Striking the balance between digitalisation and human interaction

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, an increase in digitalisation has become imperative for maintaining a competitive edge. UK-based SMEs, recognising this reality, are poised to invest over £60 billion in new technology this year alone, spanning automation, AI, and e-commerce.

This surge underscores the growing reliance on technological advancements to drive efficiency and growth. However, amidst this digital revolution, the role of human interaction remains irreplaceable, particularly in sectors like insurance where trust and empathy are paramount.

 

Adding a personal touch

SMEs are increasingly turning to insurance providers who offer not just comprehensive coverage but also seamless digital experiences tailored to their unique needs. This shift necessitates insurance companies to be proactive in embracing technology, ensuring their offerings resonate with the evolving demands of SMEs.

One innovative approach to cater to SME needs is the creation of bespoke digital experiences that blend efficiency with personalisation. Imagine an immersive virtual “office” environment where SME owners can interact with an avatar representing their insurance provider. This interactive platform allows for streamlined communication and transaction management, offering convenience without sacrificing the personal touch.

Andy Brownsell, commerical director of Starpeak Insurance Solutions, comments: “When it comes to maintaining a competitive edge, UK-based SMEs understand the importance of technology. According to a recent report, UK SMEs will invest over £60 billion in new technology this year, including automation, AI and e-commerce. Given this trend, insurance providers must also be on the front foot when it comes to technology adoption, reflecting it in their offerings.

One example of how insurance providers can cater to their SME needs includes creating bespoke digital experiences that can streamline the process of managing their needs, while keeping the ‘human touch’. For example, a personalised immersive experience of an insurance provider’s “office” that allows SMEs to interact with an avatar rather than a traditional website or an app, all from the comfort of wherever they are based.”

 

Technology has its limits

However, amidst the drive for digital transformation, it’s essential to recognise the limits of technology. There are instances where the human touch remains indispensable, especially during critical moments such as when businesses face unexpected challenges or require nuanced guidance on policy options. In such cases, insurance providers must ensure access to human support across multiple channels, including phone, email, and live chat, staffed by knowledgeable representatives capable of providing empathetic assistance.

The key challenge for insurance providers lies in striking the balance between technology and human interaction. SME customers should seamlessly transition between digital platforms and human assistance without encountering disruptions or having to repeat information. This integration ensures a holistic approach to customer service, where technological advancements enhance rather than replace the human element of empathy and understanding.

This balance is particularly crucial for SMEs operating in diverse sectors, from beauty salons to therapy practices. Each business has its own unique needs and challenges, emphasising the importance of tailored solutions that combine technological innovation with personalised support.

Andy goes on: “Of course, there will be instances where technology cannot (and should not) replace the human touch. Insurance providers should continue to offer human support via multiple channels, including phone, email, and live chat, staffed by knowledgeable representatives. This is especially important in critical moments, such as when businesses face unexpected events or need guidance to navigate intricate policy options.

The key lies in integrating technology to enhance customer experiences while preserving the human element of empathy. SME customers should be able to seamlessly transition between digital and human interactions without having to repeat information or experience disruptions. Striking this balance will enable insurance providers to meet the diverse needs of SMEs, whether they are beauticians or therapists”.

As the insurance landscape continues to evolve, providers must remain agile in adapting to the changing needs of SMEs. By leveraging technology to enhance customer experiences while preserving the human touch, insurance companies can position themselves as trusted partners in the success and resilience of small businesses.

 

Image: Andy Brownsell, commerical director of Starpeak Insurance Solutions.
Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media.