Meet Globus: an advanced virtual agent developed by Topdanmark and Deloitte that is helping redefine customer service in the insurance sector.
Nordic insurance customers are among some of the most tech-savvy in the world. According to a recent market survey, over 90 percent of consumers in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland revealed that they regularly use the internet to cover their insurance needs. Unsurprisingly, the insurance sector is, therefore, one of the biggest global spenders in the artificial intelligence space, investing, on average, $124 million across underwriting, claims processing and, importantly, customer service.
Denmark’s second-largest insurer, Topdanmark, was quick to acknowledge this digital shift in its customer base. “Being able to deliver a strong online customer experience is essential,” says Sebastian Juel, Head of Customer Service at Topdanmark. Juel oversees the company’s support channel strategy and has a special interest in identifying innovative technologies and approaches that can improve the customer experience. “Our customers have made it clear that they want self-service channels when interacting with us, and conversational AI is an ideal way to meet this demand.”
In December 2018, Topdanmark launched Globus, an advanced virtual insurance agent built on boost.ai’s conversational AI technology. The virtual agent, developed in conjunction with professional services firm Deloitte, specializes in automating customer interactions centered around travel and car insurance. To date, Globus can answer over 500 questions, helping reduce the volume of traffic that human support staff needs to contend with, freeing them up to assist with more complex customer queries.
“In developing Globus, we wanted to ensure its ability to assist our human agents, losing none of the customer service quality that we are known for,” notes Juel. “It’s equally as important for it to excel at what it is good at now; solving simple requests on a large scale, with the flexibility to make changes ourselves.”
When Globus is queried with complex travel insurance questions, it is able to identify, for example, whether or not a customer is covered when skiing. If not, the coverage can be instantaneously added to their insurance policy without needing to involve human support. Thanks to this kind of advanced functionality, Globus correctly answers 80 percent of all travel-related questions it fields, providing customers with accurate and instant assistance.
As of September 2019, Globus also expanded its scope to include helping customers with questions related to car insurance. Topdanmark immediately began experiencing similar levels of success with the virtual agent automating upwards of 80% of all queries within its first week of operation. A strong sign that the underlying technology behind Globus is sufficiently robust enough to handle Topdanmark’s varied portfolio of products and services.
Globus is also responsible for opening up a burgeoning new career path for Topdanmark customer support staff. The company currently employs a team of dedicated AI trainers, whose job it is to update and maintain the virtual agent, and all of whom moved over from roles within other departments.
“The software is user-friendly and makes it simple to train and update Globus in real-time,” says Linea Svendsen, a Conversational AI Manager at Topdanmark, who transitioned from managing the company’s social media presence to working on Globus full-time. She notes that the ability for her team to easily make changes to the virtual agent, as and when necessary, is crucial in the event of a major insurance incident, “We can keep customers informed by always having Globus ready with the most up-to-date information.”
Deloitte has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to technological innovation and artificial intelligence plays a big role in their digital strategy going forward. Jørgen Steines, Partner, Analytics & Cognitive at Deloitte, says that his company believes that conversational AI will be an integrated part of most future contact centers.
“It’s very important for Deloitte to partner with some of the best vendors in this space, it makes it possible for us to develop advanced solutions together with our clients,” says Steines. “We are already beginning to see that people prefer chatting with virtual agents instead of picking up the phone, sending an email or even waiting in line for human chat.”
For now, Globus will continue to assist Topdanmark’s customers with travel and car insurance queries and provide the best possible channel for self-service. In the future, however, there are plans to expand the virtual agent’s scope into other products and services.
“We are working to augment Globus with voice technologies that will let our customers interact using Google Home and other popular voice assistants,” notes Juel. This level of confidence in conversational AI from such a large player in the insurance space is a clear indication that the technology is poised to make significant waves in the industry.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Steines who sums up Deloitte’s position saying, “We strongly believe that conversational AI will help to drive the best possible customer experience well into the future.”