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WHY THE WORLD OF INSURANCE NEEDS AUTOMATION

02/07/2019

Josh Ayres, head of emerging technologies, IPI


A big challenge for the insurance sector is maintaining customer loyalty. With competition fierce, the key to market differentiation often lies in the experience customers have with a brand. As the mouth piece of an insurer, the contact centre – the go-to place for claims, complaints, renewals and cancellations – should be a focal point in the bid to improve customer service.

In order to keep customers happy and loyal, insurance contact centres should look to adopt technological advancements such as automation which are revolutionising the service being offered to customers in the insurance sector. The likes of chatbots and other automated tools will not only speed the customer’s journey to an efficient resolution, but this technology will also improve the employee experience. Since happy agents make happy customers, it would be unwise not to seize the opportunity that automated technology presents.

Fear not the chatbot

Whilst there are some fears that automation could jeopardise jobs, adopting new technology is actually one of the best ways in which insurers can improve both the customer and employee experience.

Automated technology in the insurance sector is already seeing widespread adoption. With a distinct rise in the volume of emails received, it’s estimated that 94% of insurance providers will enable an online chatbot by 2020, up from 44% in 2018. By speaking with a chatbot on the insurer’s website, customers can update their address, for example, without having to pick up the phone, and even if they do, AI tools can guide them through the easy parts of the call.

These automated tools are also able to take on some of the contact centre agent’s workload by completing the more mundane tasks, such as updating contact details. Not only does this reduce the overall call handling time – a key metric in the contact centre – but it also frees up the agent who will have more time to spend with the customer on the more complex matters.

Having their journey simplified and more efficiently dealt with will not only ensure a happy customer, but also reinforces their loyalty, a key marker of success in the insurance sector.

Better customer service

The customer experience is the top priority in the world of insurance, especially when a customer is calling regarding a claim. If the customer has been in a car accident, or there’s been some damage to their home, for example, chances are that emotions will be running high. In these situations, the response of the agent in the insurer’s contact centre is critical not just in dealing with the customer’s immediate concern, but also can influence that customer’s future loyalty.

Dealing with calls efficiently and resolving problems effectively the first time around should be the main goal of insurance call centre agents. In fact research has shown that customers don’t like to be kept waiting on the phone, and 76% of consumers admit that they are likely to switch brands due to a bad customer experience.

By allowing the agent more time to interact with the customer on complicated matters, staff are encouraged to provide a better, more personalised customer experience, especially if they are rewarded for their efforts. Customers will appreciate this attention to detail and will feel like they are really being heard, rather than being pawned off to a robot.

By improving customer service on intricate matters, combined with a shorter wait time thanks to the bots, insurers develop a good reputation amongst customers, encouraging loyalty in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Happier agents

The customer experience is, however, no longer the only important factor to consider. The employee experience is another facet of the industry that automated technology can help improve.

Keeping up morale and productivity can be tough and employee engagement has become a top priority for contact centres. In an effort to boost the mood, some insurance providers are trialling a four-day working week with no loss of pay for its staff in an effort to improve productivity, staff wellbeing and, as a result, the customer experience.

Introducing automated technology can also help achieve these goals. Speech analytics is a tool that can be especially beneficial to lightening an insurance agent’s workload. Voice recognition software and speech analytics are capable of unearthing useful information that might not have been spotted at first sight – particularly beneficial when dealing with insurance claims. For example, thousands of hours of call recordings can be analysed in seconds, with metrics such as phrases, anomalies and errors identified instantly. In short, speech analytics can help improve the employee experience by doing everything from reducing stress on agents and improving their job satisfaction, to highlighting the strongest performing agents and increasing employee retention rates.

Whilst automation technology can be used – and is being used – to support and improve the customer experience in insurance, it can also help achieve a more well-rounded contact centre. The employees are one of the most crucial aspects of the insurance contact centre, especially in delivering that all-important world-class customer experience to a customer calling with a claim or complaint. Helping employees with technology such as speech analytics that makes their job easier and more satisfying will not only make for an overall improvement in the working environment and office culture, but will also ensure that they can deliver on the customer front to keep customers loyal to their insurance provider.

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