AI and automation are the future of CX – but you avoid the human touch at your peril!
Insurance companies must always be available to “take the call” for everyone, but with a range of AI-driven response channels emerging, “the call” doesn’t necessarily have to be taken by a physical agent. Although these tech solutions create new efficiencies for quicker resolutions, insurers should never lose sight of the human touch that policyholders crave, argues Jayne Lansdell, Associate Director of Process and Technology at BGL Insurance (BGLi).
In 2020, 80% of companies invested in omnichannel support such as online chatbots and virtual assistants to aid digital CX. Since then, the level of automation has continued to climb – but customers still want to speak with humans for high stakes claims, and insurers must acknowledge that AI and automation cannot provide the necessary personability alone. Data driven CX is critical to future claims handling, but unique personal touches should never be forgotten.
A new standard of fingertip service has emerged
The smart phone marked a turning point for CX – with consumers suddenly carrying around mini supercomputers in their pockets. Webchat functions and chatbots soon followed, tackling transactional queries so agents could focus on complex issues, with additional development of video chat, web chat, co-browsing and SMS responses propelling the industry into a new age.
But there’s a new player in town – the digital voice
Customer expectations for fast responses and faster resolutions are always rising. Businesses average response time is 12 hours but nearly 50% of customers a response in less than 4 hours.
Enter the digital voice – with power to leverage AI for CX personalisation. Evidence highlights that 64% of customers believe AI will remove burden on them to provide information, closing the gap between digital and human. Voice recognition already combines these in day-to-day living, and advanced speech assistants will introduce fully automated virtual assistants to smartphone based CX soon.
Unlock new efficiencies with data-aided deep learning
Natural Language Processing asks the right questions to extract information to allow insurance providers to anticipate the direction of conversation and tailor responses accordingly. This captures the genuine need of the customer to map an appropriate continuation of the customer journey. Linking these conversations with other channels also improves consumer awareness by notifying customers that their request is being processed.
Customer data is vital to developing innovative AI-driven CX, such as using real life scenarios to teach AI how to interpret customer intent. By harnessing learned experience from human CX experts, AI technology can develop meaningful customer interactions.
Claims context is critical
But regardless of how advanced digital services become, customers will still want or need to talk to a physical call handler, including distressed, high-level claimants.
Phone calls reassure certain customers because they believe their problems will be better understood than on an online form or webchat. Here, new levels of intelligent interaction must be built into digital voice solutions, where the customer intention is escalated, and appropriate human-digital handover points are established.
AI won’t replace people in the contact centre, but support them
AI and automation level up customer service by increasing customer autonomy and allowing staff to focus on complex issues. They also improve contact centres by offering new skills pathways, such as programming AI, and drawing on advisors’ experience to establish new algorithms.
Human powered AI drives personalised interaction
The balance between first-time resolution and humanised CX is delicate. CX can be enhanced beyond human capabilities, but the physical touch is essential. Only then can algorithmic programming combine with customer data and CX experts to offer effective resolutions while ensuring the customer never feels forgotten.
Jayne Lansdell is Associate Director of Process and Technology at BGL Insurance (BGLi).
BGL Insurance is a leading digital distributor of insurance to three million customers and has 1700 colleagues across three sites in Peterborough, Sunderland and Wakefield.
For additional information on BGL Insurance visit their Website