Through the pandemic, many operators accelerated their plans to develop digital customer experiences that allow customers to satisfy their needs without having to talk to a live person. However, there are still situations where it can be important for customers to talk to someone directly. Human interaction is beneficial when customers need to solve complex situations. In addition, this type of engagement helps clients connect with agents on an emotional level, which strengthens their relationship with the business. When customers interact directly with agents, the quality of that interaction is crucial.
In my latest blog series, I discussed what happens next for insurance companies that want to create value through improved customer experiences. I noted that a man + machine approach is an important part of tomorrow̵7;s customer engagement. After reviewing the Reimagine Customer Experience submissions for this year’s Qorus (formerly Efma) Accenture Innovation in Insurance AwardsI wanted to highlight some insurance companies that innovatively use data, analytics and technology to support and improve human interactions.
Visi´Home from Allianz Partners
Allianz PartnersThe ‘Visi´Home’ service enhances the virtual customer support experience. It is a diagnostic service that supports customers remotely and assesses incidents that have caused damage in the home. It uses video calling to connect customers directly to a claims manager who can diagnose the claim and connect them to the right service provider. The team at Allianz Partners developed this service in the wake of physical distance protocols through the covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent rapid adoption of video conferencing, and launched it in France in 2020.
When customers are struggling with problems such as a cracked pipe or broken device, they may not know what the problem is or how to solve it. During a call, an experienced agent can take a look at the problem directly, eliminating the need for repair and maintenance professionals to make an initial home visit to assess the situation. In addition, they are better equipped to find the right repair person and provide instructions on what parts or tools they need to complete the job. This saves significant time, money and even emissions as repair professionals only need to make a single trip – you do not have to double back to get some from the store.
Visi´Home brings the insurer closer to its customers and helps them deliver an extremely personal experience when customers need it most. Providing support at the moment positions the carrier as a trusted friend, which ultimately drives loyalty and trust.
I see that this type of innovation prepares the insurance industry to go one step beyond the connected customer experience to an embedded customer experience. Our latest report, Teknikvision 2022talks for a long time about the applications of augmented reality (AR) in our everyday lives – and in the customer experience of the future.
One of the applications of AR discussed in Tech Vision is the concept of using mobile devices or (eventually) IoT-connected glasses to overlay the physical environment with information such as directions to a location, restaurant reviews, or packaged product ingredients. Visi´Home is a promising forerunner of this type of technology. While the service currently relies on video calling to connect customers to agents, this type of product can easily be translated into an AR experience. For example, diagnostics can be run by artificial intelligence and agents can “point” via a virtual overlay when providing real-time instructions on the customer’s device.
FWD Care from FWD Group
FWDs healthcare innovation successfully balances technology and human connection. The FWD Care program provides clients who are going through illness, the end of life or the loss of a loved one with a committed nurse. Once a claim for a critical event has been approved, customers are connected with a nurse who works with them on an ongoing basis for up to six months at no extra cost. The nurse is trained to navigate the medical and administrative issues the client may have and be a source of emotional support during a difficult time. In addition to this service, the program connects customers with other resources.
FWD focuses on deeply meaningful human interactions as a key factor. While each person going through a life crisis such as a critical illness or loss needs emotional support, each individual customer has different resource needs. To deliver personalization, FWD created a care network to meet the needs of different customers. They provide a wide range of resources – both virtual and personal – including transporting medical appointments, counseling and even legal advice.
When the industry turns to automated customer interaction solutions, it is important for carriers to assess where the human touch has the greatest impact and work to preserve or improve the use of human agents in that area. For FWD, there is a high ROI in investing in its customers in this way. The program has achieved a total customer satisfaction of 99.7% in Hong Kong and Thailand where it was tested, which led to increased loyalty and retention.
According to new research from Salesforce, 73% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Ninety-four percent of customers say that good experiences make them more likely to buy again, a figure so up by three percentage points since 2020. Finally, 96% of customers say that excellent service creates trust. Strategic delivery of human care can help customers feel that they are important to the insurance companies and that their carrier is really there for them through life’s toughest experiences.
AI Meeting Platform from Ping An Insurance
When it comes to internal processes, technical solutions can be implemented to enable teams of human agents to provide the exceptional experiences that customers need and expect. Chinese insurance company, Ping An, developed its AI Meeting Platform to improve communication between sales agents and customers. The platform makes it easier for agents to have customer data and relevant information resources at hand, so that they can deliver extremely tailored proposals and support materials in real time. Ping An refers to this as an online + offline experience that gives customers the benefits of having a face-to-face conversation along with the effectiveness of data-driven sales activation and seamless remote meeting capabilities.
The platform makes it much easier to train sales agents and keep them compatible, so they can focus on having meaningful conversations. For example, an included robot built into the solution guides salespeople away from using sensitive words in real time, ensuring that agents communicate the right message and avoid misleading sales.
The platform also includes meeting rooms for virtual reality (VR), the first of its kind in the industry. This VR experience enables sales team members to make customers feel welcome even when they meet remotely. Ping An can serve more customers in more regions with this extra flexibility. Agents have been able to handle the changes in the personal interaction that the pandemic has brought about through improved virtual experiences.
Instead of completely automating the sales experience, Ping An expanded its online sales process with tools that could provide what a personal experience previously offered – namely connectivity. They further enhanced the experience of AI innovation that makes it easier for salespeople to meet customers where they are, which brings in the benefits of personalization technology that today’s customers are used to.
Enables experiences of man + machine
These examples are evidence of a wave of innovation in the insurance industry that is improving technology to enable better human-to-human experiences, rather than completely replacing them. In the future, carriers will need to develop a data collection and decision-making strategy to determine where customers need and expect self-service and where they prefer to interact with a living person.
The innovations discussed above also require people to deliver services at a higher level of empathy and competence. Carriers will need to develop training and coaching programs, many of which will increasingly be driven by AI, and potentially redesign their organizational culture to deliver compassion and expertise that will stand out for customers.
If you are interested in discussing this further, do not hesitate contact me.
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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be used in consultation with our professional advisors.