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How email bots help you respond to incoming customer emails – fast

Katie Alberti, Log in to subscribe to the Blog

You’ve got mail

With the rise of chat, text, social media, and self-service, consumers have an abundance of choices in how they interact with businesses and service providers. Despite all this, email remains among the most widely used customer service channels in the world. And as inbound volumes surge, it can be difficult to provide fast, high-quality, and personalized customer service without the right technology and approach. That’s because email processing is inherently slow, manually intensive, and error-prone for agents to process – this is a poor combination for high-volume, SLA-driven, multi-faceted business processes.

There are a few drivers causing this. Emails are:

  • Highly unstructured – Key information is scattered across email subjects and bodies. Agents looking to triage or process incoming emails spend valuable time parsing through blocks of text to understand the topic, sentiment, and details of the email.
  • Attachment heavy – Critical information is stored in attached, unstructured, hard-copy documents like invoices, contracts, forms, receipts, and pictures. It’s cumbersome and slow for agents to open, read, and extract information from each email and attachment.
  • Siloed from business applications – Email is a tool that’s typically disconnected from workflow applications and backend systems. Initiating or processing work from incoming emails requires manually copying data between systems.

Keeping up with day-to-day incoming email volume is difficult in the best of times. When a major crisis hits, the challenges get even harder. With inboxes flooding, customers may wait days to weeks for responses to urgent requests. Businesses need to enable smart, fast, repeatable processing of incoming emails to respond faster to customer needs while eliminating time-consuming manual work. How can business leaders broach fixing their broken email processing process?

Enter: email bot

An email bot is an intelligent email processing system that automates the end-to-end customer service lifecycle through email. It provides a complete email automation strategy that accelerates response times, gets real work done, and frees up employees to focus on what matters most – the customer.

To achieve these outcomes, email bots serve two main functions: to understand an email and act upon it.

Let’s dive deeper into how email bots work:

  • Understanding emails – Using artificial intelligence (AI) and text syntax logic, email bots take human conversation and extract structured information from it, including:
    • Topics – What is the business outcome the sender is looking for in this email?
    • Sentiment – What is the email’s tone (e.g., satisfied, angry, neutral)?
    • Business entities – Key properties included in the email such as address, time, account number, etc.
  • Actioning emails – Once the bot extracts needed information from an email, it leverages intelligent workflow capabilities to further improve employee productivity and accelerate customer response times. Email bots do this by:
    • Guiding agents – Presenting agents with suggested actions and response templates based on the bot’s AI analysis to accelerate the email triage process.
    • Triaging work – When confident, email bots can bypass email triage using the extracted information to instantiate cases in workflow systems.
    • Automating work – When combined with intelligent automation capabilities like robotic process automation (RPA) and integrations, email bots can go beyond triage to achieve end-to-end customer outcomes autonomously.

By combining AI with workflow automation, email bots process the routine work that takes up your employees’ time. As a result, your team can focus on high-priority tasks like customer-facing initiatives.

Aflac is simplifying and automating email processing for 3,000+ weekly emails

Aflac, a leading supplemental insurance provider in the United States and Japan, leveraged AI-powered email bot technology as part of its solution to enhance contact center operations. For email alone, Aflac fielded thousands of requests every week. These requests pointed to seven separate inboxes that required manual classification and assignment of work across the company’s contact center. With the volume of email requests continuing to surge due to a rapidly shifting global environment, Aflac needed to improve efficiency and reduce costs while delivering exceptional service.

With the help of an email bot’s built-in Natural Language Processing (NLP) that understands customer context and sentiment in each email, Aflac dramatically accelerated response time through automation.

“It’s no longer about working on technology-centric things, it’s about focusing on customer-centric things”

Rich Gilbert Chief Digital and Information Officer, Aflac

The insurance provider is now able to automatically classify and assign emails to cases and can even use email bot to respond to less complex inquiries that don’t require an agent interaction. Since implementing the email bot, Aflac has automatically processed and responded to over 30% of incoming inquiries without the need for a human touch. This has quickly simplified service across Aflac’s contact center, all while accelerating resolution for its customers.

Revolutionize email processes from intake to resolution

Deploying email bots for automatic email processing can help increase employee productivity while automating manual, error-prone work. Beyond that, in today’s age it’s imperative we provide rapid, personalized service to customers and partners. By leveraging AI and workflow capabilities to understand and take action upon emails, email bots make it simple to provide fast, quality customer service.

Pega Email Bot

Triage and respond to millions of customer emails – fast

Intelligent Automation

Simplify and streamline how work gets done

Tags

Product Area: Platform Topic: Intelligent Automation

About the Author

As a Senior Product Marketing Manager for intelligent automation at Pega, Katie Alberti helps clients understand how the right low-code platform enables businesses to intelligently automate end-to-end processes.