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AI + Bots = Leap in Customer Interactions

Suhail Ghai, EVP & Head, Information Technology, Max Life Insurance, discusses the role of IQ and EQ in shaping digital transformation:

Mehul Dani: Has IQ become more important or less important in driving digital transformation during the covid pandemic?

Suhail Ghai: Digital transformation means de-intermediation and creating better experiences and personalization for the customers. In the current scenario, we would need better digital building capabilities to cater the needs and demands of the customers. Driving digital change will be critical in pandemic.

Leveraging embedded intelligence (IQ) in our processes helps to create frictionless journeys for our customers and sharper risk selection. All of this also helps us reduce human effort and enable straight-through processing for customer transactions. An example from the financial services industry is using artificial intelligence to drive sharper risk selection in terms of mortality models.

During the pandemic, the face-to-face interactions between the sellers and customers got impacted significantly. Thereby companies had to think more about substituting physical documentation with smart profiles of customers leveraging surrogates. At Max Life too, we have ensured we come up with best digital modules to serve our customers. An example is leveraging data analytics on an existing customer database to create pre-defined offers with zero documentation.

Has EQ become more important or less important in driving digital transformation during the covid pandemic?

At Max Life, customer obsession is our core value. Customer centricity lies at the core of Max Life’s values and it has been our constant endeavor to think customer first in whatever we do. We understand that customer-facing brands need to connect with customers on an emotional level (EQ); hence we always focus on leveraging design thinking, with which we create digital journeys keeping in mind the customer behavior. This allows EQ to become important in our customer interaction journey, in current times.

During the pandemic, many more digital journeys were created that needed the customer experience teams to think customer first, which we were able to implement successfully. An example of the same is designing digital surrender/loan against policy journeys on our website.

How has the company organized people with higher IQ and EQ for the project?

Every organization needs both people with higher IQ and EQ. While higher IQ is required for jobs involving analytics, financial modeling, and strategy; it is seen that people with a higher EQ are great for roles like customer service, marketing, consumer research, design thinking. We believe that higher IQ helps increase efficiency and helps in delivering a superior customer experience.

What is the bigger picture created by IQ & EQ about your digital transformation projects during 2020?

2020 was a truly remarkable year that threw unprecedented challenges at businesses all across. Max Life has been on a multi-year digital transformation journey, that has helped us transition to remote working and remote selling in a seamless way. We have used EQ/design thinking to develop a hybrid D2C (direct-to-consumer) journey for our customers who are unable to visit the branches for their needs. Hence, we have leveraged artificial intelligence to create bots for customer service, with which we have been witnessing a rapid increase in digital interactions.

How is your organization planning to harness IQ & EQ more deeply to drive digital transformation in 2021?

As we are on a multi-year transformational journey, we are building an innovation and design thinking capability that is deeply rooted in our emotional connection with our customers. In the last 6 months, Max Life has introduced a range of digital initiatives that are completely contactless and paperless, across most of its channels including the company’s branch offices. The company has overhauled majority of the physical servicing touchpoints to digital and enabled more options of self-serve on its website. We are also building digital listening posts in the form of digital net promoter score (NPS), integrated into all of our customer touchpoints, to understand the customer experiences better.

Similarly, we are investing in building capability in data science, while using assets like ‘Data Lake’. This has enabled our workflows to become far more intelligent, thereby, helping us deliver a seamless experience to the customers.

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