Transforming where customer and employee experience intersect: optimising the power of AI
It’s maybe a truism that happy employees lead to happy customers, but the past year has certainly underscored just how interlinked customer and employee satisfaction can be. Deny employees the tools to meet customers’ needs in a timely and effective way and the frustration will be felt by both parties, with customers defecting to better-equipped competitors and workforce churn further undermining service levels. As panellists on the recent Insurance Innovators webinar, Transforming where customer and employee experience intersect: optimising the power of AI, agreed, banks and insurance companies need to invest in AI and automation to ensure employees have those tools to retain customers and maintain morale.
The good news is that customers are increasingly comfortable with digital solutions, including automated self-serve, AI-powered chatbots and sharing data to fast-track requests. Indeed, when Santander surveyed customers using its newly launched My Money Manager, it found 60 per cent of users expected the bank to find ways to make their money work harder.
“We really see an appetite from customers for us to use data responsibly to add value to their lives”
Andy Warren, Santander
“We really see an appetite from customers for us to use data responsibly to add value to their lives,” said Andy Warren, Head of Customer Journey Design at Santander.
“The default now is for an always on, digital brand…This expectation for a richer more personal online experience is here to stay”
Huw Williams, UiPath
Huw Williams, Contact Centre Industry leader at UiPath, agreed there’s been a real shift in customer attitudes. “The default now is for an always-on, digital brand,” said Williams. “This expectation for a richer more personal online experience is here to stay.”
This is a change for customers but it’s perhaps even more profound for employees, particularly as companies invest in automation, AI and machine learning to deliver the streamlined seamless and data-rich personalised experiences that today’s connected customers crave.
“With automation doing the heavy lifting, you have more time to focus on more complex issues…and it takes away that factory feeling for your people”
Sarune Galdikaite, Danske Bank
The priorities for automation should be the simple repetitive tasks and known peak surges, said Sarune Galdikaite, head of intelligent automation at Danske Bank. “Put robotic solutions there because it improves service to the customer and takes away that factory feeling for your people,” she said. “With automation doing the heavy lifting, you have more time to focus on more complex issues.”
AI and machine learning can help deliver smart solutions to delight customers and streamline operations. “You can look across the entire value chain and deep dive into certain scenarios,” said Will Paskins, Head of Claims Digital Experience at Zurich, citing as an example technology to automatically estimate with a very high degree of accuracy how much it will cost to repair a car based on images of the damage. He cautioned, however, that there’s the potential to give a “digital veneer” by picking out pockets of the customer journey for automation. “You have to look across the entire journey,” he said.
Huw Williams of UiPath agreed. “It has to be holistic,” he said. “It has to be joined up across different departments and multiple channels.”
“Simple things that improve micro-moments in the customer journey can be powerful”
Andy Warren, Santander
However, as Andy Warren of Santander pointed out, digitisation doesn’t have to be complex to make an impact. “Simple things that improve micro-moments in the customer journey can be powerful,” he said.
“A digital experience is no different to walking into a shop and making a judgement based on first impressions, friendliness and quality of products,” he said. “And in the same way that having a shop doesn’t mean you have a viable business, having a website, automation or AI doesn’t mean you will succeed digitally.”
Huw Williams of UiPath agreed with this. “The core principles of serving the customer have not really changed,” he said. “We’re using the technology to enable employees to perform more efficiently and with a greater understanding of the customer.”
For Huw, relevance is key. “How can you understand the next key point in that journey, how can you advise the next best action, how can you predict if a customer is about to churn or is already consuming a competitor’s product? These are things that technology can help a customer service representative within real-time by taking the vast amounts of available data and presenting that information in context so they can better support that customer.”
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