How AI Powers Customer Contacts

Existing and prospective customers now expect prompt, appropriate answers via the channel of their choice, or they may look to your competitors.

For insurance carriers, customer retention relies on trusted communication between the company and its customers—often by way of representatives like brokers and agents. Developing and maintaining that trust depends heavily on the quality of policyholder communications: knowing and understanding your customers and presenting your brand in such a way that customers feel they know and understand you. While this seems a simple concept, in this era of digital communications it requires—and customers expect—the intimacy of personal interaction distributed through sophisticated and varied media channels and devices. 

The customer communication management (CCM) systems that many insurers employ today are able to create communications to be delivered via the various channels that customers prefer. However, modern CCM systems are capable of even more personalized and relevant interactions. And there’s the problem: Many insurers have been in business long enough to experience evolving generations of communications systems. This has resulted in valuable content and customer communications being stored in various silos throughout the organization—one for marketing, another for billing, another for claims and so on—and often in near-obsolete formats or systems. 

For customer service representatives, claims adjusters, brokers or agents, finding the right template can be problematic and time-consuming. Then, creating an appropriate response with approved content is yet another hurdle. Ideally, every insurer today should have a CCM system that is able to draw on the accumulation of content from customer communications from all internal departments, then assist business users in using that information to create a fitting response. If that is not possible in your organization, a more robust CCM system needs to become a priority for the sake of your staff and to satisfy increasing customer expectations. 

Moving to a better system

If the necessary content and customer information required for a new CCM system are still housed in disparate silos and legacy systems, the question becomes, where do you begin? When considering migrating to a modern CCM system, we recommend starting with a communications assessment to get a realistic idea of the scope of the task you’re undertaking. Consider the volume of the materials you have, where they are located in your organization—again, they may be distributed among several departments and systems—and your priorities. What will your future omni-channel customer experience look like? This understanding will help determine what kind of CCM system best suits your requirements, the plan needed for migrating to a new system and the costs involved.

Traditionally, the only way to migrate legacy content was manually. That meant getting staff to look at the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of documents and content messages in your files, then sort them into various piles, labeled as "obsolete," say, or "excellent explanation," or "good introductory paragraph," or "Connecticut doesn't require this any more." Depending on the volume of communications and associated content objects in your archives, this process would likely mean a major investment that could include hiring and training many more people and allowing them months or even years to sift through everything. Add to that the potential for human error, and you can see what a painstaking, expensive and fraught task this is. One alternative is to "lift and shift" all content from your old systems into a new one. Unfortunately, this move won’t deliver the change you are looking for as it just recreates the chaos of your old systems in the new platform.

See also: AI Ends Guesswork in Uncertain World

One answer is to apply more advanced technology to review and sort out your existing customer communication files. Modern technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) are increasingly being used to significantly accelerate content migration and optimization processes. To begin with, AI can be a powerful tool to automate the ingestion and metadata tagging of legacy content from various file formats and systems. In addition, AI,  ML and NLP can analyze content and communications to identify outdated, off-brand, duplicate or similar content, as well as inconsistencies or non-compliant branding, reading levels and sentiment. This content can then be optimized prior to importing it into a content hub for use in future communications. Applications with these kinds of built-in AI and ML functions have been known to reduce the time required to modernize and optimize your existing customer files by as much as 99%.

Putting it all together

The aim of this process is to then to house the content in a centralized content management system or “content hub.” This enables your content authors to centrally control content and provide customer-facing teams with access to approved communications regardless of the channel (print or digital). This content hub should include documents like disclosures, policy statements and explanations of benefits, standard customer correspondence templates for claims responses, account servicing and billing to enable servicing teams to build relevant and personalized correspondence. The right hub will also help to automate the application of the required regulatory and compliance language for different states and jurisdictions. The AI-powered content hub would offer nearly all the pieces needed to put together a customized and relevant reply to a customer query via the preferred channel of communication. 

These systems empower your customer-facing teams, ensuring they use the latest, approved content and enabling them to add relevant, personalized messaging based on real-time information. AI embedded within these systems can provide guardrails to ensure communications stay within brand, reading level and sentiment guidelines. This not only helps to protect brand equity, but it also assists the organization overall in driving toward a more consistent, cohesive customer experience across various touchpoints and channels. 

As insurers have expanded customer touchpoints across new digital channels, delivering consistent and relevant communications presents new challenges. Increasingly, both existing and prospective customers expect prompt and appropriate answers to their queries via the channel of their choice, or they may look to your competitors. With a solid communications strategy and a CCM system that supports it, you will find new ways to create, manage and deliver an array of complex insurance communications with consistency and efficiency, which can be a significant factor in winning — and keeping — your customers.

Patrick Kehoe

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Patrick Kehoe

Patrick Kehoe is EVP of product management at Messagepoint. He has over 25 years of experience delivering business solutions for document processing, customer communications and content management.


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