Customers evaluate brands throughout their experiences with them during the entire customer journey – starting from the discovery of a brand and its products, up until the termination of the relationship. A brand’s ability to provide excellent customer experience (CX) has become the key differentiator to win the market. To ensure the best CX, a brand need to understand its clients, their preferences, their motivation and decision-making process and then adjust their offer to best meet clients’ expectations.
Digital consumers are moving their positive experiences into the world of digital services – they pay more and more attention to personalisation. Brands understand that personalisation is a great opportunity to build a strong relationship with the consumer. This has to be based on proving that the brand not only knows the customer and the history of their relationship with a company, their lifestyle and needs. And consumers are highly sensitive as to how much of their time and effort is required for each transaction; the processes should be as frictionless as possible. They expect simple, clear instructions and be advised as to the potential pitfalls ahead.
So the digitalisation of business has created an opportunity to meet consumers’ expectations in these two areas: personalisation and in time & effort. Using solutions as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence, companies can create individualised offers based on big set of data and information from previous interactions between client and brand. And processes which are automated can guide consumers through their journey in a comfortable and effective way as never before.
On the other hand, empathy appears as a challenge in digitalisation aspect. Clients expect firms to understand their individual circumstances, and investment of time to listen them pays off. New solutions and automated processes should also address those needs and meet consumers’ expectations during entire customer journey.
As personalization and time & effort are deemed to be the most meaningful pillars for setting up the great customer perception, there is undoubtedly a major role for modern IT tools to be played.
A new tool-development paradigm and available technologies enable quick automation and digitalisation to the workforce wherever they are needed. RPA platforms give the capability to emulate human actions on existing files and systems, following the exact process flow in any organisation. From the process owner’s perspective, implementing such a tool does not require any change to the processes, realigning them to the system. From the customer perspective – the robot will handle the mundane, time-consuming, repetitive tasks, while humans will be given more time to concentrate on more ambitious work.
Most importantly though, having the customer lenses, robots (‘bots’) may do the work in the background, the work that takes time during the sales or customer service. The scattering of the legacy IT systems often implies the necessity of putting the same customer data into multiple systems. In case of having an RPA bot onboard, the employee puts only the necessary data into one tool or file making that process quick and effective, while the robots propagate that data into the other data sources or even perform further actions such as service activation, product booking, etc. In that scenario, a robot working in back-office has a direct impact on the time and effort in the front line.
Customer experience may be also boosted by the RPA bots in direct communications. In case of claims, complaints or customer questions, the bot may identify the customer and collect all the necessary data for the customer service employee and – in particular cases – prepare a response. Going a step forward – the content of the message may be prepared using artificial intelligence and aligned to the particular way of communication the customer prefers. For example, AI algorithms may analyse customer intent, assess the emotions, and blend these with data regarding customer sentiment, loyalty, customer microsegment. Based on that, the AI bot will prepare an adjusted, personalised message. By applying the rules that define when such communication is sent – immediately, directly to the client without human touch – we can address the issues of both time & effort as well as personalisation.
Beyond the processes which are directly related to time of customer service, there is a boatload of back-office processes across the whole range of areas – from product management, customer data management, through logistics to invoicing, billing or reconciliations – that happen in the back office. All this is invisible to the end customer, but having an impact on the overall time taken to serve the customer.
Finally, the pace of developing the RPA bots makes these changes rapid-to-implement. Comparing with new software purchase, development or system replacement, RPA bots may be deployed much faster. The average time needed for end-to-end bot implementation for one process spans between three and six weeks. It is especially important in highly competitive markets, where rapid actions need to be overtaken to address the arising pain-points.