Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the insurance industry – and customer service is no exception. One of the most common forms of AI are the use of chatbots, which Forbes defines as “software functionality that is designed to receive conversational input through text of voice and then generate a response that is also in natural language.” In other words, instead of interacting with a human, you’re “chatting” with a bot that’s programmed to understand your questions and direct you to the right place.
Chatbots are an innovative tool that can offer many benefits for insurers, such as around-the-clock support for consumers. These automated insurance agents can provide information almost instantaneously and guide consumers to appropriate resources for more information.
8 Insurance Chatbot Benefits
How common are chatbots? According to Moz, 80% of brands are using chatbots for customer interactions today. Here is a list of their most popular benefits:
- Efficiency and convenience. These virtual agents provide an easy way for consumers to gather information or ask questions on their own schedule. They don’t have wait a day or two (or longer) for an email response – or stay on hold waiting for the next available customer service representative.
- 24/7 availability. Most chatbots are available any time of day or night, which means customers can submit a question when most other help lines and agents aren’t available, such as nights, weekends, and holidays. According to Finance Online, 64% of users say the best insurance chatbot feature is the ability to contact customer service 24 hours a day.
- Immediate answers. In many cases, when customers have questions, they are looking for answers almost instantly. To prove this point, HubSpot calculated that of the 71% of customers who use messaging apps for customer service, many do so because they want answers quickly – and chatbots may be the answer because of their easy-to-use functionality and availability.
- Reallocate employee workload. Insurance chatbots can also free up employees who may otherwise be answering phone calls or replying to emails, which can save time and money. Chatbots can help employees process and manage new claims and handle ordinary tasks such as updating accounts. They can even provide personalized quotes.
- Streamline processes. Chatbots can impact and streamline everything from claims to understanding data analysis.
- Improve customer relationships. According to HubSpot, the majority of millennials who have interacted with a business’ chatbot say the experience positively impacted their perception of the organization.
- Generate leads. When customers interact with a chatbot, they may be expected to fill in basic contact information, such as name and email address. This is a simple, easy way for insurers to generate leads.
- Integrate with social media channels. Chatbots can be positioned across channels that consumers use every day. “They accomplish their task, start to finish, in the place where you already spend your time: messaging apps,” according to HubSpot.
Challenges That Insurance Chatbots Can Solve
For a lot of consumers, property and casualty insurance is complex and hard to understand. Buying different types, renewals, and claims can be complicated – but insurance chatbots can provide clarity on the processes and help customers understand the associated costs.
It’s important to note, however, that insurers should always include a way for customers to contact employees. Even though chatbots can handle routine tasks, consumers want to know they can talk to a real person if needed.
Chatbots can also help insurers keep pace with the demands of customer service. Chatbot response is often faster than a human one, and unlike a person, they can handle multiple customer inquiries at once.
Chatbots have answered a need for an alternative form of customer service communication. While some people still prefer calling or emailing with a question, others find that chatbots are less time-consuming and at times more efficient. In general, though, “chatbots are best used in situations where a back-and-forth interaction is required,” according to Forbes.
5 Ways Chatbots Can Help Insurers
There are a variety of ways in which insurers can implement chatbots to create an effective customer service experience:
- Process claims. Chatbots can assist with claims questions and payment methods.
- Gather leads. When customers interact with a chatbot, they may be expected to fill in basic contact information, such as name and email address, which is a simple and effective way to accumulate customer data and generate leads. This information can be passed along to sales teams.
- Provide education. In many cases, someone will contact an insurer with questions about a product or process. A chatbot can answer questions and provide more information – or direct those inquiries to the appropriate departments or resources.
- Engage with customers and collect feedback: Chatbots are often faster and more efficient than phone calls and emails. Plus, they offer a way for an insurers to easily compile data on their various customer service inquiries.
- Free up employees. Employees can tackle other important responsibilities if chatbots help handle customer service inquiries.
To succeed in the modern insurance marketplace, carriers must focus first and foremost on the evolving expectations of their customers–expectations often driven by everyday influences completely removed from the world of insurance. Chatbots are just one more innovative tool insurers can use to meet customer expectations and deliver the service their customers have come to expect.