Using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Reduce Agent Churn
The increasing levels of technology being adopted into the contact center may leave some agents fearing for their jobs, but RPA will only benefit them in the long run.
Automation is nothing new, in fact, it is something that has been used in various ways for decades to introduce increasing efficiency within the enterprise. Thus, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is not a novel concept, it is merely one that takes the idea of automation to a new level.
RPA is, in effect, a series of advanced systems that can be programmed to carry out a wide range of functions that previously required humans to manually undertake. This makes it an ideal solution for contact centers, as it should enable the ability to achieve more, while at the same time delivering a better customer service experience.
Unlike standard automation, which is simply a case of repeating the same task over and over again, RPA has a level of intelligence behind it. The Institute for Robotic Process Automation describes the difference between the two as the equivalent of comparing a car’s cruise control to a totally driverless vehicle.
While cruise control is designed to automate a single process, it is not able to adapt in any way to the environment. On the other hand, a driver-less car needs to be able not only to identify the current conditions, it must also self-adjust to deal with any changes to these conditions. This is what sets RPA apart from standard automation – it is able to make adjustments for changes, by following a set of programmed rules.
The obvious benefits offered by RPA is cost savings and scalability advantages, benefits that are appealing to virtually any organization. However, RPA is especially valuable in the contact center industry, as it offers solutions to the many service,
process and technology challenges that are commonly faced by this sector.
Tasks faced by contact center agents can quickly become repetitive and routine. This makes them boring and dreary to undertake and can quickly lead to disillusionment, which inevitably increases agent churn. This is not to say that these tedious, routine processes are not vitally important to the contact center - in fact, in large part, these tasks make up the majority of its operations.
Robotic Process Automation RPA Saves Time
RPA mimics the activity of a human being, capable of undertaking those jobs that a human would find uninteresting and perform the tasks more quickly, accurately and tirelessly. This means that human agents can be freed to do other, more complex tasks, such as those that require emotional intelligence, reasoning and judgment – the ones that require a higher level of care and interaction with the customer.
Customers receive an enhanced level of service from agents who are given more responsibility with a reduced workload. Agent training costs are lowered, human error is eliminated, quality and accuracy is improved and customer interaction times are decreased.
What RPA brings to the customer service equation is not the elimination of agent jobs. Robotic Process Automation RPA is the elimination of repetitive and time consuming tasks that not only drain the agent’s energy, but also open the potential for human error. It frees agents to focus more closely on building and retaining the emotional bonds that keep the customer happy and ensure they repeatedly return to your brand.
Ultimately, technology like RPA is changing the contact center industry in a massive but positive way, as the industry learns how to use these technological developments to its advantage. RPA is not something to be feared, but rather something to be embraced for the improvements and efficiencies to the operation of the contact center.
[About the author] The Customer Care industry is evolving at an extreme pace. LB's passion is to help companies recognize, understand and embrace change with the help of technology. He has been in the contact center industry over 28 years with 17 of those being in technology sales. An experienced executive in Workforce Optimization, Customer Engagement Optimization, Customer Experience, and Enterprise Feedback Management who provides vast insight to help customers. As the evolution of customer care continues to adopt new technologies in an effort to support Web and Mobile self-service, he assists companies in understanding how they can adopt a digital mind-set for this transformation. LB continues to grow his interest in the digital world through his work at www.jacada.com.