Elevating the Insurance Customer Journey Using AI

By Joe Orr, EVP Insurance, Clearlink

Joe Orr, EVP Insurance, Clearlink

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has made the leap from theoretical technology to an integral part of daily life, helping everything from household assistants to our favorite brands do their jobs more efficiently.

As consumers get more accustomed to AI-curated experiences, specialized industries like insurance are making AI a major part of their sales strategies. Though the relationship between insurance sales and AI may be less obvious than with other industries, AI's potential to positively impact insurance sales is clear. When data and AI capabilities are harnessed to smooth interactions and elevate the customer experience, everyone wins.

Taking the Right Approach

Today’s customers expect superior service: the internet has given shoppers the freedom to do their own research, and chatbots and digital assistants have streamlined burdensome processes. Consumers don’t want to suffer through a long phone call or laborious chat experience when they can have a bot change the shipping address on a package they’ve just ordered or ask Alexa to switch the song they’re listening to. They have no reason to accept an outdated or subpar customer experience in any aspect of their lives—including when looking for a quote or other information about insurance.

Still, the vast majority of insurance transactions occur over the phone, with chat just beginning to gain traction as a viable sales option. Figuring out how to use AI to streamline offline processes like phone calls takes innovation.

"When data and AI capabilities are harnessed to smooth interactions and elevate the customer experience, everyone wins"

Like any industry, most sales centers have a few agents that outperform their peers: they are disproportionately better at sales and interacting with customers. Sometimes called the 80/20 rule, this pattern is prevalent throughout insurance sales. In most call centers, this recurring problem is a tough one to address—if all agents go through the same instruction when they’re hired and receive continuous training as agents, why do some perform dramatically better than others?

Rather than trying to eliminate the inconsistency altogether, acknowledging that it will always happen makes finding a solution easier. An agent doesn’t have to be a top performer to do their job well; they just might need a more direct approach to training during each call. The increasing accessibility of AI now provides a way to for managers to give them just that.

Using AI to Close the Gap

In an ideal world, every single customer would have the chance to interact with the most effective brand ambassador. Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic goal. While AI can’t create talented sales agents, it can gather data from successful conversations and learn what language and tactics lead to the most successful calls. You can then use that information to provide data-driven suggestions to bridge the gap between top performers and struggling agents.

The point of AI isn’t to take over human interaction with pure data. Data is just as susceptible to error as humans are. Creating situations where AI can support and enhance human interactions is the best way to take advantage of the strengths of each. In an insurance sales setting, this means striking a balance between effective sales languages and adapting to conversations in a uniquely human way.

With the right virtual platform, companies can gather and store call information, clean it up, and make it available on a computer screen for agents to reference in real time. By combining the right virtual platforms with the best algorithms, we can guide agents during a call or chat by recommending phrases that our data shows has a high probability of success.

Looking at the Future of Insurance and AI

If sales centers start to translate and store data and then deploy it to agents, entire teams have the potential to see an increase in productive engagements, revenue, and overall customer satisfaction.

With chat becoming a larger part of the customer journey, AI can help in the same way it does with phones—by displaying phrases and conversation elements that give agents the highest probability of success. AI is also driving the development of chatbots that help direct customers to the department and live and agent who will best answer their needs. Ultimately, the goal of AI in insurance sales is to give customers the smoothest experience possible, in their chosen format. AI helps make personalized experiences possible.

Every customer interaction is different and should be treated that way, and the tools exist to help all agents personalize those interactions within a framework that’s proven to work. People buy insurance because they want to feel safe, prepared, and reassured about the possibility of unexpected events affecting their personal lives or business. AI learns that and guides agents to conversations that naturally appeal to those sentiments.

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