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Robotic Process Automation – A Knight in Shining Armor for Online Retailers?

Posted by Francine Haliva on Mar 30, 2017 11:09:18 AM

Now, more than ever, online retailers need a knight in shining armor. Online shoppers expect competitive prices, easy payment options, quick delivery and free returns, but the real differentiator is customer service. So much so, that a whopping 91 percent leave following a poor customer service experience and 89 percent will run straight into the arms of your competitors. 

These statistics should make every eCommerce business sit up and take notice, and yet, surprisingly, this opportunity is still being missed by the majority of online retailers with only 1 percent of customers reporting that they feel their expectations are always met.  What can be done to turn this around?

If customer service is the new battleground, then the way to win this battle is to provide customers with an experience that is as seamless and effortless as possible. For many online retailers, ‘attended’ Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is providing the means to do just that, by delivering desktop automation and and in-application guidance and that enables customer service agents to perform at their best.  

Whether the agent is handling a customer service inquiry or processing a claim, the RPA system provides exactly the right information, guidance or task automation at each step, in real-time.  This allows the agent to focus on the conversation and provide the level of customer service that keep customers happy and coming back for more.

Here’s a closer look at how robotic process automation is empowering online retailers to take charge and win the customer service battle:

1. Solve problems quickly to prevent customers leaving 

Forrester Research reported that 45 percent of U.S. shoppers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly and almost every call center manager will tell you that no single KPI has a bigger impact on customer satisfaction than First Call Resolution (FCR).  In a study of more than 150 call centers by the Service Quality Measurement Group it was found that for every 1% of improvement in the FCR there is a corresponding 1% improvement in customer satisfaction. The SQM report also found that call centers that achieved “world class” customer satisfaction ratings had a FCR average of 86%, while centers that were not among the elite in customer satisfaction had a FCR average of only 67%.

Take charge with RPA: Rekeying data, updating fields, navigating complex applications and retrieving customer specific information - are just some of the many tasks today’s call center agents perform while contending with often-frustrated customers.  The key to improved FCR is providing agents with the relevant information at the right time in a manner that allows them to focus on the customer.  

Attended RPA solutions, such as Leo, improves FCR by constantly monitoring the agent's desktop activities. Agents can choose to be guided through the steps of the processes (in-application guidance) that are relevant to the user’s current open and active application and window or choose assisted automation (desktop automation) to automate ‘swivel chair’ activities within the business application so they can engage with the customers, while the system automates form completion, transfers data from one system to another, etc. This goes a long way to alleviate customer frustration and improve the customer experience. 

2. Improve Net Performer Score

Getting direct feedback from customers is the best way to get a clear picture of where you stand and what improvements are needed for providing better customer service.  While there are various methods to go about measuring customer satisfaction, from old school feedback surveys to complex data capturing, the Net Performer Score (NPS) has been proven as a simple and very effective way for evaluating customer satisfaction and loyalty. It's calculated from the answers to this simple question: "How likely are you to recommend us?"  The number of people who would, minus the ones who wouldn't, gives you the Net Promoter Score.

Take charge with RPA: Customers want to be appreciated and they can feel when they have your full attention and when they don't. The more engaged your customer service rep is with a customer, the more that you are showing them that you truly appreciate and value their business as well as understand their concerns. RPA allows customer service agents to offer the best answer/solution quickly and with significantly less errors.  

3. Provide more personalized customer service

Customer service agents who have a good understanding of the customer's needs and can personalize their interactions are more effective than those who do not. The more information on-hand; the better.  This can include purchasing history, caller demographics, previous call recordings, voicemails, emails and social media postings.  Agents with access to this information have better insight into the customer and are able to provide more personalized service.

According to Accenture, while 72% of retail leaders demand data-driven decisions from their organizations, only 25% say they use their data "to a great extent."  The main culprit? A lack of the proper tools to gather actionable insight of their customers’ shopping experience – until now.  

Take charge with RPA:  With attended RPA, agents have quick and easy access to comprehensive information about the customer while on the call and can tailor the conversation to the customer's specific needs, and offer the best solution.  Furthermore, the system prompts the agent with personalized recommendations - turning every transaction into a cross-selling and up-selling opportunity that provides true value for the customer AND potentially increases the size of the sale.

If you liked this post, you may also be interested in these blog posts:

RPA is Supercharging Chabots

RPA Change Management: People Still Matter

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Topics: Robotic Process Automation, RPA, online retail


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