customers happy, right? If customer satisfaction goes down, you’re not really making progress, even if your contact center is operating in a high tech way. Since there are so many digital channels your customers are using, it can feel like the best way to spend your marketing budget is on more digital transactions. This is counterintuitive, though. Your digital strategy should leverage technology to help both your agents and your customers while leaving enough room for live, person-to-person communication.

How have you created a digital strategy that puts your customers first? Tell us in the comments.