This is a contributed blog post by Dipu KV, President – Operations & Customer Experience at Bajaj Allianz General a recent guest on Uniphore’s Conversations that Matter podcast.
Recently, one of our unit managers informed us that a certain percentage of his team members do not take leaves of absence, do not have mood swings and will not attrite. Upon further probing, we realized he was talking about his bots! That’s the extent to which digitization is being used nowadays to transform the customer service landscape.
The Impact of Digitization on Our Services, Employees and Customers
While firms invest in their core and middleware platforms, the impact is felt at the customer-facing end of the digital asset spectrum.
Our core platform is in the middle of a massive digital transformation. We also revamped our middleware platform, which connects the core to our customer-facing assets. Apart from standard benefits such as the availability of information in one go and automated workflow-based tracking, a key advantage of this transformation was work-from-home (WFH) enablement for our customer care associates virtually overnight.
As for our customer-facing assets, when contact centers were forced to scale down because of pandemic-induced lockdowns, our array of digital assets (AI-driven bot, mobile app, customer portal, WhatsApp, etc.) came to the fore. We were able to ensure a seamless switch for our customers from contact centers to digital servicing without a glitch. In fact, at the peak, 80% of our customers were serviced digitally, with a whopping 90% reduction in our grievance ratio.
Using Technology to Drive Our Customer-First Philosophy
Our AI-driven bot offers customers a frictionless experience by assisting them in areas that were key drivers of contact center traffic. Also, we differentiated ourselves from other bots by:
- Firstly, we amplified our reach by offering our services in languages other than English.
- Secondly, if the bot was asked a query that it could not answer on its own, it would transfer the inquiry to a human being to ensure a hassle-free experience for the customer.
- Thirdly, we integrated our bot with Alexa and Google Assistant so that touch-wary customers could also leverage voice-based servicing.
Our underlying philosophy is to go where the customer is rather than ask them to come to us. As such, we realized the power of WhatsApp (since a lot of customers use it daily) and started offering various servicing options via this tool. The adoption was rapid, and today, it is one of our most preferred channels.
We built digital customer journeys into our mobile app, called Caringly Yours. The number of downloads, for an app in a low-touch industry such as ours, has been heartening.
We also created an industry-first app exclusively for farmers who avail of crop insurance from us, Farmitra, in Indian languages. Not only could farmers approach us for servicing, but they could also interact with the government via this app.
We also leveraged Farmitra to offer them crop advisories, crop diagnostics, weather notifications, etc. Since this became a lifeline for them — an app in their language they could use to interact with so many entities and get so much information — the number of downloads went up. We received a good rating for the app, and it even went on to win the global EFMA-Accenture Innovation in Insurance award last year.
In the health insurance arena, we offered telemedicine when customers could not travel physically for medical tests by leveraging AI and Internet of Things (IoT). The initiative, named Digi-Swasth, has won a plethora of awards, including the global Celent Model Insurer award last year.
AI and Photogrammetry
In the area of motor insurance, we leveraged AI and photogrammetry to move away from a physical inspection-based claim servicing process to a self-service process. All customers had to do was upload photographs of the damaged car via the mobile app. Claim payments of up to certain amounts then get transferred to their bank accounts within 20 minutes!
We also pioneered the use of blockchain-based claim servicing in international travel insurance when we moved the onus of proving flight delay from the customer to us. This resulted in a fundamental change in the insurance value chain. The customer no longer needed to communicate to us that they were eligible for the claim.
Digitization also allowed us to move beyond the core needs of insurance. During the pandemic, when new customer needs came up, we offered contact tracing, digital consultation with doctors and customer self-assessment for Covid-19 via our mobile app or bots.
Doing More for the Customer Through Digitization
The list of current and new services digitization has enabled us to improve upon and offer is endless. But make no mistake — digitization is not a one-off effort. It is a continuous journey. As Jeff Bezos says, “In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to reinvent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create somebody else will replicate.” And these areas — reinvention, agility, sustainability — are precisely where customer-impacting digitization fits the bill.