Improving Contact Center Efficiency with RPA
Better desktop interface design and automation tools continue to make contact centers more efficient and effective. One of the key technologies now enabling that is robotic process automation, or RPA. In fact, IBM in a recent blog said 85 percent of customer interactions by 2020 will be handled without a human agent.
RPA employs virtual agents/robots to handle routine tasks that have traditionally been carried out by call center agents. As James Wilson of contact center outsourcing outfit Call Center Pros explains RPA can reduce process cycle times, bring error rates to close to zero, and lead to 40 to 70 percent savings in labor costs.
“RPA software product isn’t limited to running automation at the direction of agents,” adds Wilson. “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.”
UiPath is among the company’s offering solutions that provide contact center workers with a single screen to access disparate systems and applications, customer information at relevant points of the conversation, streamlined wrap up, and automation of manual tasks.
“Unlike many first generation RPA tools, which focus primarily on the design of robots, the UiPath platform was designed to meet the deployment, management, security, reporting, integration, and scalability requirements of today’s global enterprises and BPOs,” the company says. “UiPath combines an intuitive and easy-to-learn Visio-style process designer with an enterprise-grade management platform that can be deployed in the cloud or on premise. Thus, you can manage all the organization robots from a single console.”
A June CMSWire piece says the time is right for RPA in light of the popularity of messaging apps. And the article walks through an example of how RPA might come into play.
“Take this scenario: A customer calls your insurance hotline. Your digital employee, let's call her Ivy, takes the call and authenticates the customer, asking them for their account number and PIN. Ivy also finds out why the customer is calling, without having to ask: through deep integration with your company’s CRM and case management system, she sees the customer has an open claim with you and has just visited your website to review the case before calling.
“Ivy logically infers the customer is calling because they want to speak to a person about the claim, which Ivy quickly confirms before connecting the customer with a live person,” the article continues. “The live agent, let's call him Mark, now speaks with the customer and, through personal experience and intuition — while also following business process and decision rules — determines that to advance the claim, more information is necessary.
“Rather than conducting the data collection step himself, Mark transfers the call back to Ivy, so he can focus on entering information about the issue into the case management system,” the article adds. “Letting Ivy do the data collection step also improves security, as Ivy has no incentive to steal information, and she can operate in a fully PCI (News - Alert)-DSS compliant environment. Ivy and the customer conclude the call.
The next day, Mark closes the loop by calling back the customer to convey, applying human empathy, that the case can be closed in their favor in a few more days.”
Of course, the scenarios and solutions mentioned above are just a few examples of how the contact center is becoming more automated and efficient. Here’s one more.
Five9 (News - Alert) offers a dialer that predicts when agents will be available and has new callers ready to go when they are free. This reduces dialing time and idle time. The company’s solution also does automatic caller-agent matching, and presents screen pops with customer information and history.
“Modern technology offerings, like self-service capabilities, chatbots, and virtual assistants are increasingly powering the front-end activities during initial customer contact,” according to a HCL Technologies Ltd. blog by group manager Konesh Chopra. “These tools are further augmented by intuitive/cognitive search options, wherein customers type-in the query in their chosen native language in natural format and the system intelligently provides [them] the answer or directs [them] to the relevant page… Even post-contact customer follow-up processes, like confirmation of query resolution and customer feedback elicitation are now getting increasingly automated through contact center services.”
Edited by Mandi Nowitz