The introduction of zone defense to basketball (nearly a century ago!) led Frank Lindley, the creator of this approach, to win 83% of the games he coached. It’s a great example of what we mean when we talk about something being game-changing: a situation where the unwritten rules are so taken for granted that most of us don’t even question them – until someone comes along who does.

Additionally, a game-changing idea or service, to be successful, should not only show innovation but also show value.

In our role as an advisor to businesses that seek digitally-powered change, we see many good opportunities, and a few common themes are becoming clear when it comes to AI:

  • AI has emerged as a rare technology that can bring cost reduction through automation and revenue increase through improved customer experience.
  • The technology can simultaneously engage existing clients to reduce attrition and identify new audiences.
  • It provides a channel for a deep strategic and human-centered understanding of stakeholder needs, and can provide detailed technical assistance to the operation and maintenance of complex systems.

Adding intelligence to anything makes it better, warmer, more contextual, more flexible and more satisfying. And, dare we say, more profitable.

Applying AI at Scale in a Human-Centered Way

Let’s look at how AI is changing the game, rather than merely showing up for the action. We recently worked with a property and casualty insurance company to help it deal with the high cost and low satisfaction of call center interactions with customers. The obvious solution would have been to deploy chatbot automation, calculate the ROI from fewer human-assisted calls, and declare victory.

The game-changing moment came when we considered the entire process of first notice of loss contact, including the human-centered needs and expectations of both the caller and the call center rep in that stressful moment.

This rethinking led to a broader, smarter solution – one that transformed the experience. We started by applying AI at scale to the insurer’s long history of recorded calls.  From this, a few observations jumped to the surface:

  • Many calls were short and easily self-served by a chatbot.
  • Because of its manual nature, only one call in 200 was reviewed for quality by the insurer.
  • Call complexity often required callers to repeat themselves in a sequence that was convenient to the rep – but not to the caller.

For example, a caller may give important information in a rush, with each caller giving a different sequence. An AI-driven transcription can simplify that part of the transaction by mapping the fact-gathering to a known list of required facts.  And as we all know, the anxiety level immediately after an insurance loss is exceedingly high for injured parties, and was not being ideally managed by the insurer.

What would a game-changing solution look like in this case? The answer is compelling. 

  • Fewer calls, with upfront voice response options handling common inquiries.
  • Higher quality calls because the ones elevated to a service rep are handled in a sensitive and meaningful way, with the rep equipped with a variety of sentiment/stress analysis cues and a real-time transcription service to map the required information needed to resolve the call to the customer’s satisfaction.
  • Shorter calls because the solution automatically constructs call notes, saving five minutes per call in rep time and allowing reps more room to engage empathetically with the customer.
  • Smarter calls because every call, now transcribed, is automatically mined for insights into what could have gone better, which phrases and approaches customers are using, and where the call sequence can benefit from an improved script.

The early results are quite encouraging.  This client is achieving transcription accuracy near 90%, and supervisors spend 35% less time per call thanks to targeted sentiment detection. (Read more about the entire engagement.)

As the client’s AVP of Global Innovation told us, “We’ve taken one of the first, yet very important, steps in enabling our business with AI.”

Honoring Game-Changing AI

Along with the insurer, we recognized that performing an existing task better can be game-changing, particularly if it delivers greater business value across multiple touchpoints and elevates satisfaction with a superior experience.  We are pleased to see that the game-changing nature of this transformation caught the attention of NASSCOM, an influential India-based IT and business process services trade organization, that picked this  engagement in its annual  AI  game-changer case study awards, from among hundreds of submissions

The lesson here is not only about insurance and not only about call centers.  Outcomes like this can ignite the imagination of business leaders in all industries who are considering AI’s role in advancing their brand and profitability.

Where can you break the unwritten rules and use AI to bring a more human and satisfying experience to your customers and employees?  Feel free to comment below. We look forward to your thoughts.

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James Jeude

James Jeude

James Jeude is Vice-President and Practice Leader of Cognizant Digital AI & Analytics Strategic Initiatives Group. His career has provided perspective for... Read more