Voice technology is nothing new, with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant. In fact, it’s an emerging component to many platforms attempting to break out in the insurtech industry, but we’re a far cry from adoption at scale, and more importantly, road blocked by a slow-moving group insurance culture. In general, the insurance industry is in a shockingly important position, but woefully behind the times. It has more employer and employee data than most other businesses — everything from payroll, employee demographics, benefits buying patterns, and so on. It’s a very big picture, and there’s so many actionable insights that can be gleaned from this type of information.
Countless analytics platforms define the current experience. But no matter how granular they get, or how many data points these platforms pull out, we’re in a data-driven world that prizes the first touchpoint experience above all else. Those that have leveraged AI have usually outperformed their competitors, but those that can eventually crack voice analytics could be the real game-changer.
And it’s no fluke. A recent survey by Pindrop found that 84 percent of businesses surveyed expect to utilize voice AI technology to interact with their customers within the next year, while the speech analytics market size is estimated to grow to about $1.60 billion by 2020, and $18 billion by 2023. In an industry poised for big change very soon, ideal speech analytics technology will essentially — and immediately — convert customer conversations and unstructured data into instantly actionable insights, boosting the potential for new business opportunities and meet the demand for even more precise risk management and renewal solutions.
But still, the tech just isn’t there yet. When it is, it will have to be a practical, industry-enhancing tool that solves specific shortcomings. And just what are those shortcomings? That’s the million-dollar question. Here are three things voice technology and analytics needs to take the group industry into the next decade:
- It has to save time
For most businesses, digital agility is the key to long-term success. It provides new avenues to actively involve customers. Voice analytics can have a fundamental immediacy that will change internal carrier workflows and broker distribution processes within the industry for the better. For example, it’s much faster to speak the words “what is the current dental benefit ABC detail?”, or “what is the best dental plan option available?” than to manually open an 80 page benefit contract PDF and search for key contract wording.
Every transaction is a rich data point primed for analysis and, ultimately, action. Ideal voice analytics technology would be required to save time through the instant automation of processes like data interfaces. Despite current robust platforms and business intelligence tools, the process of building out reports can only streamline the process up to a point. The biggest problem is that the systems that carriers use today to keep track of all of their new business and renewal policies and the data in them don’t have a lot of access and validation.
There’s a whole layer of sanitization that needs to happen before reports can glean valuable insights. Especially in the group insurance industry today, most input data comes from manual processes at some point that’s prone to mistakes and even stylistic differences on how people store that information.
There’s an opportunity here for new players to re-define time-saving standards by establishing them with voice functionality in mind. This means that a game-changing voice analytics solution would create more flexibility — instead of having to build out complex secondary reports parsed from new business data, renewal data, and customer interactions, the barrier to entry is lowered by vocal input. It would simply be a faster and more accurate analytical tool. In our hurried, on-the-go environment, large carriers with multiple offerings would be able to more quickly understand key insights into targeted group insurance personas at a more rapid pace.
- It has to increase customer accuracy
Ideal voice analytics would be more than just a bot that listens while end consumer customers dictate commands. It must be an active tool that can ensure better customer experiences in the future, including broker distribution customer channels.
Group carriers can use voice analytics to glean valuable real-time information about customers (brokers, employers and employees) to let them better understand a large swath of customer preferences — everything from which brokers are more apt to deliver those experiences, what customers you risk losing, what customers would benefit from cross-selling high-value added products, and what trends can uncover problems in general that can be solved more rapidly.
In terms of reading data and analyzing it, ideal voice analytics technology would have to easily funnel into probabilities about closing certain opportunities. It’s valuable because if there’s a high probability versus a low probability, carriers and brokers can be primed with the knowledge that they must use different strategies.
For example, voice analytics could better parse risk-scoring for a particular group, and give a win-or-lose ratio more quickly. The real-time analytics of this sort of data can single out particular groups that want particular products, in a particular industry, with a certain salary level. It could then produce an overwhelming win-ratio because of the ability to target the right consumers at the right time.
Quantifiable and actionable data streams via voice analytics will help drive priorities and efficiency for the best next steps.
- It has to provide a better B2B employee engagement experience
Why should group carrier employees and brokerage agencies have to rely on outdated methodologies just because it’s been a cornerstone of the industry for the last century? Pen and paper, even tried-and-true spreadsheets, don’t need to stay the same. Employees should be able to enjoy a modern, digital experience with cutting-edge technological solutions.
Next year alone, 30 percent of online browsing will take place without a screen, half of all searches will be done using voice, and 73 percent of people familiar with voice assistants have made purchases at some point. It’s a fact that as the industry ages out, new tech-savvy employees who are familiar with accomplishing tasks with voice assistants will want to use them as well.
When a new generation of employees go to work, and they’re living in siloed spreadsheets and green-screen mainframe monolithic systems, these just won’t cut it. Voice analytics and automation augments administrative tasks that are largely done in outdated ways today. From a retention perspective at the carrier, they need to leverage best-in-class technologies, and truly effective voice integration could be the next wave.
Garrett Viggers co-founded Limelight Health as the creative force behind the platform. Garrett leads the sales and strategy teams in presenting the strategic path to insurtech success to group carriers. He is an innovator in quoting, underwriting, renewal, and decision support tools, and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the group ecosystem. Garrett has worked in the employee benefits industry since 2002, when consumer-driven health plans began a new era of decision support versus traditional options. Prior to Limelight, Garrett started Veritas Health Systems and Inovius, where he oversaw product design for interactive proposal systems.