Christopher Smith, senior director at Blue Prism, said the industry has “been trying to reach the nirvana of omni-channel customer experience forever,” a standard he defines as “as simple as giving the customer what they want, when they want, in the channel they want to reach out in.”
Smith, who has been in the industry for 25 years, said customers ultimately want to be treated the same way whether they’re on a webpage, on their computer or on their mobile, but it’s not always as simple to achieve as it is to define. When that seamless experience doesn’t happen, it’s called friction - and it’s what the industry is now working hard to reduce.
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“I see intelligent automation and digital work as the lubrication at a friction point,” Smith said. “If it’s taking too long for an agent to get to a phone call or address a client’s need, it helps speed up that process; if there are inconsistencies across different platforms, it helps get clients to the answer they need in the time they want to get there.”
The biggest problem Smith identifies is that many companies are looking at products and solutions in silos. They build a billing system, or a customer experience channel, and those systems are good at what they do - from a silo perspective, if it’s not broke don’t fix it, he noted - but “the breakage is in the combination of these different systems.”
If a company fails to examine the entire ecosystem and isn’t looking at digitization holistically, intelligent automation can become just another separate silo. That’s where the experts at Blue Prism, an intelligent automation platform that works with other technologies to create full solutions, can provide guidance. The goal is to take an enterprise-level view of systems, processes and people to eliminate friction and improve employee and customer experiences.
“Digital workers engage these systems in a frictionless way like no other method, and getting to that intelligent automation process while leveraging the legacy system is where the benefit is for these companies,” Smith said. “Combining those systems that work well on their own, to work well across all channels, is the future.”
If done correctly, digital workers will link the systems as they exist today, and over time slowly combine the information in those systems and make things more efficient. The silos that were built up will break down, and the digital workers will go right to the source system for the required data and not use the intermediary system at all.
Smith is guiding Blue Prism’s customers on this, showing them how digital work ultimately makes things run even more effectively. Insurtechs are also coming in to show legacy insurers “the art of the possible,” he said, as they look at the landscape more holistically, ask how they want the customer experience to be and “build it right from scratch,” opening insurance companies’ eyes to the technology capabilities that are out there. Most will admit this industry as a whole isn’t the first to act, he noted, and tends to let others try it first: insurtechs are doing that for the insurance companies, and hopefully the legacy insurers will be fast followers.
For Smith, the advantages of Blue Prism’s intelligent automation in the insurance sector can be boiled down to a statistic: Blue Prism has a 98% renewal rate with customers. Its differentiation in the space is simple - the software “simply works as advertised,” he said. Customers are getting the intended benefit from it and are therefore renewing it at an extremely high rate compared to the industry norm when it comes to software.
“It’s the bundling of products and the ease of use of the product that’s a big part of why Blue Prism is successful,” Smith said, adding a large percentage of the current workload across all industries, maybe even more so in insurance, will be done by intelligent automation in the not-so-distant future.
“There’s a huge opportunity right now to help guide our customers through best practices,” he said. “We’re at the beginning of a transformation of how work gets done, and I want to be a part of that.”