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By Simon Black, CEO, Awaken Intelligence

Did you know that the UK insurance industry is the largest in Europe and the fourth largest in the world? According to the Association of British Insurers latest report, UK insurers contribute £29.5bn to the UK economy and employ over 300,000 people, of which a third are employed directly by providers with the remainder in auxiliary services, such as broking. If you work in the industry none of this will surprise you and with over £45m paid out each day in motor and property claims alone, you’ll also know that it’s a complex one too.

As a recent PWC report highlighted, insurance cover has become increasingly commoditised with customers selecting providers simply based on social media (80%) and price comparison sites to compare policies, prices and claims’ experience (90%).  Once that policy has been purchased most people tend to forget about it until it’s time to renew or make a claim. And here in lies the rub… how do you deliver great customer service when your customers fail to understand or underestimate the value of the cover you provide?

What Does it Mean for Customer Experience (CX)?

Comfortingly, when compared to other industries the insurance sector isn’t the worst performer, in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index, when it comes to customer satisfaction (that’s transport at 71.4) but at a score of 78.6, compared to a score of 78.8 last year, it’s hardly the best either (leisure is at 80.2)! However, it does highlight that there’s much that can be done to enhance the customer experience, especially during the claims process.

At Awaken Intelligence we work with insurance providers across the motor, medical and property markets, helping them to enrich the customer experience, no matter how complex the claim may be. And as the PWC report highlights, digital innovation and transforming traditional insurance processes is the way to develop a sharper customer engagement, while gaining greater insight, which in turn helps businesses to meet these more exacting customer demands.

Take a typical home insurance claim and place yourself in the customer’s shoes. They’ve just come home from the school run on a dark, damp November evening, after a long day working to find the lights are off. The homeowner quickly discovers the electricity is out due to a burst pipe and that water is pouring from the bathroom, through the sitting room ceiling into several ground floor rooms. Imagine you have tired hungry children to feed, there’s a hole in the ceiling and you can’t turn the stopcock off to stop the flow of water. Once the immediate water and electricity problem has been resolved the homeowner digs out her insurance paperwork to make that urgent claim call. The stress levels are still at an all time high and now she is having to call and wait to speak to an agent. That’s why most claim calls never get off to a great start, the adrenaline and cortisol has been pumping for some time before your agent even starts to speak!

How to Remove the Stress from a Claim Conversation

Unsurprisingly, agents regularly face a complex conversation from the off with many customers talking at them in great deal about their incident. And when it comes to capturing a claim statement, they need to get it down as quickly as possible, and correctly. How do you do that when your customer’s mind is leaping from one thing to another as he or she discusses their concerns and various elements of the incident that need addressing? As any experienced claims agent will tell you, you can’t take the customer through your processes step by step, you have to let them lead.

But it doesn’t have to be this stressful, for both the customer and the agent. By adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) you can start to dynamically capture the claim statement that agents need while handling the customer call. You can literally take a mind-map approach to enable data capture all in the flow of a normal conversation. It means that agents can be flexible, not repetitive and engage in an empathetic conversation with customers while having access to all the information needed in one system. Today’s latest systems can then knit all the details together into one claim statement for the insurance provider. This approach allows the customer to discuss even the most complex claim in the comfortable way for them, without your agents missing any information along the way. In simple words, it means the conversation is productive rather than repetitive. We implemented this approach with many businesses and our clients have fed back that dramatically reduces the call time by 40%!

What About the Agent

Being faced with stressed customers day in, day out is hardly satisfying work and, unsurprisingly, call centres handling insurance claims face an agent attrition rate of between 20%-50%. That’s why giving staff the best technology to support their work helps to improve not only their performance but also their job satisfaction, hopefully motivating agents to stay in their roles for longer.

Insurance – Regulation is Key

Last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued the highest level of fines since 2015, amounting to £391.8 million. While these fines weren’t all insurance related (and the amount was certainly boosted by a mobile phone provider company fine of £29.1 million) it is still an eye-watering amount for the insurance industry. And it’s a stark reminder why compliance is absolutely critical to the call handling of insurance claims.

The Benefits of Transforming Your Claims Process

We’ve previously discussed the reasons for deploying conversational analytics across call centres but in an industry such as insurance the stakes are even higher. By adopting this conversational claims process you’ll find that:

If you want to reduce agent churn rate, resulting in less re-training and re-hiring and have complete peace of mind from a compliance and regulatory point adopting the latest technology is a sound investment.

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