Bringing back the personal touch in a digital age with conversational AI

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The good old days of personalized customer service are not gone, they’ve just been upgraded.

There is something to be learned from the way things used to work in customer service. Whenever a customer needed help before the age of digital insurance, they had to physically seek out a local branch. They would enter an office building where a receptionist would greet them and ask how they could be of assistance. Depending on the inquiry they either got an answer or solution to their problems on the spot or directed to the right person that would be able to help them.

Fast forward to the digital age, tech-savvy customers no longer leave the house or seek out physical locations when they need help. Instead, they pull out their smartphones or laptops and look for a company’s webpage in search of the information they need.

The problem with many company websites is that they can often contain an excess of information while serving multiple purposes (branding, sales, marketing, lead generation, newsroom, etc). A typical insurance company has a private and enterprise section with various products that makes it hard to navigate intuitively to the information a customer needs. If this was back in the analog days, it would be akin to a building with multiple entrances and only a few directional signs, with no clear indication on where the customers need to go to find help.

So the customer heads to the contact-section of the page to find help. What happens next? Usually, they’re met with a standardized (and impersonal) contact form or an email address. Can you imagine looking for help and only finding an empty reception area with a form that instructed you to fill out the information and then having to wait hours - or sometimes days - for an answer?

Customers simply expect more. They don’t want to engage in an online game of hide-and-seek when they need information or help. The service experience needs to be convenient, easy, and personal. For insurance companies especially, customers can be in urgent need of help in the event of an incident, and therefore need on-demand service that is available to them anywhere and anytime.

This is why chat has become an increasingly popular channel due to it acting as a digital equivalent of a reception, where customers can turn to someone to engage in a conversation and get personalized service, instantly. Fuelled by advances in conversational artificial intelligence, companies can now use virtual agents to man their new digital reception desks 24/7. With a virtual agent implemented to handle online chat traffic, the experience of finding the information they need becomes a lot smoother.  Either by answering simple questions instantly or guiding them to the right sections of a website (e.g. where they might need to file an insurance claim), wait times become a thing of the past. Should an inquiry turn out to be too complex to be solved with a simple answer, a virtual agent powered by conversational AI can also be equipped to instantly connect the customer with a human operator who can take the query forward.

As an insurance company, can you really settle for anything less than customers service excellence? After all, your customers have turned to you to help them with peace of mind against the adverse impacts of accidents or illness. When they need your help, you owe it to them to be there in their hour of need.