8 min read
Before any discussion about how insurers can enable true ‘self-serve’ in the insurance industry, it’s imperative to define what it means. It’s about improving the customer experience and reducing operating costs in insurance by allowing the end user, the prospect of an insurance company, to be able to perform a task using self-service tools. The same applies to brokers. To increase their effectiveness and efficiencies they also need to have the right resources to better serve their clients.
Spixii CEO, Renaud Million, explains:
Having the ability to self-serve gives insurance customers the ability to complete a task online such as to get a quote, or to buy a policy, or to log a claim or to make amendments to the policy. All these tasks, if they couldn’t do them online, would be undertaken through the traditional channels of email or over the phone. Self-serve, self-service, offers the ability to perform tasks online whenever they want, and from whatever device they wish to use.
The traditional online interaction using web forms with customers is very transactional as the processes behind such interactions were built to support call centres or face to face interactions. However, there is more to insurance than a bare-knuckled process. It’s about human beings and conversations at the end of the day, and quite often the traditional approaches to customer service and customer experience management don’t capture sufficient detail of the conversations that insurance customers, the clients, have with brokers and insurers.
Insurance solutions should therefore capture those conversations, which often contain rich data – including unstructured data. They can occur via voice or via email, or even text and live chat messaging apps. The problem is that the conversation is often broken. Customers are forced to use web forms, which require them to fill in their details and requirements online and then say something like: “Thank you, we’ll discuss your enquiry and get back to you soon.”
Begin the self-serve and Conversational Process Automation journey to improve the customer experience and operational efficiency, download Spixii’s ebook on ‘How to enable true self-serve in insurance’ with Conversational Process Automation and Conversational Self-Serve Technology.
Such a digital monologue can leave customers hanging, waiting in frustration for an outcome. The conversation needs to become two-sided, allowing for the capture of detailed information through – for example – a web form or another channel, and immediate response as much as possible. A failure to improve the ease and speed of resolutions to customer queries or applications to buy specific insurance coverage often leads to inferior performance because it doesn’t allow the end user, the insurance customer, to do much or to know when they will receive a reply from the insurer. That’s because there is often no interaction, and therefore no conversation.
A Spixii white paper, ‘How to enhance insurance with automation of conversations and processes’ explains the drivers for self-serve and says there is much external pressure being placed upon insurers to innovate, combined with growing customer expectations. This is pushing insurers to improve their traditional customer-facing process. The report adds:
“Once sufficient in the analogue world, traditional insurance processes are becoming inefficient to run in a digital world. Revamping them is not only expected by customers and regulators but a question of survival for insurance distributors and servicing functions including claims.”
Self-serve in action – reducing the time to log claims
A Spixii client required help on the claims side because whenever a claim was logged over the phone it would take 15 minutes to complete the process for the handler and the policyholder so 30 minutes in total – in addition, the waiting time the insurance customer spent waiting to speak with an insurance agent on the line. By using Spixii, the time was reduced to 2 minutes only for the policyholder and 0 for the handler, a reduction of 10 times.
The expert chatbot was configured by the claims expert of the insurer to ask the right questions without needing to ask any superfluous questions. Million says this permits the customer to have an efficient conversation straight to the point, relieving the customer from emotional distress caused by the claim while delivering clarity on the next steps of the process. He adds: "The conversation is guided, time is saved, and data is captured in a structured way to allow for more process automation." Spixii achieves this by integrating data claims systems to reduce the need for anyone within the claims department to manually key in the data.
“Many of the core systems used by insurers are rigid and closed and therefore not ready for innovation or agile enhancement, so it’s hard for insurers to migrate the data to the new modern systems,” says Million before adding: “If there is no integration to core systems, it leads to the re-keying of data – from quotes to policy management.”
Spixii’s approach also allows for Conversational Process Automation (CPA) to enable customers to chat with insurance brokers and to receive an instant response that was not possible before.
CPA refers to the management of customer-facing processes and to the optimisation of such processes through automation strategies with the deployment of automated systems such as expert chatbots. “Most of the time CPA is integrated with core business processes and systems or can even allow straight-through-processing (STP),” explains Spixii’s ‘Intro to Conversational Process Automation.’ The article on its website offers some examples of CPA integrations – including with automation platforms for robotic process automation (RPA) & low-code automation; insurance platforms for policy, billing, and claims; and on-premises applications for claims and policy systems.
Self-serve – Improving travel quote considering pre-existing medical conditions
This conversational quote journey involves improving the speed, the experience, and the process to gain a quote and buy travel insurance for a customer with pre-existing medical conditions and his family. To save the customer half an hour by having a guided conversation about him and his family members, Spixii integrated a rating engine to obtain the quote’s price. Its team then integrated a medical module to adjust the price accordingly, and to capture details about the travel plans of the policyholder - the customer.
Usually, it’s hard to do this,” explains Million, “From the insurer’s perspective it saved an hour as there no need to ask all the lengthy questions by phone. The customer spent the time providing the details. However, it also saved the customer half an hour as the conversation was structured and questions fired immediately via the expert chatbot.
Customers: Why is Self-Serve Important?
Indeed, what are the main challenges for a good customer experience in insurance? Well, customers often have to spend much time trying to contact an insurer to get a quote, to make a claim, or for any other reason. Making life easier and the interaction with insurers more personal for customers can make them more loyal and more profitable customers – even to the point of recommending insurance products and an insurance brand to their friends, family, and colleagues. This is why it’s important to maintain the conversational element in interactions with customers.
However, to save time for both insurance agent and customer, there is a need to avoid engaging in small talk. Conversational process management, therefore, aims to get straight to the matter at hand and to improve the accessibility of insurance for the benefit of the customer by making insurance services operate 24/7 with Conversational Process Automation, and insurance chatbots. This can’t be achieved through the traditional approach used by traditional call centres.
With increasing digital transformation, there is a prerequisite for insurance customers to be able to access insurance services whenever they want, wherever they want, and by using smartphones as well as by using desktop and laptop PCs. This is achieved with the complete automation of business processes that are designed, tested and approved by insurance experts, their teams, and operations. It therefore requires no human involvement. However, there are exceptions to the rule, allowing for more complex issues to be addressed through conversations with a customer service representative, an agent or a broker.
If the process falls into the automation guidelines and puts in a claim for a TV that is accepted, there will be no human involvement. When the scenario falls outside of the framework, there will be human involvement – such as for complex claims. Customers, using a chatbot, can send feedback when it’s found that what they wanted to do can’t be done. Sometimes the services online aren’t complete or available enough. This is part of the ongoing improvements. Customers like the speed of service, and the convenience of accessibility, but they often want to leave feedback. We see feedback as gold dust, empirical evidence to inform the next improvements.
A 2019 Cognizant paper, ‘The Future of Chatbots in Insurance’ forecasted:
“Chatbots are expected to generate over $8 billion in savings globally by 2022, while also offering 24x7 customer service, lower processing time, faster resolution, and straight-through processing, leading to increased customer satisfaction. However, when chatbot interactions are mechanical, non-conversational or inferior to human-based conversations, the initiative can lead to a loss of business. Therefore, organisations need to carefully plan and execute these systems to overcome strategic and tactical challenges.”
That can be achieved by working with Spixii to implement self-serve and Conversational Process Automation. Your journey can start with the downloading of our free eBook ⬇⬇⬇