The Robots are coming for our jobs!
There’s been a lot of recent alarmist press about robots and automation that feeds into the dystopian point of view so prevalent in popular culture these days. Rather than zombies and killer viruses we’re looking at the era of smart machines, drones, autonomous cars, and even self-service kiosks at McDonald’s now dispensing all you can eat fries in some markets – now that’s something to worry about!
Automation and AI are well represented by the popular TV campaigns featuring Watson, Siri and Alexa, and we’re starting to see formerly off-limits white-collar jobs being impacted, like the robo advisors from Wealthfront and Betterment using software algorithms to replace human advisors at a much lower fee structure. There is a lot of alarmist rhetoric out there but make no mistake, this is a real thing – Garther predicts that one-third of all jobs will be replaced by automation and smart machines by 2025.
What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Automating a number of business processes normally handled by humans, software streamlines rules-based activities such as data entry, data assembly or manual work like that found in factories.
Why should you care?
RPA is creating some controversy at organizations using automation because of the potential to impact jobs and current outsourcing relationships. Automation will transform the workplace, according to a recent Forrester report, displacing 22.7 million jobs in the US by 2025.
Automation and frontline personnel will co-exist
Forrester and others have also painted a more optimistic view of the future, where humans and robots can co-exist and work side-by-side, the key being (as always) to look for opportunities to not only cut costs, but also improve the overall customer experience.
We believe that adroit use of automation will not necessarily displace customer-facing personnel, but rather free up frontline staff to become more productive problem solvers and relationship builders.
We’ve all had dubious experiences with automated customer service, whether it was a self-service kiosk or an IVR system that doesn’t quite get the job done. Customer service can never be fully outsourced to robots, but there are a number of scenarios within customer service centers that can and should be influenced by automation.
- Replacing situations where frontline personnel need to use multiple systems for a customer inquiry – for instance, one for customer profile, one for order history, another for service requests
- Empowering customer facing personnel by reducing or removing tedious and error prone processes – spending less time on manual entry and repetitive tasks allows reps to be more relationship oriented, while also improving productivity and lowering AHT
- Improving customer satisfaction by requiring customer-facing scenarios to reduce repetition, and really value the customer’s time - imagine a day when we never have to provide the same personal or account level information we’ve just provided on a previous call.
Deloitte recently published a report that argues technology creates more jobs than it destroys and overall we’re very optimistic about this new era of smart machines.
The IBM Watson group is working with Medtronic Diabetes to create cognitive solutions for diabetes management, collecting real-time data and combining it with contextual information to predict low blood sugar patterns. IBM Watson is also creating use cases where they can assist with a medical diagnosis; an example of
ow medical professionals will integrate automation technologies into their evolved work routines.
Some classes of jobs will be impacted and maybe we should worry that our educational institutions and current work environments are not adequately preparing us for these future trends, but it is time to focus more on how robotic automation is going to empower a whole new generation of frontline personnel to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Learn more here: Jacada’s Robotic Process Automation Technology
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.