What is Attended Automation and who needs it?
By: Karen Inbar
Attended Automation bots are software robots that reside on call center agent’s desktops and are designed to work collaboratively with people in real-time. These desktop bots can automate certain tasks on behalf of the agent, freeing them up and increasing their capacity to take on more complex, higher value work. They can also guide the agent in real-time with next best action advice, enabling agents to perform better and reach their KPI’s.
We all interact with contact center agents from various providers such as our bank, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We call their customer support center for different reasons, to get information about a new service or product, make a purchase, submit a claim, change our mailing address and more. In recent years however, we moved to consume a lot of these services over the internet, since companies are now offering many services in self-serve mode. However, for the more complex issues, like trying to understand the bill following our recent visit to the doctor, or to solve a technical issue with our mobile phone, we would usually prefer to pick up the phone and speak to a live agent. So, although our calls to the contact center are less frequent, they are more complex.
If we try to put ourselves in the contact center agents’ shoes, we’ll quickly realize that their job is not an easy one. Dealing with complex customer issues, frustrated or angry customers, while complying with their company’s internal KPIs is no easy feat. Let’s imagine a situation where a contact center agent, Sophie, just completed a call with a customer and already has another customer waiting online to get service. She needs to summarize the previous call as well as handle a few after-call items, like send a letter to the customer with the call details. These activities could easily take up to 5 min, but she doesn’t want to keep the other customer waiting for long. These conflicting situations happen on a daily basis.
With attended RPA, we provide contact center employees with their personal robotic assistant to help with these exact scenarios. The robot can free up Sophie to take the next call by automatically creating the call summary, which involves taking note of all the action and field entries which happened on Sophie’s screen during the call and filling up a pre-defined ‘call summary’ template with the relevant details. In addition, the bot can insert those details into an email template and send the information to the customer, from Sophie’s email account, taking the load off of Sophie and allowing her to take the next customer call with ease.
The name ‘Attended Bot’ came about since it ‘attends’ to the employee’s needs, just as a flight attendant attends to passengers on board a flight. These bots are also sometimes referred to as RDA – Robotic Desktop Automation. Essentially, these bots function similarly to the standard RPA bots, following business rules to execute a business process. But they have additional capabilities, use cases, and benefits, which unattended bots do not have.
Some examples include:
Process guidance: an attended personal assistant bot can provide process guidance on top of the typical automation activity (which it also provides). The guidance provided can be geared for efficiency, compliance or up sales.
Real-time Desktop triggers: unlike other attended automation solutions, NICE’s attended bots are automatically triggered by the employee’s desktop activities, in real-time. This means the employee doesn’t need to deliberately activate the bot, but the bot rather monitors the employee’s desktop work, and will pop up with the relevant assistance, just when its needed, during the course of the interaction.
Management updates: management can push real-time updates to their employee’s desktops, so the next time the employee logs into their desktop environment, the management update will pop up on their screen, bringing them the latest content and guidelines.
On-the job training: the attended bot can pop up tips and guidelines for executing a complex or new process, so employees have the assistance they need until they become proficient with a specific process.
Attended bots are not only relevant for front office agents. Back office employees can also benefit from personalized guidance through a lengthy error-prone process, or from a desktop bot which can automate some of their more routine tasks, so they can get though more work items faster.
To summarize, if you want to help your contact center or back office agents with next-best-action recommendation, equip them with an attended bot which will show them the information they need to best handle and resolve a customer issue on the first call; present them with compliance-related scripts and guidance so they don’t forget a critical step in the process or miss reading the fine print when its obligatory; push management updates via on-screen pop-ups etc. By leveraging attended bots an enterprise can really scale the RPA footprint, since these bots assist each employee on their desktop, increasing the impact of automation and removing employees’ barriers to adopt robotic automation technology, once they actually feel how these bots contribute to their performance, on a daily basis.