Frequently asked questions
Service Assist is a highly secure, scalable enterprise automation solution designed for contact centers. The solution provides a complete automation layer inside your contact center ecosystem. It is enabled by the Blue Prism Digital Workforce – a pool of software robots that act as digital assistants to contact center agents and virtual channels, accelerating end-to-end digital customer service. Digital workers seamlessly communicate with agents, back office systems and across chatbots, web forms, IVRs and other CX tools to accelerate customer interactions. The agents are also provided a 360-degree view of the customer across multiple channels and interactions. With Service Assist, your agents can view the most updated information in one place, make sound and strategic decisions, and delegate the task to the digital worker for completion.
Virtual self-service capabilities are only as good as the ability to connect to back-end systems of data efficiently. Leveraging the Blue Prism Service Assist platform, Service Assist digital workers become an extension of automation with a client, supporting better automation and increased self-service. With Service Assist, organizations get a complete automation layer inside their contact center ecosystem. This frees up human agents for live, assisted calls, so they can be more productive, responsive, empathetic and engaging, to better serve your customers. Service Assist significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to resolve a request, while providing the market’s leading privacy and security features, fit for any industry.
Additional benefits include:
Increase containment and call deflection: Leverage digital workers to increase self-service, contain more calls within the virtual agents/chat bots leveraging digital workers.
Simplified agent and customer experience that is driven by proactive, informed decision making; and the ability to access back-end systems and easily incorporate AI and other technologies.
Increased automation of routine tasks: This allows for agents to address more complex tasks. It provides more challenging work to the agent which leads to greater job satisfaction. Ultimately, this has a positive impact on employee turnover and engagement.
Faster agent onboarding: Employee training costs can be reduced significantly due to reduction in systems to access, elimination of advanced training on specialized applications, automated policy and procedures and the reduced need for highly skilled and trained systems specialists.
Privacy and data protection: Blue Prism Service Assist eliminates the need for direct system access. Our digital workers only present the required information an agent needs to resolve a request or inquiry. And our digital workers log all their activities which provides a reliable audit trail of all activities.
When a customer contacts the contact center through any channel, the inquiry will get connected to Service Assist digital worker(s) to review the request, pull in the applicable data from the back office systems and then provide a response to the customer to resolve the issue if possible. Any AI and machine learning models are leveraged as needed.
If self-service options do not resolve the customer request, the digital workers present all the information that the agent could use when they first speak with the customer. As the agent progresses through the work, Service Assist will add information, present context-specific information to support the call. A significant portion of the work happens in the back end, seamlessly supporting the human agent’s interaction in the front-end with the customer. In addition, digital workers can do multiple and parallel items at the same time leveraging multiple digital workers. And they can “swarm” a case as needed for faster resolution time.
While Service Assist digital workers can also support inbound requests, they can also support outbound campaigns being executed by agents and increase the effectiveness of those sales campaigns.
Service Assist provides easy access to all important customer data with a dynamic and simplified web-based front-end UI. The capabilities of Service Assist include:
- Integration with Chatbot, web, mobile and IVR self-service
- Providing a 360-degree view of customer with pre-fetched information from back office systems to feed context to agents
- Retrieving and updating data from any back-end systems including mainframes, documents, etc., and working across multiple systems simultaneously, if needed
- Analyzing and validating data, including structured and unstructured data
- Scaling to support thousands of agents and millions of customer interactions with a centralized digital workforce
- Enhancing your workflows with AI/ML including speech analytics, next best action, etc.
- Integration into agent desktops/CRM systems and web based ITSM tools including home-grown agent desktops or industry applications such as Salesforce and ServiceNow
Blue Prism Service Assist is a new kind of purpose-built digital worker. It is composed of the full Blue Prism digital worker solution, front end API server and interface between agents and digital workers, and can integrate with customer service infrastructures such as IVR. It is a unified solution with a single license for each Blue Prism Service Assist digital worker. It scales by the amount of work the digital workers need to do, not by the number of agents.
Service Assist combines Blue Prism RPA with an end-user interface provided by TrustPortal, enabling contact centre advisors to trigger processes on demand and enter required data for consumption by Blue Prism. Service Assist requires the installation of a Blue Prism release that provides the necessary objects to interact with TrustPortal to build forms, content and notifications.
In addition to the Blue Prism and TrustPortal components, Service Assist requires the installation of a Docker host, a Redis cache, a reverse proxy/load balancer, and an external pre-paid MySQL database installed by the customer.
Yes, Service Assist digital workers can support both attended and unattended automations. This allows a more efficient, effective use of the shared automation resources. However, careful engineering and best practices must be considered and followed to ensure fast response times and SLAs are met. Considerations include:
- If you have Service Assist digital workers that are scheduled to be used by processes in the back office, they may not be available to the contact center.
- Change control is strict inside contact centers – there can be conflicts with other back office processes.
- SLAs are different for the contact center than back office.
Work with Blue Prism professional services and our certified delivery partners to ensure the design matches the business and technical requirements.
Service Assist is built for enterprise contact centers to handle large volumes of dynamic interactions with digital workers, agents and customer channels and fast, near real time responses where contact centers must meet SLAs.
Interact provides attended automation for knowledge workers, where human-in-the loop capabilities are required for managing workflows to conclusion.
Contact centers specifically and customer service organizations in general have traditionally invested in technology to improve productivity and customer service. These solutions range from traditional IVR and CTI solutions to more modern CRM systems and knowledge management solutions and everything in between.
A shortcoming of these solutions in reducing time to serve the customer (average handle time) and to complete the work after the call (after call work), as well as the brittleness of these solutions and cost of upkeep has led to the introduction of RPA into the contact center and customer service environments. But even the introduction of RPA into mix still leaves some very large gaps that need to be filled. Blue Prism brings a set of capabilities to market that not only address these shortcomings with Service Assist, but also charts a path forward for the industry. Here is how:
- Mobile-first, light weight web-based solutions are a major limitation of many of today’s solutions. Service Assist is an equally effective solution on the desktop, laptop, and mobile. It is equally at home on a Windows, Mac, Chrome, iOS, or Android. All the end user needs is a web browser. Managing a large number of desktops in a contact center or remote branch environments or many mobile devices in a distributed branch network is a non-trivial task. Giving the business the flexibility to switch technologies and vendors and bring better solutions come to market is an important value. Blue Prism Service Assist delivers this capability through a browser only solution.
- Integration into existing agent desktops: Most contact center agents will likely have existing desktop solutions they use today. They could use agent desktop applications from vendors like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Microsoft Dynamics, etc. or from contact center vendors like Avaya, Genesys, Cisco or others. The Blue Prism Service Assist solution can be easily and seamlessly integrated into that desktop delivering the same benefits as the native Service Assist interface while allowing the agent to stay with their preferred desktop solution.
- Flexible deployment of agent interfaces across in-sourced, remote workers and outsourced agents: When using business process outsources or moving workload back and forth between in-house resources and outside service providers, it is difficult and time consuming and sometimes nearly impossible to provision the outsourced desktops with the same applications. Blue Prism Service Assist makes this problem go away.
- Simple, efficient pricing model: Many, or almost all, current suppliers have a per agent or service worker price. This is called “per agent desktop pricing”. But RPA digital workers are not talking to end user customers and serving them. Why should they be priced on a per desktop basis? This is like paying agents based on the number of end user customers of the business. In a B2C business, this will quickly become a very large number.
- Blue Prism Service Assist digital workers work at computer speed, work for the agent, serve all agents, and can run any process: So, if it takes 20 seconds to get the information for agent Jones, once done, the digital worker can spend 20 seconds and get the information for agent Smith and then turn around and pick up another piece of work. They are fast, efficient, and multi-purpose.
- No coding required: If there is a change in the business process that a digital worker is performing, the change can quickly and easily be configured with minimal downtime. This has a major impact on the TCO. Software engineers are hard to find, hard to keep and there is efficiency loss in the communication between the business process expert and the software developer.
- Easy to add advanced AI capabilities: Customer service environment is complex. To deliver high quality service and drive agent productivity, customers deploy a variety of tools. No one vendor does or can provide all of what the providers of customer service need. For this fundamental market reason, we at Blue Prism, we believe the partnering approach is the best way to offer our customers real business value with RPA and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of the journey to Digital Transformation, better customer service, and customer service productivity. Also, many customers have alternative technologies deployed that require enhancement by RPA technology.
- Drag and drop simplicity: Blue Prism’s Digital Exchange (DX) enables the add-in of intelligent automation and AI capabilities to automate processes without IT support. Upskill an existing digital workforce and deploy right from the Blue Prism platform.
- Unrivalled security and compliance: Compliance and quality monitoring depends on capturing events as they occur and storing them where they are not subject to modification. Security depends on controlling the application environment and access. Blue Prism automated logging, centralized storage of logs and IT control over infrastructure makes compliance, quality monitoring and securing control manageable and practical. Solutions that depend on the designer to log events and store logs on local computers put significant more risk into the business, make the job much harder, and put a much higher burden on the security and compliance personnel.
- Parallel search/retrieve/update: A single action can result in multiple digital workers running processes in parallel to speed response times.
- Omni-channel support: Uniformly automate the lookup and update of data regardless of the interaction channel.
- Reusability: Allows previously configured custom processes and process steps to be stored in a secure library and be reused when needed.
- Enterprise scalability: Group-based access model enables administrators to set-up multiple groups and add users autonomously, while maintaining a centralized view and hence, governance, across the entire organization.
Other Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA) provider solutions are substantially more expensive. Since the bots sit on the agent’s desktop, you will need to license one robot per each desktop. Also, you need to pay additional BPMS licensing per user. During peak time, you need to pay for robots as your contact center scales up. These licenses remain active even when your contact center scales back. In addition, the RDA robots cannot help with automation during off hours or be used for other departments and sit unused since they are associated with the agent’s desktop.
RDA solutions cannot scale for enterprise contact centers. IT teams will now have to manage another desktop element on every PC. Serial processes mean slower response times. They can only access one core system and one front end customer interaction at a time. You also lose omni-channel interactions across agent calls, web, chatbots, and mobile interactions. The robots are fragile and brittle to any changes in workflows and application interfaces.
Many, or almost all, current suppliers have a per agent or service worker price. This is called “per desktop pricing”. But RPA digital workers are not talking to end user customers and serving them. Why should they be priced on a per desktop basis? This is like paying agents based on the number of end user customers of the business. In a B2C businesses, this will quickly become a very large number.
Blue Prism Service Assist digital workers have no per agent desktop price. They are priced based on the number of digital workers and that is a function of how much work needs to be done. This is a much more friendly pricing model as the size of the service force gets larger or as the customer scales up their solution.
Please contact your Blue Prism sales representative for more information on Blue Prism Service Assist.