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Conversational Process Automation: what is it and how is it better?

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No matter the industry, you would’ve heard of chatbots. They’ve been around for four years at least. However, you might not be familiar with Conversational Process Automation (CPA), though. What is it? Let’s get right into it.

The chatbot evolution

The term ‘chatbot’ became popular a few years ago. So, people are shocked when they first hear that chatbots have been around since 1966. The first one to be made was called ‘ELIZA.’

For many years after that, chatbots remained in the shadows of the research domain. It was only in 2016 when Facebook Messenger adopted the chatbot technology that the rest of the business world opened up to them.

Since then, a proper field pertaining to chatbots has been established. It is called conversational AI: the ability to manage conversations between a human and a machine.

But let’s step back first:

A deep dive into Business Process Automation (BPA)

According to Gartner:

BPA is defined as the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies. It focuses on “run the business” as opposed to “count the business” types of automation efforts and often deals with event-driven, mission-critical, core processes. BPA usually supports an enterprise’s knowledge workers in satisfying the needs of its many constituencies.”

The fastest emerging field within BPA is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) which UiPath defines as:

“Robotic Process Automation is the technology that allows anyone today to configure computer software, or a “robot” to emulate and integrate the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute a business process.”

This is where things stop for most people. Beyond the popular RPA, however, lies the field of CPA.

CPA refers to the automation of customer-facing tasks via chatbot interactions, most of the time with the chatbot integrated with core systems to allow end-to-end processing. CPA also leverages advanced analytics to continuously improve both the underlying process and the conversation with the end-user.

In this regard, CPA is the perfect marriage between the conversational world and the process automation one.

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How is CPA different from other digital solutions?

Innovation has been weaved through technology so much that now there are more customer-facing solutions for better customer communication than one can implement. So, what makes CPA stand out? Let’s delve into each one succinctly.

Call centres provide an overall good and personal user experience. However, they saturate quickly causing customers to wait. No one likes waiting and complaints are inevitable then. This ultimately damages the reputation of the brand. The only way to overcome this problem would be to have one operator per customer, which is not viable business-wise. There is no space for automation here.

Webforms and portals provide a good business performance by leveraging digitisation to automate processes that were once performed manually. Yet, webforms lack the personal conversation of call centres. They reduce the interaction to a digital monologue. Customers today expect more than impersonal and clunky interactions. Essentially, there is no intelligence here.

Web live chats empower human agents to manage multiple personal conversations at the same time. It empowers and scales call centres. However, a limitation arises yet again. Each agent can manage a maximum number of 4 conversations which causes long waiting times. Thus, at their core, web live chats suffers from the same constraints as call centres; it only delays the arrival of that constraint. There is no automation or complex process here.

CPA allows the optimum customer experience by preserving the personal conversation and delivering it digitally at scale. CPA enables an unlimited number of personal and consistent conversations at a fraction of the cost of the analogue ones.

conversational-process-automation-1

Conclusion

This is merely a short introduction to CPA. You can see check our Ultimate Guide to Conversational Process Automation to see how CPA can help to transform critical customer-facing processes into performant ones that bring revenue and save company costs.

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