President & Head of Operations,
Communities & Customer Experience
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
The swan that gracefully moves on a lake is a picture of elegance in motion but what is hidden from the eye is the activity going on beneath the water’s surface. “We don’t see the hard work conducted by the swan’s webbed feet which propels this graceful motion,” says KV Dipu, President & Head of Operations, Communities & Customer Experience at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. Within hours and days (not weeks), insurance companies were forced to rethink their business models. Like all other industries, they were forced to embrace change and figure out new ways of working. And while customer experience (CX) was the only way to differentiate offerings among a sea of sameness, the challenge now is to innovate and transform. And just like the swan, the hard work needs to be done in the shadows and make it look effortless. In this interaction with Ashwani Mishra, Editor, CXODigitalPulse.com, Dipu shares his views on the changes that have emerged in terms of customer experience and relationships, and how the company is trying to connect human engagement with digital tools and bring value for its customers.
Excerpts: Q. The current crisis has rapidly changed how enterprises engage with customers and employees; there has been a huge shift from in-person interactions to digital engagements. What are the changes that have emerged in terms of customer relationships, customer expectations and such areas from your organization’s perspective?
Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. The crisis hasn’t suddenly caused the shift to digital, rather it has simply accelerated it. Over the last 16 months everyone has moved to a digital way of working, and the customer experience is no different. As more and more people have digital ecosystems as part of their lives, we were able to move our customers to digital assets at scale. We have gone through the phase of shutting down our call centres, and graduating our customers to digital offerings. Even today when the call centers are back in action, around 70-80 percent of our customer servicing happens via digital assets. During this period the customer complaints have reduced by 90 percent. From a regulator’s point of view, we have one of the lowest customer grievances. I think we have not only managed to survive but thrive during this period in terms of managing customer relationships and customer expectations.
Q. Using customer service to drive customer experience is as important. Every customer interaction with your company is a chance to add value. How are you trying to connect the entire human engagement with digital tools?
Customer behaviors and preferred interactions have changed significantly, and while they will continue to shift, the uptick in the use of digital services is here to stay. Today’s customers expect interacting with their insurers to be easy, and as providers we need to ensure our channels enable a convenient and seamless customer experience. We have been going through our digital journey in a very systematic manner. We have mapped the entire value chain starting from acquisition of customers, issuance of policies, and servicing through the life cycle of claim, renewal and so on. We have built tools keeping in mind customer ease and at the same time communicated to our customers what we have been doing. This combination of production and communication has helped us to overcome many challenges.
Q. How are you trying to identify the current behaviors that will define customer experience in the near term?
The customer of today is self-isolating and prefers digital and contactless engagement channels, so as carriers we must meet them wherever they are. In such a scenario, the use of digital technologies to create a 360-degree view of customers is necessary. CX will move from a transactional business model to a relational one that cultivates valuable and lasting relationships. There will be focus on data that is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to identify individual customer needs at a granular level and provide products and services specifically tailored to them. A thoughtful, well-designed experience—whether on a mobile app or an AI-powered chatbot—makes it easy for consumers to find what they need. Moving to the cloud and moving from siloed data mart to a single data lake will gain momentum. Creating a touchless user interface and AI-centric Customer Experience will also play a significant role.