#LEAwards spills: AIA Singapore on using tech to boost CX

During the Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020, insurance company AIA Singapore bagged the gold award for Best Use of CSR. With the aim to encourage Singaporeans to adopt “Healthier, Longer, Better Lives”, the company's award-winning campaign aimed to shed off the pre-existing image that the insurance industry is focused on profit-making.

During the pandemic-hit year, the biggest change AIA Singapore had to go through was to accelerate its transition to digital services while ensuring personalised service for its consumers. Melita Teo, chief customer and digital officer, AIA Singapore shares with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE in an exclusive interview about the process of how the company embraced this change while maintaining customer-centricity. Teo also shares how AIA Singapore will be further deepening its digital strategies in the upcoming year. 

What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?

The most significant customer behavioural shift witnessed in 2020 is the accelerated transition to digital services. Consumers expect the brands and businesses they interact with to keep up with their online needs. At the same time, they are placing increasing importance on personalisation. For tech-savvy youths, this shift to online began long before the pandemic but COVID-19 has hastened the adoption of online transactions and interactions for more mature customers.

At AIA Singapore, we view tech as an enabler, not a replacement to human touch. As increased online transactions become the norm, we want to simplify and personalise the digital experience for consumers; whether through agent interactions, our customer portal, or website.

How has your marketing plans shifted this year?

Early investments in digital transformation had allowed us to respond and adapt quickly to the pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to impact the way that we live, work, and play, we have been embracing these new norms by leveraging digital channels to stay connected with our customers and reach out to new audiences.

As we swiftly transitioned and adopted fully digital pre-sales and sales processes, we also observed an increased demand for simple products that required no medical underwriting as customers awareness of their protection gaps increased. To help our them meet their healthcare needs during a pandemic, we launched AIA NOW – a digital sales platform that allows customers to purchase simple products online. AIA NOW is also purposefully integrated to our digital ecosystem to augment the sales capability of our distribution force.

What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?

Greater integration of martech solutions as well as the data-driven personalisation of customer experience is going to take centerstage in our increasingly digital world. Brands will have to double down on ensuring the online customer experience is intuitive, easy to understand, and fast to fulfil. 

With social distancing measures set to persist in to 2021, we are ramping up our efforts in data analytics to empower our insurance representatives to provide more personalised services and counsel. In January 2020, we launched iSMART, a mobile superapp which helps our insurance representatives identify coverage gaps in a portfolio through providing a consolidated overview of each customer’s policies. The app also notifies on suggested customer touchpoints, from birthdays to policy maturity dates, and generates insights on demographic groups and their preferences.

This has been a game changer in customer engagement and relationship building. iSMART allows insurance agents to track the end-to-end sales funnel, from lead nurturing to pre-sales and conversion of both existing and prospective customers in one single application. It does so through aggregating all in-app interactions into a visualised activity tracker, serving as a centralised resource hub that allow insurance representatives to jointly service customers seamlessly and collaboratively.

In short, iSMART helps our insurance representatives deliver a more bespoke experience, tailoring advice to customers’ specific healthcare and financial needs. 

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Customer-centricity must remain at the heart of all marketing campaigns and consumer touchpoints. That’s something that has not and will never change.

However, the medium is just as important as the message. For years, AIA Singapore has been an industry frontrunner in changing the role of an insurer from just a payor to a partner. Now, with customers spending more time online than ever, we have a unique chance to bring the story to life on digital and social channels.

Consumer education is a major focus for our marketing activity. This means our campaigns should effectively communicate and educate consumers on AIA’s focus on holistic health and wellness, which incorporates all aspects of life: from financial planning, to physical health, and mental wellbeing.

We are increasingly using social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to connect with the digitally-savvy younger audiences and working professionals who can in turn, encourage and educate older family members, relatives and friends on the importance of healthier, longer and better lives: from critical illness protection to growing their savings for retirement, or knowing when it's time to take a mental health break.

How are you planning for 2021?

We are committed to transforming AIA Singapore into a simper, faster, and more connected organisation. In 2021, we are deepening our investment in technology, data, and analytics – upgrading our technology platforms and enabling increased adoption of our digital tools to effect higher levels of customer satisfaction.

We plan to increase the use of data analytics in customer engagement. One of the initiatives already underway is using data-driven insights and automation to enhance digital lead generation. Delivering insight-led relevant content to both new and existing and customers drives higher engagement and quality lead generations. These can then be filtered automatically to scale efforts in lead distribution and facilitate real-time monitoring and tracking. AIA Singapore is also doubling down on customer-focused innovation and services to improve both online and offline experiences.

In a nutshell, marketers must balance high-tech and high-touch to create a simpler, faster, and enhanced customer experience as we navigate an increasingly hybrid landscape.