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July 19, 2018

As the Human Computer Interactions (HCI) technology gains popularity, organizations are scrambling to infuse ‘human-like’ features in their user interface (UI) to tackle the challenges inherent to human interactions – complexity and context-driven. Sometimes humans prefer guided navigation, while at other times, they seek information that will allow them to explore ways to conduct a task. With recent growth in messaging apps and cognitive-enabled technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), bots, and voice recognition, the HCI footprint is gaining traction – especially in the insurance and finance industry.

With the global voice recognition market expected to reach $127.58 billion by 2024, insurance companies that leverage conversational UI to enable voice commands-based interactions and drive personalization will create competitive advantage.

Here are four ways insurance companies can leverage conversational UI:

#1 Provide faster customer service: Chatbots can be used to answer queries related to insurance products, provide summaries of insurance portfolio, and address questions related to car insurance or health benefits. They can help expedite one-stop tasks such as bill payments, as well as help customers request for value-added services. For instance, the Palo Alto based startup Next Insurance, allows small businesses to get quotes and buy insurance through a Facebook Messenger chatbot.

#2 Simplify complex transactions: Conversational UI helps increase the level of interaction for complex transactions such as submitting a health claim, thereby making the process more seamless. In addition, incorporating cognitive capabilities can contextualize end-user objectives and drive different outcomes, instead of fixed, predefined rule-based outcomes. GEICO’s AI Jim, the company’s claims bot, simplifies the complex and highly regulated claims process, settling claims in three seconds.

#3 Facilitate omnichannel experience: For health insurance players and financial planners, omnichannel is becoming the natural way to have conversations with customers. Voice-enabled devices can provide interactive summaries of various financial events and balances, and help customers switch from one device to another with ease.  GEICO’s mobile virtual assistant, Kate, helps customers navigate the GEICO app, and provides voice-enabled assistance about policy coverage and billing information. 

#4 Collaborate seamlessly across different communication channels: Capturing the context as the customer moves from one channel to another is imperative to delivering exceptional customer experience every time. Conversational UI, coupled with cognitive context-aware services such as chatops, can help combine multiple collaboration technologies such as email, blogs, messaging or process-tasks. The result: the ability to deliver contextualized and personalized customer experiences a la peer-to-peer insurance company Lemonade.

Getting Started with Conversation UI

One way to start leveraging the vast capabilities of conversational UI is to apply it to the busiest and most complex channels and interactions. The objective is to simplify a customer conversation and gain maximum insight from it. It’s best to begin by guiding customers conversationally to their own preferred media. Using the digital technologies available, businesses can thread the experience together to drive the user to different channels, sense the context using cognitive services, and match the experience to customer expectations.

In terms of readiness, companies must assess their ability to form an agile team involving business and IT to rapidly move through the ideation process, overcome various compliance hurdles, and choose the right technology partners. It is also important to get organizational buy-in to experiment with different options using data-scientists to understand the customer context.

The next step is to drive security enablement, followed by API-fication. This is critical to deciding how much context and information an organization can expose to various applications without losing control. Why is this important? A robust API strategy helps expose functionalities to external platforms to enhance customization and agility, and scale the business.

Hybrid Interfaces: The Future of Conversational UI 

While conversational UI brings a much-awaited boost to HCI, it is important to remember that human needs for people-to-people and people-to-artifact (computer-enabled things) interactions are inherently complex. A research that we conducted last year finds that insurers will spend $90 million on average on artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020. What are the implications of this? As insurers increase their investments in AI, more artifacts around us will facilitate conversational interaction. The outcome: a combination of textual, graphical, and conversational UI to make customer interactions more meaningful and powerful.

Sunil Kumar Singh is a Senior Digital Consultant and Architect with 20 years of experience in the IT industry. In his career, he has driven transformations in several areas involving digital technologies. He is an Enterprise and Solution Architect, an IT Strategist in TCS, helping companies formulate their comprehensive digital strategy and adapt to different dimensions of transformation thereafter. Along with his strategic engagements, his engineering focus areas include Machine Learning, APIs, Microservices and front-end technologies. He holds a bachelor's degree in electronics and communication engineering. He is a part of TCS' BFSI unit with domain experience in Core Banking, Credit Lines, P&C Insurance, Health and Life for Individual and Group Insurance. He also brings in experiences from other business domains such as Retail, Hi-tech, Utilities, and eGovernance.


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