With the emergence and advent of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), enterprises are starting to see major growth in terms of savings and scaling of overall operations. However, when it comes to contact centers or call centers, robotic process automation offers invaluable advantages by providing solutions to challenges based around service, process and technology.
Customer satisfaction is a huge KPI for any business and call centers play a key role in shaping the success of that KPI. CSRs face immense demand to grow overall revenue by up-selling and cross-selling, delivering fast, personalised and effective service – all while meeting high first call resolution and low average handling time goals.
Yet, these contact centers happen to work with technology that slows them down and requires them to work with a myriad of slow & complicated applications while they speak with customers.
Although business process management plays its part, the high levels of repetitive tasks within contact centers can only be circumvented through call center automation for better employee efficiency, customer satisfaction and profitability.
Let’s take a look at how Robotic Process Automation in contact centers is improving customer engagement and streamlining processes –
Identifying The Customer In The System
When a customer reaches the call center agent, the agent needs to identify them in the system to get the necessary information like order status, order number, pending support tickets (if any), shipment ID, etc.
This requires the agent to interact with the customer and at the same time go from one system to another: the database/CRM which has the customer details and the other system with more information like order status, order number, etc.
The problems that arise are:
- Multiple logins slowing down the agents.
- Silos pertaining to different systems causing chaos.
- Agents scrambling to refer notes/manuals.
- The detrimental effect on customer experience.
How Can RPA Help?
Robotic Process Automation offers an intuitive approach to data integration and workflow. Loading a detailed customer profile from multiple systems by automating steps like application launch, mouse clicks, field entries, etc. eliminates the need to switch between various applications.
Deploying RPA in contact centers significantly reduces the time required to identify the customer in the system and view all necessary details associated with them in one screen. As a result, the customer doesn’t have to wait for the agent to load all the details, thus improving customer service while reducing the average call duration.
Updating Customer Information In The System
As the call progresses towards the solution of the problem, the agent is required to update the data of the customer’s account. For this, the agent needs to navigate through various applications to update information across multiple fields. Entering data manually across multiple fields in different systems is a tedious and error-prone task.
The problems that arise are:
- Switching between multiple systems
- Updating information manually
- Task prone to error
- Damaging effect on data quality due to errors
How can RPA help?
Robotic Process Automation enables the integration of data across various fields of associated systems using a single entry by the call center agent. RPA can establish template auto-fill, copy-pasting information, field-entries, and more with least human intervention. Integration’s with software’s or internal systems like CRMs and other third-party tools eliminate the time spent on cross-application desktop activities.
This eliminates the need to struggle between various systems. It also mitigates the risk of potential clerical errors. As a result of call center automation using RPA, the agent can assist the customer satisfactorily, and the customer does not need to wait for the agent to deal with data.
In many cases, the call passes through different agents until the solution of the customer’s issue is reached. With advanced call routing tools, the magnanimity of repeat calls in contact centers has reduced to a large extent. But in many scenarios, depending on the nature of the customer’s problem, the call needs to pass through different agents which often requires the customer to repeat the details of the issue to various agents.
The problems that arise are:
- Repeating information to different agents
- Customer gets frustrated
- Hampered customer relationship because of repetitive questions
- Increased turn around time and average call duration
How can RPA help?
Robotic Process Automation facilitates the integration of different systems which helps different agents keep track of the progress on a specific problem, without having to monitor all the applications. Using RPA in contact centers, the complete customer profile with details from the previous interactions can be loaded with a single click.
With this, the agents do not need to ask for the same details repeatedly. As a result, this addresses the major pain-point of customers pertaining to call centers – frequently being asked for the information they already provided. This way, implementing RPA in call centers improves customer service remarkably.
There is no shortage of repetitive processes which Robotic Process Automation can be used for, to cut down costs & subsequently improve profits for an organization.
Some of the scenarios in the call centers and other industries where robotic process automation can be applied are:
Billing Data: Whenever a customer calls the customer care call centers regarding a payment issue, the call center agent needs to scramble up the record and understand it. Meanwhile, the customer needs to wait on the other side of the line. With RPA, the payment data can be invoked in a few seconds with a single click.
Employee Data Management: With a vast workforce in the call centers, the management of data of each employee is a dreaded task. Not to mention the disturbing problem of agent attrition in the call centers, which results in employee-directory data being frequently modified and updated. RPA enables auto-updating personnel data from forms or emails. As a result, data correctness is maintained, and the process of data management becomes easy.
Issuing Refunds: The process of issuing refunds is often overlooked by companies when it comes to optimizing processes. This can be damaging to the company’s reputation as customers requesting refunds are already disappointed with the services provided by the company. Implementing RPA to automate parts of the refund process expedites the process while decreasing manual work significantly and saving the company from losing a customer.
Creating Invoices: According to research conducted by Aberdeen Group, it takes companies between 4.1 and 16.3 days to process an invoice from receipt through payment approval. About 76% or more manual input is required to handle more than half of all invoice activities. RPA software bots automate error reconciliation, data input, and some parts of the decision-making required by the staff in invoice processing.
Data Migration: Data is central to all organizations, irrespective of the type of industry. In call centers, employees regularly need to interface between different systems which involves them manually migrating data using formats like .csv. RPA can help integrate applications and eliminate the need for manual labor in such cases. This prevents potential clerical errors and improves decision making by keeping data up to date.
Report Preparation: While report preparation is not a labor-intensive process and requires a certain level of decision making, it distracts the employees from their daily agenda and does take up a considerable amount of time. Based on the set criteria, RPA software can easily auto-generate reports, analyze their contents and even email them to relevant stakeholders, based on the content.
Implementing Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation is revolutionising the way business processes are performed across industries and functions. Using RPA, business processes can be accomplished 20 times faster than the average human. Besides being fast, robotic process automation works around the clock, with almost zero errors and no diminishing returns.
RPA software ‘bots’ interact with the business processes in a human-like fashion without disturbing the IT architecture. To achieve desired outputs, the implementations need elaborate and step-by-step planning.
Given below is a brief framework for the same –
Before diving head-first into the implementation, it is necessary first to identify the processes in your industry/workplace that are repetitive and require minimum decision-making. Identification of such processes also requires factoring in other aspects like identifying the costs of different processes, how automating it would affect the work flow, etc. The steps involved in process identification are:
- Identify the repetitive process that you want to automate.
- Describe the process flow using steps and rules.
- Develop automation plan by mapping each step of the process.
Training the bot
Implementing RPA requires the bot/tool to carry out the process step by step successfully. This requires training the bot to fit into the use-case and respond as expected. The measures under the umbrella of bot training are as follows:
- Train the robot using various test-cases, allowing it to learn.
- Test the robot and perform thorough shake-downs.
Scaling The Robotic Process Automation Bot
Just developing the Robotic Process Automation bot is not enough. It is essential that the bot fits in with your workforce tools. Managing and including the RPA bot in your workforce requires designing and implementing a new operating model. The steps involved in scaling the bot are as follows:
- Build overall stages/timelines to roll out bot/s.
- Design new operating models including the bot in your work flow.
- Migrate to scalable IT architecture.
Benefits of Implementing RPA in Call Centers
While we have covered how to fit automation within call centers, let us have a look at how implementing Robotic Process Automation in call centers will significantly enhance its services –
- Shorter average call duration
- Significant error reduction
- Enhanced communication
- Optimal use of resources
- Automated response and triggers
With Robotic Process Automation, employees can accomplish more strategic and innovative work as the tedious rule-based, but necessary tasks can be taken care of by automation. Industries which have implemented RPA have already seen a significant decrease in the costs incurred while getting a better ROI.
According to a study conducted by management consulting firm AT Kearney, a software robot (RPA) costs one-third as much as an offshore employee while the UK-based telecom giant Telefónica O2 automates 15 core processes and around 500,000 transactions per month using more than 160 robots. The telecom giant reports that its return on investment in RPA has exceeded a whopping 650%.
Implementing Robotic Process Automation in your business requires elaborate planning and analysis. The right RPA implementation partner should be able to advise you on the scalability of RPA for your business while helping you test the feasibility and value of RPA in your organisation.
The experience that customers have when they reach out to your customer care team is vital to the reputation as well as the longevity of your business. One poor interaction can lead to a strong opinion of how your business cares for its customers, and depending on this reputation, you may win new business or lose it. With RPA solutions, your agents can provide a high level of customer service that allows your business to be accessible, flexible, and relevant.
Any call-centre should thus, look very seriously at the myriad of advantages that both Robotic Process Automation and artificial intelligence can bring to their processes, not just from the perspective of costs, but also from making sure that your team spends its time on more mission-critical and productive tasks.