Everyone knows that bad over-the-phone customer service is one of the most unpleasant aspects of modern life. This is no different when it comes to the use of AI in insurance contact centers. Even a 15-minute wait for service can be frustrating and inconvenient in today’s fast-paced world. During high-traffic periods, many customers have to wait for much longer than that for adequate service. Before customers even reach representatives, they are already in the mindset that this call has gone badly. They feel that they have been mistreated and that the time for patience is over.
While this is true for customer service in every industry, fast, easy service is of particular importance for insurance contact centers. Because people often call with questions about specific insurance claims—which have serious financial implications in their own lives and often have to do with some of the things they find most important, such as their house, car, health, etc—the stakes are high. They are even more likely to frustration when they have to wait. Especially if they are not treated with patience and understanding.
Introduction of AI in Insurance Contact Centers
One of the most promising solutions coming forward in recent years is the potential for implementing AI in insurance contact centers. AI has the potential to automate many of the basic administrative tasks of customer service. This enables live employees to do the more complicated and emotionally involved work of treating customers like real people.
However, AI adoption in insurance contact centers is not as simple as just getting some software and putting it online. While AI is almost certainly the future of customer service and demonstrates enormous promise in terms of its ability to streamline the customer care process, it can in fact have a negative impact on the customer experience if implemented incorrectly.
In short, your insurance contact center needs AI, but you have to do it right.
Eliminating Hold Time Improves Customer Loyalty
Imagine you are a customer making a call about your car, which was recently in an accident. You have a technical problem that should only take a minute to solve, but requires the service of a live representative. You call an insurance contact center. Before you are able to reach a representative, you have to spend several minutes navigating an automated system. After ten minutes, you finally reach your representative.
Was that a better experience than simply waiting on hold for 10 minutes? To be honest, not really. In fact, for some people, dealing with clunky AI can be even more irritating than simply waiting on hold.
A big part of what customers want—and what both long holds and bad AI can prevent—is the feeling that they are important to the company they are paying to take care of them. They feel that they are able to make a connection with the person on the other end of the line. Ultimately, they want to feel heard.
This is the first place where how AI is implemented becomes the most important question. If AI can be used to redirect calls, funnel the right ones quickly to live representatives, and provide clear solutions for those who probably don’t need a live agent, then it can both steady surges in call volume. It can give contact center employees extra time. As well as energy for the clients that really do need them most. Which brings us to our next point…
Representatives Can be Assisted by AI in Insurance Contact Centers
If you ask someone who works as a live agent in an insurance contact center what the biggest problem they face is, most will tell you that restraints on time. As well as administrative tasks simply make it difficult for them to offer top-shelf service to callers.
While many customers have instinctively negative reactions to artificial intelligence such as voice-recognition software, automated calls/emails, etc., AI implementation does not always necessarily need to be prominent on the customer’s end. In fact, using AI to simplify and automate some of the tasks that the live agent does throughout the course of the workday and during calls is another interesting solution. Making the work that contact center employees do off the phone more simple frees up time. It also saves energy for stellar customer service.
AI in Insurance Contact Centers Alone Deteriorates Customer Satisfaction
Both anecdotal and empirical evidence demonstrate that customer satisfaction—and loyalty—plummets when they are forced to use AI. Especially when there is no option of speaking immediately to a real person. AI and customer engagement can actually have an inverse relationship. This makes sense. AI technology is still relatively new. It is not quite as responsive to customer needs as it likely will become in the future. However, even if that is not the case, customers are also just predisposed to having a better experience with another human on the line. This is because humans can offer empathy, intuition, responsiveness to emotion, and more nuanced answers to complex problems.
In conclusion, the future of artificial intelligence is bright, but knowing how to phase AI into your insurance contact center and where it doesn’t quite fit will be key to cutting costs and retaining customer loyalty at the same time. Luckily, there are a lot of resources available to help you decide how to do just that.
AI alone is a bad idea for any contact center. But when you combine AI and live agents you can unleash the full potential of your contact center. There are some contact centers that should not go overboard when it comes to using AI in their customer communications such as insurance contact centers. This is because these types of contact centers deal with addressing issues concerning people’s most treasured belongings and AI is not able to provide the kind of empathy that a live agent can give. If you are interested in knowing more about customer readiness for artificial intelligence you can find the study by Fidelum Partners here.
- Consider these three things before implementing AI in your insurance contact center- Click to Tweet.
- These three things are impacted by AI in insurance contact centers- Click to Tweet
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Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.