Bots, AI

Automating Customer Onboarding: 5 Powerful Ways AI Bots Help

By 6 Minute Read

How often has the customer onboarding experience been amazing?

We’ve all signed up for some form of product or service, often using online quotations, submitting application forms by email, or speaking with a contact center agent through live chat or on the phone. How often has the experience been disappointing, often leading to frustration and even abandonment? And, how many times, have you progressed through pages of web forms only for the session to expire?

Welcome to customer onboarding – one of the first journeys a customer may take post-sale with a company and brand and, therefore, one of the most significant opportunities to create fruitful and engaging experiences!

How You Onboard Customers Counts – A Lot!

While the term onboarding is often associated with the process of integrating new hires or employees into an organization and getting them up and running with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools that they need for their job, the concept of customer onboarding is equally, if not more critical to many business operations.

Think of every time you apply for insurance coverage, complete an online application to join an association, become a member of a club, submit a job or college application, subscribe to a SaaS service, or change your utility or healthcare provider. Often this involves a multi-step journey that can be automated using an AI-powered bot, making the experience more seamless and cost-efficient. 

Imagine an AI Bot that can take a customer through a journey, e.g. applying for a loan, requesting documents via image uploads, answering any queries they have via chat, and validating their information. Check out this animation to get a sense of how powerful a digital AI assistant can be in guiding customers through such a multi-step process.

Customer Onboarding Bot


An Insurance AI Case Study: Onboarding Customers with their Auto Insurance Policy 

Customer onboarding is critical as it represents a revenue opportunity for businesses as they aim to enroll new customers to their products and services as quickly and efficiently as possible, generating new sales and a recurring revenue stream. And, in many instances, a smooth onboarding process leads to higher adoption and usage rates, one of the leading indicators in reducing churn.

But getting customers up and running can be a costly and complicated activity, especially in cases where there are many steps in the customer journey that need to be validated, approved, or documented. Think of a customer getting approved for an auto insurance policy. This involves some tedious gathering of proof documents such as the customer’s driving license, banking information, no claims bonus or proof of previous insurance, social security number, vehicle identification or registration number, among others. Here’s an example of how an insurance client turned a cumbersome and costly onboarding process into one that is smoother and more efficient.

By implementing an AI digital assistant, the insurance client was able to dramatically decrease the manual effort and costs involved in getting customers started with their new policy. Before deploying the bot solution,  human workers handled dozens of emails and document attachments per day, gathering all the different documents, validating them, and collating them so they could be attached to the customer policy record. Now they can handle an average of 150%+ more incoming uploads per day as documents are properly collated by the bot. With agent productivity increased tenfold due to this new onboarding process, agents can be put to work on other higher-value tasks. 

Read the Insurance Customer Onboarding Case Study to learn more about this digital assistant solution and how it automated the journey to achieve these compelling business results.

Five Compelling Ways a Digital Assistant Drives Better Business Outcomes

There are many different ways to sign up customers – from traditional face-to-face sales meetings (e.g. at a bank or with a broker or with a sales rep) to paper-based application forms that are mailed, faxed, or emailed, and web-based or mobile forms that can be supported through web chat or voice calls. Each of these methods poses challenges either in terms of high costs, delays, inconvenience, or inaccuracies.

Here are five ways in which an Onboarding digital AI assistant, leveraging conversational AI, automates steps in the journeys to drive down costs and improve the experience.

  1. More Convenience: Customers Can Onboard on their Schedule, 24/7. A digital assistant, powered by AI, is the ultimate in a self-service onboarding model, offering customers the convenience to onboard day or night and complete the journey whenever suits them, wherever they may be, and uninterrupted. With an AI bot, the onboarding process doesn’t have to happen within the opening hours of the contact center or when human agents are available to help. The bot can work around-the-clock, limiting the risk of losing a customer because they take their business elsewhere or have time to consider their decision and opt-out.
  2. Lower Cost and Customer-led Approach: The Bot Alternative to Live Chat. Over time, different ways of improving customer journeys around onboarding have emerged – from the web or mobile forms with drop-down menus, auto-fills, and guided steps, to live chat and agent-assisted models. However, there are still challenges. Continuous web or live chat sessions can expire if a customer is interrupted or has to abandon the session before completing it, requiring them to start over again. Live chat is also expensive as these are handled by human agents and it can be frustrating with delays or wait times incurred by agents managing multiple chats concurrently. With bots, the session can be conducted over the timeframe that suits the customer with the bot able to pick up and take off when and where needed so that the onboarding process can happen asynchronously.  If the journey requires user authentication, the bot will just re-authenticate the user and continue the journey where the customer left off. A bot also allows journeys to be automated, eliminating the need for human agents handling common tasks or responding to common queries so they can focus on resolving more complex issues. So the bot acts as an inexpensive alternative, is available 24/7, and can operate in a stop-and-go way that is more customer-led.
  3. Choice of Preferred Channel: The Power of Messaging Apps and Bots Over the last 5 years, messaging apps have witnessed phenomenal growth – driven by the popularity of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, LINE and more. These chat apps are now becoming core to how businesses interact with customers, opening up a new channel for onboarding customers. Imagine signing up for a membership or subscription via your messaging app on your mobile device rather than having to go through a web form with live chat support?  A conversational bot can authenticate the customer, respond to their intent, retrieve necessary information, automate the journey, and send reminders or updates. This can be done at the customer’s pace and in their timeframe via the messaging channel. A bot is always available and remembers the last interaction and activity and can always pass on to a human agent or initiate a channel switch. Supporting communication via a customer’s preferred channel and offering a seamless onboarding experience, not only improves convenience and customer experience but it can help businesses onboard customers faster and more efficiently.
  4. Reduce Churn: Faster Onboarding. Attention spans can be short and shoppers can easily go elsewhere in the world of online business. For this reason, it is important to provide a positive initial experience and be able to sign up customers as quickly as possible and on their timeframe and terms before they either change their minds or lose interest. The bot can respond immediately without the delays that are experienced in live chat situations. It can also automate the journey so that customers get started quicker, for example accessing necessary documents or information on the spot. And, even better, the bot can manage the end-to-end journey in a stop-and-go fashion that beats to the customer’s drum and is not forced on them by the business. But how about customers who broke off partway through onboarding and didn’t continue the process? The bot can also proactively engage with these customers, sending them reminders, and getting them back into the onboarding process so that they complete the journey. 
  5. Automated and Intelligent: Customer Journeys Powered by AI and Automation.  The real power of AI digital assistants is in their ability to automate routine tasks and workflows, limiting the need for labor-intensive and costly processes.  Powered by AI, an onboarding bot can start managing a simple onboarding journey but can quickly train and learn to become smarter and manage more tasks on the journey. And of course, a bot can always escalate or hand off to a human agent if needed and advise a customer along the way. And as the bot handles more and more customer conversations in the journey, they become smarter at understanding the customer’s intent and responding to it in the right way. Over time a bot can also be trained to handle more complex steps in a journey and fulfill additional intents. Even in complex journeys that involve multiple steps and processes, several task-oriented bots can work together using a multi-bot orchestration approach that overcomes the limitations of today’s NLP technology.

To learn more about how you can quickly and easily deploy an AI bot to help drive productivity improvements in your customer onboarding journey, contact us, or request a demo of our bot platform.

You can also test-drive a demo digital AI assistant that is specific to onboarding an auto insurance customer here.




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