HDFC ERGO training its AI to be empathetic

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The pandemic has accelerated the growth of technology. Businesses are highly dependent on technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud, and Deep Learning. If the companies continue to explore the options of the developing technologies especially those like AI, it becomes the need of the hour to engage empathy to some degree. This article highlights how by a mix of human resource and digital technologies HDFC ERGO a General Insurance Company is making its AI models empathetic and more humane.

Mehmood Mansoori, President, Shared Services, and Online Business HDFC ERGO said that the products they sell are something that they don’t want their customers to go through. And in a case when something happens and the clients reach out for the claim, the tonality of the communication makes a huge difference. When a customer writes an email, he doesn’t know who will respond, a human or a bot. So, HDFC ERGO drafted their email that very clearly says that “I am a virtual assistant and I will bring a smile on your face.” Mansoori believes that it will create a brand image in the mind of the customer. Because when this message reaches the customer, the customer thinks he is getting the right response. However, if the customer writes back on an email then it will go to the employees, and rather than communicating through an email, they will reach out to and speak with the customer directly when required. He also added that they are going to a digital mode but would reach out to customers if there is a call for the empathetic factor.

HDFC ERGO had taken behavioral sciences resources into service to carry the empathy angle in its communication, even in a chatbot communication. Mansoori believes it will help them reduce the potential human biases. While explaining these human biases, he said, In India, our behavior and tone changes depending on the type of person we are speaking to. But The AI engines, chatbots, and NLP based emails will respond with the same speed and same empathy to everyone. The customers can write the same thing in 100 different ways and defining which waypoints to which problem precisely is a difficult duty for the company. Behavioral science resources assists HDFC ERGO to look into this and provide the right resolution. Also, they had to fit extra efforts in addition to its technology partners to understand and resolve the customer emails.

He concluded that the self-learning algorithm that they built has helped to transform something like insurance into a self-service model, especially during the pandemic as more and more people switched to these channels.

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