This blog series has focused on the nexus between data, trust and relevance. We’ve looked at why life, pensions and investments (LP&I) providers need to build trust and we’ve talked about the huge upside for providers that can balance the risks and opportunities that data creates. Now, in this concluding blog, we’re zooming in on four ways for providers to harness data and technology to transform the quality of their customer interactions. None of these are futuristic. The technologies needed to deliver each of these outcomes are all available today.

1. Truly relevant interactions

First, providers can use technology to personalise interactions. Most people are already willing to interact with chatbots for basic tasks, but the real value comes further up the adoption curve. Providers that can use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide more human-like interactions on more complex tasks and decisions will win out.

There’s a real opening for those that can navigate the regulatory issues around data while leveraging AI to provide truly relevant and responsive services. Of course, the biggest decisions will require human input for some time to come, but there’s huge opportunity in the mass market for a flexible, digital, automated advice service. UK-based robo-adviser Wealthify uses algorithms to select and create personalised (and extremely flexible) investment plans. Wealthify’s users recognise that AI can add genuine value to decision-making – potentially making the whole investment process faster, cheaper, easier to deal with and more impartial than its human equivalents. 

2. Blend physical and digital

Second, take advantage of the ‘phygital’ world. New and old channels need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, omnichannel communications can offer customers personalised interactions, potentially using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to blur the boundaries between physical and digital. LP&I decisions are some of the most important in a person’s life. Skilled, relevant advice is essential and omnichannel interactions can provide the appropriate support in different formats, according to each customer’s preferences.

Many providers allow investors to access and manage their portfolios online or through an app that provides real control and visibility, backed up with human support. Taking this multi-channel experience to the next level using AR and VR while continuing to increase the integration of existing channels will be a key differentiator in the market.

3. Know your customer

Third, it’s vital for providers to know exactly where they are in their conversations with each customer – what they want, when they want it, and how best to deliver it.” After all, LP&I firms engage with consumers aged from 18 right through to 80 and beyond. Life-changing decisions get taken along the way. Personalised service hinges on knowing what stage each customer is at and how they want to interact. This is where new technologies can make a big difference. Firms can, for example, use AI to answer day-to-day questions, giving younger consumers automated, intuitive interactions, while ensuring face-to-face advice is always on hand for the big decisions or for clients who want a human touch.

4. Integrate open-API capabilities

The fourth suggestion for providers looking to maximise the value of their interactions with the market? Integrate. The industry should be taking advantage of Open Banking regulations and open-API capabilities to connect with customers, join up products and provide integrated product offerings.

There’s no need for insurers to limit themselves to their own data. Instead, they should be tailoring products in collaboration with other organisations. Vitality is one provider leading the way in this space. Through a network of ecosystem relationships (with gyms, for example), it’s offering health and life insurance products that shape its customers’ lifestyles, rather than reacting to them. 

That brings us to the end of this series. To sum up, providers have an enormous opportunity to build trust and drive more value from their interactions with the market. The solution? Leveraging the power of data and recognising how digital and physical channels can work together to powerful effect.

I’d love to hear what you think about the ideas we’ve been putting forward; please get in touch. In the meantime, to learn more, read our 2018 UK Financial Services Customer Survey.

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