Will voice recognition tech – such as Amazon Echo, Siri and Google Duplex – become the new normal for the insurance industry? The future of policy inception, proposer details updates, claims and more could all be voice-initiated processes within a few years. Here’s an Opinion piece by Brian Martin, Regional Director UK & IRE, Spitch
Everyday life is rapidly becoming automated. Nearly everything we do is changing, as technology is being harnessed to help us live our lives more seamlessly, and we’re interacting with our world in new ways.
At home, we talk to our devices, asking them to help organise our diaries, play our favourite songs and order groceries. Even more recently, Google announced a new capability to make phone calls for users on their behalf for tasks as simple as booking an appointment at the salon. Using voice recognition technology, we can even control the appliances in our homes. It’s a new dawn – one where we think out loud. And all the big players are already at the party. The world’s biggest brands are hard at work as we speak, integrating voice recognition technology into everything they do.
This is great news for consumers, as it’s freeing their hands and minds to do other things and apply themselves to different challenges. A more frictionless, seamless way to live their lives. Businesses in the insurance industry must take notice of this shift, as customers are increasingly expecting that same level of effortlessness in everything they do. And they’ll be quick to leave the companies that can’t deliver it.
But it’s not just consumer expectation that means insurance businesses should be taking notice of voice recognition. It’s a technology that has lots to offer the industry, not least the chance to deliver better security, harness a wealth of data to improve the products and services on offer, and stay ahead of the competition.
The investment in technology is rising
The insurance industry is embracing technology in a big way. Research from Accenture has suggested that the number of insurtech deals increased by 39% globally in 2017. From an industry perspective, this certainly reflects the current market appetite for advanced technology solutions such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and voice technology.
Insurance is one of the industries where the pressure of the incumbent disruption (e.g. new customer service and risk calculation approaches by insurtechs) will be especially pronounced. In fact, insurtechs are already making their bets on leveraging the existing data to generate risk insights, develop new capabilities in customer service that make it easy and more fun to deal with them, and finally – offer trusted dialogue-based customer relationships with personalised products and hassle-free delivery.
A focus on security
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) regulations have brought personal data protection into sharper focus than ever. They mean companies across the board are having to look for new and evolving ways to enhance security and protect people’s personal information – but history tells us that nothing has yet been entirely fit for purpose when it comes to meeting this end. So, this could be voice recognition’s moment to shine.
One of the big advantages voice recognition offers the insurance industry is in making it possible for companies to detect and identify fraud in real time. By checking a caller’s voiceprint against a blacklist of known fraudsters, voice recognition can enable contact centre staff to act immediately. A practical, real-world application of a new technology. One that protects customers and their data – and empowers the business to deliver best-in-class security.
Security is key here, but we mustn’t forget that voice recognition is also an opportunity to improve people’s overall experience of the insurance industry. It’s an opportunity to make sure customers feel safe, while making their lives easier at the same time, giving you all the tools you need to build better, stronger relationships with your customers, as well as building efficiencies directly into the business.
Easier for customers, better for business
It’s in customer contact centres that voice recognition really comes into its own. It helps customer service employees to operate in better, more efficient ways than ever before. By automating authentication, voice recognition assesses and verifies the human voice using 140 different parameters, bypassing the need for passwords. On an operational level, this gives you the practical ability to handle up to 80% of insurance claims without the need for customers to speak to anybody at all.
Voice recognition also uses sentiment analysis, which means being able to automatically and accurately determine emotion and tone in the customer’s voice. When fully integrated with semantic interpretation into your network, that means being able to route calls more quickly to the appropriate team. And less time switching between teams means more time helping and pleasing customers who are talking to the right people.
Not only does all of this free up employees to handle more complex tasks, saving you valuable time, energy and money, but it also improves working conditions for your staff. By automating low-value, repetitive processes, staff have more scope for development and are likely to be more interested and engaged with their roles. This means great productivity and, ultimately, revenue.
Harness more data, do better work
It goes without saying that voice recognition technology gives insurances businesses the chance to capture a wealth of quality data, which can be used to tailor specific products to different customer groups. For instance, using advanced speech-to-text engines trained on the voices of customers, you can dig into keywords and phrases and build solutions off the information you discover. This is over and above the top line data you’ll already be capturing, like gender, age and location.
Voice recognition technology also enables you to process damage reporting calls in a fully automated way, checking if the caller is insured and letting them know that you’ll be in touch.
Whether that’s in the form of an email, a letter, or a call about a replacement unit, it’s all dealt with without the need for the time of your staff.
It’s impossible to train your staff to know everything about a customer, but when conversations are happening, voice recognition technology can be capturing keywords, emotion and intent. These can then automatically pull up useful information for the agent, while still on the call. For instance, if a customer is telling the agent that they’re planning to go to ‘Austria’ on a ‘driving’ holiday, the system will instantly recognise those keywords and present the agent with relevant insurance information. Topic-specific information in real time.
It’s the ability to tailor your products and services in that way that can really set you apart from the competition.
The unique opportunities presented by voice recognition technology are impossible to deny. For insurance businesses in particular, solutions based on this new technology offer the chance to improve both brand reputation and business bottom line, as well as fit effortlessly into a new technological eco-system. Customers are increasingly well versed in new technology and as that world continues to evolve, it’s important to be doing the same.