This article is by Manoj Pant, Senior Director and EMEA Insurance Industry Principal, Pegasystems, and it looks at how the customer service/agent landscape has changed after Covid. Automated systems are great, but there’s still room for the personal touch.
Being a customer service agent in claims can be a difficult role at the best of times. This is backed up by anyone who has worked in a claims contact centre; but it has never been more true than it is today. As insurers are becoming more customer-centric, there is an expectation to provide a high level of services, especially during the claims. This is putting pressure on customer service agents to deliver efficient personalised services with empathy.
This situation has been amplified by the pandemic, with agents tirelessly working to complete sensitive claims relating to a customer’s needs. The agents are trying their best to deliver a superior empathic personalised customer experience, however the reality is customer service agents don’t have access to the right tools to deliver relevant services to the customers efficiently. Also, lack of access to real time data and broken business processes that are using multiple systems to process claims can make a customer service agent’s life difficult. The result of this is a poor customer experience and affecting job satisfaction for customer service agents.
Give your agents the gift of competent tools
Pega’s recent survey explored the disadvantages agents in insurance and other sectors are facing.
More than half of customer service agents say they’re not able to successfully and productively record customer requests during service calls. Nearly 40% of agents are admitting they consistently fail to get to the root of their customer’s needs because the process isn’t streamlined enough. Another issue exposed in the research is how the technology is getting in the way of agents being able to complete their tasks, through manual searches and error prone-data entry. There is close to 40% of respondents claiming slow call resolution as a key frustration for their customers, and a gap in the access to competent tools to achieve productive solutions, when it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction.
So what’s the solution? Many insurers are improving the systems used to support their agents in claims. Doing this reduces the need to input a large amount of data manually, with services using intelligent automation and AI – leveraging real time data to guide agents throughout customer conversations. This tool avoids customer frustration and increases the speed of interactions. Adopting this service tool is a must for insurance companies when operating with customer claims in 2022 – as customers are expecting hyper personalised customer experience and efficient claims processing.
Marrying automation and the human touch
Ground-breaking services are a vital lifeline in the world of insurance claims; however, customers are still in need of a human touch when embarking on their claims journey. The use of conversational AI technologies has been a recent addition to the insurance customer experience. These digital technologies, including contextual self-service, intelligent virtual assistants, and interactive voice response (IVR) systems can help quickly solve service issues, while reducing stress on agents.
Combining real-time AI, speech-to-text analytics, and intelligent automation; agents can now use these services as a co-pilot to guide them through each customer experience, creating new insights and routes to implement the optimal outcome. Agents will now be able to respond to customer
claim needs in a way that is totally different to before. With the sensitive nature of insurance claims, along with the need for empathetic agents, customers are still seeking guidance from human operators. Conversation AI is a tool to supplement and enhance the human agent, creating a powerful combination that can turn a first-time insurance user into a lifetime customer.
AI eavesdropping is more of a benefit than one would think
Manual data entry and searching for information is stated as a leading disruptor of an agents’ role, when dealing with a customer’s claims. This creates a situation where the agent is frustrated; and equally the customer. More than half of agents (54%) blame the need to switch between applications to enter customer information for what’s slowing them down, and a similar number (51%) are impacted by searching for customer information.
Businesses should lean on solutions that analyse live audio to automatically enter data in the system as soon as the customer experience begins with the agent. Solutions should also recommend service actions, creating agile actions that are individual to the conversation at hand. This will surface contextual knowledge in order for the agent to know which action to take and what information to provide. A process like this should be done without an insurance agent lifting a finger – the hands-free nature will mean an agent will have full focus on the customer, rather than being distracted by outdated technology.
This has been implemented by QBE, who recently reported it has saved 50,000 hours since 2017, enabling staff to focus on customer care.
Overall, the need to evolve our industry is a must. Not only is it necessary for our customers, but it is equally important for our employees. As a business, we expect the best output from our teams; though this can’t be achieved if we are not providing them with the right tools. We need to see AI and intelligent automation not as a threat or a complicator but as a way to elevate our employees so they can reach their goals.