How can an insurer delight its customers so that they share their customer experience with their friends and family?
The answer to this question lies within the rich and personalized experiences the insurer creates for its customers. In today's world, personalized customer experience has become the new normal and it plays a huge role in customers' relationship with the insurer.
The products can be truly amazing, but it doesn't help an insurer to enhance customer engagement or increase revenue unless they turn their attention to their customers' world and add value to their individual experiences.
Customer-centric insurance companies now use data-driven personalization to offer meaningful experiences and it is not about pushing the product sales. On the contrary, it is about establishing and enriching customer-insurer relationships through individual data analysis and predictive analytics.
Going from transaction to prediction
This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes into play. AI technologies are reshaping the future of insurance business by providing a deeper understanding of customers' behavior and life events. They let the insurers tap into this knowledge base to deliver highly-targeted offer and maintain a smart communication with their customers.
When done well, AI technologies bring a real competitive advantage for insurers that goes beyond simplifying existing processes with intelligent automation.
It is the new way of integrating information, analyzing data and using the results to make improved predictions. AI-enabled systems allow insurers to have the ability to learn and adapt as they make decisions. AI-based adaptations improve customer interactions where each customer exchange becomes increasingly personalized.
Human-like conversations with AI-powered chatbots
It's safe to say that AI has already become a part of our world with various technologies including machine learning, facial recognition, voice assistants and chatbots. According to a recent Gartner report, "AI bots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020''.
AI-powered chatbots have started to change the face of communication as they provide intelligent human-like conversations through all digital channels. They enable insurers to deliver world-class seamless services to their "always-on, tech-savvy" customers right at their fingertips with an instant chat feature which is available 24/7.
What is more, chatbots also drive dramatic cost savings by automating transactional enquiries and redirecting workforce to focus on more complex customer issues that require deeper human insight.
The result: minimal pain points, happier customers.
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The way we pay for things is changing – and fast. Do you remember the last time you used cash to make a purchase at a bookstore, a gas station or a coffee shop? Chances are, it was probably a long time ago. With the rise of the alternative payment options, gone are the days when cash – the so-called king of payments – was the only option. In today's world, the payment experience is synonymous with the customer experience.
Delivering the best customer experience is the paramount focus for companies across many industries and the oil and gas sector is no exception. Offering several payment methods built with the customer choice in mind – including self-service options – helps companies to enhance the customer experience and solidify their relationships with these consumers to ensure that they return to the same gas station again and again.
Purchasing gas without leaving the car
VeriPark has recently worked with one of Turkey's largest fuel-oil distribution companies, which has more than 1,300 gas stations and wanted to reshape the way it interacted and transacted with customers by offering them more convenient and appealing ways to pay for their gas purchases.
The goal was simple: to deliver frictionless experiences that meant customers no longer had to wait to make a purchase or leave their car to get fuel. Instead, the company wanted customers to be able to make their payment without the need for cash or a credit card. To achieve this, the company wanted to implement two new payment options to allow their customers to choose whatever method they feel most comfortable with.
Payment at the pump with a keychain
Working closely with VeriPark, it created a keychain payment system, which offers its customers the convenience of purchasing gas without ever touching their wallet, taking their credit card out or even stepping out of their car.
Today when a customer enters the gas station with their chip-embedded keychain, all they have to do is open the window and wave the keychain in front of a dedicated area on the gas pump. The specially equipped pump scans the keychain with radio-frequency identification technology so the payment can be taken automatically and the whole purchase process is completed within seconds.
Customers instantly receive an SMS message with all the information related to their gas purchase and automatically earn loyalty points that can be used with future purchases. The keychain system provides a highly safe and easy way to make gas purchases, which means it appeals to customers who are always looking for ways to make their transactions faster and more secure.
Bringing mobile payments to gas stations
As many customers' lives are increasingly centred around their smartphones, the fuel-oil distribution company has also developed a new mobile application by implementing VeriPark's omni-channel delivery solution VeriChannel. Customers can drive to a gas station and make their payments quickly and safely through the mobile app without having to leave their cars, which means they can get back on the road immediately after filling up. In addition, they can use the app to find the nearest gas stations, see current fuel prices, track their previous purchases and view the loyalty points they have earned.
Drivers are often in a hurry and any gas station that provides a fast, easy and convenient way to purchase gas will be the first place they will go. Thanks to VeriPark's technologies, the fuel-oil distribution company now has a truly competitive edge in an industry where payment convenience is paramount for customer gratification and loyalty. In addition, VeriPark's technologies have enabled the company to become more productive, map out the individual customer movements and decrease cycle times.
Together, we have created compelling experiences for drivers during their routine stops at the pump.
Meet Henri. He's set his heart on completing the next Brussels marathon. At just over 42KM it's a tall order, but he's training hard.
An app on his smartwatch tracks his run times and distances, sends him coaching tips and even plays motivational music. But, Henri's favorite smartwatch feature is the payment app that buys his well-deserved post-run coffee each morning on his way to work. Being able to pay for things with his smartwatch is so much more convenient for him than carrying a phone or wallet.
Henri's not alone in his love of smartwatches. After all, they are always on our wrist. That makes them as convenient as laptops and phones for online and mobile banking.
Is your customer experience strategy future-ready?
Research suggests that consumer uptake of smartwatches is likely to soar. That's partly due to improvements in design and functionality, as well as the rollout of superfast 5G mobile networks. Increasingly, banks are recognizing that they need to catch up with what their customers are expecting in terms of convenience – and what their competitors are providing.
Watch Banking works in a similar way to mobile banking. But, without the need to pull your phone out of your pocket to perform tasks. It allows customers to stay on top of their finances while on the move and makes it even easier for them to plan and monitor their spending.
Easy and convenient banking experience with a watch
The Watch Banking interface on VeriPark's VeriChannel platform enables customers to manage all their accounts and credit cards and check balances and recent transactions. They can also find branches and ATMs using geo-location. And, even schedule convenient appointments with tellers or customer service advisers at a bank branch of their choice without having to wait or queue.
Watch Banking also has the potential to make life easier and more efficient for corporate and SME customers. When managers are working on site, for example, they can still receive timely notifications and approve purchasing or finance decisions with a simple tap of their watch. Such streamlined communications can improve productivity and drive more responsive customer service.
Meeting customers' ever-changing needs
Watch Banking is likely to experience faster growth than online or mobile banking over the next few years. In fact, Gartner is predicting there'll be around 115 million smartwatches worldwide by 2022 – that's up from just 42 million in 2017. The true strength of Watch Banking lies in its ability to improve customers' everyday lives; for banks that could include anything from alerts when bill payments are due to geo-location based offers from partner brands.
People now expect their bank to know their individual circumstances and provide personalized services and rewards. And, they expect seamless technology to bring those services to them using whatever channel they prefer.
Many are predicting that, just like with emails and smartphones, once customers realize just how convenient Watch Banking is, they will start to wonder how they ever managed without it.
"Hey Alexa, where's the nearest restaurant?" "What time does it open?" Interest in voice apps is really beginning to take off. They give us the potential to get directions, set alarms and reminders and can even help us control our smart home.
Currently, we're mostly using these devices for simple things; listening to music and asking for basic information, such as the weather forecast. But, increasingly, we're becoming accustomed to using them to buy everything from groceries to clothes. Now, voice services such as Amazon Alexa or Siri are also making banking transactions easier.
Banks will need to adapt to their customer's changing lifestyles, as the future of banking customer experience doesn't involve standing in a branch queue. It's already much more about engaging with consumers in the digital ways they expect.
Creating new ways for banks to engage with customers
Online banking has been, and for many customers still is, a wonderful time-saver. But, for 'always-on' millennial customers, logging into a banking app on their phone is already a norm and they continue to expect more frictionless experiences from their banks. With Voice-Banking they don't have the hassle of keyboards or touchscreens; they simply talk to digital technology as they would to a human.
Suzanne's experience is a good example. She's just returned from a weekend exploring Paris with her sister and remembers she needs to send her some money. "Siri, can you open Mybank and make a transfer to Natalie?" she asks. Siri has a voice recognition feature and Suzanne is registered as the authorized user.
Siri asks Suzanne to unlock her phone with her fingerprint as a part of the authentication and then choose an account she would like to use. Suzanne selects the account and gives Siri a voice order to send €200 from her account to Natalie. To validate the transaction, Suzanne receives a text message and One Time Password (OTP).
Siri makes the transfer, within seconds. Suzanne can also use voice orders to check payment due dates or recent transactions on any of her accounts or credit cards. This type of Voice-Banking is starting to play a key role in Omni-Channel banking, as customers expect to interact with voice assistants at home, at work or in their car.
Expanding the Voice-Banking experience
Voice activation isn't limited to simple transactions. For example, when John checks his account balance with Alexa, he discovers that his bank has sent him a mortgage offer notification. John expresses his interest and that prompts Alexa to ask questions, such as "are you still working for X company?" "Is your current salary X amount?" This way, the bank captures the KYC (Know Your Customer) information right then and there.
Following John's answers, Alexa is able to fetch eligible mortgage amount from the bank's loan origination system along with the relevant interest rate. "We can offer an interest rate of 2.2% per annum on this loan. Are you interested in availing this offer?" Alexa asks. If the answer is yes, Alexa continues and asks: "Would you like me to set up an appointment with one of our advisors to discuss this offer in more detail?" When John confirms he is, Alexa schedules an appointment at the bank branch or arranges for an agent to visit John at home or his office.
Overcoming challenges to a seamless customer journey
Voice banking is conquering the financial services industry, however there are still some concerns particularly around customer trust and acceptance of the value-added benefits of Voice-Banking. With more customers becoming more used to conversing with digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri, the acceptance of this new technology for banking services is expected to increase significantly in the future. It will also completely transform the way they interact with the technology.
Deploying AI and conversational banking technology successfully requires a customer-first approach. An ecosystem of connected voice assistants can enable cross-channel interaction where contextual conversation, using real-time data, flows from one channel to another. Customer insights from all departments of the bank are needed to ensure the conversational experience feels natural, engaging and seamless; there's no room for traditional product segmentation or channel silos.
This is where the rich channel coverage of VeriPark's VeriChannel can help. VeriChannel offers a secure unified platform that allows banks to manage seamless customer journeys across multiple customer touchpoints. The platform ensures customers and employees can access the personalized data they need anytime, anywhere and on any device.
VeriChannel also offers voice banking to the customers who don't have access to devices such as Alexa or Siri. By using the LUIS powered APIs in its applications, VeriChannel eliminates the need of being connected to an additional device.
LUIS, Microsoft's machine learning-based service to build natural language into apps, bots, and IoT devices, helps VeriChannel to be voice-activated even if it's running in a browser on your laptop or hand-held device. It enables the customers to make many transactions such as payments faster by using voice commands only, without a single click.
Voice-Banking is to become a key pillar in frictionless Omni-Channel banking alongside online, mobile and a smaller digitally-enabled branch network. The ultimate goal is to move more interactions to voice, supporting sales and customer care with greater personalization and zero friction. Forward-thinking banks are already thinking about how to integrate Voice-Banking into their customer offer – to foster engagement with real-time insights and create brand differentiation.
Remember, for this new generation of digital customers, tapping screens to find information or make payments will feel as frustrating as remembering PIN numbers or standing in queues.
Would you like to find out more? If so, get in touch with us!
VeriPark has been working side-by-side with Microsoft for many years to drive the growth of its FSI-specific digital solutions across the globe. To maximize the strength of this partnership, VeriPark recently enrolled in the Microsoft Business Applications ISV Connect Program which focuses on mutual success for both companies.
Thanks to this program, VeriPark gets the highest level of technical, sales and marketing support when taking Microsoft's offerings to banks and insurance companies. In turn, these companies can get all the benefits and the support they need to serve their customers in a better way while accelerating their digital transformation tremendously.
By collaborating to win with Microsoft, VeriPark can bring the full power of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to the Financial Services Industry in a much easier way. It empowers them to provide premium digital experiences to transform customer journeys that were never imagined before. By offering an AI-powered customer onboarding solution for instance, VeriPark gives financial organizations a perfect chance to impress their customers at first sight, reach a broader set of new customers while increasing revenue and differentiating themselves from the competition.
Watch the video below to hear more about the reasons why VeriPark values this partnership with Microsoft so much.
Would you like to find out more? If so, get in touch with us!
The digital age gave birth to a new Omni-Channel world, in which people are "always on and connected." In this world, customers seldom consider what channel they're using. What they are really concerned about is being able to find the answers to their specific needs when they want, how they want. They also want to be in charge of their interactions across all channels.
Rising expectations for Omni-Channel experiences in the broader market are also creating new challenges and opportunities in the insurance landscape. Insurers must rethink the way they do business to create better customer journeys and offer consistent and engaging customer experiences across all touch-points.
So how can you use Omni-Channel to offer a strong customer journey?
1. Use a single integrated platform to drive consistent customer journeys
For customers, channels such as mobile apps, websites, chatbots, call centers and insurance agents are simply a way to communicate. They jump on the channel of choice and interact with their insurers. For example, they can chat with an agent to renew their earthquake insurance while making a claim on the application.
By blending different channels into a single experience, insurers can bridge the gap between customers and their teams and successfully manage a number of journeys across channels throughout the customer lifecycle. But if there are different back-end systems in place to manage different touch-points it is often very difficult to deliver smooth customer journeys.
The key is to focus on the customers' end-to-end experience instead of individual touchpoints and unify the Dynamics 365 CRM platform and Omni-Channel servicing capabilities. By orchestrating the various back-end systems, you can avoid broken customer experiences and deliver outstanding unified communications instead.
2. Offer rich channel coverage in low-touch insurance business
Insurers have long struggled with the customer interactions. On one hand, the customers expect high-touch, personalized services regardless of the industry. Insurance is no exception to this. But by its very nature, insurance remains a low-touch industry.
Most customers only want to interact with their insurers for potential and existing policies or for claims. Very often, they choose interacting with agents and brokers but they also want to be supported and helped when they need, at all hours of the day. Engage with them through the channels they prefer and in ways which are attuned to their specific situations. Microsoft Luis, Alexa, Siri, and other intelligent systems incorporating AI and machine learning can help.
For instance, insurers that are using AI-powered tools can now provide guidance for their customers through chatbots. According to a Gartner report, "AI bots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020."
AI-powered chatbots provide intelligent human-like conversations through all digital channels. They enable insurers to deliver services to their "always-on" customers right at their fingertips with an instant chat feature that is available 24/7.
3. Make a good impression during the First Notification of Loss
Being involved in a car accident or having a burst pipe can be one of the most stressful and upsetting situations someone experiences. The last thing the customer wants in this situation is not being taken care of quickly and efficiently.
The clock starts when the customer initiates the claim. Speed, accuracy, and transparency in the claims process really are essential to increasing engagement and retention. If the insurer fails to have the claim record filed on time after the incident, it affects the entire customer journey, from validation to deployment of services. It also translates into poor customer experience and increased costs.
In these delicate times it's important to offer interactions through the channel of a customer's choice with the ability to change their channel throughout the process and receive status updates.
Millenial customers in particular prefer digital channels to interact with their insurers. Use existing channels such as WhatsApp, social media and mobile apps for claims and enrich the customer engagement.
4. The customer should only have to tell their story once
How can you offer enjoyable and compelling customer journeys when your customers only get to experience your service when something unpleasant happens? The answer is actually very simple. Ensure they only have to share their unpleasant story once.
Give them the opportunity to switch seamlessly between channels so they don't have to tell the story over and over again. This is only possible when you have all of your customer-facing processes optimized, and complex workarounds and disconnected processes are streamlined.
In order to do that, integrate an Omni-Channel framework that is easy for employees to use and eliminates process workarounds. This way you can serve your customers and all their needs from claiming to renewing across all channels and products.
On the other hand, it is extremely important for insurers to transform their processes and operating models to become more customer-centric. Once you have the entire customer interaction history at your fingertips you can add value to their experiences.
5. Embed customer-centricity into your company's DNA
Success in the Omni-Channel insurance world starts with embedding a customer-centric mindset into the company's DNA. Customer-centricity helps to move away from the product-driven approach toward understanding customers' needs, both in aggregate and at an individual level. This mindset and the knowledge it generates, lead to highly personalized solutions and tailored experiences that are relevant to each individual's situation.
6. The challenge of finding good data
Even though insurance companies increasingly feel the competitive pressure to offer personalized experiences across multiple channels, there might be some challenges, particularly around limited data. Without the right insights and information, you can't offer personalized products and service levels anywhere at anytime. But the good thing is there is a way to turn this around: The unification of customer data!
By unifying and enhancing customer data collection, using the growing number of devices that are linked as part of IoT technology can accelerate purchasing and claims resolution cycles and offer tailored services.
7. Be ready for an open API architecture
Insurers looking for ways to reduce development and maintenance costs should have an ecosystem based on an open API architecture. An Omni-Channel solution that doesn't require rebuilding legacy applications from scratch helps to repurpose them by integrating content, data, and functionality into a new presentation layer or customer experience.
8. Maximize the value of Dynamics 365 licenses
Use an integrated Omni-Channel delivery and CRM solution built on top of Dynamics 365 to use the full potential of D365 licenses across your company's value chain. Implementing an insurance industry-specific solution that leverages Dynamics 365 enables insurers to effectively manage and nurture relationships across customers, agents and brokers. This way, you can eliminate boundaries between digital and assisted channels while delivering unified communications through one single platform.
One of your favorite brands sends you a special offer notification using geo-location data. You order online and choose whether to pick up your purchase in-store or have it delivered to your home or office. A few years ago, this would have seemed revolutionary but now it's commonplace.
Millennials in particular are accustomed to this level of personalized service. They know what they want from their shopping experience and their apps create a seamless journey between physical and digital worlds. The insurance industry cannot ignore these new customer demands.
Customers expect rich channel coverage
We're no longer operating in a single, or even multi-channel, world. Instead, we're shifting to a model where customers, of all ages, expect to move fluidly within and between channels for quotes, transactions, service enquiries and claims. Adopting an Omni-Channel strategy is rapidly becoming non-negotiable.
How do you create remarkable customer journeys through all your touchpoints?
Let's look at Oliver's experience with his insurance company as an example.
Oliver's a 32-year old sales manager living in Utrecht. Although it's a cycle-friendly city, Oliver owns a car. That's partly for practical reasons because he drives to see clients across the Netherlands. But, also because he just loves his car!
When Oliver needs to contact his insurer, he doesn't think in terms of separate channels. For example, if he wants to renew his car insurance, he jumps online because that's convenient and efficient. At other times, if he's unsure about something, he might seek the support of an agent at the contact center by phone, email or chatbot.
Great customer experience starts with unified customer communications
Customers like Oliver expect their insurance company to blend these different channels into a single, engaging customer experience. But, too often, boundaries between different channels cause communication breakdowns. The result is that essential customer data and insight is not always available across all digital channels, contact centers, brokers and sales teams.
But, it doesn't have to be that way. For example, Generali, one of the world's biggest Life and Property & Casualty (P&C) insurance companies, implemented VeriPark's VeriChannel, a unified Omni-Channel delivery solution alongside the VeriTouch Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. The solution delivered unified customer communications and seamless, consistent customer journeys across multiple touchpoints.
Insurers need to make every customer interaction count
Sadly, for Oliver, he currently has a bigger problem than simply renewing his insurance. He's badly damaged his car reversing out of a city car park. Thankfully, he's unhurt but his beloved car certainly isn't.
Many customers only contact their insurance provider when they're already feeling stressed or upset. Maybe, like Oliver, they've been involved in a traffic accident, or perhaps their roof is leaking or their much-loved pet is poorly. Whatever the situation, they're looking for speed, accuracy and a caring approach.
Oliver contacts with the insurer's contact center. He's still upset about his car (and a bit embarrassed) and the last thing he wants is to feel compelled to re-tell his distressing story multiple times at each interaction with his insurer. Thankfully, the contact center agent Sanneke has it all under control.
She has the VeriTouch Contact Center Module on her desktop, so she can manage all enquiries, claims and transactions on one screen. It also means that Oliver can seamlessly switch between channels throughout his claims process, depending on what's convenient for him at the time.
Oliver was delighted to have a named contact to call
The personal touch is hugely important in the insurance sector. In fact, research suggests that despite the increasing popularity of digital channels, around 85% of customers want to talk to a broker or agent at some point in the relationship lifecycle. This is often the case during difficult times or in delicate situations.
By implementing the Remote Advisor module of VeriTouch, insurers can give every customer a named agent at the contact center when they need someone to turn to. As we see in Oliver's claim scenario, agent Sanneke becomes his remote advisor in time and and whenever Oliver calls she will be there to help him with his enquiries.
For Generali, this was a critical element to building trust and strong customer relationships and loyalty. Their agents were able to greet callers as individuals. They also had a better insight into their customers' problems and were able to deliver a higher level of personal service.
Serve, solve and sell all in one place
VeriPark's unified front-end 360-degree View of the Customer feature transforms insurance customer service. For example, when Oliver wants a new insurance quote he can go through the online data collection, validation and risk assessment process, or he can contact Sanneke who has everything she needs on a single screen. Oliver can also switch seamlessly between the two if he needs help or status updates at any time.
The process with VeriPark is fast and efficient. As Generali has found it can generate offers in just one minute and create policies in three minutes. Agents can also answer queries and process claims quickly. The Service Request and Complaints Management module captures data and automates workflows to ensure a personalized response. Generali has seen this superior service boost customer loyalty and reduce churn.
Because agents have a complete customer history, they have more informed, personalized conversations and build stronger customer relationships. They can also create relevant cross-selling and up-selling offers based on consolidated and up-to-date customer data. In just one year, Generali's combined contact center and online platform converted quotes into 80,000 policy sales.
For a tech-savvy customer like Oliver, digital platforms are great for convenient and efficient transactions. But, when he needed help, he was relieved to have Sanneke on the end of the phone at the contact center. The insurance landscape has changed and now's the time to harness Omni-Channel technology to transform your customer experience and offer the Olivers of this world the level of service they want and expect.
Microsoft has recently announced the private preview of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Banking Accelerator which is a solution released to sit on top of an existing Dynamics instance and assist with day-to-day banking operations. The solution has been split into both Retail and Commercial banking and can be implemented with one or both solutions installed into an existing instance. The Accelerator contains installable solutions that include standard entity attribute extensions, new banking entities, pre-built dashboards, workflows, sample data as well as other tools to help customers and partners build and deploy new banking solutions.
What is in there for banks and ISVs?
With the Banking data model, there is no need to build various models and structures for each app. It simplifies data management and empowers ISVs to build solutions on top of a unified data layer.
The accelerator is designed to help developing banking solutions in both retail and commercial spaces and transform customers' banking experiences. By using the accelerator, banks can cut down their development time, access to best-practice and standardized data model and quickly create powerful apps. They can also gain new customer insights and transform transactional and Omni-Channel data into a data set for superior customer experience management.
VeriPark & Microsoft Collaboration
Thanks to the track record of successful digital transformation projects in different countries, VeriPark's Banking Data Model has matured and evolved over the last 20 years. It became a world-class, field-proven technology that is used by over 100 banks worldwide. VeriPark has shared its industry-specific proven expertise & deep knowledge with Microsoft to help building a common data structure for Financial Services Industry (FSI) on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. By using the foundation of VeriPark's Banking Data Model for a defined set of functionality, Microsoft has created an open source model checked by industry specialists such as Bian and Fiserv.
"We are excited to partner with Microsoft on the development of a data model designed for the needs and business processes of banks and financial institutions. VeriPark is committed to helping define the model and deliver our solutions atop the new Banking Accelerators. The new Banking data model allows VeriPark to have a consistent and defined data structure to generate insights and actions to help our joint customers become digital leaders by improving their customer experience and retention." says Ozkan Erener, CEO VeriPark.
Banking accelerator as a starting point for digital transformation
"We believe that Common Data Model and the business applications & accelerators built around this model will be a great starting point for banks' digital transformation journeys." says Gokhan Cakiroglu, CTO VeriPark.
VeriPark and Microsoft work side by side to deliver innovative and truly transforming customer journeys for their clients in FSI. VeriPark is proud to be part of the Common Data Model initiative for Banking and it will continue to collaborate with Microsoft and bring its know-how to the table to accelerate digital transformation for financial institutions.