More than half of insurance policyholders grow frustrated if a chatbot has yet to provide them a clear path to resolution within five minutes, according to a recent survey by Globant.
By contrast, 34% of policyholders want to switch to a chatbot if they’ve been on hold with a live agent for five minutes.
Confused? Don’t be—although it may look contradictory on the surface, the research suggests there’s a specific time and place for artificial intelligence-based customer support.
“What consumers are looking for is the combination,” says Sean Kennedy, principal digital architect at Globant. “They want the speed and the simplicity of working with a chatbot solution on their terms, and they want to know it’s backed by a human who will empathize with them, understand them and really be on their side.”
For example, 73% of customers prefer to speak to a human when providing or receiving medical information, and 67% feel the same way about submitting a claim, according to the research. Policyholders are most open to chatbots facilitating simple, routine activities, such as policy reminders (36%) or checking the status of a claim (29%).
“It’s all about augmenting the people, not replacing the people,” Kennedy explains. “The chatbot is really there to help make the human employees more effective—to help them focus on the more important aspects of customer service.”
But beyond freeing up time for agency staff to devote to high-quality customer interactions rather than transactional work—thereby providing “a higher level of service” overall, Kennedy says—leveraging chatbot technology can almost serve as a vetting tool by gathering information that agents can use to customize their outreach to prospects and clients.
In particular, “a larger agency may find a real opportunity in chatbots to make the quote process faster or to qualify leads more accurately,” Kennedy explains. “A prospect could work through a chatbot to the point where the agent gets a detailed sense of what they’re looking for. The agent would then be able to work with that individual in a more personalized way.”
Chatbot technology is not yet a widely accessible technology for most smaller agencies, admits Kennedy, who believes “it would be a very difficult investment for a small agency to make sense of.”
But whether the eventual solution comes from a carrier partner, an agency management system or another type of software, “in the long run,” Kennedy says, “even a small agency will be able to make use of chatbot technology to improve their business and how they service their customer.”
Jacquelyn Connelly is IA senior editor.