At the time of writing, people are queuing up outside petrol stations across the UK — waiting impatiently, for gas.
A purchase which usually takes no more than a few minutes has even begun to disrupt, not just consumers, but entire logistics networks, with couriers struggling to find fuel. Who’s to blame? Brexit? A global oil shortage? (Well, yes, but…) Or bottlenecks? Even when systems are that well optimised, if one part of the chain has a critical failure, it all fails.
Bottlenecks are our focus here and now – so let’s look at how automation can help us to overcome them.
Add Fuel to The Fire
While current backlogs in the UK relate to physical queues for fuel, we can also think of backlogs in a digital sense: people backed up on your website trying to raise support tickets.
What’s the impact? Customer agents in your call centre are stuck on the phone dealing with an influx of problems created by a bottleneck – unable to offer anything more than an apology. All of this is lost revenue; not just because of downtime, but because you’re taking away chances for new customers to make contact with your business.
To get around issues like these, you need to start identifying the key parts of your processes which could be susceptible to failure. At PAteam, whenever we engage with a new customer we always start with a discovery phase. Making sure the scope of the project is understood means the end result will meet their requirement and won’t go over budget.
If something is missed during discovery it can have a big impact down the line. Think about the UK right now, the government didn’t pay enough attention to the number of haulage drivers available following Brexit and now they’re short-staffed.
Let’s take another real world scenario where identifying the stress points of processes helps to deal with bottlenecks: the dreaded filing of tax returns. Many people leave it till the last minute to complete their tax returns – meaning that tax departments everywhere have to deal with a tidal wave of submissions.
Knowing that this is going to happen gives the tax office a chance to brace themselves. Or at least it should. If it’s clear that a particular task will be impossible with just people, the ability to deploy automation at the busiest times, on-demand, to handle capacity is worth looking at ahead of time.
Any Time, Any Place
RPA can help at a tactical as well as a strategic level. There are problems you know will occur at some point. Just like tax returns, many businesses know their busiest periods – think Christmas for retail. But when it comes to dealing with unforeseen issues – such as rail strikes – it’s great to be able to quickly build and deploy a bot that takes care of messaging customers to keep them updated. No one likes being kept in the dark.
For all businesses technology should never be the focus. It should always be all about the customer. Bottlenecks hurt customers which hurts businesses. Understanding processes and using well built bots can aid customer satisfaction and that’s always the end goal.
If you’re interested in the benefits of RPA and have a challenge that needs tackling, contact PAteam today.