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September 15, 2020

We are living in a truly new world – a  world where social distancing is driving digital proximity. How enterprises engage their customers has drastically changed from paper-based to telephony to the internet economy through Business 2.0 and now Business 4.0. Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around”. With COVID-19, we find ourselves at an inflection point with regard to customer experience management – where touch-technology and face-to-face (f2f) interactions are neither considered safe nor preferred by a majority.

Existing customer engagement channels have come under strain due to the COVID-19 crisis. There has been a visible reduction in the footfall at bank branches and in-person meetings with insurance advisors. As remote interactions will increase, the need to go paperless in communication will see a surge. Existing conversational experiences – f2f, voice-based or bot-based interactions are gradually becoming inadequate and ineffective.

Video has emerged as a front-runner among the various modes of interaction and engagement.

Promoting an immersive experience in the banking and insurance advisory space or on how healthcare is rendered to reimagine existing engagement models with the customer, making it non-invasive, hinges on new-age technologies like video, AR/VR, and APIs.

While this has been true of how engagement models have been evolving over the last few years, the COVID-19 crisis has given the much-needed acceleration.

Scope of the opportunity

Auto insurance claims is one area where video technology has been successfully leveraged for a couple of years now. Insurtech like Vidyo have enabled high-end video platforms that many insurers have integrated with their enterprise systems. There are several other use cases, such as underwriting documentation, multimedia claims processing, conveyancing in home insurance, claims submission for calamities, surveillance videos for claims, advice for mortgage, and equity release, where video technology is at the forefront to smooth processing. This technology offers immense opportunities to insurers – improving claim accuracy, reducing processing time, reducing fraudulent claims – thus increasing their operating margins and improving customer retention.

A look at emerging ecosystems

In the case of property and auto claims, especially in remote regions or during calamities, drones have been very useful. Data collection, analysis, and catastrophe damages are some areas where insurers are increasingly looking at a variety of platforms for drone services. Integrating such on-demand services as part of the engagement journey makes insurers more resilient, enabling them to launch newer propositions and acquire and retain customers much faster.

The '60+ years' customer segment is a fairly new adopter of digital interactions, across geographies. While this segment is not new to social media and using touch-based technology, engaging with them through video channels for financial advisory or healthcare needs requires an empathetic rethinking of technology. For instance, the success rate of selling an equity release policy to a 70-year-old will be higher if the technology is extremely intuitive and user-friendly, doesn’t need any application to be downloaded onto devices, and can enable the same advisor to connect to the prospect every time so there is an ongoing relationship. Firms must explore platforms for such use cases and integrate them with existing business applications, as well as partake in the creation of ecosystems that customers across segments can adapt to and use with ease.

The COVID-19 crisis has sharpened the focus on how healthcare services are delivered and consumed. Medtech firms such as Visibacare are already working with healthcare providers to administer video-based services. Creating a holistic care network for the patient becomes the opportunity here – to stitch an end-to-end customer journey of ailment to recovery, involving doctors, pharmacy, and care homes or care givers – thus creating a well-knit digital ecosystem that interacts on secure API-based architecture. In the US, startups such as Sentiar are using augmented reality and virtual reality to improve patient experience.

Customer engagement needs to be transformed from 'digital first' to 'digital must' to 'digital anytime'. Video tech is instrumental in our daily lives and has a mass access and appeal, especially in the current smartphone generation. Its ease of access has made it an important feature in customers' lives. The new world order has created opportunities for innovation in technology and business models. Assembling this innovation in technology that is already available in insurtech and fintech worlds into existing processes and engagement models has ensured some early successes for insurers - the focus now should be on sustaining the momentum and go to the next level. This mindset of embracing risk and creating and nurturing ecosystems will underpin the sustenance strategy of businesses of the future.

Akshay is a growth and transformation partner with TCS’ Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) business unit. In this role, he works with the business and technology leaders of TCS’ BFSI clients in the UK, focusing on tech-led growth and transformation of their businesses. Akshay has led the insurance and capital markets segments in the UK for more than 10 years now, helping clients drive innovation-led growth leveraging the MFDMTM and Business 4.0™ concepts. Akshay has a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Computer Science) from the R.V College of Engineering, Bangalore, India, and is a certified TATA Sales Leader. He is also a certified Blockchain associate from the Blockchain council ( and an avid Design Thinking practitioner.




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