Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Call Centers and Finance/Accounting Work Undergoing Dramatic Change

In recent years, leading companies have looked to integrate digital voice models into their customer service. By doing this, they are making customer service calls time efficient while also eliminating up to 40 percent of FTEs in their call centers. Emerging technologies can also cause an additional 20 percent cut of live agents working in call centers, reducing FTEs by a total of 60 percent. They do this by applying Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology. Not only have large companies been using RPA technology to improve their call centers, but they have also used the technology help eliminate to approximately 40 percent of FTEs currently positioned in their finance and accounting sectors. Most people would argue that cutting FTEs by 60 and 40 percent in just two sectors of a large company is quite unethical. Although these companies are literally replacing humans with robots, they have figured out an advanced way to save millions while making their services and work more efficient.
In my opinion, talking to an automated voice on a customer service call always makes me somewhat uneasy. Talking to a “real person” makes me feel much more secure and comfortable, but the technology backing RPA makes digital models promising replacements that could eventually completely overtake human call centers. Offshore finance and accounting sectors have been handled the same way. The remainder of the more skilled jobs are usually brought onshore because of the skillset needed to perform more intricate tasks. In turn, hiring becomes easier for these large companies because of the offshore to onshore shift. I find this whole idea of replacing the unskilled workers with RPA technology to be extremely innovative. Another reason I find this to be a great concept is because these large companies are helping stimulate the American economy by creating more jobs in the United States.

I deal with PayPal quite often because I do a good amount of business transactions through them, and I noticed their use of RPA technology about 2 years ago. Before then, I would call and wait about 5-10 minutes just to have someone pick up, identify my need, and transfer me to a specialist. The wait in between transfers would be another 10-15 minutes. Now when I call PayPal, an automated robotic voice answers immediately, asks me to confirm my account, and can accurately identify my problem with just a couple of words. The transfer time is still around 10-15 minutes, but if the wait is projected to be longer than expected, the automated voice gives me the option to wait for a call back from a specialist, which is much more convenient than holding a phone up to my ear for 15 minutes. Although talking to an automated voice can be frustrating at times, it works more efficient than actual workers because of the accurate and fast processing speed and the limitless amount automated robots working at once.

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterbendorsamuel/2017/02/15/digital-models-change-the-location-of-call-center-and-financeaccounting-work/2/#45c4cee31ca2

1 comment:

Sam Norton said...

More and more call centers are adopting analytics programs as a tool for improving business outcomes. Call centers are undergoing a period of rapid change primarily from demographic and technological transformations. Robotic Process Automation’s objective is to carry out business processes that would normally be done by human beings. The most success with Robotic Process Automation is in processes that are repetitive, rules-based and occur frequently. As businesses continue to look to reduce costs and improve flexibility, Robotic Process Automation is where businesses are turning. New technologies and software are allowing call centers to turn massive amounts of data into intelligence that can be used to boost a company's strategic position against industry peers.
Robotic Process Automation offers businesses many benefits but cost is the huge factor that must be justified. If a business opts for robotics it can automate processes cost effectively and quickly. I read that onshore full-time equivalent costing $50K can be replaced by an offshore FTE for $20K and automation software can perform the same function for $5K without the hassle of managing and training offshore labor. If a company keeps its business operations onshore than there is no need to rely on an offshore partner and maintain and control the throughput.
Automation can be implemented over a few weeks and achieve a return on investment quickly. An automated process is available 24/7 and is able to scale up or down according to demand. An interesting statistic that I read, on average, a robot can handle the volume of three full time employees. A business can handle peaks in demand by committing more resources to any process, without the recruitment, training and overtime costs. And most importantly, robots never give there notice.
Robotic Process Automation offers better customer experience with leads to increased sales. Shorter cycle times and increased quality are the formula for improved customer experience. This leads to more sales from existing happy customers and to new customers. Robotic Process Automation impacts you top line.
Call centers are rich with data, but it is not being properly used by businesses. Although Robotic Process Automation is not strong in analytical capabilities, the robots can retrieve data that then can be analyzed using other tools. If call center data could be integrated with other systems it could produce meaningful business insights. Cloud-based communications make implementing analytics and business intelligence much easier. With this information, call centers can directly influence the long-term strategic success of businesses. Businesses are looking favorable to the efficiency and auditability benefits of using robots over humans. Robotic Process Automation will continue to impact millions of jobs across the world because robots are making their virtual presence known.

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