Closing the after-sales customer service gap

Digitising customer service will allow agents to provide more value, says leader

Closing the after-sales customer service gap

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

After-sales customer service is a critical part of virtually all businesses, and especially so for insurance, because it relies heavily on the continued trust between insurer and insured. However, customer service often takes a back seat to other important functions – such as sales and underwriting – in many insurers’ business transformation efforts.

Melita Teo (pictured), chief operations officer of AIA Singapore, shared with Insurance Business how the insurer is closing the gap in after-sales customer service using digital technology.

“Consumer expectations have soared with technology rapidly developing, demand for unprecedented levels of service and delivery from all customer touch points – primarily insurance representatives, customer service, and self-help channels,” Teo said. “The insurance business traditionally involves a face-to-face interaction. While it is critical for customers to receive valuable financial advice face-to-face, we feel that after-sales customer service can be done in a simpler way at the convenience of the customer. Currently nearly every after-sales transaction is done traditionally with standard hardcopy forms, and physical signature.”

She noted that many insurers expend significant effort and resources in building robust digital platforms for new business acquisition. While this greatly enhances the sales experience, she believes that both agents and customers want to see digital transformation include after-sales service.

“After-sales service is of a much longer tenure and would usually generate more transactions over the life of the policy,” she said. “AIA Singapore is committed to providing exceptional service and experience for customers throughout their policy life journeys, which goes far beyond the on-boarding phase.”

To meet this demand, AIA Singapore developed POS EZ, a digital platform meant to provide after-sales services through an integrated digital ecosystem that can support their insurance needs throughout their policy’s lifetime.

“POS EZ is an online platform that enables our insurance representatives to facilitate and/or complete a multitude of customer requests around the clock without any geographical restrictions, by providing first in-the-market remote authentication capability,” Teo said.

According to Teo, the remote authentication function is a first for insurers in Singapore, and it allows AIA’s agents and customers to perform after-sales transactions electronically, and decide which ones they will need to meet for.

One example she listed was the changing of addresses by the policyholder. In the traditional system, it would require two hardcopy forms, a face-to-face meeting with the agent, and three working days to process the request. With POS EZ, this transaction can be done in a matter of minutes, without having to meet the agent. This frees up time for both individuals.

The platform also contains enhanced security via two-factor authentication using a personal OneKey device. The same OneKey system is employed by almost 60 Singapore government agencies, allowing easier transfer of data.

“There are also other modes of secured authentication including one-time passwords via SMS,” Teo added. “With a rejection rate of approximately 12% attributed to irregular signatures, this is definitely a step towards providing more efficient and effective customer experience.”

POS EZ features smart forms, which reduce room for common human errors, incorrect data entry, or missing data which cause unnecessary delays to the fulfilment of the customer’s service request. These errors inconvenience not only the customer, but also the insurance agent. According to Teo, customers need to only authenticate once in order to submit multiple requests, regardless of the number of request types or policies involved.

“The benefits described above are all the more salient in time-sensitive transactions such as fund-switching,” she said. “Digitising fund-switching empowers customers to be much more nimble and take full advantage of movements in the market by removing the unnecessary administrative delays.”

Digitising these transactions frees up more time for the insurance agents, allowing them to dedicate more time in providing value-added interactions with customers.

“With form-filling and paper-pushing now a thing of the past, physical face time can now be spent on relationship building or strategic consultation,” she said.

Aside from POS EZ, AIA Singapore has implemented other digital offerings to provide more convenient services: The interactive point-of-sale (iPoS) system increases the efficiency of the insurance-purchasing process and allows customers to obtain coverage as fast as within one day; while the AIA eCare app enables customers to access their policy e-documents independently and perform self-help services on-the-go.



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