According to Wikipedia, “mayday” is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French expression “venez m’aider“, meaning “come to help me.” Most recently, the term has been used to describe a special feature Amazon now offers Kindle Fire HDX users when they need virtual support on their device. The user can simply touch the button on the Kindle screen and a contact center representative appears on the screen, where the customer can see, hear and talk with the Amazon customer service rep. It delivers personal help on-demand and in real-time.

Both uses of the word “mayday” described above apply to insurance and other financial services. It is indeed a “come to help me” signal that should be alerting insurance and financial services providers that the next-generation of customer experience capabilities is now here. We have seen the adoption pattern before—financial services customers now expect financial services firms to deliver similar services that they have access to through other industries.

The wait is over. In fact, retail banks are now rolling out similar “mayday” functionality to their customers through similar solutions that are driven by Cisco technology. As is the case with many technology trends, the “what could be” capabilities of the future are much closer than many realize. Consumers using virtual capabilities like FaceTime for social interaction are becoming much more likely to expect and use similar capabilities to interact with companies they do business with. Many workers today are also using virtual interaction to connect with colleagues to conduct business and perform their job functions. The fact is–virtual interaction has become much more common in our daily lives.

The true meaning of the term, “help me” also applies from a consumer perspective. For instance, if I’m on a company website and have a question or need help, often times is a clumsy, time consuming endeavor. It too often  means finding the “Contact Us” link on the website to either: sending an e-mail and hoping for a response; submitting a form and hoping for a call back; or leaving what we are doing on the website, to place a call to an 800 number and hoping to get to the right person who can help. Most of us can easily think of the last nightmare experience we’ve had getting lost in a company’s badly designed voice response maze of options, complete with routing and re-hashing who we are and what we need help with.

That’s all changed. Today, customers have the ability to “Connect Now” for help. On a company website or mobile application, if you need assistance, you can simply click to chat, click to call, click to video and interact with the right person in real-time! And in most cases, the customer is in control. I decide if a quick on-line chat is all the help I need, if I’d rather talk to a representative right now or if I’d like one-way or two-way virtual interaction with the person helping me. I can let the person helping me “co-browse’ and show me how to access what I need on their website. I can also allow the customer service representative to share their desktop screen with me or send me additional information over the web. I can even complete a transaction all within one contact including the ability to sign documents virtually and close the transaction.

No more waiting for someone to get back to you, promises of having the forms needed to be signed sent to you or directions to go to the local office to complete transactions. Today, customers have the ability to connect now and get the help they need from a variety of channels. While consumer expectations for virtual interaction may seem daunting for insurance and financial services providers, this change in customer interaction has significant benefit potential to offer the business as well.

  • Increase “First Call Resolution” within your contact center to drive operational efficiencies while enhancing customer experience.
  • Leverage data analytics that can be gained before the call even arrives in your contact center to better route the caller to the right representative for service.
  • Enhance customer relationships by leveraging virtual interaction capabilities to connect with customers on their terms.
  • Utilize virtual interactions to uncover additional customer needs leading to cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
  • Link internal business units and outside partners to provide seamless integrated support for customer.

When it comes to virtual interaction, the potential for business is as endless as the ever changing needs and expectations of the customers they serve. To find out more information on how Cisco can help meet your insurance business needs click here.


Rob Cornwell

Practice Advisor - Insurance

Insurance, Americas Business Transformation