5 min read
Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of business resilience and continuity. Across different industries, many businesses closed because their foundations were not sustainable enough to overcome a prolonged interruption. Many others were damaged because they were not able to function as they would normally do.
Having learned the importance of resilience, how can we build more resilient businesses and roadmaps? How can we ensure that the unexpected arrival of another pandemic or a similar catastrophe will not throw us and our businesses off course?
The status quo
Before outlining how resilience can be realised, we need to understand the landscape in which it needs to be built. Here are the top three features of the status quo:
New emerging risks: The world is constantly evolving, and technology is drastically changing the world we live in. Novelty always comes with risk and new risks are emerging risks in insurance everyday. Climate change is irrefutable, having led to five of the warmest years since 2010. Floods, unseasonal rains, erratic weather changes are the result which drastically impact people and their livelihood. Cyber risks which include cybercrime and information war are business risks at their core rather than technological ones. Other technological breakthroughs (including AI, robotisation and IoT) have created security gaps that either can’t be filled or are easy to get around to. Financial instability (for eg. in China) can destabilise the global economy. Growing population worldwide is also creating pressure on natural resources like water and land which can paralyse regions and people. All these and more are risks that the insurance of present and future has to safeguard against.
More demanding customer expectations: Today’s customer is expecting a service on top of a product. Insurance is complicated and customers demand to be guided throughout all steps of the insurance value chain. This guidance can be direct and verbal or clearly laid out in text or through customer support. For example, when purchasing an insurance policy, the average customer, which often lacks insurance understanding with its highly technical terminology, demands assistance. It is not enough for insurers to display their policy offering without a clear explanation of its terms and principles: removal of confusion is key to driving higher conversion rates. As per Deloitte, companies that include value-added services in their offerings are able to achieve higher profits and greater customer centricity while standing out in the market.
Changing economic conditions: According to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, both individuals and businesses are less likely to buy insurance during adverse economic conditions. Concurrently, the frequency and value of claims increases drastically along with fraudulent claims. As a proof of that, during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, the number of fraudulent claims by individuals increased by 17 percent. The value of these claims was £730 million.
What this specifically means for businesses is:
Need for improved business continuity: Business continuity is all about having a plan to deal with difficult situations so the company can continue to function with as little disruption as possible. The emphasis is on identifying all potential risks the insurance business might face (we’ve included the most pressing ones above), and brainstorming how to keep operations running in each scenario. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, as the saying goes. This will help to ‘catch’ and safeguard the business in times of distress.
Need for increased business resilience: Every business has its own weaknesses and operational inefficiencies which might be magnified due to changing economic conditions and novel risks due to changing times. Insurers play a crucial role in providing financial safety. To continue doing so, they need to put on their own oxygen masks and ensure they are able to operate as well. The first step for this is to execute a diagnostic analysis to gain a clear view on vulnerabilities at each point of the operational value chain.
How expert chatbots and Conversational Process Automation (CPA) can help
Conversational Process Automation was specifically built to ensure business resilience. By embracing a wise use of technology that strives for maximum flexibility through expert chatbots and for the removal of process inefficiencies through automation of customer-facing interactions and integration with core systems, CPA can help a business to be resilient at its core. CPA is specifically designed to absorb and adapt to changing paradigms. Here are two concrete ways in which they help while creating maximum positive impact:
Adapt to customer needs: Data insights are becoming crucial to businesses and technology is unlocking unprecedented sources of information whilst organising them in a meaningful way. CPA is designed to capture customer needs through chatbot conversations and offer businesses insights on customer demographics and behaviour, plus direct customer verbatim feedback. The information acquired becomes the knowledge base for a more personal conversational experience between a customer and a brand. Also, such knowledge empowers insurance businesses to make informed decisions when it comes to redesigning product, services and processes around their customers.
Update customer-facing interactions quicker: Whenever it comes to updating content in traditional systems such as web forms or web pages, time is one of the problems. Not only the approval process, but also the implementation of changes itself requires long times. Depending on the type of content to change, the update often requires passing through different environments (e.g. development, test, production). CPA changes the rules of the game by moving from a static and rigid system to a dynamic one. After providing meaningful insights, CPA allows businesses to update the content of customer interactions through its expert chatbots 80% quicker.
In principle: what is too rigid can break and rapid iteration gives the flexibility for insurers to adapt and become more resilient.
How will you approach change?
The late Pierre Nanterme, who was the chairman and CEO of Accenture from 2011-2019, had a favorite quote that was a major part of his business philosophy and modus operandi. It was by Winston Churchill and it goes like this:
If you don't take change by the hand, change will take you by the throat.
We must remember the truth of these words during times of uncertainty and turmoil. There are new risks everyday. Economic conditions are always changing and customer expectations can easily fall in step with the latest trends. Your business needs a resilient foundation- and Conversational Process Automation has the power to provide it. Are you ready to take it?