How RPA powers great customer experiences

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Ever had that call with a customer service agent, where they go missing half the time while they "look up your account details"? Yeah, me too. I'm being generous by saying half. According to IBM research, 75% of a six-minute customer call is devoted to doing manual research. That's research a well-automated workflow could be handling.

RPA is already implemented widely in customer services operations around the world. The humble chatbot is part of many automated strategies, yet many companies still struggle to engage with their customers and solve problems.

This is predominantly to do with not having information to hand, and things are going to be tough this Christmas season for customer services departments not adapted to field more queries than ever before.

Creating better customer experiences

The objective is always to create and deliver a great customer experience (CX). It's the fundamental strategy for building good relationships and retaining customers. And this doesn't matter whether you're a manufacturing trade giant or a local grocer – a customer is a customer. And when they call to find out why something isn't quite working for them, they're looking for you to be the problem solver and fount of all knowledge.

A 2018 Forrester report reveals that 66% of adults believe the most important thing a company can do is value their time during a service interaction. When you don't satisfy the caller, they'll take their business elsewhere. Simple as that.

So, the importance of automation is the CX journey is undoubted. It dramatically improves workflow in order for customer services to operate with a full tender of coal, and reduces the need for people to hang around in a queueing system. The key to this is having every scrap of information about each customer interaction immediately to hand.

RPA-powered dashboard

The frustrated customer isn't angry at your representative straight away. They're frustrated before they make the actual call. Somewhere in the customer experience chain, a link broke. (RPA can solve that too.) For this article, let's focus on the contact itself, which may be a phone call, a web chat or a chatbot. Chances are, they are connected to a virtual assistant these days, but it really doesn't matter whether they are talking to you or a bot, the information you have in front of you is the vital ingredient.

Photo by Misty Ladd

In a perfect scenario, RPA has enabled the smooth processing of order fulfilment – from the moment the customer placed their order to the selection and shipping, and so on. A good RPA setup has worked like Santa's super elf, managing stock inventory, warehouse management, packaging workflow, invoice creation, and many more tasks. It has also observed (as well as it can without actual eyes) if something went wrong, such as order payment processing hiccups, goods damaged in transit, product recalls, and much more. It can see the whole picture.

Imagine being the customer service rep with a dashboard that presents the complete picture of the customer you're talking to. Every little detail, every little interaction, every well-greased link in the order fulfilment chain is right in front of you. Magic! But it could be even better.

The harried customer service rep apparently handles multiple calls at any one time, which can affect quality of service. Automation can handle hundreds of calls, so even though having a well-presented RPA-powered dashboard in front of you is great, your RPA-empowered chatbots can take care of order status updates on your behalf, freeing you up to focus on other things. Humans intervene only when necessary, and that's your chance to build better relationships with your customers.

Automate for a better human experience (yes, really)

The importance of maintaining a human touch shouldn't be underestimated, especially in customer services. By augmenting how your customer interacts with your company by using automation, you're laying more solid foundations for retaining their business.

The simplified desktop, courtesy of RPA, means dealing with queries should no longer be the bane of our existence. Integrated systems mean issues are taken care of quickly and your costs are reduced. More importantly, your customer is better informed and walks away with a good opinion of you. Need an added bonus? No more hold music!

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