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RPA can give your chatbot superpowers – Your chatbot might be able to resolve common customer queries, but can it complete processes – and serve customers dynamically?

If your chatbot is limited to simple tasks, such as retrieving customer data and providing answers to support queries, you might want to consider integrating an RPA bot, so your chatbot can handle more queries and respond to more complex requests.

Before we explore the potential benefits of connecting your chatbot to an RPA bot, let’s get clear about what we mean by these terms.

Skip ahead if you’re already familiar with the basics.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are applications that seek to replicate human agents. Depending on the app used, chatbots can either respond to simple customer queries by drawing on a list of pre-constructed answers, or they can use artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) to ‘understand’ comments and questions from customers.

More advanced chatbots can learn from interactions and draw on CRM systems to provide customers with information on their past orders or account status.

Read: Implementing the right chatbot: what to look for 

What is RPA?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a type of application that can be programmed to complete certain software tasks. For example, if your agents frequently consult one application to populate a form in another system, RPA can be configured to complete the process for the agent, saving them time and the frustration of a menial, repetitive task.

RPA systems are easy to configure. Instead of hard-coding a software integration with APIs, administrators instruct the RPA bot to open the appropriate applications, navigate to the correct menu and then complete the tasks. RPA bots require user access and privileges in the same way that human agents do.

Combining chatbots with RPA

One way to think about the merging of these two technologies is to view the chatbot as the front-end for the RPA bot. Chatbots provide a user-friendly interface that can trigger the RPA bot to complete more complex tasks.

Here are just a few examples of how chatbots + RPA can cut costs, reduce pressure on your agents and improve the customer experience:

Advanced customer requests

Imagine a customer wants to change their address, but you need to update two systems, and send a confirmation letter. Instead of trying to configure your chatbot to complete all of these back-end tasks, you can use the chatbot to gather the customer’s new information, and then activate an RPA process to manage all of the internal workflows. Your customers don’t see any of this taking place, of course, they just get a friendly confirmation message from the chatbot.

Reporting and analytics

Do you have particular workflows that relate to the management of your contact centre? You might need to record instances of frustrated customers, or customers who request a certain product. Whatever the process, you can configure the RPA bot to manage it all, so that you don’t have to rely on human agents to complete these low-value, high-repetition tasks. Another benefit of using RPA is that data is transmitted between systems and databases accurately and completely.

HR and IT tasks

Holiday forms, access provisioning, email signatures and hardware requests can all be automated with the use of chatbots and RPA. There is immense potential for completely eliminating human contact and interaction from a host of common business processes.

These are just three examples of how chatbots and RPA can work together. If you’re interested in these technologies, the best place to start is to define your goals, and to draw up a list of the tasks that consume the greatest time and effort but deliver the least value. These are the processes that are usually ripe for automation.

Is your organisation keen to explore the potential of chatbots and RPA?

As specialists in contact centre technology, we understand your unique challenges – and also the immense potential of artificial intelligence and robotics to improve the employee experience and the customer experience, while also slashing your costs.

Contact our consultants for an obligation-free chat about your needs.