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Robotic Process Automation Takes the Front Office: Automation and Customer Service

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The Benefits of Front Office Automation

Customer service is vital to business success. Automating back office processes can offer support to front office staff by easing the burden of high-volume repetitive tasks. However, front office automation can revolutionise company interactions, communications and engagement with customers.

It has been stated by David Brain, Global Head of Process Robotics & Innovations Labs Product Lead of Sutherland Innovative Labs (in an interview with the Institute for Robotic Process Automation), that front office RPA can ‘assist your agent, making them more productive and improving customer experience with lower transaction times, fewer manual errors and avoiding repeated questions for the same information. It can also open up new channels of communication on your existing systems such as responding to customer’s balance enquiries by text.’

Front office automation delivers two main areas of advantage: executing activities that front office staff would usually perform, and freeing up their time for a greater focus on enhancing customer experiences, which therefore helps to encourage repeat business and to retain clients long-term.

In the publication Intelligent Automation Entering the Business World, Deloitte explains more about the additional advantages front office automation can facilitate for the client, stating that many organisations, including banks and insurance companies, are already implementing RPA to fix ‘a lot of attention on the front-end and on improving the customer experience, deriving a single view of the customer and their transaction history, and ensuring that customer’s interactions…are satisfactory regardless of the channel.’

Establishing Robotic Process Automation in the front office is emerging as a powerful intervention to ensure routine tasks are attended to so that staff can concentrate their energies on more vital activities.

Integrating RPA with the Front Office

We’ve made the point that front office automation has the important benefit of cultivating more valuable company-client interactions. How does RPA do this, and what are the specific advantages of using this technology in this environment?

Faster Transactions: The time taken to attend to a customer’s questions is an important factor in the efficient operation of the office. Customer queries must be dealt with as quickly as possible, especially in the case of call centres that aim for particularly high levels of customer satisfaction. By establishing Robotic Process Automation in the front office, tasks usually completed by staff members can be swiftly delegated to the robots, allowing a more streamlined and productive method of contacting clients. RPA can reduce the burden of query back-logs and handle high volumes of incoming enquiries. So, with less administration work to do, employees can offer better customer service.      

Improved Communication: One vital use of RPA in the front office is to manage customer communications. It can remind employees to follow up with clients based on a customer contact schedule, as well as flag client complaints as soon as they occur. Simultaneously, the Robotic Process Automation system can use automated messaging to spread awareness amongst customers on a company’s new services or products. The facilitation of clear communication channels allows for a deeper understanding of the people you serve — your customer’s wants, needs, desires — and how to best meet these expectations through the positioning of your products and services.    

Substantial Error Reduction: Drastic increases in accuracy are possible when RPA software robots are employed, whether it be in the front or back office. After programming and mapping is completed, robots can conduct actions in a productive and efficient manner without the human error factor. An example is when staff need to navigate through many systems during one customer service call so that they can access databases, input new information and answer questions. This way of doing things makes for lengthier calls and can cause errors. RPA allows data to be automatically transferred so that information can be retrieved from only one place. This ensures that staff can provide a higher level of accuracy, which means fewer customer complaints. 

Collaboration Between Front and Back Offices

After that discussion, the advantages using RPA in both the front and back office are clear. Establishing a communication link between the back office software robots and the front office human staff allows for a higher quality of customer service to be delivered more consistently. Employees therefore get the systematic support they need to enable them to focus on real-time human interaction with customers. With Robotic Process Automation on their side, enquiries can be more quickly attended to more accurately, and employees can focus their attention on deepening their understanding of customer needs and expectations. Employees and RPA software robots working hand in hand across the front and back offices of organisations is the way of the future, with benefits arising from the productivity and efficiency of automation as well as the human aspect of one-to-one personalised interaction.  


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