Having an efficient and robust customer support program is essential for keeping your customers happy and your agents productive. However, many factors impact this ecosystem: the volume of inquiries, diversity in needs, proper staffing levels, and more.
Ultimately, your customer support operations require technology tools that streamline the process. One key component is robotic process automation (RPA). RPA in customer support can transform your organization and empower your staff to be as effective as possible.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to RPA and share how it can reimagine customer support.
What Is RPA?
Robotic process automation describes a system of “digital workers” assuming repetitive, rules-based tasks. RPA can be applied to any activity that’s the same every time and is scalable across your customer support functions. These “software robots” can emulate many human actions, including keystrokes, navigation, and data identification and extraction.
Most organizations deploy RPA to get human workers out of transactional, mundane work. They know that their people will create more value when they can think critically and innovate. In the case of customer support, RPA can allow your agents to focus on supporting customers instead of data entry.
Customer Support Embraces Automation to Deal with Many Challenges
RPA in customer support can be vital in mitigating some of the biggest challenges agents face. With RPA, contact centers can lighten the load on agents. Those challenges include:
- High ticket volumes: Every second it takes agents to resolve issues, the queue increases, and agents can quickly become overwhelmed.
- Staffing concerns: Turnover in the agent role is often high (pre-pandemic rates were 35-40 percent, and churn doubled post-pandemic). Being able to empower agents with automation could decrease this.
- Onboarding new agents: Getting staff up and running can be a lengthy process, especially if the product is complex (e.g., software and finance). Automating and streamlining onboarding can ensure agents are confident and ready faster.
- Inability to resolve queries quickly: When agents must search for information and use multiple systems, it increases the time they spend with each customer. Customers become frustrated and tension rises, making the interactions highly stressful. RPA can play the role of surfacing this data much quicker.
If RPA can alleviate some of these nagging problems, customer service operations can benefit greatly.
The Benefits of RPA in Customer Support
Applying technology to any department or process should deliver benefits. RPA does that in many ways. Here are just a few advantages you can expect:
- Reduction of annual handle time (AHT)
- Process improvements that eliminate known bottlenecks
- Enhanced agent satisfaction as a result of removing administrative burdens
- Simplified interfaces for agent use versus having numerous applications running
- Improved customer experiences and empowerment through the ability to resolve issues on their own with self-service
These things benefit the entire organization. But how does RPA drive the effectiveness and productivity of agents?
7 Ways RPA Helps Customer Support Agents Be More Effective and Productive
RPA in customer support can drive significant results. Implementing it requires a transparent view of all current tasks to understand where automation can be of the greatest value. Here are a few ways RPA mitigates common customer service challenges and helps customer support agents be more effective and productive.
This process gathers input from customers and tags the ticket accordingly, so agents have information in their hands as soon as they engage with customers.
System Integrations for Quick Access to Customer Data
Customers have expectations when interacting with customer support. In fact, 63 percent believe the agent should know who they are, what they need, and what they purchased. Since agents aren’t mind readers, they have to collect this information from multiple systems, including customer relationship management (CRM) applications, which provide historical information on the customer.
Having to log into multiple systems impacts productivity and lengthens hold times. RPA can bridge these systems so agents don’t have to go back and forth. The connections RPA can provide help these exchanges go much more smoothly.
Moving Data to New Fields
Often in customer service exchanges, agents must complete new forms or documents to remedy issues. Without RPA, agents must manually copy and paste. That’s time-consuming, but RPA can do these actions automatically, accelerating the process.
Limiting Human Errors
RPA robots complete tasks consistently. Humans don’t always reach 100 percent accuracy, especially with data entry. Small mistakes can cause more work for agents. For example, if someone gets a number wrong in a shipping address, the package won’t arrive for the customer, which means they’ll contact support numerous times. RPA eliminates scenarios like these.
Managing Customer Refunds
Customers often seek refunds when they want to return items or don’t receive the correct items. Depending on the size of your business, these requests could be coming in daily at a high volume. Typically, agents need to handle these transactions, but RPA can help.
RPA can extract information from emails, texts, or ticket systems to initiate the refund process. As long as the refund is validated and not outside the company’s parameters, customers won’t need to end up in the customer support queue.
Another task that RPA can support is account creation. RPA can transform this into a self-service option, which means it’s faster and doesn’t require time from agents. This use case can work for various verticals, from e-commerce to banking.
RPA Makes Work Meaningful for Agents
Any employee burdened by inefficient processes and repetitive work can quickly become disengaged and disconnected. That will lead to churn, which is already a problem in the field. What more people want in a job is for it to be meaningful.
Meaningful work describes when employees have fulfillment and satisfaction in what they do and understand how they contribute to the company’s success. Your agents are much more likely to experience this when you implement automation. Many agents choose this career because they enjoy helping others and being problem solvers. It’s hard to do this when they have too many transactional tasks. RPA clears the way for them to do what they love. When that occurs, business outcomes are better, customers are happier, and productivity remains high.
RPA in Customer Support: Start Your Transformation Now
Integrating RPA into your customer support workflows is good for your customers, agents, and bottom line. This technology has the potential to transform how your agents work. That’s an investment worth making.
Learn more about how to deploy RPA in customer support with help from our experts.