Exploring the Technology Needs for Today’s Customer Service

In this conversation, I am joined by Pegasystem’s Jeff Nicholson to explore how companies handled the influx of customer questions and claims during the pandemic, and what technology was needed to be effective and efficient.

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To hear the entire conversation, check out the episode here.

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Shelly Kramer: In the early days of the pandemic, we were seeing banking and financial institutions and health insurance companies and that thing, just bombarded with customer questions and claims and requests for assistance and all that thing. What we learned very, very quickly was that humans can’t do this alone. That technology is a big part of the solution. I would like to talk a little bit about, what kind of technology is needed to address customer touch points in the most effective and efficient ways possible?

Jeff Nicholson: Absolutely. That is all changing right now under our feet.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jeff Nicholson: In days past, we rushed out to individual channels and stood up channel infrastructure.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jeff Nicholson: We thought that would solve it. All it did is created in just individual silos, disjointed experiences, a chat bot experience over here that can only do a small subset of things and answer your store hours and things like that, that waste people’s time versus maybe a better experience through talking with an agent, what are the different experience to the mobile app? What we saw organizations do is take a step back. Well, the ones that did it best, and they said, “Well, can we reorganize run journey in the center and if we did that, is there a way to activate it in other ways to change the shape and surface area of the types of service we’re able to deliver on more than just one touch point?”

You mentioned insurance companies, there’s a great American insurer, Aflac who did a great job at this. When COVID hit, they were able to take the processes, the journeys that were orchestrated in the center activated initially in their desktop for their agent. Activate them out to an intelligent virtual assistant on a website that actually understood. It was you, Shelly, that was there and you perhaps asking about a claim that you had opened. We’re opening claims, and it’s specific to you and your journey. It’s not giving you information that’s completely generic. That was actually the highest volume inquiry type, which was claim status.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jeff Nicholson: Then, if they saw that they were able to resolve fully, almost 80% of those inquiries right there in the intelligent virtual assistant, and the reason is it was organized around journey. It was giving you the same level of information that you would be able to get, individual context tool information that you would get by speaking with an agent right there 24/7. They observed that their NPS scores were tremendous. This is the changing surface area. Think of it as the AI and automation being activated, really, wherever you go. This ability to almost be autonomous, organized around you and your needs. This is where it’s all going.

Author Information

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”


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