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Allstate NI: The future of the customer experience

  • Allstate, like many other organisations, is becoming more proactive and creative in finding new ways to enhance the customer journey using Artificial Intelligence

    In today’s competitive business landscape, technology is the driving force behind innovation. It impacts every aspect of a company’s operations, including its ability to influence and enrich the customer experience. 

    For a long time, the traditional insurance business model proved to be remarkably resilient, but now, more than ever, major advances in technology challenge this position. Data analytics have transformed fraud detection and security in the insurance industry, improved underwriting, facilitated faster claim processing, enabled personalized policies and optimized customer services; all while ensuring companies like Allstate offer the best customer experience possible. 

    Allstate seeks to build an ‘AI-first’ mindset, to scale up its adoption, and ensure that they have the right skills available to help build and support AI solutions. They are providing the customer with a seamless experience across voice and digital channels which will also provide a consolidated, contextually aware view of the customer journey.

    A fine balance must be achieved between providing an automated, intelligent customer service, whilst preserving the human touch. Regardless of how customers wish to engage with Allstate (Call, Text, Chatbot, Email etc.), customers want a seamless and uniform level of service across all channels. 

    Historically customer feedback surveys have gauged that level of service. But surveys are now quickly becoming a thing of the past. The tech industry is getting better and better at using topic mining and sentiment analysis on unstructured text, e.g. on calls, to determine when a customer is not having a good experience; they can even look to apply interventions to turn a negative situation around in real time!

    Predictive AI can also help to enhance the customer experience further. Predictive AI can identify issues upstream or predict the information a customer requires before they contact Allstate. It could allow for more sophisticated underwriting models to determine not only the appropriate insurance coverage for individuals, but also ensure the customer is aware of potential treatments or care packages relevant to their needs. Being able to personalize insurance products to individual customers will guarantee that they will be optimally protected, as well as getting real value for money. 

    Machine learning and biometric-based authentication can be employed to establish customer identities with the minimum amount of effort, enabling Allstate to focus on the customer’s real reason for calling. Authentication should involve minimal effort on the part of a customer as they seek to establish a trusted link with a brand. This authentication should not have to be repeated on every leg of the customer’s journey. The goal is to support passive enrollment that can take place in the course of a conversation with a Natural Language speech enabled IVR, virtual assistant or live agent.

    The combined goal of all of these technologies is automating authentication, personalizing the customer experience and reducing fraud. Being able to predict why a customer is contacting Allstate, pre-empting their needs, and personalizing and simplifying the contact process, will enable companies to provide a much more purpose-driven conversation, and subsequently, a much more fulfilling experience for that individual. 

    Allstate has established themselves as trail blazers in the insurance industry; recognizing the benefits of many products such as Usage-based Mobile Phone Insurance, Telematics offering personalized value to our customers, and Quick Foto Claims - enabling customers to file an auto claim by submitting pictures through a smartphone app. Continued involvement with world class AI-ML research departments in both the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast have given Allstate an opportunity to shape the future of the insurance industry and continue to be at the forefront of innovation. The wealth of data that Allstate has accrued, coupled with the highly skilled internal talent and university researchers, provides a remarkable opportunity to produce intelligent applications and pave the way for the insurance and adjacent markets. There is also a notable AI and tech startup community in Northern Ireland, developing technologies and talents that will ensure that the local Cognitive Analytics ecosystem builds on individual strength and expertise. Allstate is very proud to be at the center of that movement. 

    Allstate understand that in order to compete effectively, they must continue to invest in technologies that support the evolving needs of the customer and the evolving sophistication of the customer experience. The customer is, and shall continue to be, at the heart of the future of tech.

    This article first appeared in the 'Future Tech' edition of the Sync NI magazine and it can be found here.

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