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AI Growth in the Insurance Industry

By Susan Ott, Senior Customer Success Manager

At the outset of the global pandemic in 2020, there was already a great emphasis on the consumer’s desire for artificial intelligence (AI) in day-to-day life.  As we find ourselves making our way, 18 months and counting, in this new normal it is a safe bet that the world of AI-powered self-service isn’t going anywhere.

One industry that has experienced an influx in the need for self-service is Insurance. With technology advancing every day, the need for instant service and issue resolution is becoming more and more expected. The preference of customers to be able to self-serve isn’t waning, but their patience with companies that don’t provide that option certainly is.

AI remains a major trend in the technology sector that will continue to alter how we work and live. Within the customer service space in particular, conversational AI is enabling companies to successfully meet the growing need for instant service.

These new technologies are being used in the multi-faceted Insurance field to automate Claim Processing, get Pricing/Quotes, and improve the overall Customer Service experience for Auto, Home and Life policyholders. Here are some examples:

  • Claim Processing: Companies spend a lot of money on Claims personnel, often times increasing rates to account for the large number of calls coming into their contact centers. Using AI, these companies can reduce their hiring budget by automating many of the routine questions that representatives field on any given day.
  • Pricing/Quotes: This is a huge area in which AI can be beneficial. Using AI, companies can be more competitive in their pricing and allow for personalization tailored to individual policyholders. Knowing some key criteria about a person, such as geographical location, marital status, and likelihood of filing a claim, helps to set premiums.
  • Customer Service: Companies need to look at AI in terms of it acting as a personal Concierge for users coming into the company’s website. It gets them where they need to be to best resolve their questions, allowing for a seamless and smooth experience, while decreasing phone or other live contacts via this digital channel.

Insurance companies should approach AI projects with the goal of creating better experiences for their policyholders, agents, and contact center teams. When used correctly, these technologies provide instant service that is personalized, convenient, and meets the expectations of today’s consumers. Automating processes and top customer service queries with AI also improves efficiency, increases productivity, and helps build customer trust and loyalty. All of this is more important than ever as we continue to make our way through this new normal.

A Stamp of Approval for Customer Service Week

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

Happy Customer Service Week! It’s the first full week of October, and that means it is time once again for the annual week-long global celebration of the importance of customer service, the people who deliver that service, and the impact it has on business success. Since last year’s celebration, businesses have been forced to continue to find ways to overcome challenges the pandemic has raised around the world. Getting that coveted stamp of approval from customers and employees that comes from a successful customer service strategy has been harder than ever.

This is my sixth year creating a blog post roundup to kick off Creative Virtual’s celebration of Customer Service Week. It’s a post I look forward to writing every year even though it’s always difficult to narrow down a year’s worth of informative blog posts into just a couple handfuls to include. As a member of the Creative Virtual team for over 13 years now, I find compiling this roundup makes me contemplate how much has changed in the world of customer service over that time – evolving customer expectations, new contact channels, technological advancements.

But it also reminds me that some things haven’t changed. At the end of the day, customer service is all about people helping people – whether that’s designing self-service tools or answering calls in the contact centre.

And so, without further ado, here are some of the key blog posts on customer service we’ve shared on the Creative Virtual Blog over the past year:

  • Selecting the Right Conversational AI Vendor Makes All the Difference – Chatbots and virtual agents are at the forefront of many digital customer service strategies and selecting the vendor that’s a good fit for you is important for success. To help with that selection process, analyst group ISG evaluated 19 conversational AI vendors based on the depth of their service offerings and market presence.
  • Is Your Inexperienced Approach to Self-Service Driving Customers Away? – Trial-and-error is important in life but taking that approach to customer support can have a devastating effect on your business. When it comes to creating positive service experiences with chatbots, there is no substitute for having hands-on experience with building, integrating, installing, maintaining, and expanding these self-service tools.
  • Conversational AI and the Future of APAC Contact Centres – The companies that have the most success with their CX strategies take an approach that combines digital channels and the contact centre. They build a team that brings them together, which helps with creating and implementing a channel agnostic conversational AI strategy.
  • Combining Chatbots and Voice for Omnichannel Experiences – The tight integration of chatbots and voice creates a seamless journey as customers switch between channels, helping you deliver a connected experience. This post outlines three important tips for companies looking to get started with their own voicebot project.
  • On the Hunt for Better Customer Service – Companies are always on the hunt for ways to meet customer expectations, build brand loyalty, and deliver a better customer experience. Smart companies know the present and future of better customer service lie in the combination of humans and machines, people and technology, live agents and virtual agents.
  • It’s Time to Pull Back the Curtain on Enterprise Conversational AI Pricing – Enterprise software pricing is often shrouded in mystery and the subject of intense negotiations between the supplier and customer. Creative Virtual is removing that shroud of mystery with a guide to conversational AI pricing designed to help organisations properly budget and evaluate costs of these customer service solutions.
  • Past the Point of No Return: Customer and Employee Experience Post-Pandemic – While each of us has had an individual experience and been impacted in our own unique way by the pandemic, it has also been a global event that is leaving lasting effects on communities and companies everywhere. We have experienced too much uncertainty, overcome too many unexpected challenges, developed too many new digital skills, and created too many new expectations to be the same customers and employees as we were prior to the pandemic.
  • Successful Conversational AI: Blending Machine Learning & Human Intelligence – Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Mrinal Rai, Principal Analyst at ISG, and Jan Erik Aase, Partner and Global Head – ISG Provider Lens, joined Creative Virtual Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, for a three-part discussion on conversational AI. Watch the recording to hear their conversation about current industry trends, the impact of the pandemic, and setting conversational AI project goals.
  • A Seamless Support Experience is Music to Your Customers’ Ears – Creating your overall customer service strategy is similar to writing a musical score – you have to pay attention not only to the performance of each individual component but also how they interact with each other over the course of the journey. You must ensure each element is utilised to emphasis its strengths but do so in a way that creates a joined-up, seamless experience.
  • Conversational AI Doesn’t Have to Be a Risky Investment – Step 1Step 2Step 3 – It’s a common misconception that conversational AI is always a high-risk investment for organisations, but one that shouldn’t keep you from implementing your own chatbot or virtual agent to improve customer service. This three-part blog series takes you through important steps for minimising risk and maximising benefits when embarking on a conversational AI project.

As we have for the past several years, the Creative Virtual team is joining the festivities this week with our Customer Service Week Blog Celebration – a series of posts written by expert members of our team on the present and future of customer service. Subscribe to our Blog to get them all delivered right in your Inbox and find them listed here as each is published.

Harnessing Human and Machine During the Pandemic

By Rachel F Freeman, Operations Director

A direct quote of the explanatory theme for this Customer Service Week says: “The impact of events affecting the world today have changed the way in which companies and their employees engage with customers.”

Indeed this is true, and all of us in our businesses and in our personal lives can feel the effects of how services of all kinds have altered in ways ranging from barely discernible to completely different (filling out forms, having temperatures taken, tape and measurements of distance being assessed amidst a lot of Perspex dividers). A main thing that became apparent in call centre scenarios was that call wait times for an array of customer services were much longer and users still are advised in recorded messages that “due to Covid-19” call wait time may be impacted.

I can testify that I’ve never had to wait 25-30 minutes to speak to a representative for whatever service I needed before Spring 2020 but experienced that exact scenario at least four times in the past few months. Speaker phones have never been so handy so that one can do other tasks whilst being on hold for extended periods of time!

Cue the virtual agents, chatbots and virtual assistants. Now more than ever before it is a no brainer that online self-help tools that are available 24/7 should come into their own in this period of uncertainty and continued delays blamed on Covid. Self-help tools need not be subject to the same rules of quarantine which makes them more reliable when it is impossible to predict when humans will be available to handle and field queries based on who is in the office and who is self-isolating.

Now more than ever, in the spirit of seamless customer experience, let’s let the self-help tools do what they are designed to do. Let’s let them share the burden of the increasing pressure on call centre agents and take advantage of them working to their fullest potential. Let’s give the machines space to help, freedom to work whilst the humans that are healthy can spend time not only speaking to customers who truly need a human but also to check in from time to time on the accuracy of the responses of the virtual agent. A smart combination of self-help and human guidance creates confidence that the job will get done with the right tools.

We’re all being told to stay safe and be alert – so let’s work in parallel with the tools to help make that happen. We can enable more efficient customer service interactions whilst at the same time prioritising the health and well-being of both customers and employees.

Check out the Neutrino release of V-Person™ to learn how Creative Virtual is delivering some of the most up-to-date and seamless self-help tools available. Also download the ‘Conversational AI Trends 2020’ ebook from AI Time Journal for virtual agent success stories during the pandemic.

The way companies and their employees are engaging with customers may have changed significantly this year, but with the right tools a positive, seamless experience is possible. This Customer Service Week let’s celebrate both the people and the technology that are delivering safe and seamless customer support in this period of uncertainty.

Building a Positive Relationship for Better Customer Service

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

The relationships you have with your customers directly affect your bottom line. Happy customers are more likely to be loyal, repeat customers and recommend you to their friends, family and social media connections. Every service and support engagement you have with a customer can make or break that relationship.

At Creative Virtual one of our passions is helping our customers deliver a positive service experience to their customers. In order to do that, we work to build a close and collaborative relationship with each of our customer organisations. We get to know their business and goals and then strive to deliver the support they need to achieve their customer service objectives.

Customer Service Week is all about celebrating the people around the world who are delivering great service and support, and so I’d like to give a special shout out to the Creative Virtual team. It is your experience, expertise and dedication to building those positive relationships that have enabled the company to cultivate a growing list of happy customers for over 15 years.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Over the past several months, some of Creative Virtual’s customers have been leaving verified reviews of our company and technology on the Gartner Peer Insights* website. Here’s what they have to say about working with our team:

Relation Based on Trust and Successful Deliveries

“Working with Creative Virtual is easy. Our key contacts are always available to support us on any issues, new projects or last minute requirements. We appreciate the rapidity of answer as well as the flexibility around the Vendor Management. HSBC is working with Creative Virtual since 2011. A real trust has been developed as long as successful projects are delivered. This is a real win-win situation.” (Read the full review)

 

Moved Fast to Launch a Chatbot that Answers Inquiries in a Conversational Way

“Creative Virtual is very responsive to our needs. They are supportive and agile as our business evolves to take advantage of their product offerings.” (Read the full review)

 

If You Want a Company that Focuses on Your Needs, Only Look at Creative Virtual

“Creative Virtual are a very professional company that treats each company as an individual. They get to understand a companies’ needs and offer solutions, they don’t try to apply a one solution fits all approach. I highly recommend Chris as I have worked with him for over 10 years in large corporations. CV place the customer first and this comes through in every interaction.” (Read the full review)

 

Responsive and Adaptive, Thought Leaders, Consistently Delivers Meaningful Results

“Responsive and adaptive; very nimble delivery model (fast ramp up time, fast engagement and assignment of resources). Collaborative and agile approach. Highly skilled resources with deep subject matter expertise. Strong thought leadership. Meaningful results (improved call deflection rates). Innovative product set and roadmap, with particular strength in process mining tools and method combined with intent libraries.” (Read the full review)

As they say, the proof is in the pudding – and there’s no better feeling than knowing we have happy, satisfied customers. So happy, in fact, that they are willing to take time out of their busy days to complete a review and share their positive experiences with their peers. Thank you to all of our customers for collaborating with our team and trusting us to help you with your customer service!

To learn more about our technology and working with our team, request your own live demo. We’d love to add you to the Creative Virtual family!

 

*Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences, and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.

Three Cheers for Customer Service Week

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

Happy Customer Service Week! Every year during the first full week of October we celebrate the importance of customer service and the people who serve and support customers around the globe. The customer service landscape is more challenging than ever with a growing number of customer contact channels and increasing expectations for always-available support.

Even though the customer service industry is constantly evolving, the goal is always the same: to create happy, repeat customers through quality service and support. Here’s our annual blog post roundup of trends, tips and stats to help you consistently deliver a five-star customer service experience:

  • Top Tips for Implementing a Chatbot or Virtual Agent in 2019 – These eight tips address the most important items organisations should consider when evaluating and deploying chatbot or virtual agent technology. Get recommendations on how to build your business case, implement the right combination of humans and AI, and achieve long-term success with conversational self-service.
  • Are We Chatting or are We Serving? – The balance of chat and getting the solution quickly – In our digitised world with expectations for immediate access to information, is it right to assume that we are so busy that we’d rather just get an answer than exchange any pleasantries? This post explores creating the right chat/service balance when supporting digital customers.
  • Leverage Your Chatbot to Its Full Capacity – The long-term pros of having a chatbot go beyond providing basic self-service to customers. They can also be personalised marketing and sales tools and powerful sources of customer insights and feedback for companies that leverage them to their full capacity.
  • Creating a Better Experience for Indian Customers – There’s no denying the importance of providing a positive customer experience for digital customers. This post shares insights from this year’s Customer Experience Management (CXM) event held in Mumbai and a video of Creative Virtual’s presentation, including live demonstrations of our CX technologies.
  • The Digital Workplace in 2019 – Organisations are coming to understand the benefits of providing better and easier support for employees and are placing an increased focus on improving employee engagement. Chatbots and virtual agents are proven tools in the digital workplace for everything from onboarding new employees to helping troubleshoot common IT issues to training contact centre agents.
  • “Virtual Moron-Idiot!”: Why Chatbots Fail and the #ChatbotRescue Mission Saving Them – The chatbot and virtual agent landscape is littered with poor-performing implementations and failed projects, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the industry. Not only are there highly successful implementations that have been in place for years, but there are also options for getting failing projects back on track.
  • #CXDay: Serving Your Customers a Custom Support Experience – Frost & Sullivan predict that the year 2020 will be the point when customer experience will overtake product and price as the number one way companies will differentiate themselves from the competition. Here are four tips to help you deliver a custom support experience for your customers.