The emergence of robotic process automation (RPA) technology has created cost savings and scalability advantages which appeal to almost any business. However, robotic software delivers particularly valuable benefits to call centers by providing solutions to service, process and technology challenges which are common across that industry.
Call center automation is an essential step for greater employee efficiency, optimal customer satisfaction, and improved operational profitability. Business process management (BPM) will play a part, but the high level of repetitive tasks within customer service centers means automation will have the greatest impact.
The high value of service center process automation can be seen in this high level view of a call center customer interaction.
Initial Customer Contact
When a customer call reaches a service representative, the first step usually involves asking the customer for initial information so that associated transaction or order information can be retrieved from company systems.
This first step often presents a service challenge to the service agent. While speaking with the customer the agent must jump from one system – basic customer profile information – to another system – current order status, prior order histories, pending and/or support tickets.
Multiple systems can cause multiple headaches for the customer and the agent, with the most damaging being customer responsiveness. Less experienced employees simply can’t navigate systems as proficiently as their more knowledgeable colleagues. Whether the obstacle is: different logins; different tools; copy/pasting from one screen to another; scrambling to refer to manuals/training notes, the result is the same – the customer on the line is the one who suffers.
RPA delivers a real call center benefit by eliminating these headaches. In the case of UiPath robotic software, workflow and data integration has an intuitive, visual, approach which allows experienced agents to take the workflow configuration lead rather than the IT department. This means the person most qualified to know what needs to be done is empowered to make it happen. By leveraging workflow optimization based on working knowledge across all agents, the customer experience is much more consistent and effective.
Ongoing Customer Engagement & Follow-up
As a service representative stays on the line with a customer, conveying the situation and moving toward resolution of the problem typically requires that new or updated data be added to the customer’s account.
In this instance, a service agent working in typical environment will generally have to manually enter this information in each system associated with the customer account. In the scenario of six data fields across four systems, this manual, repetitive work is distracting to the customer relationship, prone to error and tedious for the employee.
Again, RPA delivers a real customer service center benefit by empowering the service agent to integrate data into fields across all associated systems with only one entry. This benefit disposes of two of the biggest complaints heard from contact center customers, “Why are you asking for that information again? I already provided it” and “Don’t you keep notes in your system? I gave that information to the person I spoke with yesterday.”
Automating processes along with real-time data integration does transform call center operations and the customer experience – but it’s only half of the story. The other half is the post-call, customer follow-up needed to: finalize resolution; validate customer satisfaction with the resolutions; or increase business with those customers pleased with outcomes. Typical examples are:
- Getting in touch with the customer after a problem is submitted or complaint recorded; a step needed to either trigger problem-solving steps or gather any missing information that’s required.
- Making changes in a customer’s account based on the outcome of the call. Perhaps the customer receives an extra feature or a penalty-free cancellation.
- Calling customers whose account profiles indicate new service offerings may be of interest.
The UiPath robotic software product isn’t limited to running automation at the direction of service agents. It also has the capability to trigger automated process from system events. This means a certain call outcome can cause automatic steps to check account profiles, validate required changes have been made and enter the validation into the customer’s records.
All robotic process benefits should be delivered via an agent desktop that: links required system and web-based applications; provides real-time customer data; automates workflow processes to elevate service levels and agent productivity.
David Eddy has fifteen years of global application services experience.