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Web Conferencing at FNOL? Think Again.

Seems every insurance carrier has their sights set on improving the efficiency of FNOL operations. Many have different initiatives at play simply depending on the state of the internal IT operations. The carriers that managed to get ahead by investing into the right technology early find themselves being able to continue to innovate with other technologies to take FNOL even further.

The latest trend within the industry is to explore customer centricity. This means not only being able to provide additional omni-channel interaction points with the customers, but also creating a new medium for communication that allows simultaneous customer interaction and immediate reporting integrated into FNOL.  This technology is web conferencing.

Certainly, looking from the benefits, this is a great idea. It is a fantastic idea to be able to speak to the customer during the first notice of loss, to acquire visual details of the claim, like damage assessment, and documenting everything all in one swift interaction. The trouble, however, is that this glamorous web conferencing approach while communicating with the customer is very different from what the customers do when they encounter the claim.


The Policyholders, We Taught Them Well

Let’s face it, every policyholder for most part of their lives has been told to call the insurance company’s phone number to report the claim and every carrier made sure to distribute the printouts, the small envelopes, and other chachkies with the claim reporting phone number boldly printed on them. The last thing the customer thinks when the claim occurs is to go to an iPad or a Tablet and look for a representative online, similar to that of the Mayday button.

So, if the organization is looking to invest into web conferencing technology to promote this type of interaction, the technology will be the least of the concern. The hardest part would be to get the customer to find out about it and use this channel. The hardest thing to change is customer behavior!

To solve this problem, this challenge becomes a very expensive marketing dilemma. Let’s take Video Appraisal by Esurance as an example. A lot of investment went into building the offering, but also a significant investment has been made to produce the marketing and advertisement materials. And while, many people are familiar with the concept and remember the cool ads, trouble is that there is not a lot of proof from customers using this service on social media, like Twitter.


Let’s Talk Omni-Channel

It is great to provide the customers the ability to engage the organization through many different communication channels. When it comes to claim reporting, the channels can really be divided into two types – interactive and non-interactive.

A non-interactive channel provides customers an ability to report the claim without speaking or interacting with someone, like submitting a form online or in a mobile app. This channel collects the information for later follow up by the claim management staff.

The interactive channel, on the other hand, provides immediate confirmation. Though this can be done with Social Media or Email, there is a delay which makes it difficult to get the timeliest interactions. Usually, people do not report claims using these channels due to the actual delays associated with response.

Hence, most of the customers simply pick up the phone and call. Yet, the phone call interaction does not offer the real-time visual which is desired at that instance. In order to gain a visual into the scene of the accident or into the size and scope of the damage, the customer has to be guided to use Web Conferencing instead.

Some of the innovators in this space quickly found that while it is fairly easy to instruct the customer to hang up and redial them back through web conferencing, this would not be easy. The customers need to get themselves set up with instructions on how to communicate through web conferencing. But most importantly, the customers will not be happy hanging up the phone even after briefly being on hold because they feel disconnected from the organization. This lack of interactive continuity leads to great dissatisfaction.

We are all customers and we have all been there, waiting on hold, so why do we expect our own customers to accept this type of frustrating workflow? Therefore, unless the customer starts the conversation through the web conferencing, the transition or masking the transition by scheduling a web conference session is not the best of the alternatives.


It’s All About the Data

We entered the time when importance of data – having access to it, being able to collect it, measure against it, and making decisions from the data measurements trumps everything in terms of priority for business operations. Web conferencing introduces a challenge collecting this type of critical data.

Imagine a customer calling on the phone. The call is recorded for quality assurance purposes. The call center software then measures all of customer service metrics – average hang time, first call resolution, etc. Lots of metrics are constantly collected to measure the effectiveness of customer service hotline.  If the policyholder is calling through a web conferencing tool, chances are that all of these metrics are never collected and much of the conversational details are ignored simply because existing web conferencing systems are not yet built with call center operation management features. This technology is just being pioneered.


Alternatives

Given all these dilemmas, is there an alternative that is much more suitable for reducing costs and accuracy of the claim information and improving the quality of customer support within FNOL? Certainly! The right technology exists to address all of these challenges.

First and foremost, the right technology for FNOL workflow is built around the customer’s habit of dialing the phone line. The main centralized interaction point is critical to improve the internal operations and collect the crucial customer service metrics at the same time without any additional overhead.

Second, the technology must be dynamically available to be delivered to the customer without any barriers like logins, registrations, disconnections, or forced switching between systems. In addition to providing a pleasant experience, a single contact point would help significantly improve customer adoption.

Lastly, this technology must influence the customer’s wow factor by being able to offer a very quick benefit to using this technology - being able to provide delight. It makes no sense to ask the customer to use the new technology only to acquire the settlement in the same amount of time as going the traditional route through dispatch of adjusters. The organizations innovating in this area must ensure that their business process is ideally positioned to demonstrate great improvement for the customer over the old claim reporting ways.


Livegenic enhances customer service support capabilities by enabling organizations to see what the customer sees during the very first contact over the phone.

In claims and insurance, Livegenic Real-time Guidance™ provides real-time visual damage assessment technology that is ideally suitable for first notice of loss environments to reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and minimize fraud related risks.

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