The Role of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in Customer Onboarding

Customer Onboarding and the Power of RPA

Businesses are always looking for ways to do more with less, to be leaner and get more from their people and processes. Technology has given businesses the tools to help drive these efficiencies; however, many human-based, ‘swivel chair’ processes have been out of reach of those traditional approaches.  Now, they are the low-hanging fruit, ripe for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). These are the routine, repetitive processes common to consumer-facing organizations, like banks, insurance companies, or healthcare companies.

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In the B2C environment, onboarding often results in multiple interactions with the customer, by multiple employees and departments, to gather data and complete the required due diligence. Often, these processes require interactions with multiple internal and external software systems that are linked together by a human on a ‘swivel chair’.  The same holds true later in the relationship, as companies seek to increase visibility into customer behaviors and engage in ongoing, individualized upsell campaigns.

RPA has a role to play at every critical stage of the onboarding and customer relationship process. Robots are simply more efficient at performing many routine tasks than human beings could ever hope to be. A Robot doesn’t get tired, it performs the same set of instructions every time, and it can eliminate or significantly reduce errors inherent to human processes, decision making, or incorrect or incomplete data.

RPA for Customer Applications and Due Diligence 

This is the initial stage of the customer onboarding process – the ‘getting-to-know-you’ phase. New customers provide the information requested and check the boxes on their applications, and businesses qualify them. It’s the customer’s first experience with the business. The company wants it to be a good one, but they also want to protect themselves by ensuring the information’s accuracy and by assembling a complete picture of the customer’s pertinent financial and biographical history.

Due diligence often requires more than just the information provided during the initial contact. Robots are useful for going beyond the information provided and the boxes checked, verifying data and searching for secondary information on the customer as required by the business. RPA can bring automation to searches and data collection, and can apply decisions based on those results to complete these processes. Knowledge workers can then focus on human critical-tasks while RPA relieves them of routine tasks.

Streamline Customer Relations and Make Work Flow

RPA for Online Registrations

Online registrations are closely connected to the customer application process; businesses are asking customers to provide information for qualification and verification purposes. Like the traditional application process, an online registration experience may shape the customer’s first impression, so it needs to be as simple, intuitive, and collaborative as possible. Communication with the customer throughout the process is crucial.

While RPA isn’t designed to replace line of business applications that manage this data, it is the technology that can help glue disparate systems and processes together. RPA can break down barriers to a smooth customer onboarding experience. Automation can simplify the process by requesting as little data as possible and populating the rest of the registration form. Robots can also automatically communicate onboarding status and proactively engage customers when their next interaction is required.

From the business’ standpoint, RPA can provide detailed onboarding metrics that were unavailable or difficult to track before, quickly verify data, and increase stakeholders’ visibility into the transaction. Robots performing repetitive tasks streamline the customer onboarding process, and where exceptions require human intervention, the robots can migrate those cases into a workflow that ensures they receive the needed attention promptly.

RPA for Data Management and News & Social Monitoring

Of course, due diligence doesn’t necessarily end once a customer has been onboarded. The administrative demands associated with managing customer data on an ongoing basis can be excessive and cost-prohibitive. Robots can perform the routine administrative tasks of verifying phone numbers, addresses and account details. Companies that may have been limited to a single manual review of customer data to perform customer data verification activities as often as needed without incurring additional manpower costs.

Certain factors – a bankruptcy, for instance – impact customer risk-ratings. A robot can be programmed to search public information records or verification resources for bankruptcy filings or late-payment histories, flag those activities and distribute that information to the appropriate stakeholders and decision-makers within the business.

In all cases related to updates, verification, and management, RPA can ensure that any update to relevant customer data, be it a new phone number or a new job, is automatically populated in internal systems across the organization.

Leveraging RPA for social monitoring might also uncover opportunities for up-selling existing customers. For instance, a robot monitoring social media may find that a customer has gotten married. It can then populate internal systems with that information. From there, a robot could send out a congratulatory email and suggest-sell a related product or service.

Winners in the digital economy will be those businesses with the most trusted customer relationships, and trust can be won or lost with first impressions. RPA, deployed effectively at the customer onboarding stage, streamlines and simplifies the customer experience at the point of their first interaction with the business. A seamless experience leaves a powerful, positive, and lasting imprint.

RPA has established itself as a transformational technology within the four walls of organizations, profoundly impacting operational efficiencies, process effectiveness, and even workplace cultures. Now, an increasing number of organizations are turning their attention outward, testing the transformational promise of RPA on customer-facing processes, perhaps none more important than new customer onboarding.

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