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How RPA and desktop analytics improve customer experience

Nolan Greene,
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Robotic process automation (RPA) is rightfully lauded for its ability to bridge inefficient gaps between legacy systems and automate rote tasks that make up large parts of many business processes. Automating these keystrokes and clicks can provide benefits in terms of time savings and error reduction, plus generate business value. This holds true for both back-office and customer-facing processes, with customer-facing processes often being a surprising source of optimization opportunities.

However, in all the (very legitimate) excitement about operational efficiencies and cost savings, another important point can get lost in the shuffle. Improving processes through automation ultimately means better outcomes for your customers. And to improve processes, you need to understand how work is getting done today so that you can take the right steps to design the best processes for tomorrow.

Take a step back and analyze your customer service processes

Most jobs require that some time be spent on repetitive, manual tasks. I know few people who don’t have some aspect of their job that they wish they could automate! But just because something seems like a good candidate for automation doesn’t mean that it is. In the customer service function, leaders likely want to focus on tasks that affect most employees and drive KPIs, such as average handle time (AHT) and first call resolution (FCR), and ultimately impact net promoter score (NPS).

But how do you determine which are the right processes to automate? Desktop and process analytics solutions (such as Pega Workforce Intelligence™) analyze what is happening at the hub of customer service – the agent’s desktop. By understanding the clicks and keystrokes that occur as agents navigate their desktops, your organization can identify inefficient processes and recommend how to improve them. At the same time, you should use the data collected to quantify your business case for making changes. With this approach, desktop analytics plays a critical role in making sure you focus on improving desktop activities that will materially impact your target.

Beyond operational cost savings, there is an untapped, longer-term benefit to utilizing desktop analytics to inform customer service processes: helping remove customer friction

In today’s on-demand climate, resolving customers’ inquiries quickly via any channel is really the top priority. According to The good, the bad, and the ugly, Pega’s 2019 global customer insights report, 59% of surveyed customers agreed that quick resolution of an issue or question was the most important aspect of customer service. If a service call that normally takes 3 minutes can be consistently cut down to 1 minute, that’s a better service experience. Desktop data can help identify the bloat and blind spots in your customer service processes and lead to targeted adjustments that support faster outcomes.

A desktop analytics solution can also serve as a “fitness tracker” or “visual consultant” for the desktop worker. For example, providing data to the worker on where they can improve their navigation of customer-facing processes has led Pega clients, such as Radial, to report higher levels of concentrated focus for getting customers the outcomes they want as fast as humanly possible.

The benefit of starting your day right

Legacy application stacks on the service agent desktop can lead to frustration that unfortunately can be passed on to the customer. Toggling between multiple applications and having to log in manually to each one is no fun. When agents must deal with upwards of 20-25 applications on their desktop, there is potential for increased error rates and extended wait times.

Attended RPA can get service agents off to the right start on every single call by auto-logging into applications (“Assisted Sign-on”) and arranging them in a way that helps agents navigate efficiently when serving customers (“Start My Day”). Removing these rather simple but frustrating sources of friction can increase speed-to-outcome by allowing employees to focus on the customer rather than the applications.

Start with agile, attended RPA

Attended RPA not only leads to great outcomes for customer service departments but is often a source of quick wins in intelligent automation that generate fast ROI and set enterprises onto a path toward more comprehensive digital process automation. Because real attended RPA is installed directly on the user desktop, time to implementation – and scale – is faster than it is for back-office unattended RPA. Moreover, there is almost never a shortage of potential use cases in customer service for attended RPA.

Enterprise-level contact centers are a great place to start an RPA initiative. It truly boils down to simple math, given the vast number of agents and tasks involved. Suppose that between 20 to 80% of contact center production work can be automated. If you automate 20% of 1,000 people’s work in the contact center, you generate more business value than you would from automating 100% of a 10-person workstream elsewhere in the organization. However, enterprises often start with projects that touch smaller teams and processes. All said, implementing attended RPA in the contact center is an agile way to generate the operational benefits of RPA and provide customers with better service.

But don’t stop there! Desktop analytics and attended RPA aren’t the only tools that promote the digital transformation of customer experience.

RPA in the back-office (attended and unattended) can also provide a foundation for improving key customer service metrics. Strategically using RPA and desktop analytics in concert with CRM, BPM, and service desk applications enables streamlined visibility and accountability to outcomes. In short, a unified platform is needed as the backbone of improving customer experience.

In summary, while thinking about the operational benefits of RPA and desktop analytics to start your digital transformation journey, don’t forget that these tools are critical to driving improved customer outcomes and experiences. Operational excellence provides the foundation for sustaining customer loyalty. By discovering and eliminating inefficiencies and wasteful steps, you can redistribute your agents’ time to better serving your customers.

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Topic: Personalized Customer Experiences Topic: Robotic Process Automation Challenge: Customer Service Challenge: Operational Excellence

About the Author

As Senior Manager of Product Marketing for Robotic Automation at Pega, Nolan Greene helps our clients create new opportunities for intelligent automation and digital transformation.

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