The contact center industry is evolving. Efficiency and responsiveness have long been key performance metrics as brands work to reduce costs while keeping customers satisfied. However, we've entered a new era in which many industries that have long gotten by providing products are being asked to offer ongoing services. As a result, more companies need to differentiate themselves through customer relationships and priorities in the contact center are shifting.
This adjustment is creating an environment in which humans may actually be getting more important in the contact center. A BCG report explained that the recent furor over digital technologies has led to many conversations about widespread automation and digitization in contact centers, with humans expected to be phased out as robots solve customer problems.
"The extra relational touch offered by humans can create stronger customer experiences."
In practice, organizations have come to recognize that bots can automate many processes, but the extra relational touch offered by humans can create stronger customer experiences that open up revenue opportunities, the report explained. The result is a move toward strategic technological investments that allow people to operate at their best.
Aviva is a prime example of this trend, as the multi-national insurance company has used Appian to establish a digital transformation strategy that has unlocked the full potential of human workers in the contact center.
To say that Aviva is one of the most prolific insurance companies in the world might be an understatement. The organization is more than 321 years old and now operates across 26 countries.
This widespread, extended service footprint has led to the creation of a customer base featuring more than 36 million clients. Supporting those customers isn't easy, and Aviva does it with 33 thousand employees who must be able to share data and collaborate. On top of this, Aviva isn't just aiming to keep customers satisfied, it makes client interactions a primary driver for its business.
At a philosophical level, Aviva sets delighting customers as a top priority. The aim is to keep clients around for longer because they are happy, have those customers recommend Aviva to more friends and purchase more products that offer real value. Simply put, customer services isn't just a business unit, it is a central component of the brand's core engagement strategy.
Supporting such an ambitious vision demanded innovation, and long-term work with Appian has helped the firm stand out.
Beneath the surface, Aviva runs an extremely complicated IT setup. Supporting such large and geographically diverse operations is a major hurdle, creating a great deal of complexity. However, the organization is committed to ensuring all of the technology looks simple from an end-user perspective. To that end, they worked with Appian to establish a customer management system that operates as a central hub for the contact center.
Prior to working with Appian, the front-line customer service advisors would need to jump between anywhere from 12 to 22 distinct systems daily, all while talking with customers and trying to solve their problems. This situation was making it difficult to keep users connected to relevant data and resolve customer problems as quickly as possible.
Appian has enabled Aviva to create an intelligent contact center, putting data in the hands of the people who are serving customers. This layer of intelligence ensures advisors are able to offer excellent service in a manner that aligns with nuanced customer expectations. These operational gains begin with a central screen providing data transparency to contact center representatives.
When a customer calls, the system pulls up a central record screen showing every service and policy the client uses. The 12 to 22 distinct solutions used in the past are now available in one interface, making client data extremely accessible and actionable for Aviva's advisor teams.
With employees positioned to work more efficiently, customers end up having a better experience. Aviva's contact center is now nine-times faster in customer responses.
"Repetitive tasks go to the bots, freeing people to interact with and engage customers, building strong relationships."
These results begin with the central customer record platform, but are also created by smaller business processes and applications that handle more specific functionality. Within the United Kingdom alone, Aviva has rolled out 32 applications through the Appian platform.
Aviva didn't just use the Appian platform to provide data and process visibility, it has also leveraged the platform to employ automation. The company uses Appian alongside robotic process automation as a two-pronged foundation for its process automation strategy. Because Appian allows for tight integration between diverse systems, the organization has been able to set clear parameters for when RPA kicks in and when a task goes to a human. The decision is simple: Repetitive tasks go to the bots, freeing people to interact with and engage customers, building strong relationships.
Aviva began its effort to create an intelligent contact center with its employees at the center. The brand recognized that its workers want to do great things for customers. To do that, users wanted the business to invest in them through technology. The result is an easier work life for employees, letting them do a better job for customers.
All things considered, Appian has proven so transformational for Aviva that it has changed what workers expect. When employees have moved to other departments or locations that aren't using Appian, many have said they feel like they've gone back in time because the difference is so vast.
The contact center industry is going through a period of change. It may be tempting to automate customer service operations to such a degree that human interactions are minimized. However, more strategic digitization plans can enable organizations to actually get more value out of their employees.
Investing so heavily in the worker experience can trickle down to customer relationships. To see how, check out our full Aviva customer video embedded above or watch our other customer stories here.
Appian is driving innovation across a variety of sectors through digital transformation solutions that ensure powerful technologies empower people instead of getting in their way. Contact us today to learn more.
Appian is a software company that automates business processes. The Appian Platform includes everything you need to design, automate, and optimize even the most complex processes, from start to finish. The world's most innovative organizations trust Appian to improve their workflows, unify data, and optimize operations—resulting in better growth and superior customer experiences.