Improve the customer and agent experience with on-tap information combined with the human touch
- Today’s world communicates digitally, and insurance industry leaders should take note: This is how customers and agents want to interact.
- Connecting customers and agents directly with your digital interface increases operational efficiency and reduces cost, as long as the right digital solution is in place.
- The agent-customer relationship improves with access to information, digital communication tools, and a hyper-personalized experience that also includes the human element.
- With intelligent process automation, business workflows are improved and access to information is expanded.
- Data analytics provide a cohesive picture to everyone about customer needs and wants, reducing underwriting complexity and providing powerful tools for lead generation.
- Creating a consistent digital experience is important for all stakeholders, and both customers and sellers need the right tools.
- The ROI of intelligent automation can be as high as 200% for the best companies implementing it, and the benefits go far beyond reducing headcount.
Today’s world is all about connection, specifically digital connection. But just not any digital solution will do for companies or customers. Insurance industry leaders bent on success must realize the need to not only embrace today’s shift in the way people interact but future-proof their business as well.
In the rapidly approaching future, we are likely to see businesses lean into the steps taken to deal with pandemic-related issues like remote work and expanded online customer service. The next big shift is in distribution, which means connecting insurers, agencies, and customers by implementing a digital insurance platform that keeps all parties informed and engaged while creating operational efficiencies.
In particular, the property and casualty market depends on your physical sales force and intermediaries like agencies and brokers. As physical distancing remains in place, there’s been a shift to insurtech SaaS tools that close communication gaps, improve customer experiences, and offer efficiencies through intelligent process automation in insurance and data analysis solutions. It’s also a money-saving proposition.
The traditional way of selling insurance always involved agents and brokers. Today’s insurance customer, along with technology, has rendered that model somewhat obsolete. Many customers buy online directly from the insurer and bypass the agent and broker completely. However, this is not how all consumers want to get their insurance. In fact, a McKinsey survey showed that 55% of people can’t imagine buying insurance online. These consumers value both the trusted advice and service quality that comes from an agent.
Along with online research comes pricing sensitivity. After all, customers can see prices online. This makes clear communication, digital risk assessment, and accurate online pricing tools all the more important. Agents with direct access to this information from your digital platform in real-time can do a better job selling to and servicing their clients. Similarly, connecting this information to your customer portal allows consumers to do the research they need and make a quick, informed buying decision.
In addition, just as insurance companies, direct sellers, and agents embrace customer-facing technologies, the competition for customer attention has increased. Customers need a reason to stay with their current insurer, and hyper-personalization is one way to give them that reason.
It’s important for insurance executives to remember that no matter what technology is in place, humans play an essential role in personalizing insurance by creating and nurturing individual relationships with prospective and current customers. This is where agents shine — their specialized knowledge of customers, augmented by the carrier’s ability to analyze data and provide personalized recommendations, can help the two worlds unite to provide that essential hyper-personalized experience.
An insurtech solution that makes this information easy for both agents and direct consumers to access allows insurers to realize the full potential of their digital platform. It also allows them to control costs by controlling which digital prospects go to which channel. For example, sending inquiries for simple products to the direct portal while reserving the full agent experience for customers with more complex needs who will benefit from the personal touch and individualized policies.
The goal of the agent-customer experience is for the client to view the agent not as some sort of intermediary, but as someone who offers expert advice and service. To accomplish this, your digital platform must allow full integration of direct and agent channels.
Intelligent process automation, access to actionable data and analytics, as well as a custom insurtech solution unify teams through a common digital experience. Here is the effect that has on insurers and the user experiences they offer.
Intelligent process automation in insurance is a necessary first step to true digital transformation. Using robotic process automation (RPA) combined with artificial intelligence (AI) means repetitive tasks, even some tasks that require decision making, can be completed with little to no human intervention. These include operational, transactional, and administrative chores accomplished with enterprise-level robotic process automation, AI, and event-driven software.
This means that both agents and direct sales reps have access to the same customer information, at the same time without having to waste time on data entry. In addition, connecting the direct and agent channels brings opportunities to send warm leads and introductions to agents that can bolster company profits.
The ability to automate routine tasks also allows brokers to streamline their businesses and focus their human efforts on the complex, highly skilled tasks computers can’t handle. Intelligent process automation takes the time and pain out of policy administration tasks such as quotes, can assemble all notes and data needed for underwriting, improves customer service by streamlining the application process, and allows claims to be settled faster.
Automation of these rote tasks allows for better use of time for direct sales and agents, such as bringing in new revenue by offering policy add-ons to current clients. It also allows agents and direct sellers to streamline their business and focus on the complex tasks that computers can’t perform.
- Substantial cost savings: Automated work is performed much faster than humans can do it, and it can be performed 24/7 for much less than you would pay an employee.
- Fast ROI: The ROI of intelligent automation can be as high as 200% for the best companies implementing intelligent automation, and the benefits go far beyond reducing headcount.
- Accurate, speedy, quality work: Mistake-prone, repetitive tasks are performed error-free, which not only boosts the bottom line by avoiding rework but improves customer satisfaction and retention.
- Employee empowerment: Intelligent process automation does not require special technical skills or IT involvement. Robots can be deployed by the end-user to perform their jobs faster and more effectively.
- Service continuity for customers: Software robots are on the job 24/7 to provide dependable, continuous service.
Robotic process automation combined with AI tools like OCR, ICR, and intelligent document understanding can process a wide array of documents precisely and automate processes end-to-end not only by downloading, classifying, and compiling data from disparate sources, but also reading, sorting, and analyzing emails while extracting and analyzing similar data from sources such as email attachments, transcripts, and scanned contracts.
Intelligent process automation can also serve as a framework for enterprise-wide digital transformation. Because most processes in insurance are unstructured, high-volume, and complicated, intelligent bots allow you to not only scale the number of bots deployed, but also the quality and complexity of the work they perform.
How tasks are automated depends on event-driven software, and what events trigger certain actions are not only a product of internal process but customer intelligence. Learning about and really knowing customers’ needs and risks requires properly analyzed data that’s cohesive and shared not only across your insurance company but also with those bringing in the business.
You can only build a unified, connected digital system of communication with accurate, real-time data that allows agents, direct reps, and insurers to capitalize on business intelligence. This means that everyone gets a cohesive picture of the company and its goals, as well as a way to measure outcomes and ROI.
The acquisition process includes data sources such as social media posts, website views, and emails or forms submitted to your team. These all provide precise information about customers’ needs and how your agency can best meet them. Together with intelligent automation, these disparate streams of data can be quickly analyzed to help formulate a customer acquisition strategy.
Digital innovations provided by big data and predictive analytics are moving insurers toward a more proactive model, and they can bring agents and direct consumers along with them. The result is more accurate risk assessment as well as real-time insights that protect against losses.
Data analytics are essential for exploiting new opportunities safely, securely, sustainably, and more profitably, all while enhancing the customer experience. In addition, they offer a reduction in fraud cases by exposing trends as well as:
- Lead generation: All of that unstructured data you have from all of those different sources is a goldmine for leads. Taking a deep dive into this data with AI-powered analytics gives important insights into both customer behavior and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
- A boost to business growth: The insurance business is all about risk. By taking big data and using predictive analytics to assess different scenarios, you can improve your odds of making profitable coverage decisions.
- Reduce underwriting complexity: There’s so much information involved in underwriting. Using predictive modeling, risk can be better assessed by analyzing behavior attributes in potential customers as well as other data.
As has been mentioned, there are many disparate sources of data. External data is valuable to develop new customer leads, but your internal data is one of your most valuable business assets. To leverage the power of that data, insurers must build advanced analytics models that identify customers in their portfolio that offer exceptional lifetime value.
Additional models can be built for each segment to identify customers at risk of leaving or lapsing, as well as customers who would be good candidates for cross-selling or upselling. This data, developed via intelligent automation, can be integrated into call lists to help internal and external sales reps focus on the leads with the highest value.
By implementing a feedback system, analytics models can be further refined not only with conversion data but with qualitative input from agents and direct sales reps, as well as customers.
Digital solutions must be designed with human beings in mind. All stakeholder perspectives must be considered because a poor employee experience will often result in a poor customer experience. When talking about communication and connectedness, everyone must have eyes on the same information presented in the same way.
The same strategy must be applied to information availability. With remote workers and increasing adoption of mobile devices, whatever material is needed must be accessible on any device. It’s also important to keep the direct sales and agent experience in mind because commercial customers are also retail consumers. They expect a streamlined, personalized, and engaging experience. Everyone these days expects things like chatbots, mobile apps, and desktop software.
Digitizing the agent and direct channels is necessary not only to support the sales activities of the network but to enhance the customer experience. When designing your digital insurance platform, make sure it includes tools that enhance the digital experience, such as:
Equip agents and direct sellers with the technical infrastructure they need to offer advice through online channels such as video chat and instant messaging. This makes interactions more convenient for the customer and adds that all-important human element. Other digital processes and tools should be provided to conduct day-to-day business, such as appointment scheduling online, digital routing and signatures for forms, and product videos to show customers exactly how your coverage works for them.
Insurance industry leaders who want to set up sellers for success should provide them with a toolbox of applications and information that support their work and augment their website. These include things like instant messaging, social media, and relevant content for customer outreach.
Offer an automatic callback option and call routing to a call center. Provide them with data analysis for highly targeted email, phone, or social media campaigns to increase the reach to those who are likely to convert.
Moving to a connected, cohesive, and consistent experience for all stakeholders through a digital platform saves time, frustration, and improves both the seller and customer experience.
It also saves money. Intelligent process automation for insurance has the potential to:
- Double the efficiency of automated job functions by reducing the cost of these functions by 30% to 40%
- Improve accuracy up to 90%, saving rework and errors that could be costly
See annual savings of thousands of work hours
- Increase service delivery speed by up to 80%
- Boost overall business productivity and profitability up to 50%
- Attain 100% regulatory compliance
It’s also worth noting that 100% ROI is likely within the first year of implementation, and that should multiply following years. Automation also can free up 30% of your productive capacity.
When designing a new digital platform to serve your company, your direct sellers, and agents, it’s important for insurance company leaders to remember that the human element will always be an important factor of any customer interaction. However, to remain competitive and thrive in the future, insurance companies need technology that includes digital and remote options for customers and agents who prefer those types of interactions.
Automate, communicate, connect, collaborate, engage, excel, and convert. Your expanded, flexible workforce increases company resilience in the face of an uncertain future.
RD Global empowers insurance companies with high-impact technology solutions rooted in a 5-star customer experience. Our unrivaled team of in-house technical experts can solve your most complex digital challenges with state-of-the-art custom insurtech software to power your digital transformation.