INTERVIEW: Dan INGLE, Account Executive, ClickSoftware

XPRIMM: Who is ClickSoftware?

Dan INGLE: Founded in 1997, Click is a pioneer in applying complex algorithms and artificial intelligence to workforce management. In short, what we do is field service optimization. What does this mean? Essentially, if you have people that are out in the field undertaking a number of tasks in the day, what we do is apply clever algorithms to optimize the way these resources are used.

To give an example, let's take one of our key verticals, insurance. If you think about loss adjusters, besides the various technical means put to work in this area, there are many cases where, depending on complexity and value, we need to decide if human intervention is necessary. In commercial and personal lines that human intervention consists of somebody visiting the location or a person, especially in fraud cases. So, we have a typical use case where there are many loss adjusters/fraud investigators in the field visiting the customers. If you can optimize that, you get as many tasks as possible completed quick, which reduces the costs. In addition, fast and reliable service delivery contributes to improving the customer experience, which is important for brand loyalty. The field loss adjuster is in fact, the brand ambassador of the insurer, especially considering that, with the large amount of processes that may be accomplished online, in many cases the claim is actually the sole point of contact between the insurer and the customer.

XPRIMM: So, this is the reality test...

D.I.: Exactly. So, from the first point, that is a call in the call center announcing the customers had an accident, the customer journey starts. What we do for the insurance company is to help it to enable the contact center to set a real-time and reliable appointment for the loss adjuster to visit the client - the way it does that is a clever algorithm, running in the background, which essentially is looking to real availability of a loss adjuster, with the right skills; then we provide regular updates on this appointment and, via SMS or web interface, we allow the customer to eventually change his appointment to a more convenient time. On the day of the actual appointment, we help the insurer value the customers' time by providing a short window to the appointment time slot generally, and when the loss adjuster has finished the previous task, the client can see an "uber-ized" view, with notifications about who the loss adjuster is, where he or she is at a certain point etc. and the customer and adjuster can connect if needed. Lastly in this chain, when the loss adjuster is on the site, we provide him/her with all the necessary claims information captured since the initial phone call, flagging any concerns or special conditions the loss adjuster should look at. Our mobile application provides a comprehensive view of the claim and he/she can capture photos, free text etc. that are uploaded in real time into the system. This improves the loss adjuster's decision-making capabilities shortening the time to the claim payment and also avoiding potential mistakes that may arise from forgotten details etc.

Also, in the claims environment, it is very important to be able to monitor your loss adjusters' behavior, given that they are ambassadors of the brand. This becomes even more important considering that insurers often outsource this service. The system allows the customer to immediately rate the loss adjuster's service. To summarize - the system saves time for both the insurer and the customer, as well as reduces errors in claims processing.

XPRIMM: Do you have any estimations on how much the cost efficiency is improved?

D.I.: We have looked at the industry averages and we see that by using the field service optimization system you can typically expect an increase of the number of loss adjustment tasks solved with the same level of resources by 20 - 30%. On the other hand, the number of people working to allocate the tasks - the dispatchers - may be reduced by 50 - 70%. These figures indicate huge opportunities for cost reduction, besides the benefits in terms of customers' experience improvement. In the end, there is a win-win situation. Improving customers' experience is a goal by itself, but if, in addition, you can also improve your efficiency ratios, then that is really a significant gain.

XPRIMM: What about the geography?

D.I.: Click is a global organization that operates a lot in the CEE and in the ex-Soviet countries, including Russia. We currently have a portfolio of about 1 million mobile workers, including loss adjusters and other service technicians that use the platform. We support the regions through direct relationships or significant partners.

XPRIMM: Is your solution affordable also for small and medium-sized companies?

D.I.: Absolutely. Of course, there has to be a minimum size of resources available - a minimum number of assessors, fraud prevention officers etc., but we have lots of organizations that are medium size ones, for which the return on investment is very much out there. To give you some numbers, I would say that these resources are very costly - a loss adjuster may cost at least 50,000 USD per annum, which means that the actual cost of the entire workforce in this field reaches millions per year. Taking out about 20 - 30% of that (or increasing productivity by 20-30% with the same number of workers) means a lot of money that can be allocated to software. So, the return on investment typically is within a year for most organizations irrespective if they are very large or in the medium size bracket.

XPRIMM: What would be your advice to insurers for choosing among the very many digital solutions now available in the market?

D.I.: First of all, I think they need to have a very clear idea of the use case within the organization. In many areas of their operations, insurers are confronted with a high degree of volatility. In particular, on the personal insurance lines the number of claims can escalate and allotting resources in an efficient manner is instrumental not only to cost control, but also to service customers satisfactorily, saving their time. Organizations confronted with such issues are those that can reap the greatest benefits by using our platform.

XPRIMM: Finally, what about the legacy systems? Are there any difficulties in integrating your solution with the pre-existent systems?

D.I.: Essentially, the Click platform is stand alone, and integrates easily to backend systems like claims management, customer information systems, and human resource systems that store worker skills and certifications.

XPRIMM: How would you conclude our conversation?

D.I.: In the end, everything goes back to humans, both customers and employees. The digital system's job is to enable employees to give the best of their expertise and their time in an efficient manner that delivers the highest degree of customer satisfaction.
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