Robots aren’t taking our jobs: how robotic process automation helps improve customer service.

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Here’s a perfect example of a task that humans do better than robots: deciding which tasks to automate. We must evaluate risk and analyze how suitable a process is for automation - this requires human judgement, reasoning, and compromise.

But yet, there are plenty of processes that are ripe for automation.

At ATB, we’re not afraid of working alongside automation, because we know how much value our (human) team members provide to each other and to customers. Our team members offer, through judgment, the ability to listen and engage - things our bots or any AI we implement just can’t provide.

When we evaluate and implement intelligent process automation, we use a customer focussed lens to identify and prioritize projects. By focusing on customers, we’ve identified over 50 processes to tackle through a combination of streamlining and end-to-end intelligent automation.

Our goal: to disrupt the customer experience and reduce manual work required by team members, allowing them to focus on the value of human interaction (and eliminating potential for common human faults, such as typos or inconsistencies in data entry). By leaning into intelligent process automation technology, we get to continually live up to our tagline “Banking Made Simple.”

Automation means that we can:

  1. Reduce risk

    Think of a simple form of automation: automatic vehicle lights. For decades, a human had to turn on the lights when it got dark. Automation removes the human factor of this clear binary decision. When the sensor detects dim light, a switch flips and the headlights turn on - no possibility for human error, and reduced risk of accidents due to impaired visibility on the road.

    Similarly, processes like account suspension based on fraudulent activity benefit greatly from the combination of high-powered real-time data monitoring. Automation then carries out tasks between different internal systems based on data inputs and structured rules.

    Even updating customer information such as addresses can be a tedious task because team members must go into numerous different systems depending on the products that the customer has with ATB. Process automation, combined with data validation on the inputs, eliminates the risk of errors and reduces overall manual work for our team members so they can work on what they do best.

  2. Work smarter

    As a human race, we’ve levelled up in terms of our intelligence and achievements. We’ve historically used tools to augment our abilities, and now computing power and technology have put information at our fingertips. We’ve moved from needing to know how to do math to needing to know how to use a calculator to input your problem, for example. Now, we are taking this one step further and moving into a stage where a computer can actually identify both the problem and the solution.

    ATB is an organization that offers a diverse set of products and services. Therefore, we have a lot of systems and processes in place that don’t always talk to each other. What robotic process automation allows us to do is create value for our customers by enabling the connection of all of these processes. Problem → Solution.

  3. Save money

    Working more efficiently is always a key priority in business. Anywhere that we can streamline process and improve how we work provides value to our customers and stakeholders. Thus, robotic process automation allows us to streamline process without investing in new systems and means we can service our clients faster.

    We are also living in an interesting time where technology has become more democratized. Computing power is not only increasing at an exponential rate. That power is also becoming accessible at a much lower price point. Improvements to hardware and the rise of cloud computing make it possible for any organization to employ better technology at a lower investment than ever before.

  4. Provide more value

There is so much opportunity to augment human knowledge and decision-making by leveraging technology in banking. We can be smarter about giving advice to customers, and about fulfilling customer requests. We can move information faster and more seamlessly. Rather than aiming for 100% automated processes, we are working toward 100% value-added work from our team members.

Combining the power of technology and the skills of our team members enables us to enhance the ATB experience. Whether you prefer to find answers to your banking questions on your own or by speaking with one of our team members, process automation and technologies such as artificial intelligence allow us to deliver a great customer experience every time.

In addition to robotics software, we leverage enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing to optimize our processes end-to-end. AI can help us better capture what the customer needs (but not feel like they are interacting with a robot), and from there, robotic process automation can execute the process to fulfill their request. Eventually, machine learning and using robots as a service will allow us to build on these solutions and integrate more of our core processes or third-party applications.

What’s so magical about process automation is its ability to drastically change the customer experience without huge investment in back-end systems. We’re not afraid of a future where error-prone repetitive tasks are handled by robots and our human team members can spend their time providing value to ATB customers.

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Technology, ProgressSarah Matysio