How Conversational AI is Enhancing the Insurance Customer Journey
Author: Simon Black | Date: 02/02/2023
Following complex legal and claims settlement processes in the insurance industry are a lot for customer service agents to get to grips with. Furthermore, stressed customers desperate to have their claim resolved can often leave agents feeling overwhelmed, or simply make it difficult for them to understand the intricacies of the query.
The result is often a tense, unproductive customer service experience. Even worse, it can mean that businesses lose customers in the long term, as they’d rather switch to a provider capable of facilitating prolonged customer engagement.
As companies seek to reduce these issues — while also trying to increase efficiency and meet evolving demand — they are investing more in artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, 87% of surveyed insurers are seeing their company invest $5 million or more in AI each year.1
In today’s blog, we’re going to look at how AI is providing part of the solution to improving customer service outcomes in insurance — and how you can benefit.
Suggested reading: You can learn more about how advances in technology are improving customer service in our free eBook — Your Contact Centre Could Operate Better… A Lot Better
Conversational AI for the insurance industry
Insurance relies heavily on customer service, as providing informative support ensures customers remain satisfied and feel secure. Nearly 60% of insurance executives feel that superior customer service experiences have the highest impact on differentiating them from the competition.2
Outstanding customer service isn’t just about hiring the best agents. With Conversational AI, contact centres can elevate the customer experience by supporting those agents:
- Natural language processing (NLP) generates structured feedback based on customer requests, improving compliance amongst insurance agents without pressuring them to think on the fly.
- Past answers can be analysed to determine common customer enquiries and provide accurate, pre-scripted responses.
- Voice, image and video recognition can improve customer communications by detecting their emotions and sentiment.
The essence of Conversational AI, and what all insurance providers are seeking when they invest in it, is improving interactions with customers and better predicting their needs.
Insurance industry trends enabled by AI
In the insurance sector, the tremendous benefits of using AI in customer support are already becoming evident. According to McKinsey, by 2030 cognitive technologies — think image, voice and video analytics — will be the norm for processing customer service interactions in the insurance industry.3
Now, let’s dive into the specific ways artificial intelligence can improve customer satisfaction with insurance firms.
There is currently real confusion about why contact centres should introduce AI, with many still of the opinion that its purpose is to replace real agents with chatbots or interactive voice response (IVR) systems.
This will often create more issues, with customers faced with barriers when all they really want to do is speak to an agent. However, Conversational AI isn’t designed to replace agents, in fact, quite the opposite.
AI should instead be deployed to empower contact centre agents. That means equipping them with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to do their job to the highest possible standard.
Through the utilisation of AI, contact centre agents in insurance can benefit from:
- The ability to identify trends in behaviour, voice and data, empowering them to evolve the experience by anticipating changing customer needs and demand
- Next Best Action (NBA), a contact centre trend that suggests the next steps agents should take when dealing with a specific customer
Fraud detection and prevention
Fraud is a constant threat to the insurance industry. For example, unwitting customers are sometimes scammed by fake calls pretending to be insurance companies, with the insurance industry in the United States facing over $40 million in insurance fraud per year, costing the average family between $400 and $700 p.a. 4
Fortunately, AI can help reduce the significant risk posed by fraudulent practices by issuing alerts when:
- Proper procedure isn’t being followed
- Personal information is being requested where it shouldn’t be
- The customer is providing card information over the phone
As a result, the implementation of AI within insurance customer service processes supports agents in the ongoing battle with fraud. Furthermore, customers can also feel a heightened sense of security when interacting with a business.
Early adopting Insurance-firms embracing artificial intelligence are already reaping the rewards of enhanced customer service.
We’re offering a free trial to any Insurance firm wanting to experience the same.
There’s no way around it — some customer service processes in insurance are tedious. Whether it’s underwriting, claims management or fraud detection, these necessary but arduous tasks prevent agents from focusing on customers and their immediate needs.
Fortunately, AI is beginning to help by handling these types of tasks for customer service agents, freeing up their time and mental stamina to prioritise looking after the customer and delivering an excellent experience.
In addition to that, by providing agents with additional support that guides them to the next best action to take with a customer, AI is driving productivity and enabling crucial key performance indicators (KPIs), such as first call resolution (FCR).
Empowered by AI, agents can now resolve more queries without the need for additional follow-up calls, improving FCR in insurance and creating capacity for them to deal with an increased number of calls each day.
Customer service — especially good customer service — is expensive. However, the costs don’t all come from paying a contact centre’s phone bill. Rather, it is the acquisition of new customers and agents that is particularly costly.
So, the question then becomes how to retain customers and staff rather than deal with a constant churn. A survey from McKinsey found that:
- 41% of leaders say it takes between 3 and 6 months to train new customer support agents.
- 39% of agents cite dissatisfaction as a reason for leaving.5
Training new support staff is a long and expensive process, and therefore focus should be placed on ensuring existing agents choose to stick around. AI has the potential to be extremely effective here, with cutting-edge software that can analyse speech to see if employees are struggling emotionally or are burnt out now available.
By pinpointing struggles within customer service teams, managers and team leaders can make the working environment more enjoyable and boost employee retention, reducing staff turnover and thereby the resources required for training new staff.
More personalised experiences
In the age of social media, customers are seeking personalised experiences at every stage of their journey with a company. Insurance is no different, and if anything warrants an even higher level of personalisation, as customers tend to get in touch after a difficult or traumatic event.
Once again, artificial intelligence has the potential to enhance the delivery of customer service. Collecting customer insights and analysing behavioural patterns with AI is now allowing customer service agents to provide:
- Better deals, advice on quotas
- Personalised support for insurance claims.
- Recommendations that are tailored to the customer’s needs.
Start driving the conversation
Here at Awaken, we pride ourselves on having the tools, knowledge and experience the insurance industry needs to provide a seamless experience to customers on a consistent basis.
We run customer-agent interactions, including voice, email, web, social media interactions and metadata through AI algorithms. As a result, you can analyse the language and behaviour of both customers and agents to ensure optimised service outcomes.
Whether you’re taking the plunge with incorporating AI into your customer service, or simply looking to improve the customer experience your contact centre provides, Awaken is here to help.
If you’re ready to take your customer service experience to the next level, book a demo with Awaken today.