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Virtualizing the Workforce Enterprise-wide for Cost Reduction and Customer Experience Differentiation
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The rapid pace of technological change has had far reaching impact across business; ushering in the age of digital transformation. Machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, and cloud computing are a few examples of maturing technologies that are impacting this transformational movement. This transformation is particularly apparent in the realm of customer contact, as new technologies hold the promise of improving both the customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). It has manifested through the addition of new digital customer interaction channels, such as virtual assistants and bots, Web self-service and social networks, but is also being seen in the automation of back-office and contact center processes. Robotic process automation (RPA) is one key technology that enables companies to address the fast pace of change across all areas of business. RPA has been used in businesses for more than 20 years; however, it is increasingly gaining attention as a key component in a company’s automation strategy because of the benefits it brings. RPA is software that automates rules-based processes that are often repetitive, error prone, and time consuming. The software mimics processes performed by employees, while improving the quality, consistency, and efficiency of the workforce. RPA software’s ‘robots/agents’ can mimic humans in handling countless types of processes, including inputting or manipulating data, triggering other processes, and communicating with other systems. In addition, RPA can be of a generalized nature, propagating data into desktop applications or documents, or can be highly customized, geared toward a specific vertical market or business area, such as accounting or finance. RPA augments and complements other applications, such as back-office contact center applications, CRM, and business process management (BPM), without the requirement for complex application programming interfaces (API) or coding, thus allowing for quick deployment.Businesses across markets have embraced RPA because it addresses key challenges, such as decreasing costs, maintaining compliance, reducing errors, and speeding up service delivery. Most recently RPA has been incorporated as a key strategic tool for automation in the labor-intensive and process-driven customer contact industry. For instance, RPA provides for virtual agents to automate tasks, processes and workflows, unassisted in the background, doing tasks and freeing up live agent resources for more complex work. RPA agents also can work alongside agents sharing task load or giving next best action and guided workflow for live agents. Realizing the benefits above, both legacy RPA vendors and contact solution providers are focusing on expanding their RPA capabilities specifically to address customer service. This market update provides an updated overview of the impact RPA is having on customer contact, and looks at the various ways that it’s being employed, with use cases from key providers focusing on the contact center.Author: Nancy Jamison
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