We often talk about the automation robots and how good an investment they are from a holistic business perspective. The robots can do almost anything these days and are a good way to boost your customer experience and make the customer journey as effortless as possible.
We can create powerful self-services that cut corners for customers and have no need for human interaction in a lot of cases.
By Torbjörn Hörberg, Customer Experience Expert at TM Group
The agents might be shaking their pants when they hear the words like automation, business process automation, RPA, RDA etc. They might be asking themselves, and each other, or saying:
“Will we, the agents, be fired now?”
“Oh no, another system to learn…”
“Why can’t they just create one system for all processes…”
“I have worked here for so long; I know what to do and how to do it.”
And my favorite: “I can beat that system in speed! Just wait!”
Expect these questions and comments from your agents if your company decides to go with any form of automation. So, how can we get the customer service agents on board?
I will try to pin down some key points when implementing automation like BPA to keep your agents happy and feel that this is the way to go.
Probably the most important thing to do.
In all automation projects we need some SME´s (Subject Matter Experts) to map the process and find out how to complete it as a robotic and automated process.
In this phase we need to create workshops with different types of agents; everyone from the oldest in the game that knows everything about the interaction with the customers to the newest that has all these questions about the process that the more experienced never think about, because they are stuck in old habits.
The mix of these agents will lead us to a stable BPA process and automated solution.
Keep them in the project from idea to drawing to execution, and all the way through to the automation solution is completed and let them test and evaluate the end-result. These will be the ambassadors for the rest of your organization and boost other agents in confidence in themselves and the new automation solution.
2. Be honest
In most BPA projects there will be savings coming from the project, either reduction in AHT (average handle time), closing of knowledge-gaps, or some manually handled processes will be completely removed and run through BPA instead.
Be honest about the manual tasks that will disappear, show how much you calculate it will remove and what the steps are. But be sure to have a plan on how the savings will impact the business and organization. Is it about cost savings totally, then you need to be frank and upfront about that, if you’re not, it will be an unnecessary long road to get the agents onboard to use it in the extent that is needed.
Most of the scenarios are that the savings will be reused in the interaction with the customer, cut down que times etc. You need to show this big time! And let your agents be in on the decision for where they think the savings will do the most good. It might surprise you how good of an answer you get on this. They are in it all day long; they are the experts, and they are the heroes. So, treat them as such.
3. Let the agents see how it works in other companies
Create good awareness by letting your agents see how other companies have created their BPA journey and the experiences from them. The voice of a like-minded agent is more powerful than the voice of a superior/manager.
This will be powerful and create an even higher feeling of inclusion. If you let them take in all the information from other users, they will probably add some extra to your process and implementation as they ask the questions, that management don’t see at all or ignore because they think it’s irrelevant. How, why, and what if….
You can do this by inviting agents from other companies to tell their stories about the outcome of implementing automation. Do it yourself or get your solution-provider to do it for you.
This was some of my tips for making the BPA journey easier to adapt to as an agent. I really want to point out that if you create ambassadors among your agents you will get a good end-result and adoption rate of the new automation solution.
I would love to hear what you have experienced in your journey, what was the key factor for your success – both as the decision maker, but also from an agent-perspective. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.