A Practical Approach to Tackling Automation: Your Questions, Answered

Attendees at our March 8 webinar were treated to A Practical Approach to Tackling Automation in Your Contact Centers, with insights from HGS VP of Solutions and Capabilities Lauren Kindzierski along with special guest Katrina Menzigian, VP, Everest Group. Together these automation experts shared learnings from enterprises already on the automation adoption path, with a special focus on how to prepare your organization for optimal impact from automation. This session will provide key information such as:

  • Mapping of the different types of automation used in contact centers and how they differ
  • Use cases of contact center automation already deployed and early results
  • A planning checklist for organizing your company’s efforts as you think ahead to your automation journey.

Our presenters took a pulse on automation, with three polls to measure adoption and implementation:

  • For our poll “What types of automation has your organization already adopted?” 72% of respondents demonstrated their willingness to learn from the ground level—answering “None.” A total 17% of respondents have adopted “Cognitive Agent,” with 6% adopting remote desktop automation (RDA)/Assisted robotic process automation (RPA), and 5% employing Unassisted RPA.
  • The second poll, “What challenges are you hoping to address with automation?” showcased that 35 percent of companies are initiating this strategy for “Slow Delivery Speed,” with 24% dedicated to “Non-Compliance,” 18% committed to “Revenue Leakage,” 12% to “Channel Conflicts,” and 11% to “Training Challenges.”
  • Finally, for poll three, “Which of the areas is your organization looking to apply automation to in the coming months?,” 30% answered “Agent-Facing Processes,” with 10% tied for “Customer-Facing Processes” and “Back-Office Processes,” while 50% of our attendees responded “All of the Above.”

A Practical Approach to Tackling Automation in Your Contact Centers

What does this tell us? By all webinar results, today’s companies are increasingly building resources and strategy to employ intelligent automation, and to significant ROI. Post webinar, our presenters shed light on our attendees’ most pressing automation questions: Q1: What’s the ROI on a typical automation project? Katrina A: If we look at RPA and chatbots, we have found we can safely look to anywhere from 15-20% savings in a steady state scenario of RPA and chatbots. A lot of that is going to depend on the outcomes you are trying to achieve and how well you migrate from the old scenario from humans to humans and technology. There is a lot of learning that has to happen, as to the rate of the system’s learning, so that you get to that steady state. That helps determine the level of savings and how quickly savings are achieved. And of course there is the data that underlies all of this and being able to pull in the data and the analytics effectively in order to make the system more robust. Lauren A: When it comes to ROI, there is such a size and scope to the projects you can tackle with automation that it really does all depend. For some of our automation projects, we have saved our clients millions of dollars. The opportunities are really endless but it comes down to what type of business you are, what industry you are in, and what your processes entail. Q2: What is the trend around people issues impacted by automation? Lauren A: I get asked this question all the time: Are robots going to replace humans? This is my take on it, and I would be interested to hear your perspective. In my view, robots are not going to replace humans—especially when you think of customer service. You can have the very best cognitive agent robot there is but, in terms of complaints, customers just want to be heard. They want empathy and for someone to really, truly listen. I don’t think any bot on the planet could replace that. Ultimately, automation and robots are going to make our agents much more efficient. In terms of all the different areas of opportunity for automation, look at the easy stuff, like password reset. Automation is great for those types of things. And when it comes to customer complaints, agents can respond well to those issues. At the end of the day, what is going to happen is that the conversations that are left for humans are going to be much more complex and require a high degree of empathy. Katrina A: I agree. We are in the process of publishing a study that looks at what kind of skills are going to be needed. That includes human skills like the strong value of emotional intelligence and being able to really listen to what’s going on with the customer. To achieve brand loyalty, what’s needed is empathy, as well as demonstrating the ability to solve customer problems. Similarly, skills should support an omnichannel environment. Some companies are looking to have “super agents” who can move between channels to support a given customer, as they also shift between channels. This requires a lot of skill in managing the flow of the conversation and knowing how to pick it up, continue it, and drive it to a conclusion. There are all sorts of new skills that agents are going to need. Today’s recruiting often means that the talent hired has a specialty. For example, maybe they are a customer of the brand that is being supported. So companies want to hire only people who know their brand and their product and can speak from firsthand experience about that product or service. There are a lot of different thoughts in the market about what kinds of talent we need in these contact centers. Register for our April 25 webinar, “Expert Predictions for the Future of Customer Service.” Attendees will learn how to measure digital success and integrate bots and AI and implement and improve text message customer service.      

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