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HOW CHATBOTS ENSURE PREMIUM SERVICE IN INSURANCE

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Insurance providers, such as AA Ireland, are transforming customer engagement and increasing sales conversion rates using chatbots and conversational AI, explains Cathal McGloin, CEO of ServisBOT (www.servisbot.com):

 

Introduction:

Writing in Insurance TimesOliwia Berdak, principal analyst at Forrester, commented that, among all the technologies that insurers are exploring, “pragmatic AI has the biggest potential to deliver on insurers’ top business priorities in 2019, improving customer experience and generating revenue.”

 

Rules of engagement:

Within the sphere of ‘pragmatic AI’, conversational AI interfaces, such as chatbots, offer a whole new engagement model where customers can obtain a quote, file a claim, renew a policy, request information, and complete onboarding more conveniently and at a lower cost to the insurance provider.

Insurance companies can no longer expect people to engage nine-to-five. Consumers want to interact on their time and using their preferred channels, which may include voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, or Google Home, messaging apps, SMS, web or mobile apps, as well as the more traditional email, live chat, and phone channels.

 

Cathal McGloin

Premium service:

While price will always be an important factor when purchasing an insurance policy, the customer experience is key. Is the policy information easy to find, or is it hidden in the small print? How responsive is the insurance provider when customers make a claim? The more positive interactions they can provide, the more likely the insurer is to increase loyalty and retention.

Virtual assistants or chatbots that integrate securely with relevant business systems and third-party data, can provide more contextual and personalised engagement that enhances the customer experience. Deploying these task-oriented chatbots drives business results such as higher retention rates through renewals, increased conversation rates on policy quotes, and increased revenue through more effective onboarding.

Besides an insurance company making services more accessible and automated, chatbots also make it easier for insurers to understand the exact intent, or need, of the customer. Chatbots can work across different functions more seamlessly so that, for example, a Policy bot can work alongside a Quote bot to better inform customers on the difference between policies and which one best suits the customer’s circumstances. This leads to greater transparency and personalisation, positively impacting conversion and sales.

 

A friend in need

Since chatbots work 24/7, services are always available when a customer needs them.

A customer reporting an accident and filing a claim on the spot provides a perfect example of the benefits of having a chatbot constantly available to engage at the point of need and in the customer’s preferred channel. The customer may choose to interact via the insurance provider’s mobile app, SMS, or a messaging app, on their mobile device, while they’re stood on the roadside awaiting recovery of their vehicle. A claims bot can request image uploads of a driver’s license, registration plates, and photos of damage, on the spot, helping to shrink the claims filing and processing timeframe. This also reduces a lot of the friction that customers normally have to deal with in filing a claim.

ServisBOT works on the principle of deploying and co-ordinating an army of insurance bots that can do everything from generating a quote, on-boarding a new customer, renewing a policy, collecting payments, and many other use cases: bringing convenience and lower costs, while improving the customer experience.

 

Case study: Using Bots to Win Business

To combat rising digital advertising costs and reduce the incidence of missed webchats, AA Ireland investigated how to employ chatbots to improve conversion rates on incoming quotation requests that came in out of hours, or when call centre employees were busy on calls.

AA Ireland used our conversational AI platform to develop its own Quote Bot, within seven weeks the bot was trained and ready to use. Within twelve weeks AA Ireland Quote Bot had increased conversion rates on online quotes by 11 percent and reduced the number of missed webchats by 81 percent. Additionally, where customers had interacted with the Quote Bot to answer their initial queries online, they spent 40 percent less time on the phone with customer service employees.

AA Ireland reports that the Quote Bot is reaching people who haven’t previously contacted the insurer. Working in combination with the Quote Bot allows customer service specialists to focus on answering more complex queries and overcoming objections to win customers’ business.

AA Ireland Customer Lifecycle Manager, Louise McCormack comments, “Increasing conversion even by one to two percent helps to make the business more profitable. The potential to use AI-powered chatbots to improve our conversion rates, while providing operational efficiencies across customer service, was an opportunity we couldn’t ignore.”

Following the success of Quote Bot, AA Ireland has deployed a customer service bot and a travel quote assistance bot, with plans for additional bots.

 

 

Conclusion:

Lloyds of London has drawn up its six-part transformation blueprint, with five of the areas involving building out a technology platform. The goal is to double the value of insurance business done, to increase the efficiency of processing policies and reduce the cost of sale of premiums which is currently 40p in every £1.

AI in all its forms is becoming integral to business systems, processes, and engagement models. For our part, we are making it easier for insurance providers to implement and launch conversational AI without needing a data scientist or solutions architect. We take away technical complexity so that insurance providers can focus on how they can apply AI to help them engage with customers more efficiently.

In 2020 as more pragmatic AI success stories emerge, we foresee other insurance companies moving beyond tactical deployments and adopting a chatbot strategy that is cross-functional across the whole business and customer life-cycle. This strategic approach will allow them to benefit from the genuine transformation that chatbots can bring.

 

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Finance

HOW RISING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS HAVE BECOME A CATALYST FOR CHANGE IN THE FINANCE FUNCTION

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Ashish Kwatra, Vice President of Finance & Accounting Solutions at Teleperformance India, discusses what the new generation of customers expect from finance outsourcing providers and how businesses can capitalise on emerging market opportunities.

 

Business needs are ever-evolving, leaving every department ripe for digital disruption. Gaps between customer expectations for digital services and current capabilities in the Finance and Accounting (F&A) function are creating more reason for organisations to explore outsourcing. Firms are turning to external service providers that, in essence, become their cloud-based finance teams. Outsourcing operations in this way is giving businesses an opportunity to meet new expectations of becoming agile, resilient, and insights-driven, and ultimately create a long-term competitive strategy.

A recent ISG Report reveals that organisations are on the hunt for F&A outsourcing providers to enable data-driven decisions. This comes as 86 per cent of customers admit their expectations of brands’ digital capabilities have increased since the pandemic struck. The more traditional financial institutions are finding themselves at the centre of this growing pressure to offer advanced technology, holistic advisers, and improved collaboration with clients. F&A outsourcing specialists are improving that level of visibility into finance operations and using generated insights to enhance the end-customer experience (as well as meet general financial needs).

Practices that manage to keep pace with expectations and market trends will therefore gain a significant advantage. – When investing in outsourcing, CFOs should be considering the following factors to ensure its adding the most value to their business.

 

Making the  case for F&A outsourcing

It is a common debate for businesses to decide whether the finance function should be outsourced. As disruptive technologies become more widely adopted and customers more conscious of cutting costs and adding value, the bar for expectations will continue to rise. To deliver the best-in-class performance that is expected of end-users, CFOs must make an informed decision on whether to invest in the specialised services of F&A experts. By partnering with dedicated service providers, organisations can have a direct channel to scalable processes with the below benefits:

Reduction in cost of finance: Taking the steps to boost profitability internally by refocusing on revenue-generating activities and increasing efficiency.

Streamlined target operating model: The daily workflow can become more productive by allowing the experts to streamline operations where possible.

Reduction in revenue leakage: The shift away from cumbersome, legacy processes to more advanced technologies such as Robotic Process Automation can prevent unprecedented revenue drains.

Working capital enhancement: Dedicated teams are equipped to optimise the balance between assets and liabilities, to grant firms more freedom to focus on the company’s core goals – without the hassle of chasing overdue accounts.

 

Demanding more than just transactional services

Aside from performing the transactional duties that come with closing the books on time and remaining compliant, organisations are leaning on F&A outsourcing to tap into more strategic capabilities. Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning are all integral to delivering valuable financial insights to CFOs and translating added value to the end customer. Technologies like these can enable businesses to dig deeper into the financial functions, resulting in seamless, easier financial transactions.

It is not just about using new technologies, the rise of APIs is allowing businesses to work collaboratively to source services that they do not have with third parties, driving data simplification.

Looking ahead, it is expected that new delivery models will emerge as RPA and algorithms join a more diverse financial workforce, whilst new tools and microservices will challenge the traditional ERPs

 

Customers deserve best-in-class service

Clients increasingly expect their service providers to get closer to their customers’ needs. F&A providers should be exceeding the typical service and remaining agile in managing customers finances, and guiding revenue growth and business modelling. Transactions aside, relationship-building has become a must in the remote working environment.

Trust and honesty is core to relationship-building in accounting, and customers will want to know there is a human agent on the other end of the transaction. A High-Tech, High-Touch approach to customer service can be a firm’s brand differentiator in a sector driven by data, whereby empathic connections are balanced with advanced technology.

 

Reimagining the future finance function

Indeed, customer expectations have seen a gradual rise. Many companies have understood the changing dynamics of custiomer expectations, therefore, they have set up several cloud-based finance departments in order to provide the best services to their customers.

In the post-pandemic era, companies trying to remain relevant and keep customers’ finances stable will be more technologically advanced. There is a growing opportunity for organisations to focus on such revenue-generating activities by working with experienced external providers. Outsourcing models ultimately grant CFOs access to the latest technologies and in order to keep up with the latest trends, and in some cases stay ahead of the curve, CFOs must be aware of the changing finance function.

 

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Finance

ELIMINATING FINANCIAL LEAKS ACROSS YOUR BUSINESS

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By: Ray Welsh, Head of Product Marketing, FISCAL Technologies

 

All businesses are vulnerable to financial leaks, whether your business is a start-up or an established company, many risks can have serious consequences on your finances. The importance of assessing historical transactions thoroughly to identify any recurring weak spots is critical. Whether you are a small and mid-size enterprise or a global organisation, undertaking these measures will ensure your business is proactive, rather than reactive to these issues before it’s too late. Having the necessary AP technologies in place helps to identify red flags and eliminates the threat of human error.

In light of this, here are the five key benefits of assessing historical transactions thoroughly;

 

Discover and eliminates maverick spending 

Maverick spend or any organisational purchase made outside of a formal purchasing process can result in unexpected purchases, leading to a cash-flow crisis. When purchases aren’t properly tracked, this results in data gaps, and as a result, the financial department is unaware of where the money was spent. This leads to delays at month-end close as well as the potential for fraud. Reconciling maverick spend can become the primary cause of bottlenecks within the AP organisation Without a system to continually check for the indicators of maverick spend, working in the background on your behalf, cash continues to leak out and cleaning up the mess continues to consume your team’s valuable time.

The solution to maverick spend begins with having the necessary AP technologies in place helps to identify red flags.

 

Improves oversight of vendor performance

Thankfully digital transformation has removed the paper document-intensive back-and-forth of completing a purchase that historically included items such as quotes, purchase orders, order confirmations, invoices, credit notes and receipts. Thankfully the environment has benefited from this transformation, it has however failed to reduce the number of documents required in a supplier transaction. If the necessary technologies and procedures are not in place these documents can become lost in the system, resulting in a waste of employee time, excessive spending, and poor supplier relationships. An effective Procure-to-Pay system consolidates the entire process into a single platform which improves efficiency, but without the contemporary controls needed to protect spending, P2P solutions can speed up cash leakage.

 

Improves budget control 

Having the necessary AP technologies in place to track and check transactions can have a monumental positive impact on budgets and how they are controlled. It is sometimes the case that a budget-orientated mindset doesn’t always make its way into the Procure-to-Pay process within organisations. Possessing clear budget controls should be of the utmost importance within any organisations purchasing system. Through a singular purchasing platform, budget limits can be set for each department, resulting in ease of visibility within the purchasing dashboard. Assessing historical transactions via AP technologies will result in the necessary bodies having total visibility and control of departmental budgets, eliminating unwarranted spending and reducing financial leaks within the organisation.

 

Eliminates invoice errors

Incorrect invoices can come in many shapes and sizes, whether it be inaccurate costs, missing or incorrect purchase order numbers or duplicate invoices, this remains a common headache for many businesses. Any worthwhile purchasing process will automate checks and balances that will automatically flag invoice errors, potential duplicate invoices, and all other errors that account for invoice related cash leakage in an organisation. Having the right AP technologies in place will allow you to proactively audit invoices to check for errors, such as duplicates or overbilling. If your platform does nothing but eradicates overpayments, your organisation will have overcome one of the most common causes of unnecessary spending.

 

Removes manual processes 

Manual processes are known to be error-prone and extremely time-consuming. Having the required AP technologies in place can eliminate the challenges and difficulties attributed to manual Procure-to-Pay processes. But when human processing is replaced with rules-based, automated systems, the time allocated to contacting vendors, following up with approvers, and gathering credit notes etc. continues unless smarter error detection is also introduced, alongside AP automation. Time wasted in P2P processing is a major financial leak that can be prevented with the right approach.

 

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