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Intelligent Automation: Modern Tools for the Modern Contact Center

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Contact center agents are tasked with providing an exceptional customer experience for the brands they represent. They’re the first line of defense and an integral representation of the values and expertise of an organization. To do this well, they need the right tools. Unfortunately, many organizations have failed to equip them with the right technology to enable success.

This is where Intelligent Automation can significantly reduce the amount of effort associated with servicing customer inquiries leading to improved efficiency and operational savings. In this article we provide an overview of what intelligent automation is and why it is so important, outline some main kinds of intelligent automation platforms and tools, and look at some results applying intelligent automation in your contact center can have, including better customer experiences, improved KPIs, and reduced time and costs.

Let’s explore how intelligent automation technologies can accelerate your brand's digital transformation.

What is Intelligent Automation?

Intelligent Automation is often a proactive part of an organization’s digital transformation. It uses a strategic combination of thoughtful automation technologies like machine learning, natural language processing, robotic process automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate tasks that help orchestrate key areas in the customer journey to ensure the experience is the same in every channel.

Contact center leaders often use intelligent automation tools to automate processes and manual tasks in a business environment, reducing the amount of human intervention needed to complete repetitive tasks.

Intelligent Automation is an umbrella term for several automation capabilities working in combination to deliver improved business results. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Business Process Automation (BPA): An aspect of Business Process Management (BPM), BPA refers to the use of technology to automate business procedures and streamline manual tasks and processes to save time on repetitive tasks to reduce costs caused by human error and increase efficiency within an organization. BPA uses a combination of automation software, automation tools, and automated processes to improve workflow automation, playing a pivotal role in a contact center’s digital transformation.
  • Robotic Process Automation (RDA): Unattended software with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) that handles common, high-volume, repetitive tasks. It’s used on the back end to help associates process back office work quicker and with minimal errors. Examples are case classification, queries, calculations, and basic maintenance of records and transactions.
  • Robotic Desktop Automation (RPA): Attended automated solution that helps associates work faster and more efficiently by simplifying and automating business processes and transactions on their desktops. It’s essential for front-line associates who need to be freed up for more personalized service.
  • Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA): AI-enabled chat assistant that generates personalized responses by combining analytics and cognitive computing based on individual customer information, past conversations, and location, leveraging the corporate knowledgebase and human insight.

All these programs work together to assist with simple or repetitive tasks, freeing both the front- and- the back office to streamline operations and give them more time with the human interactions that matter.

So apart from making your job easier, why is Intelligent Automation so essential

We’re only human

It doesn’t take long to sit down with even the most tenured contact center agents to see the complexity of the applications, processes, and the insane amount of manual inefficiencies these agents must deal with to service customer inquiries.

A recent study by Pega found that only 28% of active work is being done within the structured applications like ERP, CRM, and legacy applications businesses spend the most time, money and resources building and maintaining. That means over 70% of their time is spent navigating through unstructured data and applications like Microsoft Office, Outlook, and other third-party web sites where error rates are much higher. These unstructured applications result in one error for every 14 keystrokes.

Furthermore, on average a contact center agent will switch between applications 1,100 times a day, toggling between as many as 35 applications in each shift. Agents are typically required to fill out forms depending on the call type and this is where the manual copy/paste madness begins and the frustration for both the agent and the customer. On numerous observation sessions a customer could be heard asking “are you still there?” because an agent is frantically trying to complete these manual tasks.

Intelligent Automation to the rescue

Organizations need a practical approach to reduce humans needing to complete tedious, manual processes. Real time and rule based intelligent automation to the rescue. Create operational excellence over existing applications and customer interaction channels.

For example, robotic automation is incredibly powerful software that mimics human manual activities and reduces the dependency for human beings. The beauty of RDA and RPA is that it doesn’t require any changes to the underlying application platforms. You don’t need access to source code or APIs, and it doesn’t matter if the application is mainframe, desktop, web, Java, .Net, virtualized or custom applications. It’s a rapid visual design environment that deploys monitoring and automation solutions iteratively and incrementally.

Bottom line, you can start to see results and savings within weeks without waiting for the “IT Roadmap.” You can also increase production capacity without having to increase headcount while significantly improving the agent and customer experience.

To learn more about the difference between robotic automation software, check out our technology guide to RPA and RDA.

Intelligent automation in action

TTEC has a proven methodology to provide customers with an unbiased, data-driven decision on where to begin this automation journey and the ability to remove the technical and operational obstacles that stand in the way of great experiences.

In working with a large EMEA-based telco, TTEC optimized over 200 front- and back-office processes that showed anywhere from a 27-94% reduction in agent task time depending on the process. We deployed software robots to assist agents with these manual tasks reduces average handle time, ensures process compliance, eliminates errors, reduces training time and allows agents to focus on communication, empathy, and problem-solving skills.

Drive better business outcomes by evolving your automation

Our Intelligent Automation ‘as a Service’ optimizes costs and enhances business value by inserting thoughtful automation into key areas of the end-to-end customer journey. With strategic (and intelligent) automation, you can drastically improve the customer experience, enable and equip employees for greater productivity, and escalate contact center efficiencies.

Initiate Thoughtful Self-Service: When self-service options aren’t easy to find and use, customers leave. Today’s tech-savvy and impulsive customers want answers without human intervention. Our comprehensive and sophisticated bot technology maps issue type to channel across the entire customer journey, providing immediate (and preferred) self-service options for customers, removing customer effort and reducing your cost to serve.

Upgrade Employee Experience: Great customer experience is heavily influenced by how well you enable and equip your agents with the tools they need for success. Our intelligent automation solutions combine journey management, issue type and channel mapping to improve agent productivity and satisfaction while reducing attrition and improving customer experience.

Eliminate Tedious Redundancies: Employee morale plummets when associates perform more repetitive ‘busy work’ tasks than fulfilling and satisfying activities. Remove the most time-consuming and redundant manual tasks employees perform in the front- and back- office with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA). Realize business outcomes faster by deploying and implementing error-proof “bots” across any application with minimal disruption to the organization.

The future of work included intelligent automation

The beauty of automation is its ability to not replace our work, but its ability to work side-by-side with people to bring out the best in employee and customer experience. Intelligent Automation capabilities free up your team to work on the human interactions that matter by completing requests and processes around the clock.

Once you understand the wide array of tools that can offered today, you are one step closer to entering the contact center of the future.

Additional intelligent automation resources

TTEC’s intelligent automation solutions are platform-agnostic to bring enterprise-level workflow management, connecting legacy systems with new technologies, to support and improve customer-centric journeys and deliver exceptional customer experience across all customer communication channels.

Contact Center Automation Tools and Trends for the Decade Ahead: The implementation of contact center automation is accelerating, so it is essential for companies to implement best practices, or risk falling behind the competition. To know which tasks to turn over to artificial intelligence and a machine is a challenge. In this article, we explain the most important approach to successful contact center automation, outline some of the main types of contact center automation tools being implemented in contact centers, and discuss the benefits of an optimized balance between humans and AI in your CX automation approach.

RPA Tools and Trends - Conquer Complexity and Costs in the Contact Center: Robotic process automation (RPA) has surged as companies look for ways to enable business continuity and deliver effortless customer experiences amidst uncertainty. Done right, companies can save tens of millions of dollars while achieving triple digit ROI from intelligent automation in the contact center in a short period of time. Read this white paper to discover research to support the positive economic impact that intelligent RPA creates for enterprises of all sizes.