What Is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Our panel of experts define robotic process automation (RPA) and discuss the benefits that your contact centre can obtain from implementing the technology.
What Is RPA?
Robotic process automation is technology that enables businesses to automate manual tasks, helping users to create efficiency, free up internal resource to concentrate on other tasks and increase advisor availability.
One way to think of it is that RPA provides task bots or action bots and these perform repeatable administrative tasks that can improve the productivity levels of staff.
Combining artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities, RPA is most often used in the back office of most contact centres. However, these task bots are now being used to tackle more complicated tasks.
These complicated tasks even include automating simple customer enquiries – mostly on live chat and messaging – sending real-time alerts and conducting everyday IT tasks like password resets.
How Does the Technology Work?
There are two types of RPA, unattended and attended. These automation technologies work slightly differently, but they are often used together as they are better suited to different tasks. Unattended RPA involves no human intervention and is best suited for high-volume, low-value processes that depend on quality, predictability, scalability, and speed. Attended RPA can make routine desktop tasks easy by sensing what advisors need and assisting them with guidance call-outs that offer decision support.
Just remember, even if you’ve implemented both types of RPA, this doesn’t typically automate the entire process; it automates tasks within the process so the task is completed faster and without errors.
The key thing to remember with all RPA technologies is that they are set up to recognize a triggering event. Once this happens, the software follows a recipe/process flow to move information or documents through a physical/virtual process.
Which Key Contact Centre Processes Can RPA Automate?
Here are six key examples of contact centre processes that can be simplified through the installation of RPA technology.
Automating After-Call Work (ACW)
ACW – the process after a call where the advisor makes a note of the contact reason and call outcome and schedules follow-ups etc. – can be automated to a large extent by RPA. This will reduce your Average Handling Time (AHT) considerably and thus lower your staffing requirements.
While how much of your ACW is automated will differ depending on the type of enquiry being handled and how it is handled, many basic process and tasks performed by an advisor can be automated.
These tasks include keystrokes, mouse clicks, drop-down options, entering data, all of which can help to automate a number of routine desktop activities.
Automated surveys or next-steps can be sent out to customers following an interaction with the contact centre to either automate metric results or keep the customer updated.
RPA can also send out automated messages to customers to keep them updated about an ongoing query and prevent that customer from “falling” into the contact centre.
With RPA, automated alerts can be sent to supervisors, either through their desktop or via email, about any outstanding issues which require their immediate attention.
With machine learning built in, alerts can be triggered through trends, such as in individual employee absenteeism for example.
Updating Customer Information
Your team will be freed from mundane tasks (such as updating customer addresses or billing information) which they are overqualified for, allowing them to focus on higher-value work.
More work will be completed, creating capacity for even more tasks and more time on the phone with customers, to build strong relationships.
Automating Transactional Conversations
One part of RPA is the chatbot, which is designed to automate certain query types or to work alongside advisors. The latter is often referred to as “agent assist”.
These applications of RPA maximize AI learning from the contact centre and other parts of the business to provide advisors with real-time knowledge, along with suggested solutions, to solve customer queries swiftly and efficiently.