RPA 101 – Applications of RPA in Telecommunication Industry
Telecommunications has a wide range of operations such as database management, customer service management, purchase order management, IT and infrastructure services. Given that RPA is flexible, it can be applied across operations and departments. Some tasks like repetitive back-office processes can be automated totally while others can be automated to the desired extent.
Irrespective of the level of automation that RPA adds to the tasks, cost reductions and better efficiency are noticed. RPA is commonly used as a lifeline to free the back office personnel involved in daily mundane repetitive tasks. However, when RPA is applied to front office tasks, significant improvements have been noticed. RPA is indeed changing customer experience for the better.
In order to prove the efficiency of RPA within Telecommunication Industry, we will walk you through 3 major pillars:
- The challenges of Telecommunication Industry.
- How RPA can help solve those challenges.
- Use cases for RPA in Telecommunication Industry.
The challenges of Telecommunication Industry
1. Improper information flow
There is a large volume of data that telecom service providers deal with pertaining to customers, sales personnel, network providers, and engineers. Although this data is stored in the electronic format, physical copies are also maintained. All of this information must be shared well between the various departments which are spread across multiple locations. Improper flow of information can hamper the ability of telecom service providers to create a positive experience for their customers. Delivery of service can get delayed and tracking the business activities may get difficult.
2. Low-performance level
Telecom service providers apply IT to the back office to speed up work. But these back-office personnel have to work on various applications, systems, platforms, and databases. These platforms work simultaneously and need proper coordination which is not always possible. Human intervention is required to solve the problems which can interfere with the work schedules of personnel who are responsible for customer interactions. Such deviations from work routines hinder the creation of positive customer experience.
3. High operating costs and capital expenditures
Telecom service providers incur high costs as they have to protect data, maintain data integrity, pay employee salaries, market their offerings, advertise and invest in expensive breakthrough technology equipment. These costs are very high and need to be controlled. Driving down such costs can shift the attention from creating better services for customers.
4. Risk of errors
There are a number of activities in the telecom industry that are manual in nature with higher possibilities of errors. Some of these include rekeying data, updating data fields, and understanding information by going through the massive knowledge base. It can quickly lead to customer dissatisfaction as the correct information may not be readily available to them, taking up a lot of their valuable time.
Although many of the telecom companies are technologically equipped to meet these ongoing challenges, with changing times, telecom service providers require unique and innovative services to effectively navigate the transformational phase and fierce competition and ensure superior customer services.
The telecom industry is at a stage where it can take advantage of upcoming technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to help them streamline their business processes. RPA allows telecom industries to automate different tasks across various systems, which are mostly labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Adopting RPA can help telecom businesses overcome several challenges to help their business operations and give them a competitive edge.
How can RPA help solve those challenges?
1. Smooth the data flow
RPA (software robots) are capable of replicating human actions and can easily interact with the interface. In the telecom sector, RPA implementation can close the gap between data sources and access by offering specific data that a customer/staff needs. Further, the non-invasive nature of RPA makes it easy to implement it with existing workflows.
2. Scale operations
Without incurring additional costs, software robots can be upsized or downsized to cater to the demands. Workflows across departments can be replicated in different departments across various locations. Manual work can be allotted to machines and that frees up personnel to focus on important tasks. This enables telecom service providers to scale and respond better to market situations, growth and temporary fluctuations in demand.
3. Increase customer satisfaction
Using RPA in telecom, a number of back-office processes can be automated. It allows the employees to not get worked up with time-consuming back-office tasks, and focus more on client requests for enhanced customer satisfaction.
4. Enhance efficiency
RPA based bots are fully programmed to follow manual routine processes. Equipped to work 24/7, they never get tired and work with 100% accuracy and consistency all the time. It also eliminates the need for employees to do repetitive, mundane & redundant tasks and focus on other important work priorities.
5. Boost productivity
RPA technology takes care of all the routine and non-strategic activities and frees up employees from these processes so that they can completely concentrate on the tasks that need human intelligence. Further, bots are much faster compared to humans and can perform the same work in much less time.
6. Reduce cost
Any new technology that the business wants to implement would come at a cost. But the implementation cost of RPA is not so high as compared to Enterprise Resource Planning or Business process management software. The software license of RPA can be used for more than one process whether it is for back-office or front office tasks. This allows for cost reduction and boosts return on investment.
7. Improve average revenue per user
The average revenue per user is one of the main KPIs in the telecom industry to look for. By using RPA technology, telecom companies can identify sales opportunities by analyzing customer data and the customer’s eligibility for various promotions or sales campaigns while on an ongoing call, thus driving both cross-sells and up-sells. To have this information available at the time of the call, translate to better sales pitches, leading to increased closing rates and average deal size as well.
Use cases for RPA in Telecommunication Industry
1. Network management
One of the challenging areas for telecom providers to tackle is capacity demand, as an increasing amount of rich content is constantly being transferred between apps, devices, and users.
With an increase in traffic levels and the complexity of distributed networks, telecom network management becomes difficult for service providers as it includes navigating complex applications, rekeying the data manually, and retrieving huge volumes of customer-related information to improve the efficiency of the network infrastructure.
Implementing RPA technology allows telecom providers to use automated solutions for repetitive tasks like incident, event, and diagnostics management so that network engineers can divert their focus towards more complex processes.
2. Invoice & purchase order processing
RPA is a perfect fit for the telecom industry, as there are multiple repetitive organizational tasks that take time away from more efficient and productive ones.
By using software robots to conduct periodic maintenance work, monitor networks, keep backups, and distribute emails, RPA offers complete automation based on the complexity of the task. Further, RPA technology can be used in the telecom industry to digitize invoices and emails, helping the employees save their valuable time and focus their attention on better revenue generation strategies.
3. Customer onboarding/offboarding
Implementing RPA and automating the process of customer onboarding and off-boarding helps the telecom providers maintain robust clarity on all customers and their information.
Further, RPA powered bots make it super easy to add customers automatically whenever a new one joins and also simple to remove when they leave. It helps the telecom sector save time, reduce the chances of errors, reduce costs, and save their employees from wasting their time on unproductive manual tasks.
4. Efficiently responding to partner queries
Most of the companies in the telecom sector rely on external partners such as independent brokers to sell their services.
RPA based software robots are fully equipped to respond to the simple queries, interpret emails, and redirect the complex questions to humans making the overall process of query resolution much simpler. Further, RPA also assists in customer service as it can automate call sharing to human employees instantly so that they can serve the customer immediately to ensure better work efficiency, increased profits, and overall enhanced customer service.
5. Manual sales order processing
RPA in telecom can seamlessly capture all the business process tasks performed by the staff, thus minimizing the manual efforts required in sales order processing. This can be achieved by generating a well-structured workflow based on employees’ actions, which serves as an infrastructure for all the automated processes.
Further, telecom companies can map each process step with the cost associated with its manual execution to be able to identify the steps which need automation that can lead to the highest return on investment. This kind of robotic process automation in telecom is a good example of how it helps to manage large, unstructured datasets.
6. Data transformation
This is another area where RPA in telecom can bring significant changes. The industry depends on huge sets of data stored in various file formats. RPA powered software bots can help transform all this data into a structured and uniform format, with an ability to work with non-standard formats of data as well.
Further, combining RPA with other upcoming technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can allow telecom providers to analyze predictive patterns based on structured datasets. RPA here can help organize the database, whereas AI can create predictions continuously with much higher accuracy.
7. Expense control
RPA based software robots can be used for reducing operational and capital expenditures by maintaining robust data integrity and security, providing automated and regular reports, and managing software and hardware costs. It is especially suitable for small companies looking to benefit from significantly reduced costs. Additionally, RPA technology can also be used for billing and revenue management by automating those tasks.
8. First call resolution (FCR)
RPA technology enables software bots to rapidly access data, thus assisting the telecom agents in addressing the high volumes of customer demands on their first call without having to do repeated follow-ups.
Further, RPA promotes FCR rates, thus helping the telecom firms ensure customer retention and loyalty. Customer care processes with higher FCR rates lead to enhanced customer satisfaction and retention with lowered operating costs and happier employees for businesses.
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