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Digital CX Automation: Much More than Just Forms

Is digital CX automation a key priority for you in the new year? I recently had a conversation with a CX leader at a midsized American insurance company, asking about the potential depth of a digital CX process – can it go beyond simply creating forms to replace their paper and PDF-based processes? Her goal was to rationalize a multistep insurance application process that was cumbersome and time-consuming for both customer and company teams. I am anonymously relating this process with permission because of its relevance to many other insurance companies and customer relationship management challenges in many other industries, including banking, lending, healthcare, and telecom

More than Just Forms

Great digital CX automation experiences can – and should – be about a lot more than “just”  automating a form. Although some companies may simply want to collect data with forms and then feed it into an existing automated system, many others hope to rationalize complex and frustrating processes to speed decisions, improve close rates, and reduce operational expenses. All those tasks fall within customer experience automation. Still others have a goal to digitize and automate the entire customer journey through automated processes that span customer-facing and behind-the-scenes business process automation. Those are all components of strong digital customer experience development.

One important reason the insurance company felt urgency to enhance customer engagement through digitized experience was customer feedback. The customer feedback encompassed both traditional research studies and comments on social media. Customers described the process as cumbersome, confusing, and far too lengthy. Internal company analytics also revealed unnecessary delays at multiple steps in the application flow – at various points after the customer interaction.

Comprehensive Customer Experience Strategy

As we reviewed their process for policy applications end-to-end, we discussed a system that would automatically collect data via a form that sat on top of a comprehensive customer experience strategy that automated every aspect of the process. The newly digitized and automated system would fully manage their routing, scoring, underwriting, and enrollment process, helping to cut days and sometimes weeks out of the timeline. 

As with many un-digitized procedures, there’s had multiple bottlenecks and delays; worst of all were steps in which data needed to be re-entered to move an application forward. For that company, siloed internal systems and disconnected digital technology meant that information had to be manually added to the disconnected platforms, increasing costs and the possibility of errors. Further, there were apparent potential issues with data security and integrity. Even insight and analysis were more difficult because data had to be aggregated across multiple systems.

Great digital CX automation can easily accommodate such challenges. It is the center of quality digital customer engagement. One of the key advantages of a no-code digital cx platform is that citizen developers can do much creation and integration. Pre-built templates, integrations, and interoperable forms meant customers received a consistent and satisfying experience as company systems and process steps were rationalized.

So what sorts of customer experience tasks and issues can digital cx automation help address and solve? How can we leverage cx automation for digital transformation? Here’s a partial list relevant to any insurance company.

Ways to Leverage Digital CX Automation 

Data Collection

Many companies still rely on PDFs and paper forms to collect customer information as an initial step in a process. These formats add complexity for consumers and businesses alike. Even digitized PDFs create customer friction because the forms can be challenging to fill out. For example, this company had incorporated helpful explanations in rollovers throughout the core application form. Unfortunately, some of these rollovers floated over the blanks where customers were meant to type information. Seemingly minor customer experience issues like this likely contributed to the low application compliance rate. The percentage of people who filled out the form, or filled it out completely, was far lower than desired. The forms also didn’t save properly, so they lost their progress if they stopped before completing all required fields. In a market where customers have many provider choices, these issues impede their business growth.

Digital CX can help improve the customer journey in situations like this by providing easy-to-understand forms that make customer data entry easier and faster. Saving functions are easy to incorporate — without coding if you use a no-code platform. Required fields and input type requirements (e.g., correct email addresses, numbers for values, etc.) ensure more accurate data collection and help agents prioritize opportunities to serve the best prospects better.

Multi-Channel Experience

Customers want to access forms and customer service experiences from whatever connected device or channel they choose. With digital CX automation using the FICX platform, we showed them how to ensure that applications and other steps could be delivered on PC, in the company app (for upsell), and through inside sales interactions. Even outside sales processes could be more effective and efficient with a single, consistent process.

Application Routing

In many organizations, approvals require the input and approval of many people and departments. For many orgs, that process is part automatic and part manual. This organization still did a lot of routing via email. While they had data management systems, the integration work had been done years before and was way behind in effectiveness and efficiency.

At FICX, we have prebuilt customer service integrations with many CRM, CDP, marketing automation, decisioning, account management, and contact center software systems. Our technology can deliver the information to the right tools and individuals and provide an easy-to-use front end on the experience for internal team members and customers. We showed the prospective client how to eliminate emailing from the process and ensure that their business operations platform recorded every step. By delivering a PCI- and HIPAA-compliant platform, we made it easy to enhance security.

Process Management and Recording

Insurance agents need to know the status of applications and where an individual app is in the approval process. This is critical to set customer expectations and help drive action when necessary. By ensuring all activities and steps were recorded in their operations platform, FICX could provide full transparency to agents, their supervisors, and other stakeholders in the organization.

Clarity and transparency are essential drivers of efficient customer experience and high customer satisfaction rates. By delivering both a visible digital experience and digitizing all of the steps behind it, digital CX automation helped deliver rich intelligence throughout the company. Intelligent automation informs process optimizations and future enhancements to drive better business results.

Agent-Assisted Experiences

The world of insurance — and many other customer service industries — is often rife with confusing terminology that can be fearsome and offputting to customers. Your contact center team and agents can help customers get past those challenges. That said, companies that rely on audio-based support often find that it still takes a long time — and a lot of costs — to get customers through to completed actions.

Many organizations are now exploring, testing, and implementing video chat and co-browsing to help make these customer experience interactions more effective and efficient. With co-browsing, the agent can see what the customer sees and help point them to the information and needed inputs required. With video chat, customers get reassurance from seeing a live agent — a real person — to help get them to the point when they can confidently make the right decisions.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

While not in the initial scope of this specific challenge, many companies seek to drive efficiency and better customer experience management with robotic tools, including chatbots. By ensuring a seamless and comprehensive data foundation, digital cx users can overlay RPA experiences like chatbots to provide critical information like application or claims status. This delivers an even better digital customer experience. For artificial intelligence tools to work best, they need a foundation of precise and accurate data. Digital CX automation is ideal for delivering that essential groundwork. No amount of machine learning or even human interaction can make up for inaccurate data.

With a great customer experience and dataset, chatbots and other AI-powered tools can deliver more types of answers — and more accurate data — to customers, reducing the need for expensive human assistance. Further, a chatbot or similar tool can be architected to answer low-value questions and interactions, freeing the human agent to spend more time with customers needing critical assistance.

Customer Onboarding Processes

Let’s assume for a moment that an applicant has been approved and has agreed to purchase a policy. Now comes the critical step of onboarding. Empowering customers to fully onboard themselves through digital channels gives them the freedom to do so on their own time and reduces your costs. Manual processes are almost always cost killers. Forms are a good baseline component here, but there are also many opportunities to incorporate richer experiences into the process.

For example, many companies have created videos and step-by-step instructions that, sadly, all too few new customers avail themselves of. A well-architected digital CX experience seamlessly includes such experiences in a natural customer flow. Essentially, such a process brings these potentially powerful and pleasing experiences to the customer instead of requiring that they search for and seek them out. For example, the FICX platform makes it easy for customers to interact with video and other multimedia content to learn more and complete key tasks. With FICX, those experiences can be delivered anywhere — online, in an app, in a mini-app portal, and at retail locations.

A great onboarding experience can improve customer loyalty, customer retention, upsell, and many other benefits. Indeed it can be the key to overall customer success. It also conditions a customer to use low-cost customer self-service interaction whenever possible. In essence, a digital onboarding process conditions ideal customer behavior for their benefit and the insurance provider’s.

Call Diversion Via Visual IVR

Ask any call center leader the most common questions their team must answer, and you’ll probably hear it’s balance or payment inquiries. Such interactions are a common component of digital customer experience. Why not give customers a way to avoid waiting for such information when they call? Surely that creates a better digital customer experience. By offering customers a pleasing Visual IVR alternative to waiting for an agent, you can provide the digital capabilities necessary to enhance digital customer service while lowering costs and enhancing agent job satisfaction. No one wants to answer, “when’s my premium due?” 50 times a day.

Visual IVR is one of the fastest-growing digital capabilities for contact center teams. It makes the contact center channel more efficient by diverting unnecessary calls while freeing up resources for complex and important engagements that benefit from human-agent interaction.

Architecting a Comprehensive Digital Experience

By understanding both the complete customer journey and the internal process steps required for a task like applying for insurance, you can create a blueprint for an outstanding customer experience — one that digital CX automation is tailor-made to solve. Automation can fix both the customer-facing experience issues and provide the streamlining and connective tissue required to fix a broken process.

Consider FICX for Digital CX Automation

The FICX No-Code CX Automation Platform is an ideal toolset for digital CX automation. Our platform makes it easy for anyone to create, connect, and deliver digital experiences in all customer channels, facilitating a better overall experience, high close rates, and lower costs. FICX is reimagining the way leading brands digitally transform their customer experience. As a pioneer and a leader in no-code CX app development and automation, FICX empowers modern enterprises to rapidly digitize and automate CX journeys and deploy them anywhere they engage customers. Modern enterprises cut costs, convert more sales, and keep their customers happy by removing friction from sales and service interactions. You can learn more about FICX on our website or by requesting a demo now. 

For more content about great digital CX automation, download our CXO Guide

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