ITIJ 222 | July 2019
Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic Technologies, asks how insurance providers can accelerate revenue with digital transformation
The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and digital technologies have delivered a paradigm shift that will change the workplace forever. Digital transformation is reshaping the way we communicate, work and the services that businesses provide, and how they offer them. The ultimate challenge for travel and health insurance companies is to offer an easy and seamless end-to-end journey for customers. Mission impossible – surprisingly, it’s not!
Many are beginning to digitise their services and transform the way they operate with disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics processing automation (RPA) by automating their claims management and settlements processes.
Reducing the cost to serve
These disruptive technologies not only improve processes, productivity and the overall experience for agents and customers, but staggeringly they also reduce the cost to serve. With AI and RPA, your business communications cost can be reduced by as much as 95 per cent, compared to other communication methods such as telephone call, email or live web chat.
Your customers’ journey will be made seamless at every touch point, improving the customer experience. This will in turn reduce customer churn and increase their willingness to buy again. Consumers are more vocal than ever before on social media and review sites. Great customer experience increases advocacy, helping you to attract new ones – becoming your best marketing channel!
Digital transformation is often viewed as an overwhelming project with endless budgets and deadlines, but it doesn’t have to be. A solution provider can deconstruct it into manageable projects, which will aid in getting approval and devising a strategy.
It is crucial to set objectives and devise a strategy for digital transformation from the start, and a solution provider with experience in insurance can help you with this.
Mapping out the journey
It is imperative to know which business goals you want an AI and RPA project to achieve. If your objective is to improve the customer experience with a view to increasing sales and revenue, then it is advisable to study the existing journey that your customers take and question what works and what doesn’t.
With guidance from a solution provider you can study how it should be improved by asking agents and customers how they want to communicate and what improvements they think would benefit them. By involving all stakeholders, you are not only helping with the buy-in for the new technology but also enabling them to envision how they will collaborate with the AI and RPA solution. It is crucial that companies understand how humans can augment technology and how technology can enhance the roles of humans. This is an imperative step in the process of redesigning business processes to support your objectives.
A technology partner will ensure that AI and RPA are integrated into the front and back office so you can utilise what you have and maximise your new solution. Often it is the back office that doesn’t meet the customer’s expectations – the smallest chink in service delivery impacts on the memory that is left with that customer and ultimately on reputation and referrals.
A survey from Forrester revealed that 64 per cent of respondents cited a lack of single view of information as one of their biggest challenges in CRM. Often companies are forced to deploy ad-hoc solutions that don’t integrate with their existing technology, and the contact centre agents then have multiple screens at a time to view all the communications.
The aim is to create a single view of all communications and essentially to have a smart inbox so the agents can view everything on one screen. All interactions are integrated over an orchestration layer connecting the front and back office together. Then you can truly revolutionise your contact centre, customer experience and your business processes.
Segmenting and prioritising customers
Customers want easy to use communications, they don’t want to be left on hold, stuck in a queue and transferred from one department to another. They expect to move seamlessly between communication channels and not to be asked who they are and what the purpose of their call is again and again.
With AI and RPA, you can segment customers on value and expectations – for example, you can prioritise high-value customers so they can jump the queue to talk to an agent or provide a callback option when convenient for them. As the customers are high value, you may want to provide them with real-time communications such as a phone or video call, offering a more personalised service.
Agents can also see on their screen that they are your top-tier customers and have visible access to their details and history so they can personalise the service and make them feel valued.
Conversational AI can identify if the enquiry is urgent through key words, funnelling it to the right channel to resolve the issue. It can also help to deliver personalised services, gathering data from the customer and incorporating their details and history into future interactions. This not only strengthens the relationship but also provides a faster and more valuable service.
Insurance is also known for its use of jargon, and digital AI agents can simplify the process by taking the customer through the communications step by step in a language they understand. Gamification can also be used here to make it more of an enjoyable experience.
These disruptive technologies provide endless possibilities, redesigning the customer experience and business processes and transforming the way insurance is delivered. Most services in travel and health insurance can be digitised, from buying and updating a policy through to the claims process, and even settlements. They all can be automated using AI and RPA, accelerating the speed of historically rigid and lengthy processes for both agents and customers. This faster, automated and analytical approach to claims handling provides an easy and seamless journey for customers. However, insurers should not solely rely on technology to deliver their services and need to provide the option to talk to a claims handler when required for more complex requirements.
Additionally, by having a Conversational AI agent to handle claims outside office hours, you’re ensuring that you are providing a 24/7 service.
So, rather than mission impossible, it is very much mission possible; especially when you select the right partner. It might be daunting, but it’s not a choice – it’s an essential journey for all insurance providers.