How the process of a customer care facility can be automated

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Appointment Process Automation

This application is about a "therapy facility". The requirement of the application is to automate the "procedure" of "therapy appointment". This means that the successive "steps" of the procedure are automatically forwarded from one employee to another without any kind of "manager" intervention. At any time the manager has the ability to see on what tasks (steps) the employs are engaged. He/She can also see what tasks are "scheduled" for the next days. After a certain period of time, the manager has a complete report on what tasks each employee has been assigned, when has started and when has finished the tasks.


The requirements, put on the application from the supposed "therapy facility" owner, are the following:


"Every employee can take calls from customers in order to close a therapy appointment. The customer gives a name. A date and time are provided from our employee and the name of our therapist that would assign the task. The customer arrives at the facility's reception at the specified date and time. The secretary welcomes him/her and then calls the hostess to lead the customer to the specified therapist. The therapist gives the customer the necessary treatment and then calls the hostess to lead the customer to the reception again. The customer pays and has a goodbye. That's all."


All of the above requirements are put on a coordinator agent. The action_code of the agent is the following:




   call bpm_setprocedureowner(__activation_user)                     {.....set the procedure owner}


  {(1)....any user can put a new appointment}


   callwait bpm_assign_job ( "new appointment" , __activation_user , "" , 0)


   app_id = bpm_getrecid(1,__au_step)                         {......get the record id of the appointment}

   per_id = LookUp("APP","APP",app_id,"PERSON","")

   ther_name = LookUp("APP","APP",app_id,"THERAPIST_NAME","")

   app_date = LookUp("APP","APP",app_id,"ADATE","")

   app_date_num = DateToNum(app_date)

   per_name = LookUp("PERSON","PERSON",per_id,"FULLNAME","")

   call bpm_setprocedurecomment(per_name)                             {.....set the procedures comment}


   {(2) date (app_date) the SECRETARY waits for the person to come for the appoinment}


   callwait bpm_assign_job ( "wait appointment" , "" , "SECRETARY" , app_date_num , app_id , per_id )


   {(3)....the hostess escort the person to the therapist}


   callwait bpm_assign_job ( "escort to therapist" , "" , "HOSTES" , 0 , app_id )


   {(4)....the therapist is doing the therapy}


   callwait bpm_assign_job ( "in therapy" , ther_name , "" , 0 , app_id , per_id )


 {(5)....the hostess escort the person to the secretary}


   callwait bpm_assign_job ( "escort from therapist" , "" , "HOSTES" , 0 , app_id )


  {(6)....the hostess escort the person to the secretary}


   callwait bpm_assign_job ( "payment and good bye" , "" , "SECRETARY" , 0 , app_id , per_id )





We can see the callwait (or split_in_branch) keywords. Those keywords give the opportunity to the agent to wait (until a job has been finished) or to have parallel code execution. Those are capabilities that are not presented every day in a programming language (ok script!). Notice that the callwait "calls" the user's activity as it would be a "program's subroutine". Notice also that we have the flow of procedure that is defined by conditions into the code (who mechanic to assign). This is a case of ad hoc control flow (not known in advance to the programmer!)


We have to admit that the effect (coordination and historic data collection of the procedure) is far too big for the lines of code that are written by the application programmer. To be precise the code is a little bigger (the agent contains the code that "describes" the task (activities) assigned to employees). 

The agent (agent prototype precisely) can be viewed from Right Mouse Click on Application's Background->Developer->Resources->Agent Prototypes. The system creates, for every "service" requested, a new "alive" agent that starts to execute his action_code.


Where we define users and roles?


Another issue is that the jobs are assigned to users (employees) not only by name but also (and mainly) by their roles into the company. The users and roles as they are defined into the application can be found at Menu->System->Users/Positions.


How we activate the agent?


A "new customer complaint" can be activated on the application from the "New Action" button in the left on the application window. In order the users see the activities (jobs) that are assigned to them exit the demo application and log in as the user in question. 


How can the user see the incoming jobs?


Every user has the incoming activities window defined as "Tasks" in the menu. Notice that the same activity is sent to all users that happen to have the same role in the company or organization. When the user "completes" the data that the activity required, he/she "forwards" the completed activity to the next step. Then the activity disappears from the window.


In order, a user to see activities that assigned to him for today or are uncompleted from yesterday he/she has to activate "Finished Tasks".


How the manager can see the current jobs?


By activating Menu->CPO Control Panel->Active Tasks we see every activity (job) that is assigned at the time and is in the phase of completion, i.e. presented to users "incoming activities" and are worked by them.


How we can evaluate our employees?


When we activate Menu->System->Associates we can see a button captioned "Has Done". By activating it we get all the activities that the user (employee) has finished and by which role. The time of staring and completing each activity is also available. This way the real effort that the user has given to the company can be estimated.


How we can improve the demo application?


The demo application comes with "Developer" capabilities. That means we have the opportunity to change the database schema (Right Click->Developer->Resources->Database Manager->Edit Schema). We can also change the forms (Right Click over a form->Designing).