How to Use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for Customer Service

What’s better than a happy customer?

A happy customer that you were able to satisfy with only a fraction of the effort normally expended.

Sound good? Then you need RPA!

Robotic process automation (RPA) is being utilized by a growing number of businesses in everything from sales and marketing to finance and accounting to customer service.

With RPA, customer service teams are able to integrate systems, streamlining both the end-customer’s experience, as well as the team’s backend workflow.

What Is RPA?

Before we get to the specifics, let’s quickly define and explain RPA in general terms. RPA utilizes software robots (or “bots”) to automatically complete tasks according to business-defined rules. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve already experienced RPA before. For example…

  • If you’re shopping for a home, you may tell your real estate agent your specifications (zip code, price range, bed/bath numbers, etc.) and then receive an email each morning containing new listings that match your criteria. That email is automatically composed and delivered according to the system’s rules – that’s RPA!
  • If you receive store coupons for the products you frequently buy at the grocery store, then you’re benefiting from RPA.

In short, RPA is the programming of robots to automatically perform step-by-step actions according to custom, business-defined rules. Let’s look at how this technology can be applied to customer service!

Better Experiences for Customers and Customer Service Reps  Through Integrated Systems

Perhaps one of the best uses of RPA in the customer service field is for integrating customer service representative (CSR) systems. Organizations can use RPA to unite disparate systems and databases, making search and retrieval of customer information much easier for customer service representatives. Of course, this benefits both the employee (by making their job easier) and the customer (by expediting the phone call, online, chat, PoS interaction, etc.).

Many companies use RPA to integrate their email databases, call centers, membership/loyalty account number systems, and other core systems, providing real-time access to data across applications. This gives CSRs a consolidated view of the customer’s profile and information. Everything from billing history to records of previous interactions can be quickly viewed in a single dashboard, allowing the CSR to better answer questions, handle complaints, and maximize selling opportunities.

With RPA, businesses are able to provide a more efficient and comprehensive service that better demonstrates their value to customers. A unified dashboard, for example…

  • Can prevent a CSR from extending an offer the customer has already received multiple times.
  • Allows a CSR to quickly acknowledge past account issues or business errors, setting the stage for a positive interaction.
  • Makes it easy for CSRs to quickly locate relevant information, thereby minimizing wait times and delays and improving the overall delivery of service-level agreements.
  • Eliminates the need to login to multiple systems in order to perform tasks.
  • Frees up representatives to shift the focus of their work from data retrieval to more meaningful customer engagements that prioritize improvements in customer satisfaction.

Manage & Schedule Service Requests

Another popular use for RPA in customer service is in receiving service requests and scheduling appointments. With this approach, it’s easy for customers to submit service requests – whether through email, automated phone systems, chatbots, or other means – and have those requests pushed through to a customer service representative. The CSR can then enter the appointment into a single system, which will automatically push the appointment into a calendaring tool, line of business application, accounting software, or anywhere else that the data needs to flow, as determined by business defined rules. With RPA, the customer service rep only has to make a single entry, instead of the numerous they previously had to.

Many customer service departments also use RPA to schedule and trigger customer communications. A dental practice, for example, may periodically send out reminders to patients who are overdue for a cleaning. The service department of a car dealership may automate reminders to get an oil change based on the specific vehicle’s needs and the customer’s average mileage.

Once an appointment has actually been booked, RPA can be used to send notifications and reminders leading up to the time of the appointment. These are just a few of the ways that customer service teams can strategically implement RPA.

More Ways to Use RPA in Customer Service

RPA’s potential in customer service is limitless! In addition to the uses already described, customer service departments can use RPA for…

  • Renewal notices. Inform a customer that their service/plan will automatically be billed on a certain date.
  • Customer information updates. If a customer’s information is updated in one system, RPA can ensure the data is updated across all other company systems for that customer profile.
  • Request updated billing. If the credit card on file is due to expire, a notification can be sent to request that the customer update their billing information.
  • Send rewards or incentives. If a customer has been inactive for a certain period, an automation could be triggered to send a discount, reward, or incentive to return.

Want to learn more about how RPA can be used in your customer service department? Contact us for additional information!

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