Robotic Process Automation is Delivering on its Promise
Welcome to another episode of Digitally Irresistible. Today’s guest is Ada Smith, Director of Analytics. Ada works with very cool technology known as RPA, which stands for robotic process automation. In this episode, Ada explains what RPA is, some use-cases for it, and provides two real-world examples of how iQor is deploying intelligent automation solutions.
Ada has been with iQor for 20 years. Her career journey has taken her from finance to data solutions and analytics, where she learned software deployment. She joined the iQor Innovations Lab, which allowed her to experiment with technologies using gamification concepts. Currently, Ada is in the Customer Satisfaction and Digital Solutions Group, where she gets to deploy digital solutions such as robotic process automation (RPA).
As Director of Analytics, Ada gets to work with other analysts and developers in iQor’s Center of Excellence (COE) group to develop technology-enabled solutions to improve processes. Such process improvements are time savings at scale, which results in a substantial monetary value. Automating manual processes through RPA represents significant time savings or a boost in productivity, often both. It also reduces call handle time as well as agent training time, which accelerates customer care delivery.
What is RPA?
Robotic process automation is software developed to perform complex, repetitive, rules-based tasks. RPA allows employees to focus on high-value tasks and decision-making by handling rote tasks. It enables employees to improve the customer experience, their own employee experience and get better survey results from the end-user. RPA can eliminate errors, improve accuracy and help call center agents meet their KPIs. RPA use cases range from back-office tasks to customer-facing operations.
Customer support professionals love RPA because it takes away the guessing of what to do next when dealing with a customer support issue in real-time. RPA solutions can be attended, which guides the agent through a task, moving from field to field, guiding or prompting the agent along the way. Or, they can be unattended, which delivers automation from end to end on a task. Customer service professionals who use RPA are more satisfied with their work because they can spend more time working on issues that require thinking and decision-making.
Criteria for Deploying RPA
Deploying RPA from use case to use case requires an iQor Center of Excellence evaluation to determine the ROI potential regardless of whether it’s a customer-facing or a back-office task. COE analysts examine the efficiencies that will be realized for our customer or for our own company if an internal use case is being considered and asses if the ROI potential is worth the level of effort of creating an RPA solution.
Two RPA Use Cases
The first RPA example Ada shares is an internal use case at iQor. It was a queue-based, human-managed, repetitive task with multiple levels of review and approval. It was time-consuming and frequently experienced jams in the queues. The RPA software deployed is full end-to-end automation, reviewing and approving the entire request, deciding the result, and completing the task. This RPA process is still in production at iQor. Ada likes this example because it has fully automated a human process, saved time and effort and enables employees to spend their time on more value-based activities.
The other RPA example Ada shares is being deployed for an airline customer. iQor was having to specially train groups of support experts to handle a specific task pertaining to back-office voucher fulfillment for the airliner’s end customers. Talented customer support experts were spending an excessive amount of time on calls, manually copying and pasting content from spreadsheets to complete the task at hand.
An RPA solution was deployed to automate the steps in each task, such as finding an account number, typing in the data, and other repetitive actions across many steps. It was automated as a guided workflow for the employee agent. Once it was implemented, the RPA solution enabled the airline’s customer service teams (staffed by iQor) to significantly reduce call handle times. This RPA solution continues to evolve to serve the client best over the long run.
What’s Next for RPA?
Robotic process automation is never done evolving. There is always room for process improvement. Even when RPA is built for end-to-end task completion, we may sometimes still want a human to complete a task.
The biggest benefit RPA provides is ROI derived from process improvement. This is usually measured in terms of time savings or improved customer service. The primary ROI is always measurable. We also listen to anecdotal insights from customer support employees on the front lines delivering a good customer experience.
Robotic process automation has also enabled us to gain valuable insights through metrics such as time spent on tasks, which allows the operations team to learn more about the process being automated. RPA is a crucial steppingstone to improving performance, which is a perpetual goal for all iQor clients, and one that we continually iterate on.
Other use cases under consideration include integration with other applications. Ada says that iQor will continue to expand the use of RPA within our own company, too. The COE team is also looking at integrating RPA with other applications such as IVR and SMS to help our customers deliver customer care more efficiently. “We’re always looking for an opportunity to improve processes,” says Ada.
When Ada is not working, she says that she enjoys the arts as well as reading voraciously and cooking, and singing.
Learn more about iQor digital customer experience capabilities.