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Aviva: Customer bot usage rises to 25-30%

Kunal Anand, Chief Operations and Customer Services Officer of Aviva India, discusses the value of bots in increasing sales, streamlining services & improving overall effectiveness:

Aviva: Customer bot usage rises to 25-30%

Ravi Lalwani: When did Aviva India start its journey with customer-facing chatbots and voice bots?

Kunal Anand: Chatbots replicate the behavior of a human representative while ensuring the accuracy and efficiency of an advanced machine system. Our chatbot and voicebot, ALISHA, is among India’s first NLP (Natural Language Processor) powered conversational computing solutions that came in 2018.

ALISHA possesses a remarkable capability to interpret customers’ queries and skillfully steer conversations, akin to the way individuals naturally interact. This technology empowers us to provide guidance and assistance seamlessly, much like human-like interactions. It allows our existing and prospective customers to have easy access to information about various insurance policies 24×7 and a round-the-clock instant response to their queries.

ALISHA has propelled us beyond conventional standards. It represents a substantial leap in simplifying processes and significantly enhancing CX. It underscores our commitment to staying ahead of the curve and continually elevating customer interactions.

What is the growth rate of adoption of these conversational mechanisms on the app(s) and the website?

With 25-30% of our users actively engaging with these conversational mechanisms, we have seen significant adoption of these features on our website. In today’s business landscape, AI has become a cornerstone for organizations, bringing advancements like chatbots and image recognition to the forefront. This integration of AI technologies is driving efficiency, personalization, and automation within operations. AI-powered chatbots, specifically, have emerged as a key tool for businesses, enabling them to enhance sales, streamline services, and improve overall effectiveness.

A study by IMARC Group revealed that the global chatbot market has been on a remarkable trajectory, reaching $4.6 billion in 2022, and is projected to grow to $17.2 billion by 2028. This growth is particularly pronounced in the APAC regions, showcasing the increasing significance of AI-driven chatbots in shaping future organizational productivity.

Deloitte’s findings indicate that chatbots have the potential to reduce handling time by an impressive 77%. This business productivity boost is not only limited to time savings and accelerated processes but also eliminates human error and increases operational efficiency.

Which segments of customers are large users of chatbots and voicebots?

At Aviva India, we have observed that various customer segments have significantly embraced the use of ALISHA. One prominent group comprises our policyholders, who have found immense value in these technologies for managing their insurance policies. Through ALISHA, policyholders can conveniently access policy details, check premium payment status, and understand coverage benefits, providing them with real-time and hassle-free assistance. Moreover, prospective customers can seek information about different insurance products as well.

Beyond this, customers across all segments rely on ALISHA for general customer support. It efficiently addresses routine inquiries, assists in updating contact information, facilitates requests for policy documents, and provides responses to frequently asked questions.

As we continue to prioritize enhancing customer experiences, we are actively looking into expanding the application of ALISHA to even more customer segments. By doing so, we aim to ensure that everyone interacting with Aviva India receives personalized and timely assistance, fostering a seamless and user-friendly environment.

What languages are being offered on each of these channels? What other languages are in the pipeline? Do you offer multiple voice accents? Which ones are popular?

Currently, English is widely offered on ALISHA. We understand the significance of English as a widely used language for communication and have implemented it to ensure effective and convenient customer interactions.

In acknowledgment of this, we have incorporated an Indian English accent into ALISHA’s capabilities, a choice rooted in its resonance with our customers. This accent finds widespread preference among voice bots in India, as evidenced by industry leaders such as Apple and Google, which also provide similar Indian English accents for their voice assistants.

As we continue to evolve and adapt to the diverse needs of our customers, we plan to add more languages and accents to ALISHA over time. This will enable us to engage with a broader range of customers and enhance our support for various linguistic communities.

What are the common technologies and what are the distinct technologies underlying both these solutions?

Chatbots and voice bots both rely on natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to understand and respond to user inputs. The common technology underlying both solutions is NLP, which enables them to interpret and generate human language. However, the distinct technology for voice bots involves automatic speech recognition (ASR) to convert spoken language into text, and text-to-speech (TTS) technology to transform text responses into spoken language. Chatbots, on the other hand, focus on text-based interactions, utilizing techniques like sentiment analysis and intent recognition.

The introduction of new-age AI solutions like LLM enables both chatbots and voice bots to answer queries in an efficient and human-like manner. Large language models are the next big thing when it comes to chatbots and voice bots.

Were any external parties involved in designing, developing, and testing these solutions? If yes, name them and briefly describe their contribution.

External parties played a key role in bringing ALISHA to life. Findability Sciences, a cognitive and artificial intelligence solutions company headquartered in Boston, USA, was a vital partner in this endeavor. They collaborated with us to introduce the ALISHA chatbot back in 2018. The expertise of Findability sciences was pivotal in delivering the conversational computing solution that empowers ALISHA Chatbot, and they achieved this through the utilization of IBM Watson’s Conversation API.

IBM Watson is a suite of artificial intelligence services, applications, and tools that were also integral to ALISHA’s creation. Findability sciences harnessed the power of IBM Watson’s Conversation API to craft a natural language processor (NLP). This NLP technology is what allows ALISHA Chatbot to understand customers’ inquiries and smoothly guide the conversation flow.

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