When embarking on a digital transformation journey, insurance companies need to think, act, and expect differently than they have before, especially when we recognize the recent and ever increasing need to shift to digital. The days of choosing to create value in only one piece of the project management triangle, either customer experience, operational effectiveness, or employee engagement, are gone. Now, agility coupled with the right solution enables a carrier to improve all three critical parts of the whole.
In the second part of our series, Meredith Barnes-Cook addressed how a carrier can avoid the illusion of self-service and realize operational effectiveness by identifying where and how to fulfill customer expectations.
And now, in this final post of our three-part series, I will be focusing on the employee experience. I want to show how digital transformation enhances your employee engagement alongside your customer’s positive experience so that as your employee turnover decreases, your employee satisfaction increases.
Employee experience, particularly in the area of call centers, determines how your employees perceive their job. In fact, 46% of employees feel that they are not satisfied at work. In particular, employees in the insurance field get burned out faster.
One of the primary reasons for burnout is repetitive or monotonous work. In Janeen’s example, after expecting a seamless online process, she ended up having to talk to her insurance representative multiple times over the course of several weeks. She wanted email contact but was instead only contacted by phone. From the customer's perspective, she was frustrated, and at the end of the process, she felt unhappy enough to consider changing carriers, despite the fact that she was a long-term customer.
From an employee’s perspective, each interaction with a dissatisfied customer creates a renewed level of stress and dissatisfaction with their own job. The added layer of complexity in dealing with a customer’s simple request creates additional tasks and timelines. The employee can feel powerless, not being able to correct a customer experience failure while moving through the manual steps as quickly as they can. And as Meredith Barnes-Cook explained, the experience was “bogged down by a behind-the-scenes relay race.”
The repetitive employee tasks and contact points could have been easily automated with AI-driven processes that would have resolved the request before Janeen even spoke to a single employee. The customer contacting an employee would have become a choice versus an absolute necessity. Employee intervention becomes reserved for the most pressing customer needs and allows for personal care without the high volume of critical but manual, rote tasks.
While AI personalizes the customer experience, it also frees employees to focus on their true purpose, helping customers achieve their best experience. If the customer has an effortless, contactless front-end experience, they only need to contact the employee at their greatest need. And there is no shortage of complex decisions that insurance carriers need to make every day, from underwriting a unique new business opportunity to guiding a customer or claimant through a significant claim.
According to one study, employees in the insurance sector, “may derive additional gratification by helping customers through a challenging time, and their interactions may be more positive,” therefore increasing their job satisfaction.
And with improved job satisfaction comes a rise in employee engagement and a more positive employee experience. And in an industry where employee turnover rates range between 35 to 40%, improved employee experience ensures that your employees don’t want to leave.
Between the cost of hiring, training, and onboarding, the cost of employee turnover is high. But with a digital transformation ensuring employee engagement, you can reduce turnover within your workforce.
Long term employees are experienced employees. And with each additional year an employee remains in your employment, their knowledge of the company, its customers, products, services and mission increases. This deepening expertise empowers employees to further enhance the customer experience, becoming a competitive advantage for retention.
With digital transformation, experienced, savvy employees can focus on high-value touchpoints. They will have the ability and the information to automate customers’ touchpoints proactively, from noting policy renewals to warning customers about dangerous weather. Skilled employees will have more data to personalize their customer interactions and perform their tasks with greater ease.
The truth is that the core product that employees deliver is customer service. Automating your processes and making the best use of AI gives your employees the boost they need to deliver an excellent customer experience.
Your company’s digital transformation, incorporating intelligent automation and AI, allows you to improve the three pivotal areas for growth: customer experience, operational effectiveness, and employee experience.