• October 31, 2017
  • By Donna Fluss, president, DMG Consulting

Robots Are in Your Contact Center’s Future

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Robotic process automation (RPA), also known as robotics, has captured the attention of executives who are looking for ways to improve productivity and quality. Robotics is a catchy term and has an unlimited number of potential uses for companies, but it’s not a new concept or technology. RPA is essentially workflow technology targeted to specific uses and actions; vendors are using “robots” to handle dedicated tasks such as cutting and pasting data from one field to another. While RPA takes an approach that is slightly different from what has been done in the past, the underlying technology has been around for more than 30 years.


The time is right for RPA, even though the technology is not new. As companies are struggling to realize productivity improvements, they are more open to trying different approaches. In the past, companies may not have considered embedding robotic process automation into tasks that were primarily handled by employees, but today attended process automation is being adopted at an increasing pace in a variety of companies in many verticals. Sure, it would be better to fully automate activities handled by live agents, but companies are realizing that even if they can reduce employee handle time by only 10 seconds per work item, they can realize significant savings in a single workday when employees handle hundreds of work items.


Employees appreciate the benefits of RPA, as it frees them from performing mindless activities; it also improves work quality and customer satisfaction because robots do not make mistakes. Error rates, the need for rework, and customer complaints all decrease as a result.

The downside of RPA is that it is intended to drive productivity improvements, which translates into staff reductions, a sensitive and iffy subject, even though such reductions are highly beneficial to a company’s bottom line. The vendors that sell these solutions are struggling with their messaging, as they don’t want to come right out and say that they drive staff cuts. Therefore, the vendors are conveying a message that RPA can help a company redeploy its staff to more valuable activities. In fact, a series of well-defined robots can, as noted, eliminate the need for employees to be involved in low-value activities; this presents a great opportunity for companies to experience true productivity improvements, which is a positive step for most economies.


Desktop analytics (DA) has been around for years and is struggling for general adoption. DMG initiated coverage of DA in 2009 when we issued our first report on what was an emerging IT sector at the time. DA has many potential uses and benefits for companies. It can be used to track and monitor what employees are doing at their desktops and is also highly effective at identifying the actions employees should be taking and guiding them on how to proceed, which is referred to as either next best action or real-time guidance. Additionally, DA is being used by organizations to mask personal or sensitive information.

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