BANKING

Robots Will Do More for Banks Than Simple Cost Cutting

Will Davenport explains why Robotic Process Automaton (RPA) is a ‘must have’ tool for contact centre managers in streamlining processes and eradicating pain points 

Will Davenport

Will Davenport

Banking is made up of complex and time consuming processes in the back office, ruled by compliance and regulation, which have a direct impact on the customer experience – this is where RPA has the power to streamline and enhance customer service.

Following regulatory protocols and instituting background checks are imperative, but despite customers understanding of these necessities they still want to be able to set up and change accounts, apply for loans as seamlessly and quickly as possible.

This is where RPA comes in. Robots offer a number of key advantages that have huge benefits for the banking sector. As well as being time and cost efficient they can significantly improve workflows. They can also deliver superior results to humans, as they have zero margin for error and can work through repetitive, monotonous tasks 24/7. With the addition of artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing they can also be trained to work autonomously.

RPA puts banks’ call centres back on track

Take for example an Italian bank, which was having difficulty meeting its own SLAs due to the large number of calls it was receiving into its contact centre. A team of 500 agents were handling a staggering 650,000 a month. With many calls requiring follow-up activities, primarily data entry, it was pushing resources to the limit. Operatives were finding it almost impossible to meet the five-minute response time target for fraud alerts.

An RPA platform was deployed which automated many of the post-call manual activities, which were eroding agents’ time. In addition, desktop automation tools were utilised to guide agents through the fraud alert process. The contact centre is now meeting its SLAs 100% of the time. The average handling time of the closing phase has been reduced by 82%. The bank also records 99% accuracy in the handling of over 8,000 fraud alerts a month.

Of course there has been much hype about RPA. Gartner maintains that the global RPA software market grew by a phenomenal 63% last year with banks being one of the biggest adopters. In our experience, as well as making significant cost and efficiency improvements, RPA platforms also help speed up organisations’ digital transformations. Here we outline six benefits we have seen that are deliverable from an RPA approach:

  1. Automation inevitably reduces costs. According to Softomotive’s survey of medium-sized businesses adopting RPA, 44% identified reduced operating costs as a main benefit. This is achieved through improved efficiencies and workflow together with lower staffing levels.
  2. RPA cuts errors. Any RPA failures are due to human error rather than technology and allows banks to learn from past mistakes. An Arvato Bertelsmann report highlighted the fact that improved accuracy supports compliance and quality control, with automated processes being fully auditable.
  3. RPA frees up humans from mundane tasks to focus on core business activities. This can add enormous value to business operations where the human touch goes along way in attracting new customers and retaining customer loyalty. The Arvato Bertelsmann report found that 96% of respondents looked to automation to free up staff time for more business-critical tasks.
  4. RPA can enhance service levels.The faster and more efficiently your teams can complete tasks the better the overall quality of service. Increased accuracy also supports tighter SLAs. The freeing up of staff time allows customer-facing staff to focus on delivering a premium, personalised customer experience.
  5. RPA’s unique ability to pull together diverse systems is one of its unique attributes. Arvato Bertelsmann spotlighted several key benefits in its report, including the ability to update and change processes centrally rather than having to address each one individually.
  6. RPA offers an accelerated ROI. Many adopters of RPA report quick and substantial returns on investment, which is music to the ears of any CEO.One study from the Everest Group cited that the average company could expect to double its investment in initial returns, rising to a multiple of four for the top performers.In one stand-out example, Telefonica 02 claimed an ROI of “650-800%” within three years of deploying RPA for transactional processes.

The beauty of RPA is that it can be applied to customer service enquiries in the call centre directly as well as to information flow in the bank itself. Working together with RPA banks and other financial institutions can dramatically improve the customer experience and provide a faster, more seamless overall service.

The author is a director at Business Systems (UK) Ltd, a specialist for 30 years in providing call recording and workforce optimisation solutions for investment banks, city trading floors and insurance companies

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