What’s your most valuable resource as a company? If you’ve done a good job of building your business, then the answer should be “the people.” The employees you’ve hired are the most valuable resource because they, quite literally, run the company on a day-to-day basis, forming the infrastructure that builds a long-running and lasting business. They’re also the face of the business, representing the way that customers experience whatever service or product it is that you provide. They’re there to be cherished and valued.
For some, the idea of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) may appear to be the antithesis to a people-first way of running a business. The fear of many people is that automation is all about replacing humans with bots that will work 24/7, 365 days per year, without ever asking for a pesky vacation — or even a weekend. In fact, RPA can augment your human workforce in a way that might surprise many. Here are four ways in which that’s true.
#1. RPA opens up more interesting avenues of work
RPA can automate certain repetitive, high volume workplace tasks. That’s a major time-saver for employees, who most likely didn’t particularly enjoy carrying out these mundane tasks too much to begin with. But does that mean replacing the need for human employees? Not at all. While it’s true that those specific tasks may not need a human to perform them, humans remain an incredibly important part of the workplace.
By cutting down on the repetitive, high volume tasks that need to be carried out, what automation does is to allow human workers to instead carry out other, more rewarding tasks — whether this be more creative ones, tasks that involve a higher level of strategizing, or ones that feature more focus on human interactions with customers (such as so-called “relationship banking” in a financial firm). With RPA taking care of more of the day-to-day tasks, businesses can better be in a position to encourage their employees to learn and adopt more critical functions within the organization. That’s efficient use of resources for any company.
#2. Boost employee happiness and productivity
The results of the above are that employees will feel happier in the job they are doing, since it’s more likely to stretch them creatively — rather than be filled with mundane, relatively mindless jobs that, as RPA tools more than demonstrate, an automated script could carry out. Not only is this more likely to yield business owners positive results from the extra brain power that can now be allocated to creative and strategic challenges, but it could also well have an effect on areas like employee turnover, based on the fact that happier, more productive employees are more likely to stick working for a certain company for longer.
Post-pandemic, many businesses are finding that employees are less likely to stick around in jobs they don’t like. Finding ways to make these jobs more engaging is a win-win for all involved.
#3. Helping improve customer service
Good customer service is essential for any business. Far from a “nice to have,” in an ever-more competitive business environment, it’s now a “must.” No employee wants to work for a company with substandard customer service — not least because happier customers and fewer complaints means a more enjoyable working atmosphere on a daily basis. RPA can help with customer service in several ways.
As noted in point #1, RPA can help to reduce employees’ workload — in this case by answering some of their queries and providing automated responses where possible. This can also reduce the amount of time it takes to answer these queries, from potential backlogs lasting several days down to hours, minutes, or even, in many cases, seconds. When there is a question that can’t be answered automatically, RPA bots can route messages to the right person to make sure that an answer is provided as rapidly as possible. Furthermore, RPA “attended automation” solutions can sit on employees’ desktops and offer them targeted suggestions based on contextual information; allowing them to better answer questions and provide a superior service.
#4. Scaling people power in the best way
There’s only so much one person can do, right? A positive aspect of RPA is that it can help with the automation of processes that can be easily adjusted depending on workload. It’s difficult to rapidly hire large numbers of people for a growing business without risking lowering the high standards of quality from your previous hires.
Even more difficult is the possibility of having to downsize workforces if demand suddenly tails off. RPA tools, which follow processes laid out by humans, makes it easy to scale quickly and efficiently depending on customer demand at any given moment. This means solving problems in an effective manner that still allows you to retain the best possible employees.