Digital data intake: the key to intelligent automation in insurance
“For assistance with purchasing auto insurance, press one. For assistance with purchasing home insurance, press two. If you would like to submit a claim, press three. To update an existing claim, press four. For billing inquiries, press five…”
Anyone who has ever tried to reach a customer service agent knows that it’s often more difficult than you’d expect. Customers are routed through multiple choice options, only to find that none of the options meet their needs, or that no agents are available in the relevant department. Even when they are able to connect with an agent, he or she may not be the right person to address their issue. In many cases, customers end up being transferred from one department to another, having to explain their problem multiple times before finding someone who can solve it. In fact, connecting with the right service agent is such a common customer service problem that in a recent study by HubSpot, 33% of consumers indicated that the most frustrating aspect of getting customer service is having to explain the same information to multiple representatives.
[.emph]of consumers agree that the most frustrating aspect of getting customer service is having to explain the same information to multiple representatives.[.emph]
Many customers simply give up when they can’t connect with a relevant agent, either moving to a competitor or forgoing the needed service. Even when the company has a callback system in place and an agent does reach out to the customer eventually, their interaction is often tainted by the negative initial experience. And just because someone calls the customer back doesn’t guarantee that the callback will be from the correct agent. If accurate data wasn’t collected during the initial interaction, it’s more likely than not that the customer will experience yet another miss on the callback.
How can companies prevent this type of negative customer experience? The short answer is—with digital customer data intake.
Customer data collection in insurance and banking
Data collection is critical in industries like insurance and banking that require significant amounts of documentation and multiple signatures for core business processes—things like loans, claims, risk assessment, and more. Yet as traditional, established industries, they are often slow to update legacy systems and processes. Therefore, in many cases, data collection in banking and insurance is still conducted using manual methods like paper forms or PDFs that need to be downloaded and printed in order to be signed. That causes numerous problems for both the customer and the organization, among them, difficulty connecting customers with the right agent.
Digital data intake is changing the insurance industry
One of the challenges is that the connection between automation and agents isn’t always straightforward to insurance providers. They often perceive it as an “either-or” equation—agents or automation—rather than complementary components in one, organic customer journey. That is a mistake. A recent Deloitte insight analysis determines that insurers should balance technology with human interaction, improving the customer experience by both streamlining processes with automation as well as providing customized service where needed and preferred.
In other words, some processes can be completely automated, and in others, human agents are needed either to solve problems or simply to give customers a positive experience. And when customer journeys are done right, automation can also help customers connect with the right agent quickly and easily.
Digital data intake is the foundation for building those precise customer journeys, giving organizations the tools and data they need to address customer needs quickly and efficiently either through automated solutions when appropriate, or by connecting them with the right agent.
Why automation is impossible without digitizing data intake?
Automation is only effective when systems are fed with accurate, robust data. And if data has to be collected manually, the efficiency gained through automation is effectively canceled out. That’s because manual forms, whether paper or online PDFs, aren’t interactive. If a customer doesn’t understand what is needed in a given field, or simply makes an error when filling out the form, there is no way to catch and modify that error in real time. The forms are submitted with the error and end up being rejected. Agents are forced to call the customer back and update the form before the query can be sent to the right channel for resolution, making automation impossible and increasing turnaround times and customer frustration.
The benefits of intelligent automation in insurance
With digital data intake, the customer is prompted to provide relevant data through interactive, user-friendly interfaces, minimizing errors, customer frustration, and unnecessary delays caused by inefficient workflows. Smart automation can then be used to direct customers to the correct address, whether it be an automated solution like a digital chatbot for simple processes or the right specialized agent for more complex issues. This type of automated process eliminates the common customer frustration of having to describe a problem to multiple agents and instead provides a seamless, supportive customer experience.
It also encourages efficient use of agent time. Agents are a limited resource, and like all limited resources, it’s important to utilize them in activities where they drive the most value for the organization. Data collection and routing customers between departments, tasks that can be easily automated, are definitely NOT where agents have the most value. When those tasks are automated, agents are free to focus on nurturing relationships with customers and other, human-centric tasks.
Challenges in digital data intake and how to overcome them
It’s clear that digital data intake can make an enormous difference in customer experience and satisfaction. So why haven’t all insurers adopted digital data intake processes yet? In many cases, it’s because insurance providers are still dependent on hard-coded legacy systems. Making changes in those types of systems to enable digital data intake requires significant time and resources, including resources that are hard to come by such as experienced tech professionals who often gravitate to the startup world.
Luckily, no-code platforms like EasySend now make it possible for insurance providers to implement digital data intake without the technical know-how of coders while still remaining compliant with legal requirements for signatures and documentation. They allow “citizen developers” from customer-facing departments to be empowered to map out customer journeys in which digital data intake supports automation. Without the need for coding, any organization can now implement digital data intake.
The future of intelligent automation
Savvy customers aren’t willing to wait—whether they’re looking for a fashion item or an offer for insurance, they expect to find what they want when they want it, quickly and easily. Intelligent automation supported by digital data intake is key to providing customers the quick and frictionless service they expect in the insurance industry. Digital data intake generates the data needed to direct the customer to the right address to solve their issues and ensures that human agents can focus their time and efforts on tasks that generate the most value. In a consumer climate where customer service is a defining feature, that capacity can make or break an organization.