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For too long, two powerful automation technologies have taken different paths in the enterprise. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) found its home primarily in the back-office, automating processes in the CFO organization. RPA has proven useful anywhere there are repetitive, error-prone tasks, typically involving multiple systems or spreadsheets that can be quickly and easily done by a machine.
Chatbots or virtual agents have lived in the domain of Customer Experience, automating interactions with users through a natural language interface. Organizations can automate any customer service conversation that doesn't require human reasoning and judgment.
So, RPA automates tasks. Chatbots automate conversations.
Nowhere are these technologies better combined than in the contact center, a place where chatbots are new and RPA is often unknown.
Let's consider the potential of these technologies using a common contact center metric - Average Handle Time (AHT). AHT is the average time it takes to handle a contact from start to finish – from beginning a call or chat, to wait time, to an actual interaction with an agent and any post-contact work required to log the call or fulfill the user's request.
1) In a contact center, time is money. Every minute spent with an agent impacts the contact center's ability to scale. If AHT goes down from 5 minutes to 4 minutes, fewer agents will be needed to fulfill the same number of calls.
2) For consumers, higher AHT causes frustration. Every minute they wait on hold or sit quietly while an agent searches for information erodes their goodwill. Lower AHT reduces churn and increases loyalty.
While you are waiting on hold, agents often have to access 3 to 5 different systems (or more) searching for information and updating records. A consumer sees themselves as one person. A business may see them as multiple records in a CRM, a billing system, an order management system, a service desk system and more. When companies make acquisitions, they inherit existing systems that add to an agent's web of screens they have to manage and databases they need to update.
RPA is an ideal technology to make the agent's life easier and significantly reduce AHT. When a customer needs to change the address on their order, the agent should be able to update the information once and let the RPA bot do the rest of the work in every other system where that address may live. When an agent needs to look up a customer's order history across multiple different product lines and companies, they should be able to do that at the click of a button rather than manually accessing every system where an order has been placed or tracked.
Chatbots and voicebots optimize this even further. When the customer starts with a chatbot rather than a human agent, they can express themselves in natural language and the AI will determine their intent. If a user says, "I want to change the delivery address for the order I made last week," the AI understands they need to change their order and that the timeframe for the order is last week. The chatbot can then pass the customer's updated delivery address to an RPA bot that can find the systems that store the information and update it accordingly.
And all of this can be handled instantly without any human handling, reducing handle time to seconds rather than minutes.
The combination of chatbots and RPA brings a new capability to customer-facing self-service, bringing automation to processes that formerly required a live agent.
Cognigy and Kofax have teamed up to bring RPA bots into conversation with your users, whether they are customers, employees or business partners. The combined solution of conversational automation and task automation makes businesses and their contact center agents more efficient and their customers happier.
Follow our "Build your first Chatbot with Kofax RPA and Cognigy.AI" tutorial to understand the basics of how these technologies work together. You can get started with free demo environments from both Cognigy and Kofax.
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