Rewriting the Rules of Customer Engagement with Digital and AI


Improving customer experience and growing the bottom line are top post-pandemic business goals. There’s also been a 31% shift in the number of organisations actively targeting cost reductions compared to before COVID1. Combining digital experience (DX) with AI automation has become a vital enabler. But how do you go about it? And what results can you realistically expect?

Drawing on the real-world chatbot experiences of Belfius Insurance, a panel of experts from Genesys, Orange Business Services and Forrester tackled these issues head-on. Here are some best practices and key takeaways from the webinar.

customer engagement

Go back to basics

Many effective DX and AI strategies start simple. So, don’t feel pressured to deploy a highly sophisticated chatbot across multiple channels. That could do more harm than good. For example, a virtual assistant is perhaps not the best way to greet aggrieved customers looking for speedy dispute resolution.

71% of these delicate conversations still tend to take place in person over the phone with only 29% of customer service organisations using assisted-service or automated channels2. Digital and AI adoption rises significantly for general FAQs/inquiries (56%), customer identification/authentication (75%), and order management (78%).

Reducing the heavy lifting attached to these basic workflows is a good place to start. Remember also why agents applied for the job. It probably wasn’t to be an answering machine.

Be realistic about what a bot can resolve

Belgian company Belfius Insurance got DX right from day one. Front office agents handle around 80% of contacts. Yet, their jobs were made harder by siloed data spread across outdated, difficult-to-search systems. Struggling to find the right answers quickly, they flooded colleagues in the back office with calls. As a result, support desk operators became sales assistants, answering the same general questions time and time again.

To empower front office agents to resolve more contacts first time the insurer invested in a chatbot. Known as Eva, the virtual assistant runs on Genesys DX AI-powered software. The initial idea was to address common car insurance questions, avoiding bread-and-butter requests requiring policy documents, bespoke quotes, or file notes.

With minimal IT support, a team of six agents began building a knowledge base, creating a widget on SharePoint and adding content. The original proof of concept contained just 65 answers yet uncovered invaluable learning.

Delivering Exceptional CX

Set achievable goals and bring everyone with you

Three years later and today chatbots answer some 45,000 questions from Belfius Insurance customers every month. The company has seen its car insurance business grow by 25% with six less FTE and a 40% reduction in call volumes. Four knowledge bases have become two, simplifying data upkeep and compliance. And time to market for new products is much shorter, typically between three and four months.

However, these eye-catching headlines only tell part of the story. Crucially, Belfius Insurance realised a profound truth very early on. AI technology alone is not a silver bullet. “A bot is just a bot. It’s the people and change management around it that drive success.”

Which is why the leadership team closely involved contact centre staff in the chatbot design process, keeping them engaged and building support. And it paid off. Eva was voted best support tool by front office workers with overall agent satisfaction flying high at 95%.

Don’t stand still

Now, Belfius Insurance chatbots extend across 10 life and non-life product areas and the number of questions they cover grows weekly by around 25%. They assist with completing forms, flagging top trending questions, news bulletins, and many other back-office tasks.

The underlying knowledge base contains an additional 888 answers, and every ticket serves as a learning case. Identifying gaps that need to be plugged, or opportunities to proactively address customer questions upfront, for example via web pages or outbound communications.

After all, if you keep repeating the same answers, you’ll always be an answering machine.

To learn more about DX insights check out the full webinar.