Customers expect flawless experiences
Throughout 2018, dozens of articles and reports conclude the same thing. Digital transformation is a challenge facing companies of all sizes in all industries. Brian Solis, the Principal Analyst at Altimeter, put it this way: “Consumers have come to expect modern digital engagement as table stakes.”1 Another observer said: “Thanks to companies like Amazon and Apple, they (customers) now expect every organization to deliver products and services swiftly, with a seamless user experience.”2 All credible sources say that flawlessly executed user experience (UX) or customer experience (CX) represents the new quality standard.
Still using paper?
OK – enough already! We understand the importance of digital transformation. But, what should I do in 2019? Start by asking just one question: Recently, have I used a piece of paper to transact company business?
A gold mine of opportunity may be hiding in your “yes” answer. Document-based processes are ideal candidates for automation. They tend to be manual, error-prone and expensive. Through the skillful connection of documents, people and systems, you can architect a delightful customer experience. The customer feels no bumps on their journey to satisfaction.
Three Key Tools Required
Automation does require some tools, so let’s get the techie talk out of the way. To process and deliver information in the proper the format to the right people and systems, you need three tools. Each performs well in isolation, but together they rock the process!
- Document capture
- Cognitive document automation / OCR
- Robotic process automation (RPA), such as Kofax Kapow software
Seven High-Value Opportunities
Here are seven high-value opportunities. They combine capture, cognitive and RPA to automate paper-based work and improve CX / UX. If your industry is not mentioned, just imagine a similar interaction between your customers and your company.
1. New Customer Applications—Insurance
When a customer applies for insurance, a paper-driven process can take weeks. However, a digital process drastically reduces response time a few days or even just hours. Insurance companies have moved to a completely digital workflow. First, they captured the documents. Then, using capture and cognitive, they extracted and classified supporting documentation. Finally, RPA feed the content into business applications and additional workflows.
2. Insurance Claims Automation
Oh no! You had an accident. You need to complete a long claim form for your agent. One company still uses a paper claim, but the rest is digital. After scanning the form, cognitive document automation streamlines the claims process. Instead of many people shuffling the paper along, employees touch only the exceptions in an image-based automated workflow. RPA then validates the claim amount and other data. Lastly, RPA populates the claim to a contract management system and releases payment to the customer.
3. New Customer On-boarding—Financial Services
Banks verify applicant’s identity and credit-worthiness before approving lines of credit (LOC). With automated verification, the time to approval shortens dramatically. Initially, the applicant snaps a picture of their ID with their mobile phone. Then, mobile ID software confirms the applicant’s identity. Meanwhile, document capture and cognitive tools extract and classify the application. RPA pulls the credit report from the web and posts the info. Finally, the processed LOC application flows to the loan underwriter for a credit decision.
4. Mortgage Loan Processing
Mortgage applications generate a pile of paperwork. However, the three tech tools can totally systematize mortgage processing. First, document capture and cognitive technologies gear up. They capture, classify and extract information from mortgage application forms and supporting documents. Next, RPA performs the Know Your Customer identity verification. As needed, RPA can find other required data in internal and external systems. Then, RPA posts the collected data to the system of record. Finally, the mortgage loan is closed and it moves through the post-close reconciliation. Using established business rules, the automated workflow compares documents, validates them for compliance, and moves closing documents to the system of record.
5. Price Protection Audits
Sometimes, retailers and credit card companies offer “best price” guarantees. Customers buy items with price protection. Within the guarantee period, they may find the same item at a lower price. When they do, they file a claim for the price difference. Automation can handle it fast and effectively. Document capture and cognitive tools extract claim information. RPA finds the original transaction and searches retail websites to check for lower prices on the same UPC (universal product code). For substantiated claims, RPA notifies the system of record to create a refund. Otherwise, RPA directs systems of record to communicate non-approval to the customer and close the claim.
6. Tax Exempt Verification
On-line retailers collect state sales taxes at purchase. The “ship to state” determines the sales tax percentage. The tax amount is computed using the tax percentage and the purchase price. However, retailers honor qualified requests for state sales tax exemptions. Nevertheless, obtaining credit for the exemption requires a complicated process that screams for automation.
Businesses claim their exemptions after the purchase. They email completed exemption request forms and their state sales tax exemption documentation to the retailer. Using specific business rules, the retailer qualifies the purchaser for the exemption. Rules include confirming that the shipping address is the same as the state granting the exemption. Capture and cognitive technologies import the email and extract the body and attachment. RPA verifies the request against the business rules. For approvals, RPA credits the tax amount back to the original purchase, updates the system of record and notifies the customer. Unapproved exemption requests move into an exception handling stream. Trained staff members use workflow status codes to quickly determine the appropriate response to the customer.
7. Invoice Management / AP Automation
This is a universal need because every business must pay their bills. Invoices and other documents arrive via mail and email. They are also issued in vendor portals. Combining our three tools allows for automation regardless of the invoice source. RFP does scheduled checks on the partner portals and pulls the invoices automatically. Invoices are captured from all sources. Cognitive document automation reads the invoices, extracts and categorizes them. Pre-established business rules route each invoice into its proper workflow. Some are auto-approved and payment transactions are initiated. Others follow the workflow until all required approvals are completed. Along the way, exceptions are handled and routed back into the workflow. RPA then posts the transactions and moves the image-based documentation into the system of record or ERP. This automated process can ensure that invoices are paid as scheduled. Benefits include earning valuable discounts, avoiding late payment penalties and improving vendor relationships.
1“The State of Digital Transformation: 2018 – 2019 Edition”, Brian Solis, Altimeter, p.13
2“The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends, Research Report 2018-19”, Proquis Division of Global Media Research, p.6.