Pundits, experts and analysts have been talking about the “Age of the Customer” for several years now, but businesses are slow to catch on.

It’s not that we don’t want to create seamless experiences for our customers. The challenge is behind the scenes: A combination of legacy processes and systems that don’t talk to each other or share information, creating a frustrating ordeal for customers.

So how do we redesign our processes to mirror what customers are trying to accomplish and give them the automated, self-service, mobile-first, personalized, secure experience they desire?

Automation is Key to Great Customer Experiences

After filling out online forms for an appointment at a local urgent care, I arrived only to have to repeat that information on a paper application. The receptionist slowly and painstakingly transferred my handwritten answers into another system while I waited with my sick child. Finally, she asked me to review the information she’d just transcribed. My poor daughter, their patient, wasn’t feeling all that patient at this point. She just wanted to get the visit over with so she could get back to bed.

The foundation of a good customer experience—from doctors’ visits to bank account openings to insurance claims processing—is a streamlined and automated process. If your processes to onboard and serve customers are slow, manual and clunky, all claims of “customers are our #1 priority” are just window dressing on a house of cards.

Ideal candidates for automation include document processes that tend to be manual, error-prone and expensive (like the intake form at the urgent care). The goal is to

connect documents, people and systems to automate processes and deliver an experience that’s so streamlined, customers hardly know they’re having it.

Two Critical Tools in Your Automation Toolkit

Combining robotic process automation (RPA) with cognitive document automation / OCR using document capture and transformation technologies to process and deliver information, no matter the format, to the right people and systems is your secret weapon for creating a smooth customer experience. Like peanut butter and jelly, RPA and cognitive are great alone, but exponentially better together. Here are eight high-value opportunities to automate document-centric processes with RPA and cognitive tools.

Related: Information Capture for Data Acquisition, Understanding and Integration

1. New Customer Applications—Insurance

When a new customer applies for insurance, a paper-driven process can take weeks, while a digital process can be anywhere from a few days to a few minutes. In this use case, an insurance company moved to a completely digital workflow, using document capture and transformation to extract and classify application information and supporting documentation, and RPA to feed the content into business applications and additional workflows.

2. Insurance Claims Automation

If you’ve ever filed an auto, home or health claim, you know it’s a long, paper-filled process. Cognitive document automation automates the claims process itself, including document capture and transformation, turning what was a slow and high-touch activity into an automated workflow in which humans touch only exceptions. RPA then validates the data provided on the claim, as well as the amount, populating it to a contract management system and speeding the customer’s favorite part: the payment.

Related: Read the Safe-Guard insurance claims automation case study, in which the company automated the processing of more than two million contracts and thousands

3. New Customer Onboarding—Financial Services

When a new customer applies for a line of credit with a bank, the bank needs to verify that person’s identity and credit-worthiness. The customer snaps a picture of their ID with a mobile phone, and mobile ID software verifies the applicant’s identity. Meanwhile, document capture and transformation extract and classify the application, while RPA pulls together credit verifications from the web. The entire process can be shortened from days to just hours or minutes.

4. Mortgage Loan Processing

Anyone who’s ever bought a home knows how much paperwork a mortgage generates. Here, document capture and transformation technology captures, classifies, and extracts information from mortgage application forms and supporting documents, while RPA adds additional data from internal and external systems (such as identify verification in a Know Your Customer Check) and delivers all data to the system of record. After the mortgage loan is closed, these technologies compare documents and validate them for compliance, integrate closing documents with the system of record, and execute on pre-established business rules to move the mortgage loan documents through a post-close workflow.

5. Credit Card Price Protection

Many credit card companies (and even mobile apps from megastores like Walmart) offer “best price” guarantees. In this use case, document capture and transformation extract purchase information from customer receipts, and RPA checks retail websites to find lower prices on behalf of the customer. If a lower price is found, the customer gets a refund.

6. Tax Exempt Verification

Rather than wait days for a human to work through a manual verification backlog, a customer emails a tax-exempt certificate when making a purchase. Document capture and transformation technology imports the email and extracts the body and attachment, and RPA verifies the information against third-party databases and updates the ERP with the new tax-exempt status. The customer’s tax exemption is automatically approved and the customer is notified immediately.

Here’s a good example of an automated and streamlined B2B process: Remittance documents are sent by customers via email in various formats such as CSV, PDF, XLS, TXT, DOCX, XLSX, HTML and ZIP. RPA extracts PDF documents and routes other file formats to document capture and transformation to extract and transform. Information is automatically sent to the ERP and the customer is notified.

7. Automated Remittance Workflow

Here’s a good example of an automated and streamlined B2B process: Remittance documents are sent by customers via email in various formats such as CSV, PDF, XLS, TXT, DOCX, XLSX, HTML and ZIP. RPA extracts PDF documents and routes other file formats to document capture and transformation to extract and transform. Information is automatically sent to the ERP and the customer is notified.

8. Invoice Management

An example of good vendor relationship management, in this use case RPA downloads invoices and other documents from partner portals. For non-PDF documents, cognitive document automation uses document capture and transformation to read the documents, categorize, add to workflows and send to employees for approval. This automated process speeds time to payment and improves relationships with vendors. RPA then integrates the documents and data with an ERP.

Related: Discover 12 innovative use cases for RPA in finance and accounting

What can RPA+capture automate for you?

Power Your Processes with RPA + Cognitive Document Automation

Empower Your Customer Journeys

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