How the Robot revolution can save the planet?

Ending 70,000 years of boredom

If you search Google for Robots, you would be forgiven for thinking that Robot revolution will end the world.  When I researched this recently, I discovered that if Robots don't kill us, they are going to steal our jobs, steal our partners and lead to global war.  But before you think your robot vacuum cleaner will turn nasty, let's consider this decision in a historical context.  A 70,000 year old historical context.

I would propose that the problem started when humans encountered a huge technical revolution, when we moved from hunter gathering to farming. Great choice that formed the foundations of towns, cultures, politics, art, religion, law, democracy?  Maybe not, as Hunter gatherers worked less, had a more varied diet and a wider set of skills than farmers.  Whereas farmers worked harder, used a narrower, more mundane set of skills and had significantly worse diet. 

Now we are faced with another technical revolution. A technology, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that will remove the repetitive and mundane from our lives, and allow us to focus on the most important challenge.  Giving great a customer experience and growing our businesses

There are some surprising voices that support this.  The UK's Trade Unions Congress believe automation will drive growth and productivity, and help us focus on the jobs where we really need human skills: care for the elderly & disabled, childcare and teaching.  Allowing humans to be human.  What's not to like?

Especially when you consider that 80% of employee hours are spent carrying out unfulfilling, repetitive tasks.  And yet 90% of companies when asked say their primary focus is the customer experience.  This doesn't add up.  At NICE we believe that AI and Robotics will change the world, including our Contact Centre and CX world.  Our strategy is to be core to Robot revolution.  These are the core principles every organization needs to be aware of:

  1. The modern consumer is hugely demanding, wanting service on their terms on the channel of their choice, and at the time of day that suits them.  Organizations are rightly more focused on CX, yet Industry satisfaction indices are lower.
  2. Your workplaces are full of mundane work that doesn't drive a great CX. 1000s of hours of call duration where an agent isn't engaging with a customer as they navigate complex systems.  You can end this now if you embrace RPA.
  3. Employees need to focus on the real challenge: competing on the Customer Experience. Robots will flawlessly execute those mundane processes and allow us to focus our human empathy on the customer.

If you buy into this argument and haven't started working with RPA, here are some places to start:

  • Review your processes: ask yourself the question "is this the best use of my employees' time."
  • Look for the volume: identify repetitive, high volume processes that don't involve human judgement.
  • Start with simple rules: search for processes that follow rules that can be easily defined
  • Feel it: Sit next to a front or back office employee and watch what they do.  You'll find sources of Employee Dissatisfaction, Customer Dissatisfaction and Cost within minutes.
  • Think CX: where are humans carrying out processes that are taking them away from the customer.  Look out for silences / pauses in interactions.  Copy and paste, system navigation, calculations.

Robot revolution isn't an existential threat to humans.  You can draw a direct line from those early farmers trying to get a crop to grow, to the back office workers filling out Mortgage application forms day in and day out.  If we use them correctly, they will end 70,000 years of mundanity and allow us to really deliver on the experience our customers want. The key, as Mary Shelley argued in Frankenstein, is to put our human needs before scientific progress.