Excellent service experience has always been the goal of great brands. When all is said and done, and the customer goes back to use the product or service, what decides brand differentiation and customer retention is post-sales experience. But, throwing more resources to manage today’s complex post-sales processes is like running on a treadmill – you sweat it out, but get nowhere. That is why we believe that service experience is ripe for major transformation at the hands of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).
There are three areas where smart process interventions push service experience to the next level:
- Connected self-service: In most instances, customers have to reach out for service. They call, text, mail or chat when they need assistance. Can we change this? Using channel of things, we can monitor anything on a real-time basis, from elevators to consumer goods and entire production plants, and reach out proactively to the customer to offer a service. The monitoring systems use pre-defined threshold metrics for device and process performance to trigger alerts. When the drum of a washing machine vibrates beyond its threshold, a service engineer reaches out to the customer. When the compressor of a pneumatic pump in an oil and gas plant rises too rapidly, the supplier sends a replacement before the plant experiences downtime. Connected self-service is being implemented across industries and is a classic example of smart processes in action.
- Knowing the customer for self-service: In many instances, self-service is static. Typically, this is the case for a bank or an airline where fixed menu on a website or an IVR system force the customer through a vast number of irrelevant choices and instructions. Customizing (or allowing the customer to decide) service processes based on customer profile and data is a smart way to deliver faster and better service. Data and profile-based service can use two methodologies to complete service request
- Unattended (Bot-led): The interaction is handed over to intelligent service bots that use natural interaction to attend to customers. This allows a customer to re-schedule visits by a service engineer. The service bot enables this interaction using customer data and smart processes that link service availability and service location. Industries such as e-commerce can use unattended service to let customers change product orders, delivery schedules etc.; industries such as insurance can use it to let customers make changes to their pension funds or switch a health insurance plan.
- Bot-assisted: Automation will never replace specialist-driven service assistance. In case of fraud or dispute on a card purchase, a specialist who understands the customer’s needs and the intricacies of the issue must take a decision. However, in such instances, putting data at the disposal of the specialist through bots helps drive accurate decisions.
- Connected field service: The field service for a product presents unique challenges and opportunities. When an engineer is assigned to manage field breakdowns, the engineer may need to access a specialist to troubleshoot or complete repairs. Smart processes help speed up resolution by making the right remote specialist available while Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are used to assist the engineer with step-by-step instructions in repairing/replacing faulty components. In the case of industries such as consumer goods and utilities, customer data also helps service engineers have a meaningful dialogue with the customer and exploit up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Smart processes quickly decipher customer usage patterns and preferences, map them to the diagnosis made by the service engineer, and deliver insights in real time that help create customer conversations.
These automation-backed solutions will soon become the default in improving service experience. The challenge is to industrialize these solutions, making them flexible so that they can be reconfigured at will and made available at scale. This is where IPA makes a difference.
IPA works at automating every underlying process in service management. This means breaking down hardwired processes in an organization to their atomic level, allowing business to compose service experience based on needs. IPA enables businesses in shaping automation strategies by identifying the right candidates and business outcome based approach.
To achieve industrial scale, IPA uses a combination of four components to create a holistic approach to service experience:
- Adaptive Workflows: Processes that were hardwired are made fluid with adaptive workflows, providing systems the ability to leverage dynamic processes
- Intelligent Decisioning: Using vast amounts of data, the system derives context to deliver customer-centric Next Best Action.
- Cognitive Process Automation (CPA): This helps ingest documents (such as contracts and claims) and extract relevant information. In essence, CPA eliminates manual processing of documents, improving process velocity and reducing errors.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA): A majority of rules-based back office processes, information and data are locked in mainframes. Service agents have to retrieve this and plug it into modern service engines. RPA manages these repetitive tasks efficiently, allowing service agents to improve their productivity.
Organizations can elevate service experience by applying immersive technologies such as AR and VR and combining them with rich conversational interfaces. Result: improved post sales stickiness.
For more on smart processes, read our latest report - Smart applications: The future of applications.