Traditionally, insurance companies and customers build personalised relationships where consumers can confide in an agent should they need to raise a claim. Now, in the wake of the pandemic and with the rise of digitalisation, there is a noticeable shift from personable customer service to intelligent self-service solutions has accelerated in the insurance sector.
The world of insurance has changed drastically and insurers now face a new set of challenges. In today’s digital world, customer expectations have changed. Time is of the essence, and customers simply do not have the time available to spend hours filing an insurance claim. They expect insurers to incorporate this into their intelligent self-service offerings ensuring that claims can be processed seamlessly without agent intervention.
So, how can this be achieved? With increasing amounts of leverageable data available, AI has emerged as the transformative technology insurers can utilise to grow their customer satisfaction and retention rates. Quite simply, insurance companies need to satisfy and retain customers to remain competitive and sustainable. Those that stand still will be left behind as customers jump ship to alternative providers that offer more personalised client experiences.
That’s where intelligent self-service can help. It gives autonomy and control to the customer, enabling them to discover the answers they need quickly across various touch points without frustrating waiting times. By adopting intelligent self-service, insurers can boost claimant satisfaction and enable efficiency in their insurance underwriting and claims processes.
Decreasing customer satisfaction remains the biggest challenge for insurers, as this impacts their ability to retain customers. Customers will simply switch providers should they be required to fill out complex forms and experience lengthy claim periods. This is causing problems for insurers within the industry who are yet to embrace change. As such, creative tech-minded solutions in the form of customer self-service and AI are essential to improve customer satisfaction.
For several years, the size of the insurance market has remained static, and customers are now exploring other avenues to get the best deals for their insurance. Insurers now recognise that growth for individual brands must come from a combination of taking market share from competitors and maximising customer retention rates.
The rise of Insurtech companies in recent years has disrupted the status quo amongst traditional insurance providers. Insurtech providers deploy a combination of technologies to provide a modernised delivery and process for customers against that of more traditional outlets. They often offer cheaper alternatives by utilising broader data sets and integrated technology to better tailor their products for consumers.
Customers seek the help of insurers when they have an issue, which usually means they are already frustrated at the point of consultation. Time pressures can also mean life admin is sometimes hard to factor into the day-to-day routine. Therefore, there needs to be a swift solution that minimises time and effort spent on comparing claims and finding the best deals.
So, how can insurers ensure their customers are the primary focus throughout each touchpoint? Customers are always seeking the assistance of insurers, rather than insurers seeking them. Therefore, seamless service solutions are pivotal, so customers feel valued and their circumstances are taken into account through tailored offers. Through AI, automated customer self-service allows customers to buy and renew policies and report or check the status of their claim. This requires minimal human involvement, leading to quicker solutions and, thus, better customer satisfaction rates.
The ability of AI to anticipate the needs of customers is helping to lessen customer service pain points. Chatbots and customer self-service portals allow for continuous support channels to be readily available should customers need them, regardless of time or location. Conversational AI can anticipate what a customer may require, by investigating the customer and preempting what their situation is at the outset of a conversation, with problems resolved without the need for escalation.
For insurers, this could be via Chat to Claim, an intelligent chatbot that can renew or cancel a policy digitally without the need for a customer service agent to manually intake information from a customer. Through Chat to Claim, customers can get claims approved immediately, and a chatbot can communicate directly with policyholders about the details of the account. Insurers benefit from lower operational costs as they will require fewer customer service agents, a win-win for both parties.
Essentially, customer self-service portals can provide a personalised customer experience and expand engagement channels for customer acquisition. By utilising self-service portals and digital channels as a whole, insurers can build better products for their customers, eradicating clunky processes. Smoother processes means satisfied customers.
Customer retention is the holy grail for insurers. Through price comparison sites, consumers can conduct their own research into the best deals and determine what policy to opt for using these tools. Price is clearly a driving factor that influences the decisions of consumers, but equally, customer engagement is beginning to play a significant role in shaping consumer behaviour. However, organisations that succeed when it comes to renewal time have a strong focus on client interaction. To establish good engagement and retention, insurers must continually look for new ways to add value to their policies and optimise the customer experience, through good service and customer care.
Research by Consumer Intelligence illustrates how brands are differentiated at the point of retention, using a comparative analysis between two insurers to examine how they performed for customer retention rates. The study used a series of metrics based on consumer behaviour to determine the impact of engagement, analysing metrics such as a good overall service, belief in customer service and care, and customer satisfaction.
The result? If an insurance provider has a higher customer engagement score, then this correlates with higher customer retention rates. Essentially, a ripple effect is created and insurers can achieve a lower cost of acquisition. Given that the cost of acquisition is very expensive, insurers must strike a balance between engagement and competitive prices in order to maximise their retention rates.
So, where exactly does intelligent self-service fit into the equation here? Though there are many components that determine how engaged a customer is, ISS brings unique benefits to both the customer and the insurer. An ISS model can leverage customer data at each customer touchpoint, personalising policies with tailored offerings to better meet customer expectations. Using data analysis with AI informs policies, underwriters have better accessibility to the customer, and subsequently, customer retention rates increase dramatically.
Some car insurers are using AI to gather data from dash cams, allowing them to assess damage and fault in collisions. Companies like Geico and Allstate are working on features to encourage safe driving for car insurance customers, with smartphones being leveraged to log data.
Data and personalisation go hand in hand, so a customer gets an attractive product they’re after, and agents save lots of time in searching for the correct product. What’s more, the insurer benefits from improved customer retention rates and lower cost of acquisition.
Historically, insurance providers have been too transaction oriented, but there is a change happening. Insurers design products and services that centre around the customer experience. Rather than being perceived as transactional, insurers are now being reclassified as trusted advisors, leading to improved customer loyalty. Such is the competitive nature of the industry; building loyalty, trust and engagement whilst remaining affordable and competitive are all core essentials for insurers.
Intelligent self-service isn’t so much a futuristic concept but one that is increasingly present across the insurance sector and other industries. The adoption of ISS by insurers means improvements in customer experience, operational delivery, and subsequently customer retention rates.
As insurers transition to ISS and AI-based solutions, the insurance industry is progressing in how it operates. Without this sea change, the industry was static, and offerings were outdated, leading to years of stagnation. Now through ISS, companies that have moved to adapt by introducing ISS are beginning to see the fruits of their labour through increased customer retention rates and better engagement scores with customers. This will only serve to enhance the profitability and competitiveness of companies and the industry moving forward.
Find out more about how to create convenient customer interactions with our free webinar: “Intelligent Self-Service: The Age Of Convenience”. Download below: