Intelligent automation vs. RPA: How to avoid key mistakes

Customer service is demanding. On average a contact centre associate needs to handle complex applications, urgent customer needs, and all the manual inefficiencies that come with service inquiries. They need the right tools for the job.

Intelligent automation and robotic process automation (RPA) help free associates from simple, time-consuming tasks to focus on meaningful, high-tier, and often stressful customer requests. But even modern tools can be damaging for the employee and customer experience if used at the wrong place and time.

So, what’s the difference between intelligent automation versus RPA? Let’s do a deep dive into the differences between these digital tools, common mistakes to avoid, and explore how they can successfully empower associates.

What is intelligent automation?

Intelligent automation is an umbrella term for several automation capabilities working in unison to deliver improved business results. This includes, but is not limited to, business process automation, intelligent virtual assistants and, as we’ll explore further, RPA.

Intelligent automation is a proactive part of an organisation’s digital transformation. Contact centre leaders often use intelligent automation tools to automate processes, business operations, and manual tasks, reducing the amount of human intervention needed to complete repetitive tasks. It helps orchestrate keys areas in the customer journey to ensure the experience is the same in every channel.

Intelligent automation do’s:

Use intelligent automation to empower associates. Automation in the contact centre is moving beyond cost containment and self-service, we are now looking at tools that empower associates to make better, quicker, and more impactful decisions, as well as scale up digital service knowledge capture, codification, and application, to enhance service quality over the long term by using AI to identify patterns in interactions.

Intelligent automation don’ts:

Only deploy intelligent automation capabilities where it makes sense. Customers aren’t impressed by technology alone; they are impressed by the quick and impactful help it provides.

Deploy automation technology to enable capabilities such as self-service where it makes sense in the customer journey and make it easy for customers to reach a human when needed. Overall, intelligent automation technology is built to make processes more efficient, allowing associates to focus on more meaningful tasks and delivering empathetic support.

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation also known as RPA, can be attended or unattended software powered by AI and machine learning that handles common, high-volume, repetitive tasks. Think bots that imitate human work, such as data entry.

RPA is quickly gaining popularity in both the front- and back-office to streamline operations and free-up customer-facing employees to focus on more meaningful customer interactions while also lowering cost to serve and improving customer satisfaction.

RPA do’s:

Apply RPA to simple workflows that can be laid out step-by-step and do not need constant human intervention such as invoice processing, claims management, and fraud detection.

Tackling time-consuming tasks reduces the physical and often mental drain on associates to focus their energy on high-tier interactions.

RPA don’ts:

Do not rush AI technology. It’s important to ease RPA capabilities into your human workforce. AI technology can make their jobs easier but it’s incredibly important to be transparent on how it’ll strengthen, not replace, their position.

Only introduce automated tools when they’ve been thoroughly tested and trained alongside your workforce. And as automation takes over the easy tasks, begin retraining your staff on the soft skills needed for an increased focus on customer centricity.

What is the key difference between intelligent automation and RPA?

In a nutshell, RPA follows a set of rules to automate work that doesn’t vary. Intelligent automation includes RPA capabilities and more. It includes capabilities that allow bots to learn and adapt in real time. Think machine learning and natural language processing.

Deploy AI technologies meaningfully

Intelligent automation and capabilities like RPA are incredibly powerful tools at your contact centre’s disposal. Augmenting an employee’s everyday work schedule with automation lessens workloads, increases customer satisfaction, and could uncover new areas of interest for the employee. Especially when they are deployed strategically and with purpose.

Stay tuned as we explore more intelligent automation tools in future content.

To learn more about intelligent automation and RPA

Contact Centre Automation: Tools and Trends for the Decade Ahead: In this article, we explain the most important approach to successful contact centre automation.

3 strategies to deploy the best of humanity and technology with intelligent automation: In this tips & takeaways guide learn how your contact centre can impactfully deploy meaningful intelligent automation.

Decoding RPA and Intelligent Automation in the Contact Centre: Before your organisation invests in RPA/RDA, here is a quick guide to help you better understand the technology in general, as well as the differences between the two.

Leading the way with RPA at du Telecom: Discover how TTEC and Pega worked together to share automation expertise and enable intelligent automation for their client Du Telecom.

Automating Claims Boosts Accuracy: Learn how a leading global financial services strengthened its auditing and tracking capabilities with an automated claims processing system.