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Making Wiser Choices Regarding Technological Implementations

By Jill Cook, Director, Structured Settlements Administration, Protective Life

Jill Cook, Director, Structured Settlements Administration, Protective Life

For a good portion of my twenties, I was a social worker. I learned numerous lessons; many I carry with me today. Once, I witnessed an intense, heated exchange among a group of teenagers. When the argument was over, the therapist asked the main antagonist a simple question about their contributions to the situation:“Were you helpful or hurtful?”

Of course, the antagonist’s initial response was accompanied by other words than the choices provided. The therapist simply continued asking the basic question until the teen bravely admitted “hurtful.” I quickly recognized this as a powerful way to get to the root of the matter, both personally and professionally. Often, I remind myself of this experience as an effective checkpoint tool, particularly when matters become muddled or complex.

I currently work at Protective Life Corporation. Our organization provides financial services through the production, distribution and administration of insurance and investment products throughout the United States. We are dedicated to fulfilling our long-term promise to customers and are constantly looking for ways to enhance their experience.

In our industry, there are endless advancements and changing technology resources, which create opportunity to provide improved outcomes to our customers, policy administration and organization. It is challenging enough to determine which resources to utilize when delivering on improved outcomes. Additionally, the quest for information and analytics from multiple data sources can easily lead to further complicating what technology tools to deploy. It is not difficult to lose sight of the end goal.

Customers are busier than ever. They expect convenience and simplicity. We must provide quick and accurate assistance not only to meet this demand, but also to exceed it.

"In our industry, there are endless advancements and changing technology resources, which create opportunity to provide improved outcomes to our customers, policy administration and organization"

For example, the utilization of chatbots creates the ability to serve customers conveniently, with ease, and using minimal resources. When done thoughtfully, chatbots can be a mutually beneficial tool to drive enhanced customer self-service opportunities, which result in better customer experience and reduced operating costs. When service is inadequate, there is a great deal at stake. Wasting a customer’s time by adding an insufficient layer ultimately requires them to take further action, which can leave a mark.

When evaluating technology solutions for your organization, consider the following:

• Define stage gates of service:

o Know the key touch points in your administration that require customer assistance and determine if they are sequential.

o Identify the complexities of your product and service touch points.

o Understand the anomalies of your customer demographic and acknowledge user experience should be at the forefront in defining how much customer’s resolution can be achieved successfully through automation.

• Identify low hanging fruit:

o Be protective of what makes your products, customers and processes successful and unique. If experiences are not linear, be wary to accomplish too much with automated solutions.

o Consider going small with the sure thing (technology solutions you are confident will fit your customer demographic) and build upon that with informed success and measured customer satisfaction.

Through the analysis and decision-making process, aim to keep outcomes in check by asking if the decisions points along the way are helpful or hurtful to the following groups:

1. Customers - there is implied experience of ease, convenience and personalization with on-demand chat services.

• What is the tangible value to your customer? How much could it hurt your customers’ needs or commitment if not successful?

2. Business Unit - automating support or process to improve service standards should create capacity.

• How will your unit benefit from this capacity? Will improvement in one area create a break anywhere else or add new pain points for the unit?

3. Organizations Core Values

• How well does the considered solution correlate to your organizations core values?

Answering these questions will keep you committed to making decisions based on adding value to your customers and administration. If you can deliver the means of easy accessibility and effective customer service through technology solutions, then that is a big win. If the complexity of your business requires you to take a pass on the latest technological advances, remember that also is a win and allows you to move forward with finding what will be most helpful to your customers and your administration.

 

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