Revolutionising Insurance How customer-centricity is driving exceptional experiences

Pankaj Gupta

At Bharti AXA Life, prioritising the customer is a core value that drives the delivery of exceptional customer service experiences. With a strong focus on capturing accurate contact details of each customer during the onboarding process, the company ensures continuous and seamless communication, writes Pankaj Gupta, Chief Technology Officer, Bharti AXA Life Insurance engaged in an interactive discussion with Srajan Agarwal and Nidhi Shail Kujur of Elets News Network (ENN)

Bharti AXA Life Insurance has emphasised deepening customer engagement and customer-centricity. Could you elaborate on the strategies and measures implemented by the company to achieve these goals? How has this focus on customer-centricity impacted the overall customer experience?

‘Customer First’ is one of the core values at Bharti AXA Life which proves to be the driving force behind providing its customers with an exceptional customer service experience. The company ensures that we capture the first-time-right contact details of each customer at the onboarding stage to ensure we stay connected with them all the time. The correct contact details are most critical so that the company can establish meaningful connections with its customers using different touchpoints. With the ideology of keeping our customers first, we handhold the customers at each stage of their policy with the right set of structured communications through email, WhatsApp, SMS, and letters.

With the idea of building a deeper connection with our customers, we organised free health and wellness camps under our customer connect program ‘Utsav’ on the 16th Anniversary at the top 48 branch offices having the highest customer footfall. The customers availed the benefits of the health and wellness camps.

We also run various communication campaigns periodically for our customers, like –

  • Informing them about their policy details through ‘Know Your Policy’ emailers
  • Informing them to stay invested in their policies to continue availing of policy benefits
  • Informing them to update their bank account details well in advance to receive their policy pay-outs
  • Informing them about the benefits of registering for auto-pay so that they can automate their premium payments and not have a fear of missing the policy due date.

On the digitalisation front, we have identified the key services availed by our customers and have completely digitalised these services under our flagship project, i.e., Project Servottam. The ongoing project has proved to reduce manual dependencies remarkably by making each process a digitised, paperless journey with OTPbased authentications. The project is aimed at providing an exceptional service experience to our customers by reducing the turnaround time of each process.

Being a customer-centric company, we have provided our customers with a host of “Do It Yourself ” (DIY) services on our digitally revamped customer portal. With these key services going digital, we have now given our customers the option to service their policy in the comfort of their own house with our easy-to-use DIY services on the customer portal.

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We also have the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology in place, which helps us measure the satisfaction levels of our customers. We capture NPS from our customers at each touchpoint to understand how likely they are to recommend Bharti AXA Life to their family and friends. The customers are requested to rate their service experiences. Customers giving us negative scores are contacted through our customer service executives to understand their concerns and a dedicated internal team works on resolving the customers’ queries and issues.

Our NPS reached 50.6 in FY23, up from 23 in FY21. The exponential growth in our NPS is a testament to our focus on delivering delight to our customers at each touchpoint.

Could you explain the specific digital initiatives or platforms developed by your organisation to reach and serve this customer-centricity, and customer engagement effectively? How has digitisation improved access to life insurance for these underserved groups?

At Bharti AXA we believe in the concept of “Serving Excellence Digitally”. This is in line with our purpose “In a complicated world, we make insurance SIMPLE”. With the driving force of providing its customers with an exceptional customer service experience, Bharti AXA embraced digitalisation in all customer journeys to stay ahead of the curve.

One of such flagship initiatives undertaken was Project Servottam where we reimagined all the key services by completely revamping them digitally. The project aimed at digitising all critical policy servicing processes, viz., demographic change, bank account update, fund switch, etc. and additionally created a single view of customers and policies to enable customer service executives to provide prompt service to the customers. Project Servottam focused on reducing manual dependencies and turnaround time to provide customers with a delightful mobile-first experience through “Do It Yourself ” (DIY) services. This offered the customers the convenience to manage their policy anytime, anywhere, with a few clicks through their smartphones or laptops.

The company’s Project Servottam has been recognised as the ‘Best Operational Excellence Initiative’, earning it two prestigious awards – ‘InsureNext Conference & Awards-2023’ and ‘Terragni- CXPA India CX Awards 2022’. Additionally, the positive impact it had on the Net Promoter Score created a success story which won two more prestigious awards – Customer Experience Team of the Year Award at the 12th Edition CX Strategy Summit and Awards 2023 by UBS forums and Best CX Strategy of the year award 2023 by Brainanalytics.

Bharti AXA Life Insurance has made efforts to enhance the overall customer experience by providing seamless options such as DIY (Do-It-Yourself) features and paperless processes. Please discuss the key features or services introduced by the company to make the customer experience more convenient and user-friendly.

The highlight of Project Servottam is the DIY service offerings enabled on the customer portal. Keeping our customers’ convenience at the forefront, we have provided various services on our customer portal. Customers can access and service their policies/update details anytime, anywhere, with a few clicks through their smartphones/laptops without having to physically visit the branch offices.

Under Project Servottam, we have digitised critical policy servicing processes, viz., demographic change, bank account update, fund switch, payment mode & method change, loan application, partial withdrawal, policy surrender, and online nominee update.

Customers are also provided with 2 options to log in to the customer portal, i.e., providing further convenience.

In FY’23 Bharti AXA witnessed a 25 per cent increase in customer traffic on its customer portal. This can be attributed to the simplified journeys made available to the customers through Project Serv-o-team and multiple system enhancements. The 82 per cent increase in the NPS scores of the Customer Portal is a testament to the delight successfully created for our customers.

In terms of digitisation, what were the main challenges faced by Bharti AXA Life Insurance, and how were they overcome? Were there any specific technological or operational hurdles that required innovative solutions to successfully implement the digitisation initiatives?

Like every other organisation, Bharti AXA has faced several challenges in digitising its processes. The challenges range from existing inefficient/manual processes to prevailing legacy systems, looming digital skill gap and shortage of technological resources with older ways of working. At Bharti AXA we have addressed a number of these gaps by bringing in new talent that can act as change agents and be the sounding board for using agile and collaborative approaches to digitisation with the right set of tools. We have invested significantly in re-imaging our processes to identify opportunities and leveraged technologies like Cloud, AI/ML, digital platforms (custom and off the shelf), big data management & tapping of the digital ecosystem in an integrated manner to implement end-to-end digitisation. Alongside we have partnered with some fintech for accelerated solutions to bridge the innovation gap.

Looking ahead, what are the plans or upcoming initiatives in terms of technology and digitisation that Bharti AXA Life Insurance aims to implement under your leadership as the CTO? How do you envision these initiatives shaping the future of the company and the insurance industry as a whole?

At Bharti AXA we continue to leverage technology for enhancing productivity, enable higher revenue & optimise cost. Some of the initiatives currently in the implementation stage include extreme automation & optimisation of new business, policy servicing & claims processes using AI, Robotics, and leveraging Smart Customer Engagement platforms with the most intuitive omnichannel digital journeys. Along with this, we are now exploring the use of Generative AI for several use cases.

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These initiatives are accelerating in providing seamless, hyper-personalised & yet efficient access to various products & services to our customers across the value chain thus meeting the business goals of revenue from new sales, renewals & crosssell NPS & higher customer retention.

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