Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a process whereby computer software ‘bots’ execute pre-programmed functions on structured data to complete a process or transaction.
Such bots are capable of performing human-like functions such as evaluating, deciding, learning and acting, allowing organisations to free staff from repetitive tasks, improving the efficiency and reducing the chances of human error.
RPA in the contact centre
Robotic process automation can be applied in many ways to improve customer experience and automate routine tasks.
In the field of customer experience their main role is to power chatbots: delivering automated responses to the most common, and predictable, customer enquiries that can be resolved with stock answers – but their potential is much greater.
As Santos Jha, business head for North America operations of Conneqt Business Solution, observes in this blog post, processing information is a mammoth task for organisations because of stringent compliance requirements: companies are required to collect the customer’s data, validate it, extract data from the documents, compile the data, and update the data in the future.
“The entire process is time-consuming which requires immense efforts on the part of human resource and patience on the part of the consumer to wait until all the information is processed,” he says.
He suggests a lot of backend tasks that rely on repetitive human efforts can be handled by RPA, freeing up human resources. “Tasks such as email processing and distribution, server backups and monitoring, time and attendance management, inventory management, etc can be automated to spare the human resources for customer-centric tasks.”
Boost efficiency, accuracy, and productivity
A telco used RPA to automate the process of ‘onboarding’ mobile customers, and greatly reduced both activation time and activation errors
The Institute for Robotic Process Automation has produced a guide detailing the many ways RPA can assist in the delivery of the customer experience.
It includes the example of “a major financial services group in Italy.” The organisation deployed RPA along with desktop automation to handle routine, critical jobs that require accurate, fast handling.
Robotic process automation guides agents with on-screen pop-ups during fraud investigations and interactions with credit card holders, reducing handling times and processing errors.
“The solution guides agents with on-screen pop-ups during fraud investigations and interactions with credit card holders, reducing handling times and processing errors,” it says.
“Robots then complete the time-consuming wrap-up phase, including documenting cases and outcomes, freeing agents to focus on more value-added tasks and to begin the next interaction immediately after concluding a previous one.”
The Institute says the financial services group was able to drive quality, predictability and speed. “The company now handles more than 8,000 alerts per month with greater than 99 percent accuracy in preventing fraudulent activity.”
Startek, a US-based customer engagement business process outsourcing company, gives the example of a large telco using RPA to automate SIM activations for mobile customers.
“The initial results were impressive: 45 percent improvement in the number of SIMs processed per hour; 28 percent improvement in average processing time; 40 percent reduction in errors.”