Human beings tend to have a relationship with robots that runs a little hot and cold. On the one hand, robots are incredible. They’re something we used to read about in books or watch in movies and now they exist in our every day lives, minus the automated killing that went on there. Not only that, but they do things like allow people who require prostheses to move and touch and feel again, make complex surgeries minimally invasive and, well, vacuum our floors.
On the other hand, sometimes robots are a little too good. Too smart, too efficient, too error-free. As occasionally less than brilliant, inefficient and error-prone humans, we can’t help but be a little wary that robots will first come for our jobs, then our spouses, and then our recreational sporting teams. However, the truth of the matter is that robots are generally here to make work easier and even more enjoyable for humans…while, yes, improving business processes with their smart, efficient and error-free ways. Like in your contact center, for example.
The ABCs of RPA
Think of the tasks that regularly need to be taken care of in your contact center or back office – the ones that don’t require any decision-making or any sort of specialized touch, yet have to be completed in order for the business to go on as usual (or better than usual).
Those are the tasks that robotic process automation or RPA is designed to take care of. Everything from logging in and out of applications, updating address fields and profile information and auto-filling templates to order processing, billing and shipping notifications can be handily accomplished using a robotic process automation solution’s central management module that integrates with your contact center’s third-party systems including customer relationship management and billing software. Tasks are organized and queued automatically, and robots pull the tasks based on request status and how the robotic resources needed match up with what each robot has available.
Just like that, your contact center’s routine, mundane, repetitive, tedious and absolutely essential tasks can be completed.
Reason #1 to leave it to RPA: robots do it better
Let’s just call it like it is: robots are fast, they don’t make mistakes, they don’t need coffee breaks, they don’t have to hop on Instagram to quell their boredom, they don’t go home at night to their families instead of working 24/7, and – frankly – they don’t have more important things they could be doing for the good of your customers and your business. When it comes to those repetitive tasks that don’t require a soft touch, decision making or crucial thinking, you’re not going to top the robots, especially since increased speed, accuracy and consistency in these tasks translates to reduced costs.
Reason #2 to leave it to RPA: humans do other things better
Lurking beneath all those time-sucking tasks is the job you actually hired your contact center or back office employees to do. Whether it’s frontline interactions with customers, coaching agents or providing fast and decisive back office support for customer interactions, your employees all play important roles on your contact center’s team, and those employees are wasted on the mundane tasks that can be handled by RPA.
Not only does this negatively impact your contact center’s effectiveness and efficiency, but it also negatively impacts your employee morale. When employees are able to focus on the jobs they were hired to do and at which they excel, they’ll be happier as well as more engaged, and with 64% of organizations indicating they automate low-level tasks in order to free up their employees, it ranks as one of the major reasons to implement RPA.
Reason #3 to leave it to RPA: improved customer experience
This point piggybacks on the one before it, but when it comes to contact centers, a point about improved customer experience is always worth expanding upon.
Being able to effectively respond to customers takes a lot more than expertise and good training. It requires an agent to easily adapt to constantly and rapidly changing circumstances. This means absorbing new information, effectively using scripts, improvising when necessary, knowing when to escalate, and above all being able to provide an empathetic and resoundingly understanding experience. This is, in two words, not easy. To do this job well requires a high level of engagement, one that is most easily accomplished when agents aren’t thinking about all the paperwork they need to do before their shift is over.
Reason #4 to leave it to RPA: compliance concerns
Good news for almost any contact center in any industry: many aspects of compliance can be handled by RPA. This ensures that 1) all necessary compliance reporting will be completed and 2) that it will be completed well, helping organizations stand up to any potential audit and avoid staggering fines. In the hustle and bustle of a contact center’s operations, compliance concerns can fall by the wayside with insufficient attention paid to necessary reporting, and the consequences of this can be very, very costly.
The beauty of coexistence
Movie-induced robot fears aside, there is room for both human employees and ultra-efficient robots in every excellent contact center. In fact, not only is there room, but a contact center might just reach its optimal performance when the two are allowed to work alongside each other, with RPA taking care of those repetitive, high-volume tasks and humans doing what they’re best at instead, like giving your customers an optimal customer experience. Add in a Roomba to take care of the floors and that is one finely tuned contact center.