RPA (robotic process automation) is a tactical, short-term fix to digitize common, reproducible agent tasks in the contact center. It's an easy overlay to your existing technology ecosystem and extends the life of the contact center applications. Forrester data shows that over 44% of organizations are already using RPA.
There are two forms of RPA. RPA bots working in "attended" mode target the front office. They are launched by agents in the flow of their work. "Unattended" RPA bots, on the other hand, autonomously run scheduled back-office tasks, such as claims processing or generating invoices, from a work queue. Contact centers use both types of RPA. An agent can start a task with support from attended automation, which can then kick off unattended RPA to finish the process.
Customer service leaders use RPA to:
- Standardize and speed up agent work to better serve customers. RPA automates agent tasks within manual, rules-based processes like launching apps, cutting and pasting from different apps, and basic calculations -- many of the "swivel chair" tasks that agents do.
- Integrate applications to reduce errors and improve compliance. RPA lets organizations integrate applications without disrupting the underlying infrastructure. RPA robots also automate repetitive tasks that are prone to errors, which helps organizations collect better data and deliver more accurate outcomes.
- Up-level agent confidence so that they can better nurture customers. RPA automates the repetitive, low-value tasks that interfere with core agent activities. It also surfaces knowledge or data at the right steps in processes.
- Speed up agent work to improve customer experiences. RPA robots can perform tasks four to five times faster than agents, streamlining inquiry capture and resolution and improving handle times and service-level agreements.
What RPA means for the contact center
The contact center is a great workspace for RPA, as the applications that agents use are precisely controlled. As the scope of RPA broadens to handle more tasks within the contact center, and as agents increasingly focus on value-added work, escalations, and exceptions, RPA will:
- Not only reduce headcount but will make your agents more effective. RPA lets organizations keep up with ballooning interaction volumes by automating basic task work for every agent. This strategy preserves a high quality of service that your customers expect.
- Focus agents on tasks that impact customer relationships. Companies are releasing new products and services with more complex features than ever before. Frontline contact center agents take the brunt of the burden of change. RPA lets organizations offload repetitive tasks so they can focus on up-leveling their skills and nurturing customer relationships — a win-win for both agents and customers.
This post was written by Vice President, Principal Analyst Kate Leggett, and it originally appeared here.