What does a technology-driven omnichannel experience mean for insurers and consumers?

And how can insurance companies remain competitive?

What does a technology-driven omnichannel experience mean for insurers and consumers?


By Mia Wallace

As is true of so many innovative ideas, the underlying principle behind the concept of an omnichannel experience is profoundly simple. Hugh Pelling (pictured), senior account director at the intelligent automation services provider Blue Prism, noted that a true omnichannel experience essentially means opening up multiple channels to allow customers to interact in their channel of choice.

COVID-19 and the resulting move to a digital-first environment has accelerated both the demand and the expectation from consumers that organisations will help them buy, change and administer the products they provide. There’s a lot of research coming out of the insurance industry now which corroborates the warning of ‘digitise or die’, he said, and there are a lot of insurtechs hitting the market which are transforming the rules of customer engagement.

“The big juggernauts are having to go through that change now to keep up,” he said. “If they’re going to remain competitive, it’s absolutely fundamental that these organisations provide ease of access and customer retention, which I think is all linked into that customer effort score. When the customer effort is high, the gut reflex of a customer is always to look for another provider, [able] to provide those tech-savvy solutions that enable customers to easily procure new policies or to swap policies midterm.”

Pelling noted that Blue Prism, which represents a variety of global insurance accounts, including several of the biggest household names in the UK market, has enjoyed substantial success in supporting the digitisation and automation ambitions of insurance clients. Every client is in a different part of their journey, he said, and the support that the company offers is only becoming more essential as the industry as a whole begins to change.

He highlighted an example he and the team are working on at the moment with a client whose motor insurance renewals journey is particularly complex and predicated on the voice channel. The key drivers of crafting an omnichannel experience include reduced customer efforts, reduced cost to serve, reduced service times and increased revenue. Given that combination of requirements, the logical approach Blue Prism is exploring with this client is that of self-service - which will utilise chatbots or virtual assistants to guide people through the renewals process.

This is an example of why intelligent automation is integral to developing an omnichannel experience, he said. Blue Prism’s SaaS platform, Blue Prism Cloud, particularly lends itself to this approach as it comes with inbuilt channels and AI skills, providing a single licensed platform with multiple capabilities contained within that licence. Among the capabilities within this cloud platform, Blue Prism has a self-serve interaction tool called ‘Interact’ which enables customers and employees to trigger particular automated processes, such as reporting a claim or creating an MTA.

“So they can select a particular process or renewals activity, that they wish to complete and this can be driven and guided by a virtual assistant or chatbot, but it’s also completed by our digital workers in the background, bypassing human intervention altogether,” he said. “That’s a great example of how our platform comes pre-built with skills capability and channel capability pre-populated within the platform.

“The skills element is the ability to understand what the client’s process request is, to understand their communication, and support that using skills such as natural language processing (NLP), but also to guide that customer in real-time through the use of a chatbot or a virtual assistant. The channel capability is [multi-faceted]. We’ve got chat and we’ve got self-serve pre-built into the system and that can be triggered in a number of ways, for instance, from a handheld device or digital self-serve - i.e. logging into the portal via your laptop.”

Underpinning this is the functionality that if at any point a customer needs to revert to a different channel, for example, the voice channel, Blue Prism’s platform allows them to do so, lifting all the data gathered from the process to date and delivering that in real-time to the human assistant who can pick up where the digital journey left off straightaway. Pelling noted that this allows firms to seamlessly overcome that multi-communication and multi-contact scenario which would otherwise increase customer effort.

At the core of Blue Prism’s offering, he said, is the dual ambition of increasing transaction accessibility and liberating time back to people – whether that’s the end customer or the internal team of an organisation. When implemented correctly, digital workers can benefit both clients and employees, he said, and it’s critical that people understand that intelligent automation is not about replacing people, but rather empowering them to deliver better outcomes to their customers. 

Looking at a typical call centre environment, which is reliant on the voice channel, Pelling said, the agents administering the insurance policies at the back end of that call have a significant amount of post-call work that needs to be done. That work is time-consuming and laborious and not the best use of the skill sets of these employees who would be better served dealing with the more complex inquiries that require a human touch.

“We work with one particular property insurer where every single policy they sell uses a digital worker to validate and check customer data at the back end of that process, to make sure all the terms and conditions associated with those policies are accurate and in alignment with the product that the customers bought,” he said. “The digital workers own that administrative task and that liberates the sales teams to take more calls and to make more sales. So not only does it empower the individual salespeople, and the clients, but it’s also better for the organisation as well.”

Discover the full range of solutions available from Blue Prism here  

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