RPA in the Call Center: Scope, Benefits, and Use Cases

A little over 50% of consumers abandon brands after just one bad experience, meaning the stakes to deliver exceptional customer experiences are higher than ever. Naturally, customer service plays a key role in keeping your customers happy and building lasting relationships with them. In fact, excellent customer service can convince almost 80% of customers to let mistakes slide.

Call centers in particular play a pivotal role in fulfilling consumer needs in the way they expect, as 88% of customers today contact businesses via phone calls. However, this also means call centers consistently deliver stellar customer experiences, despite challenges like surges in case volumes. 

This is why many enterprises invest in automation, like robotic process automation (RPA) in call centers, to reduce the burden on human agents and empower them to deliver consistent, connected customer experiences. In this article, we’ll explore why the call center is an excellent candidate for RPA, how an automated call center functions, and practical use cases for RPA in call centers. 

Why are call centers best suited for RPA?

To better understand the potential of deployment RPA in call centers, let’s first consider the anatomy of call center interactions without automation. A customer calls your business looking for support, maybe after they previously filed a support ticket or contacted a live chat agent. They’re on call for a fair few minutes, before a human agent takes their call. The customer then explains their query, and if need be, the agent might reroute their call to more relevant personnel.

When the customer connects to the right agent – either initially or after being rerouted – the service representative is now expected to deliver a personalized experience. That means quickly pulling up the customer’s data from internal systems, while also noting the customer’s previous interaction with the live chat or another support touchpoint. The agent is on a timer, as delays may increase the customer’s frustration. 

This interaction journey is not ideal for the customer, or the human agent. Inefficiency jeopardizes the customer’s experience while simultaneously burdening the agent. This is why RPA – and complementary technologies like AI – offer transformative potential for the call center. 

Attended automation – i.e., automation that complements a human agent’s workflow – is particularly effective in the call center, as it allows agents to work more effectively and with less stress. For example, chatbots (aided by RPA for gathering data) can answer straightforward support requests and transfer customers with more complex queries to human agents. RPA bots also gather information from different systems during calls, to help human agents serve customers better. 

How RPA works in call centers

RPA’s versatility makes it an exceptionally powerful tool for call centers; the technology mimics human interaction, including keystrokes, clicking, copying & pasting data, and navigating across different systems (without the need for APIs). Thus, RPA in the call center can:

  • Retrieve and update information from different systems, without the need for API integrations. This means RPA can even extract and input data from and into your legacy systems.

    Thus, with RPA instantly pulling information up from different systems onto your support agent’s screen, call center reps can stay engaged with customers throughout the call, instead of leaving them on hold.
  • Help chatbots answer straightforward queries. While some enterprises already use chatbots for self-service customer support, integrating RPA with chatbots helps conversational bots by connecting them to different systems.

    With RPA, chatbots no longer require APIs to interact with different systems, meaning they can pull up information from modern and legacy systems to deliver personalized experiences. 
  • Automate repetitive, labor-intensive tasks to free up human agents. This may include managing multiple logins across different systems, retrieving and updating data, updating and closing tickets, pulling up information from knowledge bases to resolve queries, automatically filling in forms, and logging call details.

6 Benefits of implementing RPA in call centers

Here are six benefits of implementing RPA in your call center.

1. Improved agent productivity

RPA retrieves information instantly from different systems, helping agents resolve customer queries effectively. It also means agents stay engaged with customers throughout the call – without any hold times – helping them focus on the customer’s problem.

This also means agents are under less stress, increasing agent satisfaction, as RPA reduces their workload and manages tedious tasks for them.  

2. Scalability

As businesses continue to grow, it becomes crucial for customer service to scale accordingly, but challenges abound in hiring and training new agents. Attended automation reduces manual and technical tasks from the call center, reducing the complexity of work for agents (e.g., they no longer need to learn to use various systems).  This means call centers can onboard new agents faster, as the training process is simpler.

3. Fewer errors

Leveraging RPA bots to input, verify, and update customer information eliminates human error and ensures customer information is always accurate and up to date.

4. Faster response times

In a world where 90% of customers expect responses to their customer service questions within 10 minutes, reducing response times is crucial for call centers.

Attended automation improves the efficiency of call center interactions, by automating repetitive tasks and instantly retrieving relevant information. This helps agents resolve queries quickly and move on to the next customer, improving response times overall.

5. Enhanced customer experience

Implementing RPA in call centers significantly enhances the entire customer experience by streamlining call routing, automating the customer verification process, reducing call durations, improving data accuracy, and helping agents deliver personalized experiences.

6. Reduced operational costs

Call center automation streamlines workflows, helping call centers handle larger case volumes with existing resources. Furthermore, unlike human employees who can work for limited hours, bots work round the clock, increasing operational efficiency without additional labor expenses.

What can RPA improve for your call center?

How can you track RPA’s impact on your call center – and measure how effective it is? Well, when enterprises implement RPA, they track the following KPIs that RPA may directly or indirectly improve:

  • Average handling time (AHT). Attended automation automates laborious parts of call center interactions, like data retrieval, which helps agents resolve queries faster. This may lead to reduced average handling times.
  • First call resolution. Since RPA bots retrieve and verify data from different systems, they give agents more detailed insights into the customer’s challenges. This can help agents resolve complaints in the first interaction.
  • Call abandonment rate. Since RPA can help decrease AHT and improve FCR, this means agents spend less time on each customer overall. Thus, they can move on to the next call faster, reducing wait times and decreasing call abandonment rates.

    An RPA-chatbot combination can further reduce call abandonment rates by providing customers with self-service support. This decreases the overall volume of calls and, by extension, reduces wait times.
  • SLA compliance rate. Since RPA eliminates human error from data entry tasks, it helps businesses serve customers more efficiently. Support teams will have access to error-free customer data and documentation, helping them resolve customer queries as per the service level agreement. This may help businesses improve their SLA compliance rate.
  • Customer Satisfaction. Since attended automation helps improve customer experiences, businesses may experience improved customer satisfaction. You can measure the impact on customer satisfaction after a customer’s call center interaction using surveys like CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), CES (Customer Effort Score), and NPS (Net Promoter Score).

5 use cases of RPA in call centers

Here are five tested use cases for RPA in call centers. 

1. Interactive Voice Response and call routing

RPA, combined with virtual assistants and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, helps improve self-service experiences. Customers can navigate pre-recorded menus to specify the nature of their request, helping RPA automatically route their call to the relevant personnel.

RPA can also pull information from various systems, like your CRM and knowledge base, to help virtual assistants and IVR answer straightforward queries and provide account updates. 

2. Customer identification

Customer data may be stored in several different systems, meaning human agents need to navigate them and manage multiple logins to extract customer data. Bots eliminate the need to switch between applications, quickly identifying customers and displaying all relevant information on the agent’s screen, allowing customer service reps to focus their attention on the customer’s query.

3. Data entry and management

In manual customer service systems, representatives enter data while on call with customers, which can slow them down and lead to errors in data entry. However, RPA instantly retrieves data from different systems and pulls it onto the agent’s screen. RPA can also transfer data between systems and update relevant information when needed. 

4. Customer predictions

Utilizing machine learning capabilities, RPA bots can analyze customer interactions to make operable predictions about customer needs and expectations, empowering agents to anticipate customer concerns and provide more personalized, empathetic service. 

5. Real-time data analysis and report generation

Unlike human employees, bots can process and analyze data in real-time to generate reports, providing actionable insight into customer service agent performance, customer satisfaction, overall call center performance, and areas that need attention. 

Such reporting and analytics can play a vital role in helping companies remain competitive by providing exceptional customer service, especially when customer loyalty hinges on customer service.

Automate your call center with M.M.

From decreasing AHT to improving customer satisfaction, RPA transforms how your call center operates. But knowing how to implement it, what use cases to prioritize, how to adapt workflows, and upskilling your team to work with RPA bots requires some expertise.

That’s why many enterprises choose RPA implementation partners like M.M. to deploy, maintain, and scale RPA in their call centers. M.M. specializes in enterprise digital transformation, and we have specific experience in helping telcos – and call centers by extension – implement RPA at scale. 

Working with us means we’ll analyze your existing call center processes and workflows, helping you prioritize use cases to quickly prove the business value to internal stakeholders. We’ll customize RPA bots to suit your team’s workflows and help improve the quality of your customer’s interactions. Interested in automating your call center with RPA and AI? Reach out to one of our automation consultants today.

Author

Umair Maqsood

Director and Head of Digital Delivery Centre at M.M. With over 20 years of professional experience, including software and telecom industries. Has in-depth insight into the life cycle of tailor-made to off the shelf software solutions.
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