Earlier this year Cisco completed its acquisition of imimobile, adding an enterprise-grade CPaaS platform to Cisco’s industry-leading collaboration and contact center solution portfolio. The Cisco Financial Services team welcomes imimobile’s Jay Patel – VP & CEO of imimobile as our guest blogger this week.
Last year undoubtedly created challenges for businesses across all industries, forcing many to accelerate digital transformation initiatives in order to communicate with customers digitally at scale during a period of lockdowns and reduction in face-to-face interactions. For insurance providers, these challenges were no different.
However, even before COVID-19, established insurance providers were facing challenges. New technologies and digital-first competitors meant that customer expectations were higher than ever. Consumers want to quickly receive a quote, take out a policy and make a claim with ease, using the channels they already use every day. They want 24/7 access to their policy details and premiums without having to call a contact center, but when they do need customer support, they want it to be as seamless an experience as possible. Essentially, customers are in charge and insurance providers need to adapt.
Research conducted by Capgemini discovered that traditional insurance providers are lagging behind other industries when it comes to digital transformation projects. Only 39% of insurance companies felt they had the digital capabilities necessary to make them a success.
So, where should insurance providers start?
1. Work with existing infrastructure
Many insurance providers often feel like they are held back by legacy infrastructure. Whilst there is no doubt that older, existing systems and data silos built for ‘policy management’ can prevent the creation of seamless customer journeys, the common assumption is that businesses must ‘rip and replace’ in order to progress. This just simply isn’t the case.
Insurance providers should look to invest in a central, communications platform that can manage customer journeys from end to end and work with existing systems, rather than against them. This should remove the need for developers to have to reprogram anything and eliminate any existing data silos that prevent seamless customer experiences. CPaaS platforms like imiconnect manage all of a business’s customer interactions, in one place. They orchestrate customer interactions with existing backend systems, cloud applications, and partner services – creating the right fit for every company!
2. Be on the right channel, at the right time
Customers increasingly expect to interact with businesses in the same ways they do with family and friends – using the channels they use every day. Insurance providers need to embrace newer digital messaging channels like WhatsApp Business, RCS and Apple Business Chat in order to create the richer, interactive experiences their customers demand. Using these newer channels, information for claims can be gathered in a matter of minutes or hours rather than days or weeks. Businesses that have experimented with these new channels already have seen increased customer engagement and improved NPS.
For insurance providers, context is also key. If a customer has asked for a quote, ensuring that the follow up is seamless and using the same channel is imperative, there is nothing more frustrating for the customer than getting redirected to other channels in order to complete a purchase. Also, if a customer has just had a claim refused, insurance providers need to ensure they move into retention mode, rather than bombarding customers with unnecessary promotions. Adopting a platform approach allows for customer data to be used to ensure that insurance providers can offer contextual and timely interactions.
3. Don’t make customers wait on hold
We’ve all been there, waiting on hold for hours on end, trying to fight your way through IVR queues, voice recognition software and actually getting through to the right team to answer your question. It’s not the best experience for customers, and it’s certainly not efficient for businesses.
So, what’s the answer? We think it’s call deflection. Offering customers an option to engage on alternative messaging channels provides them with the flexibility to solve issues in the way that’s best for them:
- For simple enquiries, allow customers to solve their issue through an automated chatbot within the messaging channel of their choice.
- For complex enquiries, use live customer service agents to respond to customers using the messaging channel of their choice and allow customers to respond when it’s convenient for them.
- For the most complex enquiries, provide customers with the option to book a time to speak to an agent.
4. Build trust both ways
Trust is important for any interaction between a consumer and a business. However, due to the nature of the services that insurance companies provide, it’s more crucial than ever for them to invest in the right software. Firstly, insurance providers need to authorize any information exchange – ensuring that customer data is thoroughly verified before making amends to any policies. Customer data can be safeguarded through two-factor authentication using messaging channels or voice calls to authorize transactions.
Secondly, they need to tackle fraud with brand recognition and authenticity. Using new channels launched by Google – Verified Calls or Verified SMS – insurance providers can establish trust through the use of logos, company branding and letting the customer know a reason for the call before they pickup. Customers should also be able to report any suspected fraudulent transactions easily through an authenticated channel.
5. Embrace the hybrid workforce
The COVID-19 pandemic has blurred the lines of fixed hours for customer service – consumers no longer want to be limited by 9-5 contact times. Businesses and employees are starting to move towards a hybrid-working model where customer service agents will be deployed more flexibly based on the demand, skills required, and the value they provide.
Businesses and customers can both benefit by introducing flexible hours of operation. Agents can choose to work around the time of day that suits them best and insurers can provide customer support beyond their regular hours of operation. Therefore, the contact center software that insurance providers deploy must be fit to embrace this new hybrid working model.
Don’t get left behind competitors, reach out today to find out how we can help your business get ready for the Future of CX.