How is RPA a customer service differentiator for banks?
By Steve Morgan, Head of Global Banking at Pegasystems
“Increasingly, companies in the financial sector are adopting business transformation strategies to improve customer experience and profitability while reducing service costs. As the industry is under enormous pressure to meet rising customer service expectations and has had to deal with the pandemic, it is imperative that banks work faster and more efficiently by simplifying and automating business processes and transactions.
For some time, banks have recognized the benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). What is becoming increasingly evident is how RPA has gained traction from its initial reputation as a narrow, purely tactical solution, enabling the industry to create flexible ways to fully automate routine steps in specific IT systems to reduce tedious manual tasks in the event of ambiguous decision points. Automation is at its best when the underlying processes are transformed to add new value and therefore it is increasingly desirable to have a larger framework that can support this type of transformational intelligent automation.
RPA can help customer service agents, for example, by automatically connecting to applications and ordering them in a way that helps agents navigate efficiently when serving customers. Removing these rather simple but frustrating sources of friction can accelerate results by allowing employees to focus on customers rather than applications.
Additionally, RPA can also provide a foundation for improving key customer service metrics. Using RPA and desktop analytics in conjunction with CRM, BPM, and service desk applications can also facilitate streamlined visibility and accountability for results. However, this is where automation is best – where it’s built into the end-to-end solution rather than layered on top of it. To truly differentiate through automation, the entire customer and employee experience must be transformed.
So what does this look like in practice?
An international bank turned to RPA to solve a specific problem during the pandemic. There was a huge volume of customers looking to avoid mortgage payments. The customer service teams were unable to process this spike in requests on time.
The bank turned to automation to eliminate the growing backlog of customer requests and provide a scalable solution that combines full automation with personal assistance when needed. He used RPA to automate the backlog of customers requesting a payment deferral. This allowed them to process 6,300 requests end-to-end out of a total of 10,000 requests over two days; and the initial backlog of applications was cleared in just five days.
This example illustrates the practical benefits of adopting RPA. However, many organizations report difficulties with their RPA deployments.
In an international study of over 500 companies using RPA commissioned by Pegasystems, there were some striking results. For the most part, RPA is a major component of their systems, but 87% said they face automation failure, with on average only 39% of planned bots deployed on time and one in two reported bots more difficult to deploy on time.
These experiences do not diminish the benefits of RPA, but illustrate how banks should choose RPA solutions that are easy to customize and deploy and should fit into a larger framework that supports seamless automation and transformation of end-to-end process. The team working on any implementation must also have the right mix of skills covering not only the technology solution being implemented, but also the process from the perspective of the customer and the bank employee. The ultimate goal of transformation should be intelligent process redesign and application modernization, leading to a superior customer and staff experience.
As banks focus more on effective automation, a mix of intelligence built into automation, ensuring that if needed you get help from the most qualified person, will become increasingly important. We’re all becoming more used to things working very well in an automated way, and any tip or exception element needs to be handled very well to differentiate between banks. This will be the battleground of customer service now and in the future. Errors and delays will be less and less tolerated.
Taking customer journeys or experiences in-context end-to-end and focusing on technology-augmented manual exception-based processing will be the ultimate goal. High value activities, consulting, error or dispute handling, customer onboarding, KYC and general compliance activities will benefit the most. »