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RPA And Conversational Automation goes hand in hand

Take a second to think about robots. If you’re a science fiction fan, you’re probably picturing a walking, talking, roughly human-shaped machine. Business-minded readers might have imagined something more practical, like the robotic arms that build cars in factories.

While these examples and many others like them do exist, the robots most widely in use today are somewhat harder to envision. They have no physical form, yet they are empowering businesses and reshaping our consumer experiences like never before. Two of the most outstanding ones are robotic process automation (RPA) and conversational automation (CA).

Admittedly, RPA and CA certainly meet at least one definition of the word robot: a machine that automatically performs complicated, often repetitive tasks. In nearly every major organization today, these technologies are  used in some way to relieve humans from performing certain jobs. For companies looking to streamline bloated processes, control costs or increase customer satisfaction, the possibilities are limitless.

So while RPA and CA are different technologies and can be used separately, they can also work as partners — a chatbot on the front end directs RPA minions on the back end — to unlock untold new capabilities.

How Bots Can Help

While earlier versions of virtual assistants and automated processes were myopically designed to cut costs by replacing humans, the technology has evolved. When deployed strategically, today’s CA and RPA bots can become tools to improve a customer’s experience with faster, more accurate service.

And as CA technologies begin to understand human emotions, they’ll be able to detect keywords and changes in tone, picking up on a customer’s frustration, for instance, and adjusting their demeanor from cheery to apologetic. More than a friendly voice that directs you to the “next available representative,” these bots will close the loop on your request. For example, some hotels now have chatbots that can make reservations, provide restaurant recommendations or provide concierge-style assistance during your stay.

These technologies are also business enablers. Since bots have virtually no capacity limits, they can help businesses become more flexible, scaling up or down effortlessly to cope with fluctuating demands. There’s a soft drink company that uses RPA to automate the ordering process with its wholesale customers, so that part of the operation is unaffected by seasonal spikes in demand.

As operations become more cost-efficient, companies can free up funds that can be put to better use elsewhere in the organization, investing in innovation, manufacturing or marketing, perhaps. Take the health care provider that has automated routine forms processing with insurers and patients and can now direct the cost savings toward upgraded medical equipment and facilities. The soft drink company and health care provider are two proof-of-concept examples my company is working with to test these new technologies.

For all the focus on removing people from the equation, the longer-term benefit of automation is about repositioning human resources for higher-value work. Eliminating tedious drudgework can create space for people who do things that actually require a human touch. Consider an auto manufacturer that, by using RPA to handle invoicing and other transactions with dealerships, is able to focus their team’s time on value-added transactions or provide superior levels of customer experience they weren’t able to do before.

For detailed steps to apply RPA and CA, visit the original article on Forbe at the link.