How to successfully add RPA to customer service operations

More and more customer service organizations are turning to Robotic process automation (RPA) to make active ingredients more effective. The technology offloads repeatable tasks from agents, enforces processes and guidelines, and allows agents to focus on important work.

However, in contact centers, the initial ROI of RPA is often not shown as it is scaled. A typical example: Over 50% of the RPA solutions provided are not scaled to more than 10 robots. We also see that companies are falling into the trap of underusing or overusing RPA as an automation solution. They are also struggling with initiatives to digitize and automate core processes to tie them to legacy applications. To be successful, companies should ensure that they:

  1. Choose RPA goals that are best suited to this technology. Customer service operations typically use presence mode RPA, where agents call bots in the course of their work. These automated processes can trigger unattended bots for back office work – for example for invoice or claims processing. Use RPA for high-volume, simple, and reproducible work – five decisions, five uses, and 500 clicks. Find that RPA does not fundamentally improve business processes or the agent experience.
  2. Create an automation strike team and formalize business and IT collaboration. We know that customer service organizations – like other business areas – are adopting new automation and AI technologies. This approach leads to automation silos, each with their own governance and best practices. Create an Automation Strike Team – a team between traditional IT and business leaders responsible for architecture, governance, and deployment of automation across the enterprise. This team works with the customer service organization and IT, helping to embed RPA into the contact center and standardizing the behavior that can lead to poor results.
  3. Communicate the automation strategy with the agents. Agents want to use automation to relieve themselves of repetitive tasks. At the same time, they are afraid of losing their job. As you adopt RPA, make sure you communicate how each agent will personally benefit from the change, how you will coach agents and make careers as their work with automation changes, and how the success measures will change to address the Focus on service quality measures instead of pure productivity measures.

This post was written by VP, Principal Analyst Kate Leggett, and originally appeared here.

April 10, 2021